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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Flying with the TSA






Last April was the first time I had flown commercial airlines in over a year. What a difference a year makes.  As I approached security, I couldn't help but notice these photos posted by The TSA. (Transportation Security Administration) giving you a hint of how you will look after the image scanner undresses you.  I was mesmerized by the androgynous figure with a penis at the 5 o'clock position.  Does everyone have to go through this scanner now?

My question was answered when a surly female TSA agent commanded me to step into the scanner. I stepped in, put my hands above my head.  The TSA agent said "O.K." so I proceeded to step out. "No, No!" She shouted, I meant O.K. I was ready to take the picture."  "I have to give you a pat down anyway."  She gave me the option of a patdown in a private room or right there.  I stayed put. The TSA agent then proceeded with the pat down, directing me to tell her if there are any sensitive areas. She ran her hands across my breasts. I felt like I was getting a drive through quickie gynecologic exam. Ahead of me was a male TSA agent gawking from afar. I looked behind me to find another male TSA agent gawking. The female TSA agent placed her hands on my hips. With a nervous laugh I said, "that's where my son "tazers" me." She neither laughed nor moved her hands. She slid her rubber gloves along my elastic waistband and exclaimed, "the two don't move well together."  She rubbed a wand across my body & took it to a nearby machine for "testing." I looked at a nearby male TSA agent. "What is she testing for?" I asked. I never received an answer but just told I was good to go.

 I felt violated but thought maybe I was being overly sensitive. That was until I was in my Atlanta hotel room. I stumbled on a piece on Fox news about TSA screenings. Basically the Fox piece said the Obama administration spent $1 billion on these body scanners that have not even proven to be effective in detecting terrorism plots. They only serve to degrade and humiliate people. Fox News claims that privately run TSA agents such as the ones in the San Francisco airport, are much more friendly and effective at discovering terrorism plots than government run TSA programs.

I am not in a hurry to fly commercial airlines soon. In fact Terrafugia has an airplane called the transition. It is basically a flying car. You land at any runway and put the wings up and just drive home. I may just put down a deposit for one of those planes rather than being groped and gawked at to fly commercial airlines.