TSA Today: Davi’s First Opt OutFebruary 27th, 2012
While flying home from the Liberty Forum on Sunday, of course I had to pass through the TSA so they could make sure I didn’t have any dangerous amounts of toothpaste. There were no options except the porno scanners.
My friend Teresa from FR33 AID had already opted out, which held up the line as we waited for a female agent to molest her. I opted out immediately after her, meaning the line was held up again waiting for the male agent to return. I’m not sure if it was a trend that we started, or a sign of the culture but three more passengers lined up behind us. First a women who said snidely “I’m not going through that thing. No way!” and then behind her a couple traveling together. “Good” I thought. Hold them up as long as possible. At the X-ray machine the female agent told me to remove the sticker from my shirt which read:
She told me to empty my pockets, which held my boarding pass, but then she just left me standing there alone with nowhere to put it, so I put it right back in my pocket. When the male agent arrived he instructed me to pass through the X-ray machine to the enhanced pat down area (neglecting the dangerous boarding pass still in my pocket). I like to call it the “molestation station.” When he asked me to spread my legs and raise my arms I said, “Before I comply I feel it’s incumbent upon me to state outright that I do not consent to what’s happening here.” He stepped backed looking confused and asked, “What do you mean ‘consent’?” as if he was unfamiliar with the concept. I replied, “I mean I am only complying with this search because I feel I am being coerced.” He asked again, “Coerced how?” and I again replied, “You are not going to let me go home unless I let you touch me against my will.” He then informed me that “everyone has to go through the security procedures” and I informed him that “Everyone is being coerced, and I feel like I have to say so for my own conscience.”
He seemed troubled by this for a moment, but then continued, with a softer tone than before. He offered to conduct the pat down in private, but I declined. He proceeded to describe everything he was going to do. He formed his descriptions as statements, but his voice raised at the end of each sentence like a question, as if seeking approval. I offered no verbal or facial sign of acceptance or recognition. As he conducted his procedure two elderly women who did not opt out came out of the porno scanner and lined up next to me as if waiting their turn. The first woman looked shocked as she saw him molesting my inner thigh, which he called “moving up until I experience resistance from your torso.” She asked, “Do we have to do that?” and he replied “no” and ushered them on.
After he had finished and I was assembling my possessions he came to me and asked what my objection to the screening was and I said, “if anyone but you had touched me like you just did I would be calling the police.” He asked if I was against security screenings in general and I said, “No, but I think these procedures are invasive and ineffective and that security is the jurisdiction of the airlines.” He replied, “But we’re the ones granted the authority?” and I concluded “I understand, but that doesn’t make it right. Have a nice day” and walked away.
Thankfully this happened without incident, and Teresa was standing at the ready with her camera if an incident occurred. The individual agent was nice, and seemed genuinely concerned about my objection. It could have gone much worse. I only wish that I had had the forethought to remove my over shirt because underneath I was wearing my new Cop Block t-shirt that says “Badges Don’t Grant Extra Rights.”