Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Protesting the Pat Down

Today I heard about a protest that is supposed to go on tomorrow - the busiest travel day of the year. The protest has to do with the pat down searches in airports that have been getting so much attention in the news recently. (A Google News search with the words 'pat down' will bring up thousands of articles.) The article on the 'On Holladay' blog  says that many folks are considering wearing kilts - and going commando - in order...I dunno...punish those officers that are doing the pat down searches.

One New Yorker made headlines when he showed up to the airport in nothing but his underwear (pictured above). 33-year-old Jason Rockwood (Seriously?! He shows up to the airport in his underwear, waiting to be felt up, and his name is ROCKWOOD!? Anybody see the potential for a gay porn parody here?) said that "[the] procedures TSA uses to screen passengers [are] undignified."

Undignified though some stories coming out may sound, I'd like you all to take a quick step back. While I am all for personal privacy - the gym locker room is my own private hell, especially when unbelievably gorgeous people are changing around me - and wanting to not have strangers' hands traveling up and down your body, I think we need to figure out with whom we're truly angry.

Quick story: I used to be a juvenile detention officer. As part of my intake duties, I was required to strip search every new male detainee. Mind you, I was a juvenile detention officer. That means the guys being locked up at my facility were between the ages of 10 and 18. There was no way around doing this. Every detainee had to be strip searched before entering the facility in order to check for drugs, weapons, etc. (Believe me, the places some people will put a few blunts, a bottle of pills, a knife, razor blade, or even a gun would shock, disgust, and baffle you.) The detainees could not shower, have new clothes, be given a dinner tray, or offered any services until the strip search is performed. It's policy. It's the law. It's also the least favorite part of being an officer or a detainee. Trust that I had no satisfaction in trying to quiet down a 10-year-old after he spent an hour screaming and crying that he didn't want to go through the procedure. However, again, if I wanted my paycheck, I had to do the job. I might not like it. I might not enjoy it. I might even wish every single time I go through it that I could punch the person in the face who made the process so invasive. Alternatively, every time I found the drugs or the weapon being hidden by the new detainee, I understood why it had to be done. But, I did not make the policy.

Don't think that parents never bitched and moaned that their poor baby had to be stripped by an adult male. Don't think that I didn't get dirty looks by the little criminals' loved ones.

Making it more difficult for the officers and agents who have to perform these searches isn't going to do anything except piss off the officers and agents. They didn't write the policy. They're just the poor schmucks on the bottom of the totem pole who have to enforce the policy. If they want their paycheck, that is. Keep in mind that the only way this particular form of protest is going to affect change is if the TSA executives are the ones doing the pat downs - and being forced to 'accidentally cup' the genitalia of fat men in kilts.

My thoughts on the going-commando-kilt protests specifically, in case you care, is that it makes you look like an ass that wants to get fondled. Possibly a skeezy, creepy perv. Don't do it. It's not funny, and you're not punishing the right person.

Now, I would just like to say... This discussion does not preclude my own Riot against the highly invasive nature of these scans and searches. I mean, think of the millions of people driving deathmobiles at 80mph. We had a potential terrorist leave a poorly made fertilizer bomb in a parked car, but nobody is stopping every driver in their driveway before they get in their car. Police aren't randomly pulling over every 10th or 20th car just to check for weapons or bombs. It's not a fair way of thinking. Terrorists come in many forms and go about performing their acts in many ways. Flying is still the safest form of travel. I think this kind of searching and scanning and such merely makes the fears most people already have artificially heightened. Thus, the crazy kilt protests.

Reports, though, are saying that most airports aren't seeing too many underwear clad, half-naked, commando-kilt protesters. So, I guess not so many people jumped on that particular bandwagon.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

4 comments:

  1. All I have to say on the topic is that I am NOT flying anywhere...period. LOL! Not that I fly anyway. I have no money and nowhere to go but now? Not a chance.

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  2. Lol I just wanted to say that I do not like flying. When I have to fly however I wear one of my Utilikilts. Not out of any form of protest, but because they are the most comfortable clothing I own. Going commando is part of that comfort. Plus with the plethora of pockets I don't need a carry on. Next time I fly I may have to reconsider my wardrobe,

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  3. I'm glad we don't have this sort of thing in the UK.
    My grandmother lives in Ireland so I have to fly to see her which would mean, if this sort of process occurred in UK airports, some total randomer would see me naked about 4 times a year.

    It's just a no. I've committed no crime so why should I be made to feel humiliated? Even then, I feel sorry for people who have committed crimes and have to undergo such a mentally invasive procedure.
    I hate flying. It's not glamorous and it's not fun. It's like taking the bus but in the air. Such a procedure would make me swear off flying for good.

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  4. While I appreciate your analogy, I feel that it's flawed. The common air traveler hasn't been sentenced to detention and rehabilitation in a secure facility. He hasn't committed a crime. He just wants to get from point A to point B. Does this in any way make it reasonable to search him like a convict? I tend to think not. Yes, we are shooting the messengers. But all the customer complaints in the world won't change TSA policy unless the TSA employees also decide that the policy's at the top of the Bad Decisions List (TM), right after shipboard romances and talking in the theatre, and let their supervisors know that in no uncertain terms.

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