As if high prices, airport food, and the threat of “Eat, Pray, Love” as your in-flight movie weren’t enough to make you consider staying home for Thanksgiving, flyers now get to choose between two equally distasteful anti-terrorism options before shoehorning themselves into their seats.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the news (I do, so you don’t have to), these are your options: a full-body scan, or a full-body grope. If it makes you feel any better, remember that both are done by someone who couldn’t make the cut to become a mall cop.
I don’t know about you but by my lights, a turkey sandwich at home is sounding better and better (and I’m vegetarian).
The scanners use X-ray technology to produce an image of the body’s outer several centimeters; this allows TSA employees to basically look under passengers’ clothes without ever touching them. This sounds very much like the x-ray specs I bought when I was a kid. Hope the scanners work better than the specs – those were a total rip-off. I should have gone with the sea monkeys.
The TSA says the scanners leave little to the imagination but are “relatively” anonymous. However, when similar machines were introduced at London’s Heathrow Airport earlier this year, it took only two months for the first sexual-harassment lawsuit to be filed. A young woman there got upset when a guard commented on her breasts after seeing her scan. So, apparently TSA’s definition of “relatively” actually means “holy moley – check these out!”
Option two is what TSA calls an “enhanced pat-down.” I read the description — what TSA calls an enhanced pat-down is what we used to call “getting to second base.”
Neither option is exactly popular, and some people are voicing their displeasure. John Tyner of Oceanside, Calif., has become a folk hero to some after posting a video he shot when he refused both the scan and the grope.
Tyner was trying to fly out of San Diego’s Lindbergh Field when he was selected at random for a scan. He refused, calling the scan intrusive. TSA’s reaction was pure federal government: Intrusive? We got yer intrusive, pal; step right over here.
When the TSA staffer detailed the enhanced pat-down, Tyner told the guy, “You touch my junk and I’m going to have you arrested.” This was an immediate red flag for screeners, because Tyner is a software engineer and not a dealer in scrap metal.
Tyner ended up missing his flight and being thrown out of the airport. He now faces a possible federal fine.
This is all in the name of safety, you understand. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, “It’s all about security. It’s all about everybody recognizing their role.” Speaking for myself, scan me or grope me — just don’t make me watch a Julia Roberts movie.