No Fly Zone

November 17, 2010

So, some people seem to be just a wee bit upset about the new airport security screenings.

Apparently from the “bits and pieces” I’ve seen…(wink), you can either have an ample dose of nuclear radiation spilled all over your body, while an image of you, nude, is projected onto an IMAX size stereoscopic 3D movie screen, or you can have your “junk” fumbled with by a friendly TSA representative / convicted sex offender in the backseat of a car.  Either way, people are getting their underwear in a bunch over it all.  Heh.

So among stories of screaming three year olds and elderly nuns being frisked…thoroughly, a bunch of people it seems are going to boycott the “naked scanners” in favor of the pat down the day before Thanksgiving. 

I’m all about civil disobedience, so I’ve got some thoughts to help you prepare for your Thanksgiving travels.

This is the reason I’m not a doctor

There’s a reason I didn’t become a doctor.  This is no offense to any of you, but most of us are kind of gross without our clothes.  Heck, a lot of people aren’t that attractive with their clothesIt’s not like most of us are at our best when we prepare to fly either.  I know I usually pose as a disheveled hobo when flying.  Everyone’s all up in arms about “perverts” gawking and groping passengers, but if I would think after a day of that job, anyone would be cured of any and all human sexual attraction.  Blarf.

I think it’s funny that in almost every episode of protest, adults are using every grade school euphemism for genitalia they can think of.  We have grown men and women saying “private parts,” “backside,” “down there,” “area,” or “junk.”  Can I offer a solution?  We need one standard term for the place we don’t want to be touched.  I propose everyone use the more academic and technical sounding “crotchal region.”  Either that, or the government should offer us a doll or sock monkey to point to when we’re asked where the mean TSA agent touched us.

Civil disobedience…by following the rules

I’m all for civil disobedience.  I think it rules.  Sit ins, tea parties, they’re all good.  But I don’t think I’ve ever heard of people protesting getting “groped” by…getting groped.  That’s like PETA making a public protest by butchering a cow in the street…which, come to think of it, they just might do. 

I have a couple of alternative protest options:

1. While getting frisked, whisper insults at the TSA agents during the pat-down.  You know, hurt their feelings a little bit, made them feel bad about themselves. 

2. Wear a kilt to the airport.  There’s a “no fly zone” for you. 

3.  Carry something really unreasonable in your pants.  Like raw biscuits.  Assert your rights to carry raw biscuits in your pants…loudly.

Public enemy number one: nuns

You might have already seen the photo of that nun getting frisked.  The real irony is that the TSA agent is obviously a Muslim.  Some other passenger must have snapped that photo while waiting in line (thus, further violating the nun’s rights), and that image has been splashed all over the internet (completely obliterating the nun’s rights.)  But the one person I haven’t heard complain is the nun herself.  She acted like a big girl and kept her dignity intact, while the rest of us throw temper tantrums (like “don’t touch my junk” guy and three-year-old girls.)

Meanwhile, I haven’t heard one statement from the Pope or any church about how Christian women can avoid the screenings and preserve their modesty.  Do Christians care about modesty?  The only church officials that have spoken out are Muslim leaders, advising Muslim women to challenge TSA agents and file complaints if they “feel insulted in any way.”  And so, our political correctness and cultural sensitivity has come full circle to the point where our airport security is not allowed to screen people whose countrymen are the cause of our need for airport security in the first place (which pointing out is also politically incorrect.)  To those people who think they should be exempt, I have a big suitcase full of “cram it” for you.  Do you think a kindly old Amish man would be exempt from airport screening because it’s against his religion?

I do find it ironic that the Muslim leaders seem much more vocally concerned about the modesty and dignity of their women than Christian leaders.  I didn’t notice anyone jumping in to defend the nun getting frisked.  People just snapped photos.

Right to privacy

I don’t know if the screenings are illegal according to the fourth amendment, which prohibits unlawful search.  People have also said that when you’re in public, you don’t have a right to privacy.  Of course, the supposed “right to privacy” is also the basis for the “right” to have an abortion.  Just saying.

Are you flying this Thanksgiving, or any time soon?  What do you think, traveling or not?  Do we have a right to privacy when we’re in a public airport?  Are Muslim leaders in the wrong, or should Christian leaders be more vocal about the modesty of Christian women?

40 responses to No Fly Zone

  1. Crotchal region? Classic.

    You know, I don’t have any real problem with the machines or the frisking. But as a woman who’s had three kids, I’ve had all sense of modesty obliterated. I’m like, whatever.

    HOWEVER… When I imagine my tween daughter going thru that, and the embarrassment she’d experience, I’m not as easygoing about it. I don’t know what I’m gonna do about it tho. It’s not like I’m gonna boycott air travel. And I’m certainly not going to offer to be groped.
    Steph recently posted..Happy birthday to Abby Jane!

    • That’s what I think a lot of people are going to feel. Feel me up, but don’t touch my kids. And I’m torn, because I know we shouldn’t think that terrorists wouldn’t use a child or a child’s toy.

      • As horrifying as it sounds, the Taliban have already used children and babies as human bombs in Afghanistan against our soldiers. This story comes from a marine’s mother. So, I have a feeling that, if children are exempt, as soon as a terrorist uses a child to try and detonate a bomb, kids will also be screened. Which will soon end the problem of having screaming kids on board planes as parents will give up trying to fly altogether.

        So, here is my question: Are the TSA staff being screened to prevent sexual predators and child molesters from being hired with this new technology and new practices? I’m pretty sure they would do so anyway, but if they don’t, I forsee a lawsuit in TSA’s future.

    • That’s me too Steph. I’m completely uneasy at the thought of either of my daughter’s having to do the scan or the pat down. Our airport doesn’t have the scanner yet, but since it’s an international airport, I know it’s coming.

      Also, my youngest has been exposed to enough radiation in her life, that now her medical records are flagged to indicate no more exposure unless it’s extremely necessary. It has me worried if those things are safe for her. And my alternative is to watch her get patted down. I’ll end up in airport jail for yelling. Maybe we’ll just drive to Disney World this year.

  2. I have flown quite a bit since 9/11, but not recently. The gold page edges on my bible set off the metal detector. It was a long security line that day.

    The dilemma is that the Crotch Bomber has made this a difficult task for the TSA. Though the full-body scans and pat downs are an invasion of personal space and maybe privacy, I am not sure if it is legal. It’s a touchy subject. The 4th of course, states that they have to tell you who and/or what they are looking for, as well as having reasonable suspicion. Then we’re back to profiling.

    How should Christians feel about their junk being exposed? I am not finding this process to be exhibitionism. I have to say, if I saw my wife’s image up there, I’d be like “Yeah baby!”

    How outraged will families be if one of these kooks gets by? I am in the “if you don’t like it, take the train” crowd.

    There is a solution though; they could have a detonation chamber everyone has to pass through. It is fair, quick, there are no trials, it’s probably legal, and on occasion, it benefits those on stand by.

    Happy Thanksgiving Matt.
    David recently posted..So Why Dont I Have a Wednesday Blog

  3. We’re traveling to NC this year but we’re driving.

    How about I carry a tub of Coleslaw in ma pants?
    Jonathan Chang recently posted..Jesus paraphernalia

  4. I am of e mind that there are some things that we simply shouldn’t do to preserve our safety more. We could probably have pretty much no crime at all by obliterating our rights and living in a police state, but we don’t value our safety that much. That’s the way it should be, we need to balance these things. I think these scanners and the enhanced putdowns have crossed a line. Would it be horrible if another terrorist attck happened? Absolutely. Should we try to stop them? Absolutely. Should we all have to get naked to do it, no I don’t think that’s the best answer.

    As for whether Christian leaders should stand up for the modesty of Christian women, as a Christian woman I think we should all be standingnup for the modesty of Christian men and women and men and women of every other religious and non religious group. It’s not just women who are offended by having their genitals handled. It violates men’s modesty to have someone feel their testicles.
    Cara recently posted..Why you should buy a cow today – help the AoCWR Guild save 9 families

    • I completely understand your point of view (and the point of many people who are being very vocal about this) but in many ways it’s kind of selfish of us.

      Essentially what we’re saying is that it is better for me to not be embarrassed by someone seeing an x-ray image of my whole body or patting me down ‘everywhere’ than it is to save thousands of lives.

      We saw on 9/11 what a plane can do when it hits a skyscraper and, frankly, if I have to go through a few uncomfortable moments to ensure that it doesn’t happen again then I’m willing to put my modesty to the side and do it.

      Our thinking might be a little different if we were actually given a straight choice, either submit to the ‘groping’ or 2000 people will die. Would you be willing to let them die?

      Of course, 999,999 times out of a million, that is not the realistic choice because there is no bomber targeting the plane you’re flying on… but for the sake of others, I’m not willing to take that risk.
      Peter P recently posted..66 Love Letters by Dr Larry Crabb – reviewed by Deb Watson

  5. My husband and I flew in September and I went through the scan. If I could see the man/woman who was seeing my 60-year old body on a screen, I would have been very embarrassed but I couldn’t. I would rather have the screening than have some guy grope me, especially when he looks like a person that has caused all this security screening to happen in the first place. They seem to be the ones doing the screening these days, at least it’s that way in Toronto, Canada.

  6. Fly? Not a chance.
    vanilla recently posted..Crops are In

  7. When I was in Baghdad (June 2003 – Sept 2003, w/a humanitarian organization) (and that’s a phrase you don’t get to throw into conversation a whole lot), I had to go through a LOT of checkpoints. There was one particular time I remember though – going through the checkpoint to get into the Iraqi Convention Center (which was at that time dubbed the “Iraqi Assistance Center” and was the central hub for a lot of the humanitarian work being done at the time). A CNN reporter and her cameraman were in line in front of me (I honestly don’t remember who it was, I just saw CNN on her badge – it’s not like she was made up like they always are in their promo pics) and she couldn’t find her second form of photo ID. They weren’t going to let her by because she couldn’t find it and she was ALL up in arms because she didn’t feel it was necessary (she was part of the _PRESS_ after all!).

    How quickly she probably would have eviscerated the military and their security procedures on international TV if it had been discovered that they’d let someone through with only one form of photo id and they’d happened to be a terrorist with a bomb.

    Do I want to be electronically stripped? Not particularly, although I’m _slightly_ more comfortable with it if the screen is not visible to anyone other than the single TSA guard (although I’d prefer that there be a “boys” line and a “girls” line, with the TSA guard being of the appropriate sex). And pat downs aren’t my favorite thing, but as long as it’s not done by a male who is not my husband, I’m not nearly as worried about it being a pleasurable experience for anyone (kinda like that Friends episode where Rachel’s got that thing for Pheobe’s OB-GYN).

    I guess I’ve just been through enough checkpoints to have figured out multiple ways to get through them without being searched. And if I, who am _NOT_ looking for ways to do harm to this country can come up with multiple ways (dressing as a nun would be a PERFECT cover), then people who _WANT_ to do harm will DEFINITELY be able to figure out ways (they were specifically on the lookout for pregnant women at one point in Iraq because one “fetus” had turned out to be a bomb).

    It’s a crazy world we live in. I think this is another red herring that Satan has thrown out at us. Instead of figuring out how best to reach people (who maybe happen to be terrorists) with the Gospel, we’re worrying about why Christian leaders aren’t up in arms about security screenings.

    And yes, I totally just did the “Jesus Juke” that Jon was talking about yesterday on SCL. I’m not ashamed.
    Princess Leia recently posted..Surprises

    • I feel totally Jesus juked. :) It is a crazy world we live in. You know, as more health threats have appeared, we’ve gotten used to more and more invasive forms of preventative health care – things that are unpleasant and were probably shocking when first suggested. But we realized they were for our own good. I don’t like the idea of a goon patting me or my wife down either. But maybe it’s just something we’ll get used to.

  8. Sadly, my wife and I booked a flight before this all started going down. And while your post had me laughing out loud–as per usual [smile]–the more I read about this, the less happy I am.

    If they let me take a picture of my full-body scan so I can censor it and post it on my blog, I’d totally take the radiation for that kind opportunity.

    If a guy tries to touch my wife to do a “pat down” (where they don’t seem to “pat” nearly as much as “grope”)… I’m speaking up. Not cool, dude. Not cool at all.

    Somehow, I don’t think they’ll let me shoot a video of me getting frisked. If they do, it may show up on YouTube so I can blog about the experience.

    The thing that burns me up is how many TSA agents aren’t following protocol and so molesting people as well as the whole child pornography thing. I’m not okay with that. I realize this is a complicated issue… but this appears to be a case of losing the plot.

    Luke Holzmann recently posted..Emptying the Suitcase

  9. How bad are you gonna feel when they run the “raw biscuit crotch bomber” story on the news?
    katdish recently posted..Don’t Quit until the Picture’s Complete

  10. I was thinking maybe of pulling a St. Francis and completely removing my clothes, and saying, “You want to take a look? Here ya go.” :)
    Fred recently posted..I Am Sad Today

  11. I prefer the original Latin, crotchicus maxiumus. :)

    It is certainly invasive, but I haven’t been upset enough to protest anything. I still want to get on the plane and fly…
    jasonS recently posted..Poverty Has an Appetite

  12. There is “rumor” that I heard — about Nuns versus Muslim women. Nuns could get frisked but not the Muslim women. It’s against Sharia law for women to be frisked and TSA won’t frisk them. How is this right?

    As for me, I don’t think I could submit to a “molestation”, especially if guys are present because I was molested as a kid. Bad memories and bad feelings. No thank you.

    I suppose I could follow the Muslim women and say “it’s against my religion” and see what happens. :-)

    But the real thing I’d do is refuse to fly. Why take a chance on getting patted down. My biggest fear is that some day I might have to fly to reach a relative in need. *sigh*
    Lee Ann L. recently posted..WIP- Maxine Quilt

  13. I already hated the hassle of flying, so this is just another reason to avoid it.

    And car trips are great. You get to see all the things you miss by flying, and no one gropes you or forces you to subject yourself to radiation. Car trips are going to make a comeback. 😉
    Margaret @ Single and Sane recently posted..More Than We Can Imagine

  14. People want tighter security and then whine when they get it. I say whatever. If it’s going to keep me from being on the plane that goes down because of some radical terrorist nut job then by all means give me a good dose of radiation.
    Annie K recently posted..The Trail of Reconciliation

  15. As someone who experienced the patdown years ago (after 9/11, but before the more recent stuff), I just want to say: If you must fly, avoid Indianapolis. The woman touched everything except my crotchal region on that occasion. (Although I did have a crochet project in my bag that she took a closer look at.)
    Su recently posted..Holiday Reading Challenge

  16. Thank you for finding the humor in such an uncomfortable topic once again! It is one of the many reasons that I like reading your blog. I loved the “raw biscuit dough” idea and the play on words. he he

    A couple of lines have been running through my head reading this blog:
    1. Princess Leia in “Star Wars”: The more you tighten your grip, TSA, the more the terrorists will slip through your fingers.” Seriously, we try to spam-proof email, hack-proof our computer networks and idiot-proof our labor saving devices without success. What makes us think we, as a free country, can terrorist-proof our air travel?
    2. Substitute “terrorist” for the following slogan: “I tried to childproof my house, but they keep getting in.” (My friend who adopted five kids has that poster near the front door.)
    3. The terrorists have won. They don’t have to do another single terrorist act involving airplanes because they will soon have killed the airline industry with fear mongering. Air travel is no longer convenient , other than in saving time. Even that advantage is going to be minimized because we will now have to plan to be at the airport three or more hours before the flight in order to give enough time to go through the screening process, unless they are going to have twenty of those 10-minute x-rays machines in each terminal!

    We are currently saving up for a trip to Walt Disney World sometime in 2011, which would involve airline travel, since we are actually closer to Disneyland in CA. If the current insanity continues, we might just change our plans to attend the CA theme park, which is a drivable distance and save a bunch of dough (he he).

  17. Oh Matt,

    I feel like a bad person. I was laughing so hard while reading this, the tears were streaming down my face. I had to stop several times before I could go on.

    What with biscuit dough and nuns and *blarf* — I’m totally undone.

    And this is a serious matter. Really it is.
    Cassandra Frear recently posted..True Confessions of a Writer- The Great Books

  18. ‘Tis the season. I have tons of freshly made pumpkin butter. Not only do I defend my right to carry it in my pants (sans jar) but I will smell all Thanksgivingish and carry the spirit through the airport. Go ahead and grope, TSA. You’re going to be very surprised.
    Candy recently posted..Carry on

  19. There was this time where I had raw biscuits and cole slaw in my pants, because I don’t like the peanuts OR the pretzels they serve on the airline, and they totally confiscated both. Later when I walked back by the security check, the friskers were eating my stuff and sipping Orange Fanta. I was all like, “Hey, where did you get that Orange Fanta?”

  20. does it seem strange to anyone else (and perhaps things have changed, but last time I checked…) that muslim women don’t seem to have any rights in their own country about being violated, but there are people concerned about them being marginally uncomfortable in a public airport?

  21. Personally, I think when I fly home for Thanksgiving, I’m going to wear a shirt with the famous Ben Franklin quote: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” I’ll be as polite as I can to the searcher (I’m going to try and assume the best of people, and thus assume that she is not enjoying this either) and explain in advance that being touched at all by anyone for any reason freaks me out, so don’t be surprised if I start shaking. I’m sure that will make them all comfortable about what they are doing.

    It’s not even tighter security, it just makes it look like it. I suppose maybe they’ll have less of a risk of terrorist simply because nobody wants to fly anymore? Yeah, I’m not buying it. This won’t stop determined terrorists from getting bombs onto planes; nothing short of mandatory full cavity searches will do that. I’m sure that’ll fly, terrible pun intended.

    Honestly, if everyone’s a potential weapon… well, I’m a college student living in a crowded city. Every day I enter many crowded places that would be completely devastated if a bomb went off, places that contain more people than an airplane. So what’s next? Scanners outside the lecture hall in case someone goes crazy in the morning physics lecture? Security checkpoints you have to go through to get on a city bus? Backpack x-rays every time I want to enter my dorm? (Yes, I’m aware that the other concern on planes is hijacking, but bombs are not a hijacker’s weapon; guns and knives are, but we’ve got metal detectors for those.)

  22. Seriously. Let’s skip the groping & nudie pictures and go back to the flipping NO FLY LIST!!!!
    And for crying out loud; RACIAL PROFILING!!

  23. I can sympathize with the reason for the new security measures, but I can’t imagine subjecting myself to all that radiation if I were a frequent flier! And I know this sounds really bad, but one of my concerns would actually be that the guy checking me out would not find me attractive enough without my clothes on. Now you can’t even hide behind clothes if you have a few flaws!!!!!!!

    No, really, it’s completely embarrassing – I’m trying to imagine it!
    Gabrielle Eden aka Marie recently posted..Hallelujah!

  24. The No-Fly List is actually still in use, it’s just ridiculously easy to circumvent. Someone on the list can use someone else’s credit card to buy tickets, check in online and doctor the boarding pass to match the name on their ID, and then waltz through security with their real ID; the list is only checked when the tickets are bought. I really wonder what we would find if they actually started checking the list at the airport. It’s one of the many easily remedied flaws in the system.

    Racial profiling is wrong and won’t do squat to help us, but behavioral profiling could do a world of good. Israel’s airports (which have much more of a terrorist concern than ours) gets people safely from the parking lot through security to the gate in 25 minutes without even taking off their shoes; one of the reasons why is behavioral profiling. Our airports say they’re on the lookout for suspicious behavior, but they clearly aren’t.

    Also regarding the cancer risk: They say that the scanners expose you to only a fraction of the radiation that a full flight exposes you to, but there are two problems with this. One, unlike regular radiation exposure, this focuses primarily on the skin, and two, their claims have not been independently verified. Is skin cancer going to be the next major problem for frequent fliers? I guess either we’ll see, or they’ll get rid of the scanners before we have to.

  25. Thanks for adding a funny approach to something so many of us have strong opinions about. Stay blessed…john

  26. I think that cole slaw rights should be supported by the Supreme Court. It makes more sense than feeling up nuns.
    Jason recently posted..My Weekly Update Via Twitter for 2010-12-12

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