”If you touch my junk I’m going to have you arrested.”
These were the words of a man who refused to have a full body “naked” scan and was then subjected to the new ”enhanced pat down” procedure. John Tyner, posted an audio recording of his experience online. Because he did not want someone to ”touch his junk” not only was he not allowed to get on the plane, he was also threatened with a civil suit and a $10,000 fine for leaving the designated crotch-touch zone after being told to do so by TSA agents.
We tell our children not to let strangers touch or see their private parts. Do we now need to add, except for government officials? These words have come up again and again in the last few days. There have been numerous reports from people saying they felt extremely violated by the new “enhanced pat downs” (even the words make me feel a little ill) or even that they felt sexually assaulted. There has been a disturbing trend towards more and more invasive procedures at airports, particularly in America. People are starting to wonder, when is it enough?
I hadn’t heard about the “enhanced pat down” until, when reading the Sydney Morning Herald today I came across Erin Chase’s story of her dreadful experience at Dayton International airport. Erin Chase is a prominent blogger, and described in detail on her blog what happened to her and how it made her feel. I really thought they had gone a little too far with the naked machine, but intimate full body pat downs where they touch your genitals. Nobody should be subjected to that! Erin Chase was not even given the option to go through the backscatter machine since these were not available at that airport.
I have been extremely opposed to the naked machines from the beginning. I must admit, that I am not particularly concerned about people seeing my naked body (I live in naked Sweden after all). But some people are. And nobody should be forced to undergo nude scrutiny if they are uncomfortable with it. But seriously… what are you options now? ”Would you prefer your naked body sausage-like as it is wedged into your clothes to be giggled at by officials in another room or would you like to have a stranger touching your naughty bits? Your choice.” Ah… can I get counselling with that?
And sometimes it seems you get both anyway. Suzy Guese from Traveling with a redheaded temperament, blogged today about her sister’s experience. It seems everyone who went through the naked machine still underwent a pat down. So what’s the point then? Not only that but then they decided she had explosives on her hands. The only time I ever even got tested for explosives was at Mt Isa airport. I have never been through such a thorough security (I think they might have been bored). And it is the only time I possibly had explosive residue on my hands. Hell, half the people there had come straight from minesites were they explode stuff all the time. The pat down, however, was very polite.
I wonder what they would do if everybody simply stripped naked and walked through security. It would be gutsy to try but I am certain it would get you arrested. Or worse. Remember, these guys have the power to conduct *gulp* body cavity searches. ”There must be bomb in here somewhere.”
I know it’s cliche to say it, but I think the terrorists might have won. If they polled travellers I wonder what they are thinking about more when they head to the airport… whether the plane will be blown up by terrorists or whether they will be molested by security?
So… what can we do about it? If you are also outraged by this violation of privacy check out Fly with dignity. And if you happen to be travelling on the 24th of November you don’t have to strip naked and run through security to take a stand, you can simply choose to be part of National opt-out day and refuse to go through the naked machine.
Have you had a dreadful experience with airport security that you want to share? Please comment below.