It’s only taken…oh, about nine years, but the general public has finally had enough with TSA agents and their invasive full body searches at airports.

The most recent hubbub surrounds a CNN piece about a man who, after telling a TSA agent that if he “touched his junk” he was going to have him arrested, was refused entry to a flight and may face up to $10,000 in fines for refusal to cooperate with the screening process.

Firstly, he should be fined $10,000 for being an adult and still referring to it as his “junk.” Listen, if you’re not a twenty-year-old frat boy wearing a backwards baseball cap, please call it anything but your “junk.” I know that it’s sort of apt because like real junk nobody’s going to seriously consider playing with it unless they’re some sort of weird hobbyist, but still. Let’s be grown-ups.

The video is below.

My take:

Travel is stressful enough without the added benefit of molestation by screeners. The TSA is adamant that it must preserve the screening process for the safety of all involved, but I call bollocks on that assertion. I think there’s something to be said for being willing to play to the sensitivities of individuals who may not be comfortable with some of the more invasive aspects of searches at airports. Simply offering them private space isn’t enough, as it’s always offered with a tone that says “if you do take us up on this, you’re a difficult jerk.” An offer isn’t an offer if it’s laid out with the implication that actually taking them up on it is a great inconvenience.

Americans are in an uproar, but the old adage holds about pointing one finger at the TSA while four more point back at yourself. Americans were warned by many, many pundits and individuals that they were allowing their government and its agencies to go too far in the name of “national security,” and for nine years we sat back because we allowed fear, anger, and all those other things that don’t constitute our better angels to allow invasions of privacy to occur all in the name of freedom and security and America and beer and racecar drivers.

Still, where is the line between personal safety and respect for privacy and human dignity? Also, what happened to the days when you had to go to the bathroom and throw a wide stance to get an HJ at Albany International? These are difficult questions, to be sure, but common sense and decency can be of a great service in providing an answer.

As for me? I won’t enjoy it, but I’m not going to threaten to arrest someone for touching my privates at the airport. I am, however, going to chuckle to myself. Because as much as we worry about the invasion and attacks from outside forces, we always end up being our own worst enemy, and the guy who brushed up against my privates is the perfect example of that.

Meanwhile, I’ll go back to my job and earn my measly wage behind this desk, far away from your junk and that of the millions of others who have to go through this uncomfortable and unusual process.


25 Responses to In a Post 9/11 World, There is No “No-No Place”

  1. Scott Comstock says:

    Walt Kelly said it best in 1970: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

  2. Bill says:

    I can’t help thinking, over and over as security tightens and personal freedoms/boundaries continue to shrink, that the terrorists have won. Many chuckled at Colbert’s “Keep Fear Alive” approach to the rally, but fear very much has become an American value. Scary.

  3. Colleen says:

    I’d like to have a line up and get to choose who “searches” me, I figure if I have to go through this, I’m gonna get something out of it….**on my way to the airport to find my next ex-boyfriend**

  4. Andy M. says:

    The simple fact that we must be subjected to this ridiculous ritual of “security theater” means the terrorists have already won. If we got the hell out of their backyard it would remove much of their motivation for attacking us, now wouldn’t it?

    Using the logic of TSA, wouldn’t full cavity searches make us feel even safer?

  5. Angelos says:

    Yup, the time to yell was during the Patriot Act; when the gov’t was spying on American without warrants, circumventing FISA; when the TSA was given all this power.

    The cat’s long been out of the bag.

  6. Joe says:

    i will require dinner first thank you!!!

  7. Chuck Miller says:

    And THIS is why I drive somewhere, unless I really have to fly. It’s not like I have to worry about a toll booth worker on the New Jersey Turnpike asking me to step out of my car for a pat-down and body screening just to enter the Garden State.

  8. Explosive Daria says:

    I wouldn’t be opposed to getting a full body scan, so long as I could watch. Holler.

  9. Cihan says:

    What really bothered me was all the lying that was going on about the scanners. I know a while back they tried to claim that the devices were not capable of saving images (lol, as if anyone would design it that way), and they of course wind up able to do so.

    In the end, I’d trust the TSA with a nudie photo of me about as much as I’d trust the guys at GeekSquad at BestBuy with my hard drive.

  10. Tony Barbaro says:

    Next time I am at the airport, I’m gonna hum Love me Tender during the pat down.
    one question….do they offer you a cigarette after?

  11. used2begb says:

    @#1 I used to baby sit Scott Comstock. Are you Janets cousin?

  12. B.J. Hart says:

    We push, they push…we bomb, they attack! Now that most personal rights are gone, mabye we should investigate into that thing…you know, mutual respect…peace. It might just be easier.

  13. Tim in Waterford says:

    High-speed rail, anyone?

    I’m in the minority on this, but I’d rather have the Backscatter Scan of Death than the patdowns. To those who scream about “virtual strip searches”, consider that if those machines hadn’t been invented, we’d probably be about a year out from requiring ACTUAL strip searches of each and every passenger.

    Of course, I’d prefer neither the body scanners nor the Burger King rejects with a license to get to second base. (Actually, I wouldn’t mind the scanners too much if the original story on them — they’re harmless, they can’t save the images, and your “parts” look more like blobs than anything else — was true, but that’s another discussion.) The fact that these are our options shows how far we’ve come in the pursuit of “security theater” and proves that the terrorists won a long time ago.

    As a side note, I consider myself lucky that I never have to go anywhere far enough that I need to fly to get there. On the other hand, it’s the one thing that keeps me from considering moving to another part of the country.

  14. Brad says:

    Amen, Paulie. People got all up in arms about waterboarding, but we haven’t been attacked since, and in the process we took down dozens of terrorists.

  15. PW - Paulie WalnutZ says:

    Having my junk fondled for free is much better than flying into a building.If people dont like being screened they are free to walk to their destination, which in turn would fix the “fat ass” problem America has developed. This is along the same line of horse”FEATHERS” as people getting off for murder because of an illegal search…doesnt matter that you have a chopped up body in your car, “we read your rights to you in the wrong order so your free”………. And what would people say if “junk guy” had hijacked the plane and killed a pile of people…we would be screaming that the TSA shouldnt have let him on the plane….cant have it both ways…unless your Bi

    comment is all better now….sorry about that

  16. Tony Barbaro says:

    After they fondle your junk, they’ll tickle you with a horse feather. But you have to ask nice.

  17. HomeTownGirl says:

    I got a full body pat down once during security, I thought it was because I was pretty ….

  18. HTG: if a TSA Agent saw you and went “awww man, I am so gonna feel this chick up without her consent,” would it REALLY make you feel that much better? ;)

  19. Rob Madeo says:

    It says here that they’re experimenting with software that renders the scan subject as a stick figure:

    That means the scans will look like my tailgating diagram:

  20. BD says:

    I’m impressed by the deft insertion of a ‘wide stance’ reference.

    Well done.

  21. HomeTownGirl says:

    I’d still feel like I should get dinner after. :)

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