General Question

snowberry's avatar

I had a horrible experience going through airport security. What can I do to prevent it from happening again?

Asked by snowberry (17623 points ) June 25th, 2011

I wore a skirt thinking it would be cool and comfortable. Little did I know that would flag me as a potential terrorist! I was pulled out of line, and groped me in front of everybody else in line. I noticed that when I objected, they stepped up the “investigation”, and I got the clear impression that if I did ask for a private room, they’d get even more invasive. This woman shoved her hand in my crotch from both sides, in my butt crack, and under and over my entire bra. I felt as if I had been raped. When they finally finished, the “officers” smirked and said, “Have a nice day!”

What would you do if you were in my place?

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131 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I always asked to be “groped” at the airport in leiu of being x-rayed. Didn’t she tell you what she was going to do before she did it? Where you would be touched? Did she use the back and sides of her hands?

snowberry's avatar

Oh, and it gets better. Before they finished, the woman doing the groping smeared her gloved hand on a piece of plastic and fed it into a machine (the idea being that I might have contraband in my vagina).

snowberry's avatar

Oh, sure it was legal. They told me exactly what they intended to do. How nice. It was a nasty nasty experience, and the smirk and “have a nice day” polished it off.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry That is the procedure, everyone who is frisked has the machine analyze after the process. Maybe you would be more comfortable if you wore jeans on the off chance you are selected again.

Coloma's avatar

I wore a skirt on a 13 hour flight from San Francisco to Taipei Taiwan last year. No issue. Skirt with boots and tights. Kicked my boots off for the tub, walked right through, not a backwards glance.

Gathered my stuff, went on my way.
I have no idea why you experienced this. Different levels of protocol I suppose.

SFO is one of the bigger international airports and getting through security was a cake walk.

snowberry's avatar

I’d be more comfortable if I were taken to a private room and handed them all my clothes. Then let them test the dickens out of them. But keep your FILTHY hands off of me!

marinelife's avatar

You could elect to go through the x-ray machine instead.

It is the current procedure for pat-downs.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry So ask to go to a private room.

snowberry's avatar

As mentioned in my question, they implied it could get worse. The next step would be a full cavity search!

snowberry's avatar

There was no x ray machine

marinelife's avatar

It is a mistake to argue with them or protest.

jca's avatar

My question (general question anybody here can answer) if you ask for a private room, can you have a friend or someone go with you? Or are you in there with them alone, so there would be no witnesses to whatever they do to you? If you must go alone, it’s kind of unconstitutional. You would have rights to remain silent if arrested, right to an attorney, but yet with airport security, you are at their mercy?

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry I have never heard of anyone getting a full cavity search. Some women are modest and just want privacy, so they elect to do it in private.

This procedure has been happening for a long time now, it was all over the media, so passengers basically are not allowed to be surprised by it so to speak. So, if you protest it doesn’t look good.

I understand that some people are very sensitive about others touching them, most people don’t care, plus all day long they have people like me requesting the pat down. Since now you know in advance this might happen, will wearing something thicker, like jeans, be less disturbing for you? I think you need to focus on what you can do to not feel assaultedif it happens. And, in the meantime you can write the TSA about how offended you are by the procedure to try and have it changed. There are other people who have spoke out in the media aout the procedure being unnecessary and awful.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I was just wondering the same thing. I wonder if there is a camera on the room maybe, and you have to go alone?

snowberry's avatar

My conclusion is that if you want to work for them you had better be willing to become a 5 alarm jerk. If you aren’t one when you start working there, you had better become one if you want to keep your job.

The other thing is that they make a big big deal about liquids and such, but there is NEVER any mention about a skirt being a problem for security, and that you stand a better chance of getting groped.

These people are the Gestapo in training.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry Was it a loose long skirt?

snowberry's avatar

Knowing it’s legal doesn’t make me feel any better. That’s stupid.

Aster's avatar

I keep dreaming of a class action lawsuit.

snowberry's avatar

It was long and loose. I had no idea, and of course I’ll think twice before wearing another skirt to the airport.

Coloma's avatar

I think for your peace of mind you should adopt the ” it’s not personal” attitude. Because it was not. If you were resistant in any way, verbally or otherwise, that gives them a suspicious signal and they will ‘step up’ the ‘man handling.’

I’m sorry you had a bad experience but, maybe try to re-frame it, you would want them to be thorough with anyone, and it was a female that ‘man handled’ you, not pleasant but, just one of those things IMO.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not minimizing that you felt rather violated, but, just keep it in perspective, it’s a serious business and they are taking their jobs seriously, which is what is needed to prevent potential tragedy.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry It’s not about it being legal, it is about this is what is done right now, know it, and plan for it so you don’t feel this bad. No one here is trying to tell you you should be ok with it, we just don’t want you to feel so traumatized if possible.

Vincentt's avatar

Don’t go flying anymore, it’s a paranoid industry whose security measures have become really disproportional and worse than what they’re trying to prevent, especially in the US, from what I’ve gathered. Unfortunately, this often isn’t an option.

snowberry's avatar

The smirk and the “have a nice day” was the cherry on top.

snowberry's avatar

And no, I don’t EVER want to fly again. However, I have a non-refundable return ticket. Still, I’d rather endure the discomforts of Greyhound. At least if I get groped, I can hit back!

Can’t afford an alternative to flying right now

snowberry's avatar

I remember seeing a woman in a wheelchair going through security. She endured it as long as she could, and finally she stripped down to her underwear in front of everyone. It got the point across.

Interesting that when stuff like this hits the news there is NEVER a response from the security people.

redfeather's avatar

I always get felt up at the airport. I just stand there, arms out, legs apart and let them do their thing. If it keeps people safe, whatever, I’ll do it. And the less I complain and faster I do it, the faster I’m out of there and less hassle I have. Never a big deal for me.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Stop using the airport.

Helpful, no? true? yes.

trickface's avatar

I really don’t understand why snowberry is so wound up. They got a little invasive, but you sound like they’re all out to get you. It’s just a job and you made yourself suspicious by objecting. Imagine if you had not have objected, they would not have felt the need to frisk you more thoroughly and you would have only felt half as raped.

The thought that they are in training for the Gestapo is funny :)

Take a breather @snowberry ! You had an awkward moment at the airport, it shouldn’t stop you flying “EVER” again.

Mariah's avatar

I’m not sure your skirt made them suspicious. They have to do a more thorough screening of a certain number of randomly selected people. Maybe you were just selected. Unless of course they told you that the skirt was an issue (I’m not sure from reading what you wrote).

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

How frequently do you fly?

As someone who used to fly regularly post 9/11, the pat-downs are common, and the reasons for doing so vary from airport to airport. I’ve been patted down due to belongings carried in bags that are run through the x-ray machines, wearing something metal that set an alert off, or having my boarding pass marked for a random search. Even when not selected, there are always people standing on the side being searched.

How you feel is understandable if you are not a frequent flyer. And I cannot begin to fathom how Muslim women feel when they go through the same process, based upon their culture and while wearing a burka. The same goes for those that have some sort of phobia about being touched by a stranger. Personally, I would prefer that the search be conducted in public rather than in a private room. There is more opportunity for witnesses.

If I were in your situation, I would have spoken up at the time, assuming you are in the US like I am. (The mention of a Greyhound bus makes me think so.) It may not be too late to report it to the airport authorities, depending how long it has been since the incident. You should still have the flight information and a general idea of which security gate you went through and the time.

You shouldn’t be concerned about going through security on the way home. It will be conducted at a different airport with a potentially different security process, and different officers. If the travel is limited to just the US, you will not go through security again where you land.

Coloma's avatar

What did you say or do that might have prompted the more aggressive approach?
You said in your above post that if you took a bus you could ” hit back” if you so chose.

That tells me that you have an aggressive attitude to begin with.

Sorry, but, I think you are not telling us the whole story maybe?

As was mentioned if you showed ANY resistance, aggression, verbally or otherwise, presented an attitude, well, they will come down on you like a ton of bricks.

Not intending to doubt your story, however…..if you cop an attitude they WILL get extra firm with you. They don’t have time to argue with uncooperative passengers.

snowberry's avatar

@Mariah They TOLD me I could be hiding something under there.

Does anyone know if I am stopped again can I go to a private room and just hand out my clothes? I don’t want any more idiots feeling me up again, legal or not.

snowberry's avatar

@Coloma

“I noticed that when I objected, they stepped up the “investigation”, and I got the clear impression that if I did ask for a private room, they’d get even more invasive.”

We’re supposed to think this sort of stuff is OK. Got that.

mattbrowne's avatar

What is the correlation between skirts and terrorism?

snowberry's avatar

@Mattbrowne Apparently quite a lot.

trickface's avatar

Skirts can hide stuff, let’s be honest.

snowberry's avatar

The whole procedure reminds me of sheep in a chute. Everyone stands there dumbly, waiting to be shorn.

trickface's avatar

How else do you search people?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@snowberry They have to maintain visual contact with you AT ALL times once you have been identified as a person to be “contact searched”.
They don’t want you to dump a BOMB in the closed area.
Not just you, but in general, if you act or are perceived to be a threat ===> you will be treated as a threat until proven otherwise.

GO HOME ON A BUS.

Carly's avatar

This is already a long thread, but here’s my advice. Don’t dress feminine. I’m serious! Whenever I dress very feminine I always get “inspected.” When I dress more butch – Tshirt, old jeans, maybe even sweats, and I don’t put on makeup or do anything with my hair – it looks like I didn’t have time to plan anything, let alone myself.

I’ve NEVER had to deal with security after that.

Mariah's avatar

I personally would rather be felt up by the TSA than blown up by terrorists on an airplane. That’s all this is about. They’re not conspiring against us.

Coloma's avatar

@snowberry

I did “get that”, I get that you objected, how and what manner you objected in is still unclear.
If you said ” WTF is THIS, you can’t do this!” or, again, verbally made noises, sighs, groans, or anything that showed an attitude, well… airport security does not include treating adults like pre-schoolers, what makes you think you are entitled to a private room?

I was patted down in my skirt, ass, thighs, body, breasts, hands under my skirt breifly, then, I moved on to the xray walk through, done, not an issue.

It is WHAT they DO!

poisonedantidote's avatar

Innocent until guilty is the only way to go.

The only people to blame in this situation are those in charge of airport security. The only reason they are allowed to act this way is because of a thing very similar to the violence multiplyer phenomenon, it’s called the pussy caving in phenomenon. These people are nobody, they are every day idiots that work at the airport, and there is no reason why they should have authority over anyone, the only reason they are allowed to act the way they do is because pussy cowards will cave in to them for the illusion of safety.

I have a question, when you go in to area 51, or the CIA headquarters, do poorly trained idiots grope at the staff on their way in? or have they figured out a way to provide dignity and security simultaneously?

Travel is a SERVICE, it’s not a punishment, it’s not guantanamo bay or jail, it is supposed to be enjoyable, and the customer is supposed to be right. These motherfuckers should be competing to satisfy you and get your money, they should not be using some variation of a monopoly to touch up little kiddies and x-ray the general public’s junk.

The only way to deal with these people is by busting their balls and giving them a hard time all the way, and anyone who disagrees with that is just flat out wrong.

trickface's avatar

…but they’re finding weapons on people often enough to keep this security up. It’s for your safety. Right?

poisonedantidote's avatar

@trickface Better the possibility of being killed than the guarantee of violation followed by still possibly being killed.

It’s not like they are good at what they do.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@poisonedantidote You must do all your traveling in a bus, on land.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@Tropical_Willie Since this scanner stuff, yea. However I used to fly a lot before. Now I rather sail or get a train.

trickface's avatar

@poisonedantidote ah, so you think no security is better than some (slightly uncomfortable for 5mins) security. This begs the question, isn’t it better to be safe (as is possible) than sorry?

How much is a life worth, if an explosion occurs (on a plane with no security) due to a grenade that could have been found in security, is it worth putting a nationwide security scanner/searcher system in place?

Coloma's avatar

@poisonedantidote

I do disagree. The safety of everyone is the monopoly and we should be grateful that ‘they’ are doing their jobs.

Travel IS a luxury, and safety for everyone is tantamount, and trumps people getting their panties all in a wad over security protocol. ‘Private rooms’ are reserved for the very suspicious and/or combative passengers that are being detained or ousted from their flights for uncooperative behavior.

There are flights to catch, and dozens and dozens of passengers behind you that don’t need to hung up because some ‘above it all’ narcissist decides they aren’t getting the golden boy/girl treatment.

It’s simple, if you object to the security protocol then don’t fly.

WasCy's avatar

“Airport Security” is all just a dumb show anyway. The thing that scares TSA the most is when a coordinated attack is made… on the scanning stations themselves. It would be just as effective (and a whole lot cheaper, as well as quicker to organize) to have a nationwide timed attack on the scanner and xray stations. How many of us will stand in line after that? I’m surprised that it hasn’t happened already.

dappled_leaves's avatar

This is why I choose NOT to fly through the US if I can avoid it. The security measures that the TSA is enforcing are such an overreaction – they make it seem like flying is safer because of their efforts, but in reality these measures are neither catching nor discouraging terrorists.

Also, I agree that in theory these actions are “not personal”, but the reality is that there is a large amount of variability in how the rules are enforced, how carefully people and their bags are screened, and with what attitude. We have heard enough similar reports to know that some security workers are taking pleasure in passengers’ discomfort. Those individual workers should be held responsible for that.

Zaku's avatar

I would tell my entire story in complete detail, including how it made me feel, every single time anyone says one of those accepting lines about they don’t mind the ridiculous security system, such as:

“I have nothing to hide, so I don’t mind.”
“It keeps us safe.”

It’s all bullshit. A dog can sniff out contraband without some thug touching you between your legs. The other scanners can detect weapons. And more importantly, an intelligent, well-trained agent would be able to look at you and be confident you were not the kind of terrorist that these TSA people can detect. If you were some Mata Hari terrorist, you would know the TSA procedures and would get right past all of those measures anyway.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Is there a literate adult (or not even literate, this stuff is all over the news) that does not know that groping, x-rays, etc is a possibility? To be so incensed is a waste of energy, you’re still angry, @snowberry , but I bet they’ve forgotten all about you by now. I agree with the others, take the train. Or maybe I’m just de-sensitized because in order to have a child I had to be “groped” in all sorts-of nasty ways (infertility) and in order to be alive I had to be “groped” often and thoroughly by strangers (cervical cancer). nobody’s rights are being violated, but our convenience is being compromised.

Zaku's avatar

@JilltheTooth It may or may not be a rights violation, but it is needless bullying.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

“Private rooms” are like the one an associate at a large multinational was lead into. This is many years ago and he was living in eastern Mediterranean in a wooden house. On a trip the USA he bought two fire extinguishers, put them in regular luggage. He was escorted to a doorway, inside was a narrow hall with cameras and arrows on the floor carrying the luggage. This was in Germany in the 1980’s.
His poor wife was in the “wooden house” for a day before he was reunited with her—- without the extinguishers.

trickface's avatar

@Zaku so would you remove all airport security? or instead hire agents and dogs for every terminal.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@trickface Yes, no security would be better than what we have now. Part of the reason the terrorists are attacking airports is because we are trying to stop them, and each time they do it they get to brag.

However, I’m not arguing that there should be no security. Just that it should be done much better. There is no reason why it has to be this way. These security dipshits are so stupid, that all they ever do is try and prevent the attack that just happened.

We only had scanners after some idiot tried to blow up his pants and failed. Furthermore, tests have later shown, that he would have only killed the person next to him, and would have failed to bring down anything. It’s a total over reaction.

@Coloma I find the idea that these people are actually providing any kind of safety almost laughable.

They have no plans in place for the soon to come “butthole bomber” and no plans in place if they decide to put people with contageous diseases on aircraft. If we make it impossible for them to blow up aircraft, they will start blowing up in line before the security.

Travel WAS a luxury, in the days of the ticanic, but now it is just an every day thing.

Furthermore, I don’t fly anymore, but I do have the right to kick up a stink about it. Why are there no scanners on pavements to stop people getting stabbed? far more people get stabbed than killed by terrorists. How about roads, ladders, and people that get kicked to death by donkeys from time to time, are their lives not worth a world wide fundamental change in attitude?

As for me being the golden boy, you bet your ass I am, If you want my money I am. If you want my hard earned cash (in a recession) , you are my little iddy bitty bitch, and you will do as I say and sing and dance to my merry little tune, or else you dont get a peny.

Make governments take over airports and make air travel free, or give me what I paid for.

.

off to work, I’ll drop back in later, have a good one all

redfeather's avatar

I’m ridiculous for not minding the pat down I get at the airport? Damn.

Coloma's avatar

@poisonedantidote

My point exactly. So you’re saying you are ‘special’, above and beyond all the rest of us that are spending our hard earned cash and living through this recession too? Pfft!

IMO this is primarily an issue of maturity. Adults respect authority, are able to look at the bigger picture, and understand that their ‘special’ needs don’t trump the majority in a situation such as this.
Children whine about how ‘unfair’ it all is and why they ‘shouldn’t’ have to be subject to the rules.

Zaku's avatar

@trickface I would remove most of the existing security methods, and add high-quality human and canine security. You’d probably still walk through a non-invasive scanner and put your bags through a scanner, but you wouldn’t take your shoes off or get patted down, and random people would not be getting searched. People who the highly-trained intelligent agents assessed as risky would be quietly taken aside and investigated, but that would not happen very often and would not be conspicuous.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

While some of us may agree with the answers to the question on this post about how ineffective airport security is today for whatever reasons, that doesn’t address what this question is about.

Stepped up security procedures in the US was a knee-jerk reaction to the 9/11 terrorists. Call it effective or ineffective, the point to the question and details is that what @snowberry describes as her experience is most likely unnecessary. Something triggered a concern on security’s or an check-in agent’s behalf. Their job is to check for potentially dangerous items, be it drugs or weapons, including chemicals, being carried onboard.

Each airport has their own process, and yes, there might be the occasional creepy guard that gets their jollies from a grope, but they are few and far between. It is just like any other business. They need to be reported.

trickface's avatar

@Coloma we have both been pro-security in this discussion, however I have to say I appreciate @poisonedantidote ‘s way of thinking, he is simply demanding the best possible for whatever he pays for, and he is suggesting ways to improve the system. It reads like flying is simply not for him. I don’t think he is whining or being immature, his sense of entitlement is fair, but it will restrict him to living a life that is only good enough for his standards. I love flying and am happy with what I have to do to get on a plane. Poisoned Antidote is not, so he does not fly. It’s all cool.

@Zaku I see, that sounds totally workable and reasonable. I think it’s always good to provide a working solution whenever anything is criticised. The difference here is you see an injustice (or maybe just an inadequate, inoptimal) system that can be improved, most people I imagine are quite content with it, probably due to the fear of terrorists [boom].

Since your own ‘grope story’, have you flown? or rejected the mode of transport altogether.

Coloma's avatar

@trickface

I agree with expecting to get what you pay for, but, I disagree with those that feel they should not be subject to basic security protocol because they tend towards a grandiose ideal that somehow THEY are so much more special than everyone else.

If you want to get the most ‘bang’ for your buck, well, just might happen if you’re a weenie about security measures. lol

mattbrowne's avatar

@trickface – Some skirts can hide stuff, but is there a record of terrorist women hiding explosives under their skirts?

deni's avatar

I think if they’re going to single you out, for whatever reason, or for no reason, which is probably what happened, you really can’t do anything about it. Like you said, if you protest, it will only get worse. They know they have more power than you, so it doesn’t matter. It’s like how cops can pull you over for doing absolutely nothing…I got pulled over driving through Utah, I was going 10 under the speed limit because I saw the cop. He followed me for a while then put his lights on, came up to the car and asked to see all my shit, then he goes “yeah, i’m not gonna write you a ticket, you weren’t speeding or anything, but are you tired? We get a lot of tired drivers.” NO I’M NOT FUCKING TIRED IT’S ONE THIRTY IN THE AFTERNOON. Thanks for giving me a heart attack!

Point: authorities can be assholes if they choose to be because you can’t do shit about it. I don’t think there’s any way for you, or anyone, to avoid being treated like that in the future. If they choose to single you out they easily can.

YoBob's avatar

I think the solution is obvious.

All passengers should be required to be totally nude before entering the security area and submit to a full fist body cavity search, after which they are to remain nude throughout the duration of the flight.

flutherother's avatar

Airport security pisses me off but I can see the need for it. I’ve been frisked at airports a couple of times but never too intrusively. Cameras are recording everything and security personnel will be well aware of it. They have to do their jobs.

@YoBob I tried approaching security naked and was arrested. You can’t win.

Zaku's avatar

@trickface Yes, I’ve flown quite a few times, and I’ve been searched quite a few times. I’ve not personally felt violated by the searches of myself. More amused. In one case, I was actually approached for search by a group of men in black after I was through security and patted down, but I didn’t find it disrespectful. That does nothing to reduce my sympathy for others who have been or felt violated. And it’s no reason to be complacent or decide the system can’t or shouldn’t be massively reworked and improved.

I have been annoyed by TSA several times before, but in my cases it wasn’t for the physical searches. Instead it was:

* In Texas they confiscated my tiny $0.75 Chinese folding scissors. Ape-shit ridiculous if you ask me. I flew them into Texas without them noticing, as I have accidentally also done with other items they are supposed to detect.
* Confiscating a child’s plastic rounded toy scissors.
* Making my then-90-something-year-old grandmother take off her shoes (she was traveling alone, too, so it’s not like she was going to slip me concealed tiny plastic scissors or something).
* Not managing to detect knives, long metal poles, and even sets of long razor blades carried, by me, my friends, and certain celebrities, but in my case then catching them on the way back.
* Crossing the land border back from Canada, they had me come inside and waste a bunch of time waiting to talk to them about nothing. Meanwhile, they were doing outrageous things to the Canadians. The guards, who used to work for the old border patrol organization and were now transferred to the new GW Bush organization, seemed very depressed and actually apologized for having to follow the new rules and waste my and their time this way.

Even “before 9/11”(tm) I was annoyed by undue rudeness at American border crossings, e.g.:
* In some airport on the way to Mexico, someone made a pointed observation that my hair was a lot a shorter now than it was on my passport from many years before, like it was a really significant thing to say, or he had some point about how long my hair had been, or he was trying to provoke a hostile reaction from me or something.
* Often being treated like a suspect when returning to the USA.

Zaku's avatar

(To people giving various irrelevant reasons for accepting the system as is:)

These are NOT reasons to accept abuse and shitty-quality security:
“It’s for our safety.”
“I’ve never had a problem with it.”
“You could just not wear a skirt.”
“You could just travel by train instead.”
“It’s not a violation of rights.”
“Profiling would be discrimination.”
“Why complain unless I have something to hide.”
“Never again!”
“The world changed since bla bla bla…”
“They are just doing their jobs.”
“We should be willing to accept some inconvenience for safety.”
– Go ahead and believe any of those things as strongly as you like. None of them are relevant at all to thinking the current system is something we need to stick with, or that it couldn’t all be thrown out for some better and less annoying system.

Coloma's avatar

I agree that blindly following authority is not always the way to go, obviously, but…on the other hand, taking a positive view is a healthy option.
If I, or YOU, any of us, were in a posistion of authority,seeing and being responsible for eliminating criminals and potential accidents, as the Utah cop that pulled @deni over, well…I prefer to keep an open mind and look on the positive side. It IS all about attitude.

One can just as easily put the positive spin on a situation, like the cop, and say to themselves ” Wow..that was NICE, he was concerned for my safety.”

For all that cop knew that person had been driving all night and was on the verge of nodding out.

Really, IMO, those that are prone to griping and complaining and fault finding with everyone and everything have issues that run deeper than what presents.

redfeather's avatar

@Coloma right on, mama.

WasCy's avatar

Excellent comments throughout the thread, @Zaku.

People seem to excuse any type of outrageous behavior on the part of “officials” and “authorities” and “political leaders” as long as it’s done in the name of “safety” or “for the children”.

And I’m always embarrassed on international flights back to the USA at the generalized rudeness and nonsensical (and often apparently whimsical) rules and regulations foisted on us by our own TSA, Customs & Immigration. Makes me wonder sometimes why people ever would want to try to come here.

Coloma's avatar

I traveled in Asia last year and was impressed with how friendly and courteous everyone was. My friend spilled a baggie of Taiwanese Tide on the luggage conveyor belt at Taoyuan international airport as she was re-balancing her luggage weight, and the clerk and us all had a hearty laugh, ” No REALLY, it’s NOT Heroin!” I guess I just attract the positive vibes because of my attitude. I really believe that. ;-)

ml3269's avatar

I travel frequently throughout the EU… and 1–2 times a year to the US… and I must say, that the smaller airports in Europe are sometimes a bit “weak” with the the security-check… and generally speaking in the US there is more “law-and-order”-feeling passing through the checks then here in the EU…

JLeslie's avatar

@mattbrowne Why should it matter if there is a history of women hiding things under their skirts in airports? Do we have to wait fornthe explosion to happen? For sure in retail stores skirts and baggy clothing are used to steal tons of merchandise.

@snowberry I just wanted to point out, because I am not sure I was clear, I am recommending jeans, because you will have a thicker material between the agents hand and your body, not so much because you are less likely to get stopped, but maybe you are less likely, it makes sense. The smaller airports tend to do more patting in my experience because they don’t have the expensive equipment. Flying from Burlington, VT my husband had on baggy trousers with lots of pockets, so they squished down everything to make sure his pockets were empty.

I have to agree with @Coloma your anger and surprise seems a little over the top. It seems to me that either you have had a bad incident in your life that makes you more sensitive, if that is the case, I feel very badly about that, and understand why you might be more traumatized. Or, that maybe you are very young, usually as we get older we get used to people seeing us, poking and prodding us. Or, that you simply are very modest, which then again I sympathasize with that, similar to what @Pied_Pfeffer mentioned above that women of certain religions and cultures are more likely to feel violated in circumstances like this. But, I think the majority of people don’t really mind the frisk, as long as no hands are staying in one place too long.

Call TSA or write them through their website, I have done it myself before when I was very angry about a particular security procedure, and ask them the rules about going to a private room. They responded to me within 48 hours amd my airport was not following procedure. i called the airport directly to complain and they responded positively. I have not gone throught the particular security gate again, but I hope the problem was fixed.

Sunny2's avatar

I’m thinking that if I have a pat down and they get near my private areas, I’ll moan a little and ask what they charge. Or say, “Do you do this after hours?” Or “What is the usual tip you get?” Or “Do you give lessons?” Might be fun. Or could I get in trouble?

Jeruba's avatar

@Sunny2, I would not try anything remotely like humor with those folks. I would not expect that attracting their attention is going to result in anything resembling fun.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Are you kidding me? Did you beep? Or did everyone have to be searched? I thought only people that beeped were searched? I fly in and out of Switzerland, no one even blinks. Thank God for the Swiss…the only people standing up for true liberty in the world. This woman just wrote that she felt raped. “That’s okay honey…just doing my job.”

I cannot believe the answers here. With all due respect to all of you…truly, I don’t mean to be incendiary. But most of the answers are about “maybe you should wear jeans” or “don’t take it personally” or “well, they are doing their job.” What?? Can you not see what this is really about? Why are you not asking, ” Why is this happening in your country? Why is this sort of Big Brother Gropefest happening in America?”

Can you not see that this is to desensitize you so that you can surrender more and more rights? I don’t own a pair of jeans. I don’t feel that I should have to wear something different so I don’t get cavity searched when I am not a terrorist. Why don’t any of you find this offensive? Heinous? An assault on your liberty?

The idea that a woman gets groped legally by someone who puts her hand down her crotch when it is not necessary is what boggles the mind. That it is just accepted as protocol by everyone, is insanity. It is perverted. It is even more perverted to do it on children._ How do you tell children not to let strangers touch your privates when the big buffoon at LAX is going for her bottom with gusto? Is this the future? “Oh, that’s okay….honey….they are just doing their job, pull down your panties, sweetheart…for the nice lady with the rubber gloves…yes, right in front of all the people standing in line…oh, yes, even that nice man in the trench coat who is looking a little too interested.”

Ever flown to Israel? I have. Do you think that some Elal representative put their hands down my panties? No. Why? Because they have profiled all their passengers beforehand. They have interrogated you in the line as you are boarding. They have asked for detailed itineraries of your stay. They have experts who ask the questions and watch your reactions. Israel has the top security in the world. They have to. And no one ever, ever touched anything other than my handbag for inspection.

Why is it that in America, land of the free this is going on? Why? Because of some made-up war on terrorism? It’s a big made-up war to take away your rights.You captured Bin Laden, right? Even though most people in England wondered what you were doing since he had been rumored to have been dead since 2003. Why aren’t the wars over? Why aren’t the troops home yet? Uh, well…someone else might come! Just in case! Yes, 9–11 happened, yes, we are targets for terrorists, there is no doubt about that. But more than Israel? No way. And no one at Elal was checking out my crotch or hoping to grope my tukhus thank you very much.

And by the way, those X-ray machines? There are studies out of Russia that they may cause DNA damage and other studies linking them to cancer. link If you are pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant do not go through one of these! They have not been tested enough. They were rolled off the assembly line quickly and installed…thorough tests over a protracted period of time have not been undertaken.

I still cannot believe that most of the thread is about “accomodating” this violation of human rights. I am sitting typing this almost crying. I cannot believe that no one said, “That is not right. We need to do something to change this. For someone to touch you like that was wrong” I hope that someday TSA goes too far with someone in power (oh, wait, Congressmen don’t have to be searched) and someone, somewhere will stand up and say, “Enough of this travesty!”

I don’t even know what to say…I am sorry that you went through what you did. I acknowledge how violated you felt and you did not deserve that…not in America….not anytime, anywhere.

I hope America wakes up before…. oh, wait…..too late. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

can’t tell you how sad I feel right now, honestly

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@snowberry…What to do? (I had to take a breather….sorry).

Write to your State/Washington Representative. Stand up in your church and tell them what happened. Ask them to write letters. Start a class-action lawsuit against the TSA. Call the American Civil Liberties Union and ask them for advice. Call the National Organization of Women…tell them what happened. Are they going to stand for the word from the Feds or for the rights of women to feel safe?

If no one complains, it continues.

This is a bipartisan issue….who will be brave enough? You @snowberry. You are a storyteller. Tell them your story!!!!!!

Mariah's avatar

I went to the dermatologist a few days ago. While there I had to strip completely naked and allow a strange man to look over, and when necessary, touch my body, including my pubic and anal area. Why? My family has a history of skin cancer, and I find it’s worth a slightly uncomfortable few minutes in a controlled, professional environment to displace the risk of letting a cancer go untreated.

Millions of Americans willingly compromise their modesty in favor of safety every day when going to the doctor. I don’t see how airline security is different. We’ve learned the hard way that an airplane in the hands of the wrong person is an extremely dangerous weapon. It sucks that safety and comfort can’t always coincide, but I think we’d all be bitching a lot more if dangerous people were able to board our planes whenever they so pleased.

I’m sorry that @snowberry had a traumatizing experience.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I’d just like to point out a few things to those who compare it to going to the doctor: At any point in time during an exam, you can say you’re uncomfortable and you can leave. You legally cannot do that once they’ve chosen you for additional screening. If you decide that the gropefest is too much, they legally have every right to arrest you. In a doctor’s office, you get to choose the doctor, find someone whom you trust, and leave if you do not like it. Doctors’ offices are consensual. Airport pat-downs are not.

And to all the women, especially the ones who are normally vocal on rape threads, this is the kind of victim-blaming bullshit that makes it harder for us all. There’s no evidence that molesting women, men, and children at airports makes us any safer, and since the safety we’re trying to hold on to with these pat-downs is often a rape-free one, it makes no sense to say “oh, well, if you voluntarily submit to being molested, you will be protected from all molestation”. Why is it suddenly so radical and outrageous and unreasonable to say “Get your hand the fuck off my crotch”???

@snowberry I am so sorry that this happened to you. This kind of institutional molestation makes me want to move to another country right away (via ship, obviously, not plane). Yes, the TSA has admitted that not only do they make pat-downs for those who refuse the porno screener extra-molesty but that they step it up if you complain. This is protocol. To be quite honest, I have no advice for you other than to not fly and write your congressperson. Perhaps contact the ACLU – I seem to remember them dying to put together a lawsuit. But I cannot express with words how much my heart goes out to you right now.

Sunny2's avatar

@Jeruba You’re undoubtedly correct. I bow to your more sensible response. I don’t know if I’d have the nerve anyhow, but I have great fun in my mind.

snowberry's avatar

@Mariah There is a huge difference between being singled out for a groping in front of a large group of people, and a doctor’s office exam.

snowberry's avatar

Unfortunately I must fly home because my plane ticket is non-refundable and I cannot afford a train or bus ticket on top of that. I am going to try to find out if I can disrobe somewhere in a private room and simply hand over my clothes where they can sniff them and test them all they want. I’ll let you all know what I learn.

@DarlingRhadamanthus has it right on the money. Thanks.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@Mariah….Let’s see….a doctor….um….went to medical school__ perhaps that might be the difference? He is qualified to do this. Who are these people that the TSA hires? Ever thought about that? Who are the people that the TSA hires and trains to do this work? Who would want a job like that? I am sure there are decent people. But what if there are people who get off touching strangers? Maybe they haven’t gotten caught or don’t have a criminal record. What a great job for someone who just likes to grope people. It’s like a peeping tom but with a “license” to do it. _This is why it is so alarming. TSA has been known to steal money and goods from people, too. (They stole $40,000 worth of cash from a passenger’s luggage upon inspection earlier this year.) How many times do you think the TSA has said, “Oh, no, you can’t take that with you….” and pocketed the stuff they find?

I remember going into a theatre to watch a movie once and the theatre only had a sprinkling of people. I was by myself. I was a bit late so I slipped into one of the back rows. As I was sitting there in the dark watching the movie, I felt someone start to to touch my hair. I thought, “Okay, maybe this person is moving their knees….I’ll wait to see….this cannot be happening…” And then, I realized, “Someone is playing with my hair!” It was sooo creepy, I can’t tell you. I stood up, turned around and screamed, “What the hell are you doing you ******!” And it was a guy and he got up and ran out of the theatre. I was so upset. These are the type of people I worry about touching anyone at the airport security.

And…you made a point: “a controlled environment”...stripping for your doctor to inspect you is a bit different than being groped in front of a bunch of strangers from Toledo and Tucson ready to board for Tampa.

And by the way, we still don’t know who hijacked those planes…nor why they went down. That’s still up for debate. And if it was the Saudis, why did we go to war with Iraq? I never understood that stuff. Oh yes, it was the WMD’s…all of those they found. Of course. And then it was Bin Laden. Uh, now he is dead. I am waiting…we have run out of….oh wait! The comet is coming…no, it isn’t a comet…it’s a spaceship….it’s an invasion from outer space! “Now, we have to put cameras right in your house to watch your house and protect you from any aliens invading your house as their technology is so advanced that they can walk through walls or come in through your furnace grates or hide in your Barcalounger. But don’t worry, this little camera will make sure you are safe all the from the _enemy that is everywhere and all over and in and out and up and down. And we can watch your house 24 hours a day.”

Do you know that in England, the local council has the rights to monitor our phone calls? That would be the equivalent of an American city council doing that. So, Miss Hattie Hooha, local councilwoman who was upset that I didn’t pass her little Johnny into third grade, can break into my line to see who I am talking to and then blackmail me to pass her son with private information that I said Mr Bobonahoohoo the HeadMaster was a twat (I am not a teacher by the way, using this as an example). People go through our trash to “profile” us to see what we spend our money on and what catalogues we toss, etc. Every Briton is photographed 300 times a day on average.

I remember reading Orwell and Huxley when I was in high school….and thinking, “This is silly…as if that could happen…people would never stand for that sort of stuff….”

Apparently, they have. And that is what is the most frightening of all.

JLeslie's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus No one is down anyone’s panties. There is a movement in America trying to get rid of this procedure. Keep in mind the underwear bomber flew into an American airport. They are not groping, they are using the back and side of their hand and quickly running that part of their hand along your body. I was desensitized long ago to women seeing and touching me in a nonsexual way, much before this procedure. I worked retail, hell I used to work for a bra vendor, I use to measure women for their bra size, they didn’t know me from Adam. Tailors measure inseams. I really don’t think it is that big of a deal when done correctly, but I do agree the big brother/invasion of civil liberties question is up for argument. But, while we argue about, still, if you travel in America, depending on the airport, you might be asked to go through the xray or get pat down. There are still airports that just use the simple medical detector, sometimes randoming pulling people out for “xray” no one in America should be surprised, I understand why some international flyers might be. Passengers for international flights are actually more likely to have to go through the xray machines at many of our airports.

redfeather's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus “and by the way… We still don’t know who hijacked those planes…. Nor why they went down.”

Are you serious?

Coloma's avatar

I dunno, to beat a fast dying horse here, but, I can share a story from my youth involving friends and I being pulled over because, as it turns out, my friends car fit the description of a vehicle that had been involved in a kidnapping and assault situation a few days before.

We were surrounded by about 8 Sheriffs cars with guns drawn as we exited the car, completely dumbfounded as to what was going on!

I was about 18 at the time, a tiny, petite, little blonde a whopping 115 lbs. and when an officer asked me to remove my jacket and I tossed at him, yes, I was being a bit aggressive, he had my arm up behind my back and slammed me up against the car before I knew what was happening!

Did I complain, file a law suit, cry assault?

No!

I was being a sassy little arrogant brat and I got what I deserved!

Was this cop supposed to simply assume that because I was a cute little thing that I might not have a weapon in my jacket?

Again, I am not saying that sometimes these situations could be handled a little better, but, I still challenge the attitude that being patted down at an airport is on the same continuum as molestation.

People can and will continue to get away with contraband on their person or in their luggage, it is impossible to be 100% at all times, but, I still stand firm that these security people are doing more of a good thing than otherwise.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Paradigm shift comes to mind. @snowberry has probably never seen a gun drawn or a fight in anger. @snowberry may think ALL people have her beliefs. The paradigm shift can be a change in vision or perception and can hurt.
Growing out of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy can hurt. The “world vision” she uses to look at the flying does not include bombing, killing or jihads.

Mariah's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus Any creeper can go to medical school.

I hope that my thinking the pat-downs aren’t an enormous abomination hasn’t made you think that I support the war on terror or Iraq war. I fucking hate that we entered Iraq. I hate that we declared war against an unspecified enemy. That doesn’t mean it isn’t wise to have security on airplanes.

We do know who hijacked the 9/11 planes, but even if we didn’t, that doesn’t nullify the fact that obviously planes make dangerous weapons.

These slippery slope arguments are ludicrously paranoid. There is a big difference between making sure someone doesn’t have a weapon when they board an airplane and Orwell’s dystopia novels.

I don’t think our airline security is without its flaws. Obviously there is a rogue TSA officer now and then (of course there are bad individuals in every profession). I just don’t think there’s any huge conspiracy going on.

snowberry's avatar

@Tropical_Willie Oh yes, it definitely was a paradigm shift. It’s one thing to know about something; it’s another one to experience it. I have definitely made that shift.

I also concede that I needed to experience it so I could understand the depth of evil that I encountered. It also educated me so I could educate others. I will be educating everyone I can think of (TSA people, my governmental leaders, and my friends, etc.) regarding what happened, and what must be done.

As for the Santa Clause/tooth fairy analogy, that’s insulting.

Coloma's avatar

@snowberry

I am not disputing your unhappy expereince, but, ” depth of evil” really?

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry I have to wonder if your particular TSA agent was innappropriate? Meaning was not following guidelines. Quite possibly she was too agressive or bad attitude, and needs to be addressed, counseled or fired. That is why I suggested contacting TSA and explaining exactly what happened and why you felt it was innappropriate. They may come back and tell you their standard procedure and you can verify your pat down was excessive and complain. That is what I did regarding my luggage always being in my sight.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I must have misread the details, @snowberry . Were you actually damaged? Penetrated? Threatened with bodily harm? I’m sorry it was so unpleasant for you, and I definitely think you need to take whatever steps you think you need to take, but I, too, think “depth of evil” is way over the top. Maybe a “smirk” was a nervous smile, maybe they’re supposed to say “Have a nice day” (I’ve been through airport security 4 times in the last six weeks and they’ve all said that), maybe your distressed state of mind skewed your interpretations of their reactions.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@snowberry I am sorry if you interrupted an EXAMPLE of a paradigm shift as an affront or insult.

Coloma's avatar

Could you walk us through things step by step?
You have never answered if YOU were combative in any way.

By all means make a complaint, but, be aware, if the security person in question reports ANY disrespectful behavior, attitude, or protest of your non-compliance and has witnesses, as in other security personnel that can verify you were verbally, or otherwise, what could be deemed uncooperative, well… you won’t have a leg to stand on.

Copping an attitude and then crying ‘victim’ is not acceptable.

Why not share, ‘blow by blow’ the unfolding of your situation, leaving nothing out, and perhaps we could better examine the validity of your complaint?

mattbrowne's avatar

@JLeslie – I think it does matter. Was there ever a case of a man wearing a large fake potbelly hiding explosives? No. Doesn’t matter. So let’s check every man with a potbelly. What’s next? People with large butts? Some could be fake, hiding explosives. And why just take off shoes and belts? Some creative mind will be able to come up with explosive clothes.

The end of the story? Complete paranoia. The terrorists win.

snowberry's avatar

I did have an attitude. It’s something I’m working on. They surprised me, immediately cornered me, and I became deeply frightened. Everyone’s different, but when that happens to me I do NOT respond well. Then came the groping and the smirks. I have been raped before, and the feelings were the same. It did not help that I had several hundred people watching. As I said earlier, they gave me the clear impression that if I insisted on a private room things would get worse, which scared me even more, because I knew I would not have an unbiased witness. (I do not consider their version of unbiased witness to be acceptable.) It was a scary situation for me.

I know it was not technically a rape, but that’s how my mind and body experienced it at the time. I can still feel her hands. What person responds well during a rape? And minimizing it certainly doesn’t help (re: the insensitive responses of so many here). However, I am fast moving past the victim stage.

That happened. They were not amused. Neither was I. I know I would not have a “leg to stand on” in court. I get that, but I know I am not the first, and I certainly will not be the last to be traumatized. There are many who will be scarred for life (groping a child who has been told never to let strangers touch them there, etc).

I’m also angry that I was not informed that wearing a skirt would target me as a potential terrorist. In all their advertising, why do the TSA people make a huge deal about liquids, and NEVER make any mention that wearing a skirt could make you a target for groping? If I had known that, I would have never worn a skirt to begin with!

JilltheTooth's avatar

@snowberry : Our responses would very probably have taken into consideration your level of PTSD if you had told us why this was so very distressing. I’m so sorry you had to go through this, but based on the information we had, I don’t think we were insensitive.

Oh, never mind.

Coloma's avatar

@snowberry

I appriciate your honesty, and hope you get over this and feel better.
It seems you might be better off avoiding airport security while you continue your healing journey so that you will reach a place where you can respond in the present moment and not confuse a present moment situation with a past trauma. The airport personnel are not trained in psychological evaluations, they only react to what is happening in their present moment.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry Which is what I had guessed up above. I can completely understand why it is more traumatic for you. I don’t know for sure the skirt does make you more likely to be pulled aside, but no matter what you wear, you might be pulled aside. Do you think now that you know exactly what it entails it will be easier for you? I recommend reframing it, not using words like groping, and finding out your options so you can feel more in control of the situation. Give yourself plenty of time at the airport, if you are rushed you will be more wound up. Tell them verbally you have no problem complying, but that you are very modest. So they at least have a verbal cue even if you are acting very nervous. Ask them your options. Here is the TSA website.

@mattbrowne You make good points.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@JLeslie…When I go see my seamstress and she is making a dress, I understand she will have to take my measurements with my consent, I absolutely understand that. Here, people don’t want to be touched. But they have to be touched in order to get on a plane.

@Mariah,...No don’t worry..about the Iraq issue. I agree with you.

Are there some nice TSA agents…yes, I am sure there are. But what I am attempting to say is the the only “paradigm shift” they want is for us to begin to embrace “pat-downs” as we did having someone go through our handbags.

It’s a violation of our rights. Everyone keeps saying, “Oh, but we won’t be able to fly! Someone could do something!” But if Israel has never had this happen to them in decades…without having these heinous inspections, why can’t the US follow suit? Why can’t an identity check be run before they board? When they book tickets? This is what is done and it works and doesn’t entail anyone putting their hand up my skirt.

My main issue is: Why isn’t anyone asking: “Is this really necessary in our day and age…to choose between being groped and being fried by a DNA scrambler? Isn’t there a better way?” There is ask Elal. And then the question becomes, “Then why does our government insist on these drastic measures when other less invasive ways are available?”

Why is this desensitization and intimidation going on? Why are all of us ready so willing to simply do things without question even when fundamentally we know they are wrong?

I am exiting this thread. I do respect everyone’s views…and only hope that there is a better future for all of us.

Zaku's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus You are awesome. Thank you.

@everyone who is arguing with DarlingRhadamanthus with lame arguments – you are making me ill.

redfeather's avatar

I disagree with most of what @DarlingRhadamanthus is saying. Sorry @Zaku, Tums should help.

If the TSA agents are doing the pat downs the right way, back o’ the hands quick and to the point, then I don’t see a point in complaining. If they’re taking too long and doing it wrong, report them. Plain and simple. Don’t throw a fit in line, that makes everything worse and accomplishes nothing except raising your blood pressure and pissing people off.

Zaku's avatar

@redfeather I get that you don’t see the point. I’ve never thrown a fit in line. But the existing security system is an ineffective waste of time and energy that insults human dignity and intelligence for the purposes of a porkbarrel imaginary War on Terror sold by a retardo president figurehead (GW Bush) and a general play for power and acceptance of more and more government abuse of the people.

JLeslie's avatar

I think we should all keep in mind that probably the marjority of the TSA agents doing the procedure feel some discomfort themselves performing the job, and they are just doing what they have been instructed to do. Assuming the agents did exactly what is expected, our gripes should ot be directed at them at all, but at the policy.

snowberry's avatar

And one more thing. There has been a great deal of talk on the news lately in Texas regarding the uprising against patting down little kids. I’m also concerned about the person with a heart condition or otherwise in frail health, someone whose doctor has pronounced them fit to fly, but still they are not in a position to experience a trauma without ill effects. A pat down like I experienced could be enough to cause them harm.

I have never been diagnosed with PTSD.

Sorry to all of you who thought my responses were evasive or something. That was not my intention.

I thought I was pretty much over it, but I spent today crying about it. I suppose that’s a good thing, because I didn’t cry about it before. I DO NOT want to fly again, but it can’t be avoided. I’m flying out in two weeks, so I have to get over it.

Honestly I cannot make myself speak about it as a “pat down”. It minimizes the issue, which of course is their intent.

jca's avatar

Today on my AOL home page, there’s an article about a woman who was elderly and wheelchair bound and she burst into tears because the TSA forced her to remove her diaper. I did not read it because I am trying to get ready for work (and Fluthering, what sense is that, LOL) but you might want to go to AOL news to read it. It seems like some agents are more gung-ho than others.

Mariah's avatar

Many people with ostomies have a difficult time getting cleared through security too.

JLeslie's avatar

You can always ask for a supervisor at any point if something seems really off.

When my grandma died I brought sme of her things home with me. I had a carryon for over head, a carryon under the seat, amd my purse. They had just changed the rules counting a purse as a carryon, and the TSA agents would not ket me through with three bags. I explained my situation, let them know my purse and the litlle carryon would easily fit together under the seat, andtha they can search everything. The two idiot TSA agents at the front of the ropes were like they had labotomies, just repeated no and shook their heads. I asked for a supevisor, she let me through. The front line agents are taught to simply follow orders no exceptions, and may not be too bright.

Remember, your reaction is more extreme, because of your history, which again is completely understandable. I have very extreme reactions to doctors who treat me badly. It can cause me to cry, feel violated, have nightmares for weeks, I get it. But, it has helped me over time to know my response is extreme, and that if I think about it more logically I don’t suffer emotionally as much.

redfeather's avatar

@Zaku yeah, actually, I do see why you’re complaining. But was the United States attacked by way of planes? Yes. Have there been others looking to do the same? Yes. Soooo?

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: it may not be that they’re not too bright, it may be simply that if they say yes to one request, they may 1. get in trouble and 2. have everyone saying “but you let her do it, why can’t I?”

mattbrowne's avatar

@JLeslie – Of course I’m all for good security. Hand baggage scans. Walking through metal and explosive detectors. Even the use of full-body scanners. Plus spot tests with very thorough questioning and checking.

But I have a problem with policies checking all women wearing skirts, all people that look like Arabs, all people with potbellies and so forth. Because at some point everybody looks like a potential terrorist. This is not the world I want.

throssog's avatar

“Papers, please!” All the things we, in the USA, used to make fun of in USSR, et al, Nazi’s and so on, we now get to enjoy here. Ah, “I’m Proud to be an American….”. Yes, well,...there you have it, eh?

Zaku's avatar

@redfeather asked, “But was the United States attacked by way of planes? Yes. Have there been others looking to do the same? Yes. Soooo?”

So the security response does not have to be a Three Stooges Attack.

In fact, it doesn’t make me feel safer, AT ALL, to have any of the measures that people complain about, compared to what we used to have. The part about harassing women, the elderly, and other obvious non-threats in the name of non-profiling is just asinine, as are many of their other measures, manners and lowbrow employees. Confiscating nail clippers? Toy scissors? Unsafe x-ray machines? The measures are not only annoying, abusive and ridiculous, they are INEFFECTIVE. Reporters testing the new security have got all sorts of stuff past them, as have people accidentally not thinking about what they have on them. Anyone intelligent can think of a plan to get something past these measures. They are abuse for idiots, not needed security measures.

As I posted above, if the actual need is for better security, make the security better, not more abusive. Intelligent, well-trained, profiling, covert and subtle passive security is far more effective, less easy for an attacker to analyze and bypass, less expensive, and doesn’t needlessly mess with people.

JLeslie's avatar

@mattbrowne I am not sure they do check women with skirts more often? I know @snowberry said a TSA agents said that, but I have never heard such a thing. I don’t see it on the TSA website anywhere. I have flown a lot and I have never seen anyone pulled aside to be pat down actually, except for the quasi pat down my husband had in Vermont. I opt for it, because I don’t want the xray, and typically there are other people opting for it also. If I am on a line for a regular metal detector then I just walk on through.

I am sort of ok with some degree of profiling, I know this is getting into another discussion. If there is chatter about someone possibly flying with a bomb, and they have a desxription, I hope the airports are focusing on that description. Of course not ignoring all others, but more vigilent for the people who fit the type. When I flew out of Detroit a couple of years ago in November the security was annoyingly unbelievable. Metal detectors were set to incredibly sensitive, a bunch of us noticed. A few weeks later the underwear bomber flew into Detroit. I have to assume they knew something. Maybe there is chatter right now about women hiding bombs under their skirts?

YARNLADY's avatar

Now THIS IS outrageous, making an elderly woman remove her
Depends!

trickface's avatar

@YARNLADY Damn, you beat me! Came here with the same story to share :)

jca's avatar

um, excuse me, @YARNLADY and @trickface: I think I “beat” you both – see my post above!

redfeather's avatar

It’s too bad that everyone who has a solution to everything is at home, commenting on the Internet…

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Can we take a step back here for a moment? Thousands of people pass through TSA security a day. A small percentage get asked to step aside for a physical body check. Of those that are, a few may be patted down in an evasive way. Let’s stop there.

There is some underlying cause for this. Either the agent gets their jollies from it, or there is a reason for conducting such a search. Unless the person being searched has something to hide, it should be brought to the attention of the person doing the search and others in authority immediately, at least in the US.

Again, my suggestion is to report it sooner rather than later. Prepare to have the details of the flight information in advance, and attempt to reduce the personal drama. Stick to the facts. This is the only way to be taken seriously and get a complaint properly recorded.

In the meantime, know that my heart goes out to you. I hope that, someday, you are able to regain faith in humanity in general and learn to speak up in such situations as this.

Zaku's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Most of the searches done are semi-random, intentionally based on nothing, supposedly to avoid “profiling”, but more like a way to cow everyone and invoke drama and make us “feel” the so-called security. Of course they also search anyone they actually suspect, and they have dubious rules to follow in that regard, as well (e.g. confiscating nail clippers).

YARNLADY's avatar

@jca Sorry I missed your reference. Correction: the elderly lady took it with grace, it was her companion that burst into tears.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Zaku Thank you, and yes, I am well aware of this, as noted in my first response on this thread. In re-reading the latter response, it could have been worded more clearly.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’m sorry about your experience @snowberry – it wound anger me too, especially given that it is all for show and they haven’t provided evidence that even putting in x-ray machines has detected more terrorists than not having any. That this gets done to people in front of others is a huge issue for me. That if you rightfully oppose this kind of violation you’re considered MORE of a threat is even worse. I haven’t yet been patted down but they wouldn’t get a peep out of me cause these kinds of ridiculous TSA agents on a power trip get off on that. Sure, for some it’s their job but you can always tell when the fuckers are enjoying doing this. Generally I’m with @Pied_Pfeffer and @Zaku.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Also this – what does everyone think?

JLeslie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir That is why I get frisked when I go to the airport.

Do you think it is a reliable source?

snowberry's avatar

I’m guessing this will result in a big hullabaloo. The proof will come out, and if it’s true (I think it is), they’ll shut down the x-ray machines rather quickly.

JLeslie's avatar

I thought the xray at airports have only been around for about 5 years? And, only in the last couple years have they been in many airports. How can cancers be showing already?

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