In case you haven't heard, John Tyner - a software engineer from San Diego – chose to “opt-out” of the new and improved full-body naked airport scanners and was asked to submit to the new and improved full-body pat down by a TSA agent. Mr. Tyner decided, that, no, he didn't want his crotch grabbed by a complete stranger, told them so and offered to go through the regular metal detector like most of the other passengers. The conversation soon escalated and Mr. Tyner was told that he not only couldn’t board his flight, but also couldn’t leave the airport AND he was likely now subject to civil charges and a $10,000 fine. Mr. Tyner left the airport.
The best part is that he recorded everything on his cell phone and now the phrase “touch my junk” can be inserted into polite conversation.
You can read the first-hand account through this link.
Much like the Jet Blue guy who grabbed a beer and exited his plane via inflatable ramp, Mr. Tyner has received both resounding praise for his actions, and loud derision.
I, for one, am a fan.
I started writing about my experiences with TSA at the San Jose airport back in September. Back then – which I can now refer to safely as “the good ol’ days" – my biggest issue was continuously setting off the security metal detector with my underwire bra and having to face a friendly “back of the hand along the boobs” pat-down to ensure that I hadn’t stuffed an uzi or exploding breath mints in my bra.
Then it was the backscatter scanners – or the porno scanners as I've now heard them lovingly referred to. I submitted (and I really can’t think of a better word here) to the new naked Kodak box in September and then was surprised on the other end, without warning or notice, with another friendly “back of the hand along the boobs” pat-down. The TSA chick just reached and started working me over – although, truth be told, I DO have nice boobs.
Now, because somebody tried to ship something in a box…on a cargo plane…that was definitely NOT a passenger plane...TSA has been given permission to feel you up with the front of their hands. They are allowed to reach until their hand "meets resistance", like your crotch or testicles or tampon string. In other words – and as John Tyner implied – government-condoned sexual assault. Where else in the world would you allow somebody to do that to you?
I’m still waiting for somebody to coherently explain to me how cupping my breasts and taking naked pictures of me is going to make flying safer or stop bad guys from shipping bad stuff on planes. Evidently, the porno scanners likely wouldn’t have even detected the underwear bomber's tighty-whitey bomb because the scanners are not good at detecting plastics, liquids or other low-density materials.
I am, however, pretty certain that there will be a few TSA agents who like their jobs a whole lot more.
In TSA’s defense, there are some pretty awesome officers out there. I've encountered several at security checkpoints in Oakland and, yes, even San Jose. I didn’t want to like them – but they were nice and professional and didn’t show any interest in touching my boobs. This, of course, is the quickest way to my heart.
In fact, the last few times I’ve been to San Jose, the big porno Kodak boxes have been unused and roped off. I hope it stays that way. I hope that the TSA receives so much flack on the issue that they have to let their expensive new toys sit and collect dust. Maybe they can cover them with wreaths and tinsel for the holidays.
Big, expensive, dusty Christmas trees.
Now THAT is something to cheer me up.