Flying is starting to become a pretty horrible experience. Between oppressive baggage check fees, ever eroding customer service and being subjected to privacy invasion just to get on the plane, it’s easy to understand why I prefer to drive on most long trips.
Case in point: The TSA’s new backscatter x-ray machines.
Check out this account by blogger John Tyner of his recent encounter with TSA. He was forced to leave the San Diego airport after refusing to enter the TSA’s backscatter x-ray machine (see below for a sample image from a similar machine), and refusing to have his genitals touched during a pat down.
I want to be as secure as the next person on an airplane, but why are we asked to submit to sexual assault or to having our privates viewed by TSA agents in the name of security? How can I feel secure if I’ve just been violated?
Johnny Edge chose to fight back. Here is an excerpt:
We both stood there for no more than probably two minutes before a female TSA agent (apparently, the supervisor) arrived. She described to me that because I had opted out of the backscatter screening, I would now be patted down, and that involved running hands up the inside of my legs until they felt my groin. I stated that I would not allow myself to be subject to a molestation as a condition of getting on my flight. The supervisor informed me that it was a standard administrative security check and that they were authorized to do it. I repeated that I felt what they were doing was a sexual assault, and that if they were anyone but the government, the act would be illegal.
Have you ever been groped by TSA? Have you experienced the backscatter x-ray machine? Would you be willing to miss your flight in the name of fighting for your rights?