Just a few things for you to keep in mind for this upcoming holiday season:
Now, you and I both know that three-year-olds are subject to throwing earth-shattering temper-tantrums at the drop of a proverbial hat, however, do you think it is at all appropriate for a complete stranger to be feeling up an atrociously under-age minor like that? Is there any doubt that the “complete stranger” in question would have been justifiably beaten to the ground and summarily arrested if this had transpired on the street, or if the “complete stranger” had not been wearing a uniform? How long is it before a father sees a TSA agent sexually assaulting his child (and touching a person’s groin while that person is screaming, “Stop touching me!” is unquestionably sexual assault in my mind) and decides to react as one might expect a protective parent to?
And speaking of sexual assault on minors, the problem of child pornography is all-too real:
Her 12-year-old daughter, whom she did not want to appear on camera, was at Tampa International Airport on vacation with a family friend when a TSA officer chose her.
“It’s an image of a nude child that they’re seeing. This is child pornography whether people want to believe this or not. How is this any different,” said Nemphos.
A TSA spokeswoman say the agency’s protocol protects privacy. Sari Koshetz says “The officer viewing the image is in a locked room with no windows. The door to the locked room is not opened until the passenger has cleared the checkpoint and the images have been deleted. Should the two officers need to communicate, that is done with whisper headsets.”
For Nemphos, that’s not enough, not only for her child, but anyone under age 18.
“People think that this is a blurry image. It is not a blurry image. It is an image of a naked person,” she said.
Remember, this is what the TSA agent is seeing every time you step through one of those machines – is anyone going to honestly try to argue that similar images of under-age children does not constitute child pornography? And, yes, the TSA goes on and on and on about how the images are deleted – what guarantees do we have of that? Turns out, not much – an identical machine in the Orlando, FL courthouse saved over 35,000 images of people who walked through it, despite claims that it would not.
However, beyond that flaw in the system, can you screencapture on the computers they use? Does the TSA search every agent using these machines, and keep them from taking in cell phones or digital cameras? For that matter, these agents are working in locked rooms without windows? Well, that gives them all kinds of… privacy… does it not?
Think I am exaggerating? Think again:
A Transportation Security Agency worker who pats down members of the flying public was charged with multiple child sex crimes targeting an underage girl yesterday.
The bust outraged privacy and passenger advocates who say it justifies their fears about Logan International Airport’s full-body scanner.
Obviously “charged with” is nowhere near “convicted of”, however, this situation never should have deteriorated to the point where the question could even be raised, which would have been the case if our
Glorious Overlords government had not mandated that government employees start feeling up anyone and everyone who dares to refuse to be seen naked.
And speaking of refusing to play their “be naked or be groped” game, you did not think that would work, did you?
At this point, I thought it was all over. I began to make my way to the stairs to exit the airport, when I was approached by another man in slacks and a sport coat. He was accompanied by the officer that had escorted me to the ticketing area and Mr. Silva. He informed me that I could not leave the airport. He said that once I start the screening in the secure area, I could not leave until it was completed. Having left the area, he stated, I would be subject to a civil suit and a $10,000 fine. I asked him if he was also going to fine the 6 TSA agents and the local police officer who escorted me from the secure area. After all, I did exactly what I was told. He said that they didn’t know the rules, and that he would deal with them later. They would not be subject to civil penalties. I then pointed to Mr. Silva and asked if he would be subject to any penalties. He is the agents’ supervisor, and he directed them to escort me out. The man informed me that Mr. Silva was new and he would not be subject to penalties, either.
Apparently, ignorance of the law is an excuse for employees of the TSA.
Read the whole post that quote came from, though – according to his first-hand, video-taped account of the situation, the TSA is giving us American citizens the choice of being seen naked or being groped… OR being sued in civil courts and faced with a $10,000 fine. Be sexually harassed, or be sued.
Uhm, what? In any other world, and with any other player, that would be “extortion” or “solicitation”, at the very best.
Unfortunately, we will be flying twice next week, both times out of airports that not have only “advanced imaging technology” scanners, but also the inevitably-cancer-causing backscatter scanners; suffice to say, if my number comes up, I will be politely “opting out” of being ogled by a complete stranger. Of course, given that the alternative is being groped by a complete stranger, I am going to find it very difficult to not steal a line or two from Mad Mike (language warning if you follow the link):
“Damn, that’s hot.”
“Does it bother you that I’m gay? Or do you prefer I not say, like my friend over there?”
“You know, porn actors get paid a lot better to touch other guys’ junk.”
(LOUDLY): “OH, YEAH! You’ve done this before!”
“Hey, how do I compare to my buddy, size wise?”
“Bom chicka wow wow!”
And if it were not for the fact that no one would get it, I would totally go Tam’s route:
3) Get a panicky look on your face and mutter “Two by two, hands of blue. Two by two, hands of blue…” over and over.
Sadly, I lack both the nerve and the physique for this method of dealing with the scanners:
On the flip side, perhaps my pasty-whiteness and bony twiggishness will create more of an impact…
And, yes, all of that is intentionally, blatantly, and willfully intended to make the TSA screening agents uncomfortable. Even though some of them would have you believe that they are “just following orders” (yes, he said almost exactly that), and even though some of them seem to believe that going through your luggage somehow makes them superior to you, the fact of the matter is that they are currently working for an organization that is mandating either electronically stripping people of all ages of their clothing, or groping people of all ages. How do they even look at themselves in the mirror every morning, much less believe that being voyeuristic Peeping Toms makes them better than the people whose privacy they are invading?
Speaking of groping, though, the self-righteous TSA wanker referenced in the previous link had this to say:
Ok that one is bullshit. It is a terror tactic by TSA to get you to walk through the more thorough body scanner. I can’t defend TSA on this one. I have talked to the TSA officers and it is no more effective than the old pat down procedure. They tested it out with trainers and each other. It is purely a terror tactic by TSA.
(Emphasis added.) I, as a sovereign American citizen, will not be terrorized into exposing my body to strangers.
Unsurprisingly, Penn (of Penn and Teller fame) has a much more laid-back, but equally annoyed and offended, perspective on the matter:
A security guy came over. I assumed the position. I had a button up shirt on that was untucked. He reached around while he was behind me and grabbed around my front pocket. I guess he was going for my flashlight, but the area could have loosely been called “crotch.” I said, “You have to ask me before you touch me or it’s assault.”
He said, “Once you cross that line, I can do whatever I want.”
I said that wasn’t true. I say that I have the option of saying no and not flying. He said, “Are you going to let me search you, or do I just throw you out?”
I said, “Finish up, and then call the police please.”
When he was finished with my shoes, he said, “Okay, you can go.”
I said, “I’d like to see your supervisor and I’d like LVPD to come here as well. I was assaulted by you.”
He said, “You’re free to go, there’s no problem.”
I said, “I have a problem, please send someone over.”
“I can do whatever I want.” Let that phrase percolate through your mind for a minute. “I can do whatever I want.” That petty authoritarian in an excuse of a uniform sporting a tin-metal badge felt it not only appropriate, but justified, to grab another man’s crotch area, and then, when the man in question objected, provided the most heinous excuse imaginable. “I can do whatever I want.” Worse, when Penn wanted to press charges against the man who assaulted him, every single TSA employee does their damned level best to get rid of Penn, get rid of the situation, and sweep the entire thing under the rug. “I can do whatever I want.” And, now, to add insult to injury, TSA representatives are offering to “make sure it’s very pleasant for you”, in regards to his next trip through
the grope-a-thon airport security, since Penn is a celebrity and all, and the TSA does not “want bad press.” “I can do whatever I want.”
Are you starting to understand the depth and magnitude of the rot that has siezed the American government? Are you starting to see the petty, self-righteous totalitarians for what they are? Are you starting to understand why freedom-minded people (and, thankfully, people with lots of disposeable income, as Penn admits) vehemently object to this kind of unconscionable behavior? “I can do whatever I want.”
Of course, through all of this, we “fully-abled” American citizens are on the receiving end of some well-deserved told-you-sos…
As I said previously, this may be the last time we go out to the NorthWet (sic) to visit my parents… or, at least, the last time until we can save up the additional leave to spend two weeks on the road or a week on a train (and damn trains have gotten expensive). In either case, though, I will be certain to photocopy all of my related receipts and reservations, and forward them on to all of the major airlines here in America with a friendly note informing them that these are profits they lost by supporting an agency that is now mandating what I see as the sexual molestation of minors (in addition to having outright idiotic fee structures now).
Lest you think I am just going off on a wild hair of my own, though, I am not alone in my dissatisfaction with the situation – obviously that poll is decidedly non-scientific, but 98% out of over 65,000 votes (at the time of this post) is pretty damning of the TSA…
In closing, I will end with this picture, blatantly stolen from SayUncle:
Consider how far we have pulled ourselves down.
(First video and first blockquote courtesy of Traction Control. Second blockquote courtesy of A Geek With Guns. Orlando story courtesy of Blue Collar Muse. Penn story courtesy of Irons in the Fire. Second video courtesy of Non-Original Rants. Poll courtesy of No Silence Here.)