Fear of flying
Posted by keithosaunders on November 17, 2010
Just in time for the holiday rush the TSA has rolled out the nude body scanning machines, allowing security officials to see through clothing. Passengers may opt out of the scanners, but up to this point less than 1% have done so. This is not surprising since opting out means enduring an invasive pat-down complete with genital groping. You get the feeling that if the TSA had the technology to do it fast enough they would go ahead and submit us all to full cavity searches.
There is nothing easy about airline travel, which is an ordeal on par with root canal. For me, the biggest indignity is being made to feel like a criminal simply by my possession of an airline ticket. With every security breakdown we travellers are subjected to more and more nonsense. From taking off our shoes and belts, not being able to bring water into the terminal, to having to endure groping by high-school graduate, would-be jack booted thugs. Can that retina scanners be far in our future?
Today I read of a passenger named John Tyner who opted out of the scanners. During the pat-down, when it became clear that the agent was about to touch his groin he said, “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.” This kicked off a series of consultations with supervisors that resulted in Tyner not being able to fly and being ejected from the airport. His ordeal is detailed in his blog post and is worth reading.
Most disturbing of all is what I read yesterday in Salon in Glenn Greenwald’s column. He wrote,
…the TSA called a news conference to announce that it was formally investigating Tyner to determine whether to impose $11,000 in fines on him.
Nothing about Tyner’s protest was threatening, violent, or belligerent. This kind of reaction makes me wonder if we are living in a proto-fascist state. The message is clear: Do not make waves if you know what’s good for you.