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all that TSA nonsense


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#1 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 12:37 PM

Brett McCracken says Americans complain too much. George F. Will says Americans don't complain enough.

Given that outrages like the one below are still going on, I don't think there's any question that Will wins this round. (I don't know how old the boy in this video is, but my son is a tall-for-his-age almost-5, and he's autistic, and he doesn't like being (semi-)naked and he doesn't like being handled by strangers and I would be seriously, seriously pissed off if any minimum-wage airport employee tried to traumatize him like this.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSQTz1bccL4

#2 SDG

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 01:48 PM

Am I right that Brett isn't married? It's not that hard for a young, healthy, single (?) guy to shrug off such intrusiveness when he doesn't have to worry about the humiliation of his wife or children, or about the shame of being obese or old and being groped and scoped.

How about the woman whose breasts were deliberately exposed, or the woman with the cosmetic breast who was forced to show it to a TSA agent? How about the people who have had TSA agents reach right into their pants and even underwear? Are they complaining too much too?

#3 Overstreet

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 01:54 PM

Please, please don't make me pull up me shirt and expose my tattoo of Amy Grant's "Straight Ahead" stoplight icon.

#4 opus

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 02:56 PM

Am I right that Brett isn't married? It's not that hard for a young, healthy, single (?) guy to shrug off such intrusiveness when he doesn't have to worry about the humiliation of his wife or children, or about the shame of being obese or old and being groped and scoped.

Interesting point. I'm fairly certain that if I didn't have kids, I wouldn't be nearly as pissed off about this as I am. That's not to say that I wouldn't be upset about the TSA policies at all if I was childless. But watching that video, and thinking about my sons having to go through that, as well as the impotence that I'd be made to feel in such a situation, just makes me sick.

Passenger chooses strip-down over pat-down:

When a San Diego man opted out of security screening using the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) at San Diego International Airport on Friday, he stripped down to his underwear in an attempt to avoid the pat-down procedures.

[...]

Through a statement released by his attorney Sunday night, Wolanyk said "TSA needs to see that I'm not carrying any weapons, explosives, or other prohibited substances, I refuse to have images of my naked body viewed by perfect strangers, and having been felt up for the first time by TSA the week prior (I travel frequently) I was not willing to be molested again."

TSA Enhanced Pat Downs : The Screeners Point Of View:

A few days ago I contacted 20 TSA Transportation Security Officers (TSO) to ask their opinions of the new “enhanced” pat downs. Of the 20 I reached out to, 17 responded. All 17 who responded are at airports where the new “enhanced” pat down is in place … and the responses were all the same, that front line TSOs do not like the new pat downs and that they do not want to perform them. I expected most to not like the pat downs … but what I didn’t expect was that all 17 mentioned their morale being broken down.

Each of the 17 TSA TSOs that responded to me detailed their personal discomfort in conducting the new pat downs, with more than one stating that it is likely they are more uncomfortable performing the pat down than passengers are receiving them.


Edited by opus, 22 November 2010 - 02:59 PM.


#5 SDG

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 03:04 PM

Passenger chooses strip-down over pat-down


Interesting. The headline is misleading, it seems: A more accurate headline would be "Passenger strips down in effort to avoid pat-down; arrested anyway." The TSA agents told him to put his clothes back on so that they could pat him down.

TSA Enhanced Pat Downs : The Screeners Point Of View:

A few days ago I contacted 20 TSA Transportation Security Officers (TSO) to ask their opinions of the new “enhanced” pat downs. Of the 20 I reached out to, 17 responded. All 17 who responded are at airports where the new “enhanced” pat down is in place … and the responses were all the same, that front line TSOs do not like the new pat downs and that they do not want to perform them. I expected most to not like the pat downs … but what I didn’t expect was that all 17 mentioned their morale being broken down.

Each of the 17 TSA TSOs that responded to me detailed their personal discomfort in conducting the new pat downs, with more than one stating that it is likely they are more uncomfortable performing the pat down than passengers are receiving them.

This is encouraging. Some people are choosing the pat-downs over the nude scans in order to force TSA agents to share their discomfort. Hopefully push-back from their own front lines will help end this sooner rather than later.

#6 CherylR

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 03:35 PM

To me, the whole thing doesn't deal with the issues at hand--overseas passengers and cargo who aren't screened. Let's not even start on the unlimited access grounds crews have to every plane sitting on the tarmac. :angry:

#7 CrimsonLine

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 03:57 PM

Dang, I miss having the Politics Forum! :)

I was watching morning-show TV today while working out at the gym (notice how subtly I worked that in to the conversation? I work out. At a gym. Most days. But I slipped it in so subtly that you'd hardly know it was there) and they were debating it, and someone brought up what I thought was an interesting point. One person was holding up Israel as an example - El Al airlines doesn't use scans or pat-downs of this sort, but instead every person who enters the airport interacts three times with well-paid, highly-trained security agents before they reach the gate, who ask rapid-fire, almost-random questions, and are able to spot the suspicious PERSON, not the suspicious ITEM. It's a different approach to security - profiling based not on race or religion, but on behavior. It's an approach I favor. Why treat EVERYONE as a criminal, when the vast, vast majority aren't? They do run bags through an x-ray machine just like the ones we have here, and everyone has to pass through a metal detector at the gate. When a suspicious bag is found, they put it in a bomb-proof container, and evacuate the area around the container while it is wheeled off to a secure location for checking (in the US, when there's a suspicious package, they evacuate the whole terminal, which takes a lot longer).

Anyway, the comment was made that El Al has like 40-50 flights a day, whereas our airlines have flights in the thousands. I understand that this sounds like a slam-dunk, "we can't do this!" kind of argument. But I don't see why it's impossible.

#8 M. Leary

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 04:02 PM

SDG/Opus: This is precisely my discomfort. I won't be flying with my children in the current situation, as I can't imagine letting my daughter be "patted down." Not only because it raises my protective hackles (as I think it should). But I wouldn't want this to be my daughter's first experience of American government. Children prior to age 6 are incredibly, and in some cases indelibly, formed by their experiences of authority. I wouldn't want the fear she would be sure to experience at the hands of a TSA agent (however well meaning) to lay the foundation for her perception of democracy.

Not to mention the terrible fear she may feel by looking back at me thinking: Daddy is letting them scare me. Why won't he stop them? I am not completely sure, but I think the pat down situation would make her afraid given what we have taught her about Stranger Danger.

Edited by M. Leary, 22 November 2010 - 04:17 PM.


#9 Andrew

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 09:39 PM

SDG/Opus: This is precisely my discomfort. I won't be flying with my children in the current situation, as I can't imagine letting my daughter be "patted down." Not only because it raises my protective hackles (as I think it should). But I wouldn't want this to be my daughter's first experience of American government. Children prior to age 6 are incredibly, and in some cases indelibly, formed by their experiences of authority. I wouldn't want the fear she would be sure to experience at the hands of a TSA agent (however well meaning) to lay the foundation for her perception of democracy.

Not to mention the terrible fear she may feel by looking back at me thinking: Daddy is letting them scare me. Why won't he stop them? I am not completely sure, but I think the pat down situation would make her afraid given what we have taught her about Stranger Danger.


Re: first paragraph - I'm not sure it's a bad thing for our kids to mistrust our government, or any government. Our leaders and government institutions deserve nothing better, and a healthier dose of mistrust amongst its citizens might've kept our gov't/society out of many a current clusterf*** (too many to name).

But I'm right with you on paragraph two. Having a parent witness a stripdown/grope, I fear, would negate lots of teaching about good touch/bad touch.

I was thinking, too, given the prevalence of sexual abuse in our society, this type of 'airline security' experience will likely retraumatize a lot of abuse victims.

#10 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 10:51 PM

SDG wrote:
: The TSA agents told him to put his clothes back on so that they could pat him down.

That is so fucking stupid.

Sorry for the language, but it is, and there is simply no more-appropriate way to put it.

: Hopefully push-back from their own front lines will help end this sooner rather than later.

Me, I am greatly encouraged by reports that one TSA agent in Florida was arrested for punching out another TSA agent who mocked the size of the first TSA agent's penis when it showed up on the scanner. We need chaos to descend upon the TSA like it did on the Tower of Babel.

M. Leary wrote:
: I am not completely sure, but I think the pat down situation would make her afraid given what we have taught her about Stranger Danger.

And it's not like these minimum-wage hacks are trained professional doctors or even cops or anything like that.

Side note: I can appreciate that many of these TSA agents dislike the new requirements of their job, and that our ire should arguably be directed at their bosses and not at the TSA agents themselves. The agents are just following orders, and all that. (Hmmm.) But you know what? When you're on a battlefield, you don't hold your fire because, well, you want to be fair and the real problem is not the enemy soldier over there but the general further behind the lines, etc., etc. No, you shoot the enemy soldier, you kill the enemy soldier, you hurt the enemy soldier. If these agents really think their job is so distasteful, they can always quit. And yeah, sure, easier said than done, I know, especially in THIS economy. Desertion always brings its penalties. But if you really believe the war you are fighting is unjust... Well, let's just say any TSA agent who still has this job has made their choice.

Andrew wrote:
: I was thinking, too, given the prevalence of sexual abuse in our society, this type of 'airline security' experience will likely retraumatize a lot of abuse victims.

Oh yes, absolutely; that has been weighing on my mind as well.

#11 M. Leary

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 10:07 AM

Re: first paragraph - I'm not sure it's a bad thing for our kids to mistrust our government, or any government. Our leaders and government institutions deserve nothing better, and a healthier dose of mistrust amongst its citizens might've kept our gov't/society out of many a current clusterf*** (too many to name).


Oh yes, that is true. We tend heavily in our family towards an ecclesiology that looks at all government through a Kingdom lens. But I want my kids' mistrust of government to come from deeply rooted Christological and ecclesiological convictions rather than a shallow set of quasi-libertarian responses to government agents touching people's junk.

I am not a child psychologist, but as best I can tell from light reading, a child's understanding of things like authority, gender, etc... get formed pretty quickly, and I guess I try to be protective of that process. Having young kids has made me understand how God can be "jealous."

#12 opus

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 01:11 PM

Exclusive: TSA frisks groom children to cooperate with sex predators, abuse expert says:

An expert in the fight against child sexual abuse is raising the alarm about a technique the TSA is reportedly using to get children to co-operate with airport pat-downs: calling it a "game".

Ken Wooden, founder of Child Lures Prevention, says the TSA's recommendation that children be told the pat-down is a "game" is potentially putting children in danger.

Telling a child that they are engaging in a game is "one of the most common ways" that sexual predators use to convince children to engage in inappropriate contact, Wooden told Raw Story.

Children "don't have the sophistication" to distinguish between a pat-down carried out by an airport security officer and an assault by a sexual predator, he said.

The TSA policy could "desensitize children to inappropriate touch and ultimately make it easier for sexual offenders to prey on our children," Wooden added.



#13 SDG

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 01:16 PM

Exclusive: TSA frisks groom children to cooperate with sex predators, abuse expert says:

An expert in the fight against child sexual abuse is raising the alarm about a technique the TSA is reportedly using to get children to co-operate with airport pat-downs: calling it a "game". ...

The TSA policy could "desensitize children to inappropriate touch and ultimately make it easier for sexual offenders to prey on our children," Wooden added.

Ya think? It's like they're lining up kids for creepy Uncle Lester. He's going to call it a "game" too ... "just like at the airport!"

#14 Gun

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 08:25 PM

Dang, I miss having the Politics Forum! :)

I was watching morning-show TV today while working out at the gym (notice how subtly I worked that in to the conversation? I work out. At a gym. Most days. But I slipped it in so subtly that you'd hardly know it was there) and they were debating it, and someone brought up what I thought was an interesting point. One person was holding up Israel as an example - El Al airlines doesn't use scans or pat-downs of this sort, but instead every person who enters the airport interacts three times with well-paid, highly-trained security agents before they reach the gate, who ask rapid-fire, almost-random questions, and are able to spot the suspicious PERSON, not the suspicious ITEM. It's a different approach to security - profiling based not on race or religion, but on behavior. It's an approach I favor. Why treat EVERYONE as a criminal, when the vast, vast majority aren't? They do run bags through an x-ray machine just like the ones we have here, and everyone has to pass through a metal detector at the gate. When a suspicious bag is found, they put it in a bomb-proof container, and evacuate the area around the container while it is wheeled off to a secure location for checking (in the US, when there's a suspicious package, they evacuate the whole terminal, which takes a lot longer).

Anyway, the comment was made that El Al has like 40-50 flights a day, whereas our airlines have flights in the thousands. I understand that this sounds like a slam-dunk, "we can't do this!" kind of argument. But I don't see why it's impossible.


I don't understand how number of flights would have anything at all to do with it or constitute some kind of valid argument why they don't want to use a method that apparently works really well (The Israel Airlines/El Al method). Are they suggesting that there is a limited number of employees regardless of the number of customers? Bigger company with more flights=more customers > more income, More income > can hire more people to serve. Yes?