Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Christian Perspective on Navigating TSA Security

OK, the title of this post is a little presumptive. And, what comes next is not a slam on people who consider themselves Christian and submit to the TSA.

Right now, when you go through the TSA screening, you have 3 possible screening events:

1. Go through the old style metal detector.
2. Go through the new body scanner.
3. Get a full-body patdown (hereafter “grope”)

There may be instances where you’re planning, and in the line for, a metal detector, and you get pulled aside for extra screening: meaning either a scan or a grope (this has now happened to me twice). Depending on the airport, you may or may not have a metal detector option (there are less and less of these as more scanners are put in). If there are only scanners, you can “opt out” and be subjected to the grope.

Of the three options, two are abhorrent to Christians: scan and grope. The scan is bad on two accounts: it creates a pornographic image and it blasts the person with harmful rays (and please, don’t tell me the government has assured us it’s safe. Governments lie. Just ask my relatives who were downwind of the nuclear tests or the 9/11 first responders – both of whom were assured it was safe when the government knew it was not). Both of these factors are abhorrent to Christians. Your body is a temple and should be treated with respect.

The grope is the state exerting it’s will upon you by, and I hate to be crude here, “feeling you up.” This event done by a stranger would land that person in jail. It’s completely unconstitutional. Also, do not, for a second, think that this is about safety and security. It is not. It is about submission to the state.

If you need to fly, you must recognize that you may end up being forced into one of these two unacceptable options. What do you do?

Here’s what I’ve done.


Several weeks ago, I was groped for the first time. It was a horrible experience. My genitals were “pushed” (not sure of a good way to describe this). Not to the part of being painful – but certainly more than a caress. This was NOT about security. The guy groping me knew, before he mashed my genitals, that I wasn’t carrying anything. He did it anyway. This was about the state dominating me.

After the experience, I thought about what to do. I determined that I would buy a speedo, wear it to the airport, and should I be forced to go to the grope, I would strip to the speedo, let them examine my clothing all they wanted.

Yesterday, I was going through the metal detector line and was pulled out for the scanner. I opted out and was sent to the grope. On the way to the grope, I started disrobing. I got my top off and was going for my pants when all hell broke loose. Next thing I know, I’m surrounded by cops and several TSA agents. Obviously the speedo solution is not acceptable to them. In the next few minutes I was threatened to be deported from the airport, arrested, or both.
Here are some things I’m thinking about right now.

The cop in charge was abusive and was using provocative language, statements like “What are you looking at?” (my answer was, “a tyrant , I suppose.”) He’s the one who threatened to escort me from the airport.

My understanding is, that once you begin the screening process, you cannot stop until the process is complete. I “think” by threatening to escort me from the airport, he actually committed a federal crime. He offered to assist me in committing a crime. Next time, should that happen, I’ll politely ask for his card and the cards of the other people there. I’ll the explain that I’m going to call the authorities and inform them of his crime and ask that charges be filed.
While I was there, the TSA agent several times made a comment suggesting that walking around in a speedo was indecent in a public place. Of course, swimming pools would have to be outlawed if this were really true.

I have to fly again today. I don’t think the metal detector is an option in RDU. I’m not getting scanned, so, I’ll have to opt out. From my first experience, I understand that I have a right for a private screening. I’m asking for that. Once I get to a private area, off come the clothing. In private, there’s no charge of public indecency. We’ll see how that goes.

I’d like to come back to the title here at the end. I was thinking about my coming screening experience this morning. I think a key to doing this is to keep the commandment to “Love your Neighbor” (or to “pray for your enemies”) in mind while going up against the state and it’s minions. On several occasions now, I’ve said to the TSA guy groping me, “Bud, you’re a bright guy. You can’t tell me that you couldn’t get a better job than this.” The last guy actually said, “Thank you” after I said that.

Good luck with your experiences. Let me know what happens.

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