July 25, 2011 7 Comments
Nine months after the TSA implemented scope & grope, with years of other abuse prior, fliers are angry. Those of you here on this forum likely are (or were) frequent fliers who more than most others understand that the TSA will violate you without cause. The comments, and my inbox, are full of people describing their horror stories, their frustration, their embarassment.
Yet, here’s what’s really embarassing: for most people, even those here, the truth of the matter is, it’s all talk. I look around the Internet, and thread after thread, post after post, is a story of being violated by the TSA, not standing up against violations by the TSA. Nearly every story ends with the OP passing through security because after giving a TSA screener a “good, sound talking to,” they went ahead and did exactly what the TSA asked for. But don’t worry: they filled out a comment card.
It’s not just the “Internet community.” I went to the big protest in NYC last month, and one of the speakers, who works for an organization that protests the TSA, told the crowd how horrible his pat-down was before his flight to NY. How the TSA touched his “junk” four times. Maybe you didn’t have a chance to say “no” before the first time, but you didn’t know what was coming the second, third, and fourth? I pointed this out to him in front of the crowd, and he said it was worth it to be there talking to us, but you could see for a moment on his face that he realized that he was just as much a sheep as anyone else.
So where are our John Tyners? Our Andrea Abbotts? Our Sharon Cissnas? Our Michael Roberts? Where are the people who stood up and said “NO” and meant it?! Is your flight really that important? Is making your vacation today instead of tomorrow worth your dignity? Do you really think you’re going to lose your job for missing one flight? (Hint: if I were an employer [and I am] and my employee told me he missed a flight because it required him to be sexually assaulted, I’d be damn afraid to fire him in fear of lawsuit!)
My guess is that the above are our excuses, but the truth of the matter is that the real reason we failed to act is that we’re scared to stand up to our government. We get to the checkpoint and see the machines and the little blue uniforms, and we’re intimidated into compliance.
So I ask you: draw your own line in the sand. Decide what your commitment is, and decide it before your next flight. What you will not do under any circumstances, even if it causes you to miss your flight. I’ll go first.
I will not go through the TSA’s nude body scanners.
I will not let the TSA “touch my junk.”
I will not go into a private room.
I will not be told that I cannot video record at the checkpoint.
Maybe you have more: maybe you want to commit to not letting the TSA touch your children. Maybe you have less: maybe your fight is only the molestation pat down and the nude body scanners don’t really bother you.
But please, draw your own line, now, before you get to the checkpoint, and stick to it. Be a fighter, not a victim.