Tuesday, September 06, 2011

TSA Gate-Rapist Thedala Magee Sues An Advice Columnist

Last April, when I wrote for the Guardian about a TSA agent's pornographic search of six-year-old Anna Drexel's body and underwear, I also noted this:
A TSA spokesman said Anna's groping "followed proper current screening procedures". Not a bad apple, not an isolated incident; just standard TSA procedure – which Janet Napolitano has said she wants to expand beyond airlines to all forms of mass transit.

Two days after calling the Drexel incident "proper", the TSA told CNN that expressing "contempt against airport passenger procedures" is one of the "behavioural indicators" of a "high-risk passenger". It's not enough for them to fondle you; you have to pretend to like it.

Apparently, advice columnist Amy Alkon didn't want to play pretend. Five days after that Guardian column and eleven days after TSA deemed "contempt" a "high-risk activity," Alkon wrote a justifiably furious blog post:

Don't Give The TSA An Easy Time Of Violating Your Rights
It shouldn't be emotionally easy, earning a living by violating people's rights.

On March 31st, when I came through the metal detector and realized that everyone in the TSA line to my United flight was getting searched, I got teary. I was teary at the prospect of being touched by a government worker -- entirely without probable cause. I was very upset, both because of the physical violation and because I love our now too-often-crumpled-up Constitution and Bill of Rights.

I can hold back the tears...hang tough...but as I was made to "assume the position" on a rubber mat like a common criminal, I thought fast. I decided that these TSA lackeys who serve the government in violating our rights just don't deserve my quiet compliance. And no, I won't go through the scanner (do you trust the government that they're safe?) and allow a government employee to see me naked in the course of normal and totally ordinary business travel: flying from Los Angeles to Binghamton, New York, to attend an evolutionary psychology conference for my work.

Basically, I felt it important to make a spectacle of what they are doing to us, to make it uncomfortable for them to violate us and our rights, so I let the tears come. In fact, I sobbed my guts out. Loudly. Very loudly. The entire time the woman was searching me.

Nearing the end of this violation, I sobbed even louder as the woman, FOUR TIMES, stuck the side of her gloved hand INTO my vagina, through my pants. Between my labia. She really got up there. Four times. Back right and left, and front right and left. In my vagina. Between my labia. I was shocked -- utterly unprepared for how she got the side of her hand up there. It was government-sanctioned sexual assault.

Upon leaving, still sobbing, I yelled to the woman, "YOU RAPED ME." And I took her name to see if I could file sexual assault charges on my return.

Alkon identified the TSA agent as

Thedala Magee. Or Magee Thedala. I was really upset, and neither name sounds like a typical American first name or last name, so I can't remember if I wrote it down in the right order.
Alkon got it right the first time, and Thedala Magee the TSA agent is now suing Alkon, demanding $500,000 and removal of the blog post. Alkon responded through her lawyer Marc Randazza:

Your client aggressively pushed her fingers into my client’s vulva. I am certain that she did not expect to find a bomb there. She did this to humiliate my client, to punish her for exercising her rights, and to send a message to others who might do the same. It was absolutely a sexual assault, perpetrated in order to exercise power over the victim. We agree with Ms. Alkon’s characterization of this crime as “rape,” and so would any reasonable juror.

Furthermore, even if your client did not actually sexually assault my client, Ms. Alkon’s statements to and about Ms. Magee would still be protected by the First Amendment. The word “rape” itself has been the subject of defamation cases by far more sympathetic Plaintiffs than your client. In Gold v. Harrison, 962 P.2d 353 (Haw. 1998), cert denied, 526 U.S. 1018 (1999), the Hawai’i Supreme Court held that a defendant’s characterization of his neighbors’ seeking an easement in his backyard as “raping [the defendant]” was not defamatory. This speech was protected as rhetorical hyperbole. Of course, we need not seek out Hawai’i case law in order to debunk your unsupportable claims. Rhetorical hyperbole has a strong history of favorable treatment in defamation actions. See Greenbelt Cooperative Pub. Ass'n v. Bresler, 398 U.S. 6, 14 (1970). This doctrine acknowledges our First Amendment right to express ourselves, even when employing literary license. Accordingly, even if your client’s actions were not “rape,” Ms. Alkon had every right to characterize them as such.

No free woman should endure what your client did to Ms. Alkon. Fortunately, Ms. Alkon is capable of recognizing injustice, and for the good of us all, she had the courage to speak out on this matter of public concern of the highest order. After Magee’s assault on Ms. Alkon’s vagina and dignity, Ms. Alkon exercised her First Amendment right to recount this incident to others in person and through her blog. This was not only her right -- it was her responsibility.
It's no surprise Thedala Magee wants to remain anonymous. Last November, when certain media outlets started printing sympathetic stories about poor TSA agents sobbing their little hearts out because they just can't understand why Americans have to be all rude and cranky rather than passively adopt submissive-criminal body poses while uniform-wearing thugs fondle their genitals, I quoted a couple of anonymous complaints:
“Molester, pervert, disgusting, an embarrassment, creep. These are all words I have heard today at work describing me. ...These comments are painful and demoralizing,” one unnamed TSO posted on Frischling’s website.

Another said: “Being a TSO means often being verbally abused. You let the comments roll off and check the next person; however, when a woman refuses the scanner then comes to me and tells me that she feels like I am molesting her; that is beyond verbal abuse.”
At the time, I commented: "I don't blame you for remaining anonymous, you sociopathic piece of garbage. You grope innocent people all day, then claim you're the victim when they take umbrage?" But Amy Alkon's spiteful rapist Thedala Magee is even worse. I hope Alkon countersues and wins, and even more fervently, I hope Thedala Magee and her colleagues are tried, convicted and sentenced to prison for the sex criminals they are. If nothing else, the Streisand Effect should ensure the name "Thedala Magee" in association with the label "rapist" becomes far better known than it otherwise would have.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been thinking all day: "Thedala Magee is a rapist."

12:33 PM  

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