Wednesday, December 29, 2010

TSA's Government-Mandated Sexual Humiliation

Over at the Guardian I once again address the TSA matter; regular readers of this-here blog will recognize several themes from my anti-TSA posts these last few weeks, including the ACLU database of traveler complaints.

I notice that in this my latest column, many among the commentariat take umbrage at my use of the word "thug" in the following context: "But flying includes the legal obligation I submit to having my genitalia groped by some TSA thug wearing the same latex gloves already shoved down nine dozen other strangers' underwear."

I make no apology for that, nor for where I later wrote of TSA agents "sniffing my crotch like the dog[s] that [they] are." The fact that agents are just following orders, just doing their jobs or just paying their bills doesn't justify their mass mistreatment of others. And once this treatment is accepted as normal in airports, it will spread to other forms of mass transit as well.

I remain simultaneously appalled and unimpressed by the stalwart protests in favor of the poor downtrodden TSA. Yes, the TSA agents stroking women's labia and squeezing men's testicles are human beings. So too was the TSA agent who spilled an ostomy bag's contents over a bladder cancer survivor. And the agent who lifted a woman's blouse in full view of other passengers, and joked about it. In all of history, every state internal-security agency trained to view its own citizens as potential enemies, and treat them accordingly, has been composed entirely of human beings. And they remain Milgram-experiment-perfect examples of just how loathsome human nature can be.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read your article with interest. I have been saying something similar for at least a year. In New York, pretty much every trip on the subway now includes an overhead announcement that "backpacks and other large containers are subject to random inspection by police."

And I notice that everyone just continues to sit or stand and either tunes out the message or accepts it.

But that's how it starts, isn't it? Blue-gloved groping at the airport, "random" searches on the subways. How long before we end up with the old "Your papers, please. And where are you going today? For what purpose? ..."

I think it will take almost no time at all. Maybe five years. And it scares the hell out of me.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

It scares me too, especially with how quickly it's been accelerating. And all those who believe the TSA agents are the victims here -- that's the attitude that lets you not only shove people onto cattle cars, but believe you're being virtuous in doing so.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Alan McBride said...

Read some Guardian article comments where expressed British & US opinion varied between anger concerning intrusiveness and acceptance of necessary security. Continental Europe attitudes over past year on same subject seems to have all sorts of objections, including their Govt. officials anticipating an angry public. See:,1518,711269,00.html

10:09 PM  
Blogger emily said...

The police state is not a purely American specialty:

I just returned from seeing my parents in Ohio. I packed a 100 ml (6.7 ounce) tetra pack of chocolate milk in my carry-on before leaving Holland, and then promptly forgot about it. I went through security 3 times (Schiphol, Philly and Columbus) and nobody noticed it. The girl behind me at Schiphol had her 200 ml expensive prescription face wash thrown away. And I got patted down in Schiphol because my drawstring pants, combined with the roll of fat around my belly, looked suspicious (luckily it was a regular patdown and not an enhanced one). Where is the logic, I ask you? Where?!?!

3:40 AM  
Blogger rhhardin said...

Dogs are sniffing anal glands, put there as a social device for their unique scent, which then also gets left on droppings.

An out of order anal gland is a social disaster for dogs.

They also sniff women having a period, but that's just curiosity ("WTF is that?").

Using at-liberty trained dogs would be the ideal airport security solution; and also would give travelers something to pet while wasting away idle hours.

You could empty the dog shelters quickly if you had enough trainers who knew what they were doing. Alas, they're pretty scarce and getting scarcer as feel-good esteem training methods take over. ("What a GOOOD doogie!")

5:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The logic of the situation shows that security is not the reason we're being subjected to these unconstitutional searches. The pilot who revealed the total lack of security in the service corridors, and the fact that the "security" pinch-points put several plane-loads of people conveniently in a handy suitcase bomb's range, clearly prove that the Feds don't give a rat's ass about security.

But they want control, and by hyping the fear of a statistically unlikely terrorist attack, they can push the acceptance of heinous violations of our constitutional rights. This is a Milgram experiment on a national scale. The authority figure in uniform insists, "It's really okay for you to torture this innocent person. Go ahead, you're doing great." And the poor, confused, degraded schmuck goes along with it & pushes the button again, or pulls on his blue glove & grits his teeth while his counterpart bends over to take it willingly...

This is a depressing way to look at a new year. Ugh.

12:34 PM  

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