TSA – you want to what??
If you travel, and which milspouse doesn’t, you have seen and been subjected to all the various knee jerk responses of the TSA/Homeland Security. First we took off our shoes (thanks, shoe bomber) we took our computers out of their cases. We put all our little 3 oz bottles of shampoo and conditioner, the new toothpaste in the teeeeny travel size, the small containers of our face cream, the night cream… and the prescription cream (try finding THOSE in 3 oz sizes.. ha!) in our ziploc bags. * anyone else irked that all the bags for those things that I used to use, have had to be replaced? * We take off our belts and pray our pants don’t skid down. We make damned sure we aren’t wearing an underwire bra, or one with multiple hooks and usually end up in a sports bra. We put up with being hauled aside because we are the 13th or 25th in line and being searched/wanded/and our careful packing of the backpack/carryon torn apart, or watch an 80 year old in a wheelchair being searched in public and embarrassed by some kid in a rent-a-cop uniform.
Now we hear about scanners that, contrary to what we’ve been told, show a helluva lot more than the fuzzy pictures TSA has allowed to be seen on camera. That type of full frontal nudity in public is usually reserved for magazines on the top rack with the paper cover or in the back room of the video store! We are either going to have to stand in a scanner that shows body parts that shouldn’t be seen in public, and hope they don’t store those pictures of us as was done in a courthouse recently (story from ABC News), or allow ourselves to be handled in a manner that would, if done by anyone else, be seen as a sexual assault!
A fellow milspouse did a lot of research on this topic and has given me permission to quote certain parts of her post:
If you set the machine off OR refuse the machine altogether, you will be subject to an “enhanced pat-down”. All information on this procedure points to the fact that it is a body RUB DOWN. The same-sex agent will:
Use her open palm on your body in a fluid, rubbing motion.
Feel your breast and butt cheeks.
Use the same motion to run her hands up your thighs as high as they can go. There have been reports of the agent’s hands touching the vaginal area.
She will determine if your bra is underwire.
There have been reports of “lifting” the breasts.
If a man is subjected to this search, the male agent will run his hands up the thighs until the testicles are felt. Children “over 12” are subjected to the body rub-down and any child deemed capable of holding his or her arms up for 5 seconds will qualify for the X-ray machine.
Also, while in the machine you can’t see your belongings on the luggage X-ray machine. That’s right- even after reports of TSA theft and planting of drugs, a new procedure has been implemented to keep you out of eyesight of your belongings.
Shall we talk about children? I remember telling my son when he was a little boy, never to allow anyone to touch him in certain areas, except the doctor when he was having his sports physical and if he felt “funny” about how someone touched him, to yell really loud! So.. do we tell our children now that the other person who can touch them there is a minimum wage drone in a uniform at an airport, in front of everyone there? Are you Kidding ME??
A friend who has shared custody of her son and who used to fly put it this way:
One of my favorite things to tell my exhibitionist children is, “We don’t show strangers our potty parts.” There are lots of obvious reasons for this, yes? Common decency, pictures being taken and shared for nefarious means, invitations for molestation are among those reasons. We have child pornography laws to protect our kids from having naked photos taken of them. While they may not know that their naked image is popping up on a screen for a stranger to ogle, it is still happening. A complete stranger, whose face I cannot see, would be looking at my son’s penis. The TSA tries to assure us that the images can’t be saved, but they are big fat liars. Am I supposed to trust that every single TSA agent is a well-meaning officer of the law who only wants to protect us from the big, bad terrorists? I can’t even trust a priest to follow the Biblical laws to which he has sworn his life. But the TSA agents certainly wouldn’t be involved in a child pornography ring–because big bad wolves never pose as harmless sheep or Grandmas. And the criminally depraved never put on a uniform to disguise their malfeasance. “Trust us! We’re just keeping you safe…” No, thank you.”
Now if you decide that this hassle isn’t worth it, if you object to you or your child being manhandled in this manner and decide not to fly, and try to leave the airport, you can be detained! yes… you may also be sued and face a $10,000 fine.
I’m all for security, don’t get me wrong here. BUT, this? is this “security”? what happened to the “you can’t see anything on those scans” BS that we were handed when the companies rolled out these insanely expensive machines? And that’s not even talking about the packages from who knows where than end up on planes… how much screening is done of those? Oh… well… that’s different, splutters the TSA…. Yes, that’s $$$ and corporations. THIS is just people.
Many people are saying – ok, so don’t fly. Fine, if I’m going to go on vacation, I’ll pick somewhere I can drive to, keep it local. When I want to go see our granddaughter, we’ll take twice as much leave so we can drive cross country. But tell that to the military family flying to say goodbye to dad or mom, or traveling to places you can’t get to by driving or taking the train. Tell that to the family PCSing to Japan, or Europe. Wonder what TSA will do with the service member in uniform, under orders, flying to join a unit to deploy. “Thank you for your service, let us violate your privacy.” I guess the “get a pass to greet your servicemember at the gate” won’t be happening much anymore!