Tag Archives: tsa

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?

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The PodTruth Show: Episode # 3 – This is Tijuana!

Atticus and Holden discuss their trip to Tijuana in graphic detail. This is why you should (or maybe shouldn’t) take a trip across the border.

Direct link to the .mp3 file.

Subscribe to the PodTruth Show via RSS feed or iTunes.

Tijuana

TSA Harrasses Poor Elderly Women

I intend to opt out. I always do. It’s not that I think going through the body scanner will give me cancer or that I’m claustrophobic – it’s because I think the TSA is a bloated and ridiculous government institution. Thus, I decide to demonstrate civil disobedience by forcing some poor agent to waste his time rubbing his hands all over my body to ensure I am not planning on blowing up an airplane

The Dangerous Old Lady

Today was different though. There was an elderly Japanese women about a half dozen people in ahead of me. By the way she was looking around I could tell she was nervous. A lot had changed since the last time she was in the airport. She was nervous and unsure about the new procedures instituted by Homeland Security.

Her turn quickly came to enter the body scanner. We have to be sure she’s not a terrorist. Take away her walker, take off her shoes, and shove her through the line with the rest of the heard. It’s mandatory.

The scanner beeped. She moved back. Everyone is irritated – in a hurry. She looks confused. A second attempt, the scanner peeps. “Empty your pockets ma’am.” The TSA agenda holds his hand out making a cup shape indicating she should fill his palms with whatever is causing the alarm to be unsatisfied. She has no idea what to do.

Coins. Coins. Coins.

The poor old women reaches in her pockets and pulls out a few coins and soon the TSA agent is satisfied and instructs her to try again. The alarm sounds again. The process continues several times. Meanwhile a long line of frustrated people is building.

The TSA agents finally decide to put us through the normal “X-Ray scanner”. We heard through like good slaves and I’m happy I don’t have to opt out. I save a few minutes – though I was slightly looking forward to some poor soul feeling me up for a couple of minutes.

I gather my things: shoes, belt, laptop, coat, and everything else that might be used by a terrorist. On my way down the stairs headed toward my gate I see an upset old women escorted by a TSA agent. The TSA agent’s head is down, almost ashamed. The poor old women can barely walk so the agent is helping her move along at a slowly with her arms wrapped around her waist. Looks like she finally made it through, but not with her dignity.

My Problem with the TSA

I don’t hate TSA agents as people, but I hate the entire organization’s institution of groupthink policy. No individual agent is allowed to use a bit of common sense or human decency. They obey the rules like sheep even when it’s obviously wrong. They follow orders.

I’m reminded of the stories told by former Nazis or the Youth Soldiers under Communist China when later in life they recount their stories, the things they did to people, and can’t believe it. They were “following orders”. They “thought they were doing the right thing”. Caught in the moment, brainwashed, told by those in power it’s their mission – so they violated human rights.

Of course I’m not saying the TSA agents are Nazis, but their thinking is the same. Do they even realize how ridiculous it is – the amount of dignity and liberty they are stealing from the people. They have an ounce of power and plan to use it – some of them abuse it. Sometimes I wonder if we will look back on history and examine the noble sounding institution “Homeland Security” and realize that was the beginning of the end for liberty in America.

I don’t want to sound like an insane person, a radical, but a quick examination of history shows this pattern again and again. Noble sounding institutions formed under the guise of “protecting” the people – to take a way a few freedoms for the common good – which eventually develop into the very institutions that enslave the people.

Warrantless wire taps, body scanners, internet spying, indefinite detention without trial, kill lists, drone attacks, disarmament, taxation, the list goes on. Taken as a whole it’s easy to understand why many people do not trust their Government. Should they?