Terrorist Turduckens for Thanksgiving

The terrorist community must laugh at the clown show going on at our airports. While the TSA is performing body scans using the RapeScan, I mean Rapiscan, machine and enhanced pat-downs on chubby grandmas and 6-year-old boys, they have discovered a new strategy to attack us. It’s called the Terrorist Turducken—one terrorist inserted within the next inserted within the next. The “turkey” on the outside just has to step into the scanner and allow the TSA agent to ogle his penis (a minor inconvenience for suicide bombers), while the “duck” and “chicken” inside have all the necessary explosive gels concealed within them like giblets. Gasp. I think it could work. This time next year, you’ll have to submit to an evisceration at the airport before boarding. Where will it end? There, I think.

While the majority of people sigh and go through the motions in the hopes of getting to their destination on time, a few have stopped to think and this thinking has led to some questions. For one, are these scanning machines safe? Some of us avoid excessive dental x-rays and fight when they want to put cell phone towers or nuclear reactors in our backyards. Why shouldn’t we question the safety of the scanning device? I saw an interview with a radiologist who expressed concern, especially for children and people who fly frequently. Who do we believe? The people manufacturing the machine? I think not.

The TSA says only a small percentage of flyers will be pulled aside to be put through the scanner or enhanced pat-down and that would be as a result of something suspicious coming up in the initial security check. Hmmmm. I wonder what that little boy, with bare torso exposed and being pat down, did to look suspicious. What about that infant’s mom who was pulled aside because she was carrying, wait for it, baby formula. (Some would argue that baby formula is a dangerous substance, but I’ll not get into the breast feeding versus baby formula debate here.) And then there was the man forced to wear a urine bag since his bladder cancer surgery. The pat-down was so aggressive, he ended up having to fly with urine all over his clothes—a humiliating experience for him and no joy for the person sitting next to him on the plane. Attention Travelers: You may board the plane with your urine, but only if it’s inside you.

Brian Sodergren decided a protest was necessary and put up a webpage for National Opt-Out Day to be held this Wednesday, the busiest travel day of the year. He suggests that all people opt out of the scan and have enhanced pat-downs instead, in full view of the people waiting in line behind them. These pat-downs take significantly longer than a body scan and will cause major delays at the airports. Bigger delays than the usual major delays.

If the TSA were unionized, there would be a quicker way to get this scanning process removed from our airports. Everyone stop bathing at least a month before your trip. No doubt the union would protest that it is a work hazard for them to pat down dirty people. Done.

You should know that if you show up at the security checkpoint and are pulled out of the line to be irradiated or sexually molested and decide you don’t want either, it’s too late. You’ll have to go through one or both and maybe even pay an $11,000 fine. Just ask John Tyner, the guy who got his experience on tape.  

And here’s a site where you can read all about travelers’ experiences with enhanced pat-downs: http://www.thousandsstandingaround.org/ 

So, what do you think? Have they gone too far in their screening procedures? Or is it a necessary evil for safe travel?

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17 Comments

  1. Roberto said,

    November 22, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    All I can say is that, since I have heard about this whole pat down thing, I have, so far, purchased 143 airplane tickets. So I guess I’d say I don’t have a problem with it. (Not true, really.)

    • November 22, 2010 at 5:38 pm

      Stocking Stuffer idea: The non-lead based radiation shields that you place in your underwear that say “Don’t Touch My Junk.”

      • Roberto said,

        November 22, 2010 at 5:44 pm

        Wow – I just read a few of the experiences people have had…Wow. I can’t believe some of the stories. This is not a laughing matter. Unbelievable.

  2. Richard said,

    November 22, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    I love the line, ‘Attention Travelers: You may board the plane with your urine, but only if it’s inside you’. Sage advice, indeed. 😉

    I think airport security has tightened to rather farcical levels, and these crazy x-ray machines are a new low point. If I wanted people at airports to see me naked I’d carry pictures. Or simply leave my clothes at home. At least that would cut down on the luggage.

    Western society continues to become more and more oppresive, in tiny increments, behaving like the frightened children the terrorists want us to be. And when a society begins to emulate the values of those it is fighting to resist, it has already lost the war.

    Great blog. 🙂

    • November 22, 2010 at 7:28 pm

      Thanks, Rich. Just remember, if you left your clothes at home, you’d be arrested for indecent exposure…at least up until the point when you arrived at the security checkpoint. 😉

  3. Jessica S said,

    November 22, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Have they gone too far? Undoubtedly! I’m extremely curious to see what will happen in the next couple of days as people start travelling for Thanksgiving. Will the TSA backoff, so they don’t get as much negative media, or will they keep up their ridiculous groping procedures to keep us all safe from possble STDs? I mean, what else do they think they’re going to find up there?

    My husband and I won’t even fly. We both believe that the only one who should be touching our privates are us. Period. No exception. Like hands stinkin’ off! What about muslim women? Are they exempt from these pat-downs for religious reasons? (See http://cnsnews.com/news/article/muslim-group-advises-women-wearing-hijab.)

    Excuse me. I’m Christian, and I’m pretty sure, I’m not okay with another person (man or woman) groping around my privates. Only the Muslims are going to get that right?

    Since when do we give up our rights when we walk into an airport? What about buses and taxis? Those are alternative forms of transportation. Should we get groped for getting into one of those?

    • November 22, 2010 at 8:28 pm

      Jeez, can you imagine being groped each morning on your way to work before getting into a cab, the bus, or the subway. That’s sick. But maybe not that farfetched considering the way things are going.

      Think what it will do for the economy with all the Groper jobs created.

  4. JJ said,

    November 23, 2010 at 9:40 am

    In the last year I’ve done 22 location shoots all involving flights, that’s more than 44 security checks and boarding. Its gotten to the point that I’m on a first name basis with the delta baggage handlers at JFK. When I show up with a bunch of excess bags. (Go figure.)And pay overage rate and they put priority tags on the stuff. I’m still no different than anyone else on that plane.
    I’m sorry when you board that plane your just going to have to be searched.
    Yes, There are some TSA agents need better training on how to deal with the public. And some passengers need to understand that the TSA is trying to do a job.
    So if you feel violated when you have to walk through a body scanner, then take the bus. You can call me anything you’d like, scared, paranoid, etc.. But Americans are not liked. They will try to take planes down.
    I have no desire to hear a large boom, turn and look only to see blue skies, and wonder what happened to my friends in coach, as I plummet to my death.
    And when it happens again, the first thing everyone wants to know is “How did this happen”
    Also please check your religion at the front counter, no one should be exempt for the body scans, it’s about security.
    I have friends who travel more that I do, and it strange you don’t hear them bitching.
    I want to come home to my wife and kid at the end of a job.
    This is the way it is. deal with it.

    • November 23, 2010 at 11:31 am

      Hey, John,

      Thanks for chiming in. There definitely has to be better training. I’ve read tons of accounts online and there doesn’t seem to be one procedure that everyone is sticking to. The TSA officially says you can opt-out of the scan and go for the pat-down, but I’ve heard stories of people forced into the scan by the TSA agent. The TSA website also needs to be improved. I spent some time on there yesterday and couldn’t find the answers to some questions.

      I think you make a good suggestion, though, when you say if you don’t like it, take a bus. Everyone who doesn’t like it, should take another form of transportation if possible. That would significantly reduce the number of people flying. As a result, airlines would cut the number of flights and prices would go up. Some people who didn’t mind the invasive process might have to stop flying at that point because it would be too expensive. The airlines would freak out and raise their voices and I bet that security process would change real fast…or maybe we’d just bail out the airlines. 😉

  5. JJ said,

    November 23, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Lets start with better looking TSA agents. For the men who want a pat-down they should have great looking female models, in cute outfits. And the opposite for the women, Guy’s in tight jeans and skimpy t-shirt. Then the complaining would stop. What guy would complain about a little “how do you do” from a beautiful girl early in the morning. I know i wouldn’t.
    Problem solved !
    This might cause more men to fly than women.

  6. Richard Huttinger said,

    November 23, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Adjustments in early education could help ease this problem. Teach children to touch one anothers’ genitals as a greeting rather than shaking hands. The handshake evolved as a way of saying. “See, I am unarmed and come in peace.” The genital rubdown says, “See, I am unarmed and come in your hand.” Bonobo chimps use genital contact as a greeting and conflict resolution technique and live in peaceful social groups. Theirs’ is also a matriarchal society, not that I’m suggesting Sarah Palin should be leading us.

    Staying home on Thanksgiving seems like a reasonable idea to me. A great deal of unpleasantness with parents, siblings and in-laws could also be avoided this way, and think of the reduction in our carbon footprint!

  7. girlboxing said,

    November 23, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Great rant. I guess the point is if we *do* feel it is important to screen for the worst case scenario, can’t it be smarter than frisking or xray portals out of an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie? After all, one doesn’t get patted down at Israeli airports. They’ve developed a professional organization of well paid specialists that use clever interviewing techniques long before you ever get to scanning your carry-on — or passing through security with all of its many devices, less intrusive and costly than hours, staffed by well-paid professionals who know what they’re are doing and can make good judgement calls.

    I’ll add that all of this equipment, et al, is *still* in reaction to 9-11 and then, as now, we need to decide if we want fear of terrorism to dictate our national consciousness or not. Unfortunately, we have been continuing to aid and abet fear — perhaps this “revolt” is our way of saying enough is enough, it’s time for us to move on and get back to normal!

    • November 23, 2010 at 7:50 pm

      Well said. I’m not familiar with the procedures used at Israeli airports, but I have heard that Ben Gurion International Airport is one of the safest. I don’t suppose in the matter of national security it would be advisable to consult with others who had been successful. Nor would they wish to give away their procedures because it could compromise their own security.

      I was coming home from a trip to Scotland in August 2009, the week the Locherbie bomber was released. I couldn’t believe the security they had in place. I wondered if it had been souped up just for that occasion. After being asked at least 20 questions on line for check-in and proceeding to the security checkpoint, I was cleared. Imagine my surprise when I was told I had to be frisked at the entrance of the plane. I had never seen this happen once you’d already passed the checkpoint.

      Same thing happened to me coming back from Italy in October. In both instances, the pat-downs were not of the enhanced variety and seemed pointless after all the other screening.

  8. Jackie Rosanio said,

    November 24, 2010 at 8:57 am

    All I can say is that I think instead of the Opt Out day to frig things up, why don’t all the hairy out of shape men and women in the world wear a thong and pasties to the airport in protest. These could be made from the lead fig leaf variety that they sell to put in your pants! I think this would get more attention, there would be no need to get scanned and the TSA agents won’t be going near them with a ten foot pole! The lines would move rather quickly!

  9. November 27, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    I’m also disinclined to trust a patdown done to my labia by TSA employees who are required to be high-school degreed, at the most. Apart from basic orientations, there is no more specific training or skill set necessary for the job. I am growing increasingly fond of the newly-coined descriptor “security theater”.

    • November 28, 2010 at 1:45 pm

      The term “security theater” was my new, shiny thing for the morning. I happily went off to research it. Thanks for that. 🙂

      • JJ said,

        November 28, 2010 at 4:39 pm

        The new marketing slogan for the TSA…. “don’t worry, my hands are still warm from the last guy”


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