TSA Opt-Out Experience: “Sir, the agent will touch your groin and buttocks.”

I am westward bound. Thirty-thousand feet above the earth’s surface with nothing, but my thoughts and a laptop I have been allowed to temporarily utilize to curb my boredom – that is until the pilot indicates I have to “shut down all approved electronic devices”.

The TSA

Before arriving at this cozy little window seat a lot happened. I was obediently herded from the airport entrance, through check-in, and to security. In an orderly fashion I obeyed the TSA overlords and moved in a single file line toward the security checkpoint. As instructed I handed over my identification and carefully removed anything that could be utilized for terrorist activities.

Such items for removal include my belt, watch, shoes, and jacket. All electronics, liquids, and my personal hygiene items must be emptied into a bin for closer examination. Now barefoot, I must agree to a full body scan of my entire skeletal structure – I must prove I am not harboring any items of ill will – all to guarantee safety, of course. The giant body scanner stands before me.

The Opt-Out Experience

Since I value my personal liberty and would rather my body not be bombarded with protons, electrons, back-scatter rays, or magical beams – none of which I fully understand – I choose to opt out and accept the fully body pat-down. This of course brings a certain amount of public criticism and shame. I am being a difficult slave so an appropriate amount of public humiliation must follow – per protocol I’m convinced.

Loudly: “Sir, you are aware that by opting out an agent will be touching your groin and buttocks?” I confirm.

Another agent, sarcastically: “Sir, you know this machine doesn’t cause cancer, right?”

Me: “Yes, sir. I’m aware of these facts and I would still like to opt out.” I’m a black sheep now. Time for the pat-down. For everyone’s safety, of course.

I’m pulled aside. A few slaves look at me uncomfortably. They can’t be sure I’m not a trouble maker. My actions have confused the herd. I have separated myself from those obediently following the rules set forth by the system.

The Pat-Down

My baggage is laid before me, but I cannot touch it. Not until they are sure I am not a criminal – a terrorist. Like a convicted felon I hold my arms to the side, palms up, as instructed. The TSA agent inspects my hands, rubs my thighs, groin, back, chest, and buttocks. No surface of my body is untouched. The agent then takes his gloves to a magical machine which confirms no traces of terrorist residue have made their way to his hands during pat-down. (I wonder how much that machine costs? Our tax dollars at work – nothing wasted.)

A few seconds later the TSA agent returns and allows me to be on my way. I thank the agent for his time with a smirk.

Some slaves feel degrading and I see why, but this does not phase me. I smile and thank each agent for their time as I gather my things. I decide the experience was free and public body massage. A normal person may have been humiliated – fuck it – I am happy to oblige.

All of this inconvenience, humiliation, forfeiture of your rights, and submission of your personal information (down to a scanned blueprint of your body) in the name of safety. In effort to combat against a terrorist threat we slaves are apparently too stupid and too naïve fully to understand.

I can’t help but ask myself: “Is our sacrifice of personal space and privacy worth it? Is the precedence we have established justifiable?” The answer is no. Undeniably no.

Forfeiture

We have to be careful what we get used to. I mean this sincerely. We are experiencing a slow yet steady forfeiture of our basic rights as human beings – not just as Americans – but as flesh and blood human organisms. Our right to move about has been encroached. Our right to personal privacy – even in the most intimate way – has been thrown out. Taxes slowly increase (we now work almost 6 months a year to pay taxes alone). We are monitored continuously – via email, photograph, surveillance cameras and drones, and innumerable registrations.

And perhaps worst of all, if the Government finds reason to label you a terrorist (in which the rules of obtaining such a label have not been explained to the public) the Government can legally hold you without trial, forever, and kill you.

All this in the name of public safety? How long will this excuse suffice? Where do we draw the line?

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “TSA Opt-Out Experience: “Sir, the agent will touch your groin and buttocks.”

    1. Atticus Post author

      I also think of the TSA agents carrying my bags through security as kind of a valet service. It makes me feel better anyway. haha

      Reply
      1. Holden

        You sir, are an idea stealer! He ripped this off from the No Agenda Podcast. Shame on your Atty. Give credit where credit is due!

        Google it folks. Best Podcast in the Universe!

        Reply
        1. Atticus Post author

          You make it sound like I ripped the entire article off. No. The only part that was “stolen” was the comment above about “valet service” and yes. The No Agenda Show is indeed the best podcast in the universe.

          Reply
  1. FLPatriot

    Because of the actions of the TSA my family has decided to not go anywhere we can not drive to. I will not subject my children, my wife or myself to the actions of the TSA. I used to be the guy that thanked the TSA for their service when I went through security, but they have taken it too far.

    I will not comply.

    Reply
    1. Holden

      I feel ya. I personally don’t mind opting out and getting patted down, and my wife is a big girl who can handle it too, but I really can’t fathom making my small girls go through it. It really smacks in the face of everything you tell them not to allow strangers to do.

      On the bright side, I have flown on nearly a weekly basis for a year strait and seen many kids go through screening and am yet to see one get patted down. They have always gave them a pass through the metal detector too, no body scanners.

      Reply
    2. Ян Кариси

      I am a US CItizen, born in California. I am also a Certified Flight Instructor/ Commercial Pilot as well as a 9/11 Ground Zero First Responder. Today I live in Moscow, Russia. On 31 May 2012 I was personally sexually assaulted by the TSA at LAS. I have not been back to the USSA since this occurred. The reverse immigration movement is now and the only solution to the Tyrannical Sexual Assault (TSA) is 1776.

      Reply
      1. Atticus Post author

        Just out of curiosity what made you choose Russia as your new home? Isn’t the Government just (or more) as tyrannical as the U.S. Government? Or is that media propaganda?

        Reply
  2. Jon

    Well put Atticus. But here’s where I have to come clean. I’m a TSA worker on the side — no just kidding about that. But I have been watching all the seasons of “24” on Netflix, and somehow I root for Jack Bauer even though he does awful things in the name of security. I don’t like the fact that we’re seen as potential terrorists as we pass through airport security or customs. (Actually I really hate the fact that Rosa has to deal with the brusqueness of the customs people when we re-enter the U.S. from Spain; while the customs agents in Spain are almost always nice when I pass through). I think there has to be a reasonable middle ground, since I wouldn’t want to get on a plane that didn’t scan luggage at all.

    Reply
    1. Atticus Post author

      I totally agree. I think there is a balance. I think that balance begins with all luggage being scanned, metal detectors, and perhaps US air marshals on random flights. I’m not to keen on the pat downs or body scanners – they are inconvenient and the TSA guys are often power-hungry jerks. I also hate that the interrogation by customs agents is many first time visitors first experience…

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s