Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated an no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Just about one year ago today, TSA announced that they would be adding new security measures to airports. This included a Rapiscan machine—which would basically publicly strip search people–and serious pat-downs, the likes of which only your spouse or a doctor would be allowed to do.
I was shocked and people nationwide were outraged, declaring they would never allow their 4th Amendment rights to be violated in such a way. News reports were coming out that airlines were concerned that people wouldn’t fly for the upcoming holidays.
I realized I had some decisions to make because my husband and I were scheduled to fly home to Texas for Christmas. I knew I couldn’t do it, couldn’t allow someone to search me without “probable cause”—so I anxiously watched the news a few days before Thanksgiving to find out if people were standing up for themselves.
I thought the airports would be deserted. I thought people would stand in front of airports with signs and banners, saying they refused to be treated like criminals.
Nothing happened. There was one lone protester at Los Angeles International who all the local news crews were interviewing—but no one else. Reporters were declaring that Thanksgiving 2010 was going to be just as busy as ever. I watched hordes of people standing like sheep in security lines, allowing their rights to be trampled on.
Then and there I decided I would never fly again as long as TSA used such Nazi-like tactics, accusing children and old people of possibly being threats to airlines instead of profiling the REAL potential terrorists. And like it or not and as un-PC as this may sound, ALL the terrorists on airplanes have been Muslims. No, not all Muslims are terrorists—but ALL terrorists have been Muslim.
Part of my ban included traveling a total of 6 days by train from LA to Texas and back last Christmas and I hadn’t flown since. My husband and I forfeited our summer vacation—in part because of Barack Obama’s economy, and also because of my TSA ban.
But today, November 2, 2011, I’m sitting in the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank waiting to fly to Atlanta.
I didn’t have a choice; I’m filming a new Conservative talk show and had to go.
All week I’ve been feeling a combination of terror and guilt. Would I be arrested, quoting the 4th all the way to TSA jail? Or would I succumb to their demands and allow myself to be strip-searched and/or sexually groped by strangers?
Ironically the first thing I heard on the local news this morning was that LAX airport had to be shut down for almost an hour because a man went AWOL in security. Apparently he had been asked to go to a secondary screening but instead he grabbed his bag and took off running.
I was so proud of that man who chose to follow his natural instincts instead of jumping off the proverbial cliff with the rest of American fliers. Of course, he could have been a Muslim terrorist for all I know—but still. I pictured myself doing the exact same thing, running like a crazy person toward the exit, quoting the 4th all the way.
Fortunately for everyone involved, nothing happened to me. I wore an outfit that didn’t have any zippers or metal and of course I didn’t bring any liquids or anything that could have looked suspicious.
However, the woman right in front of me was taken to the ‘second screening’ and not only went through the Rapiscan machine but was also patted down like a criminal.
I watched all of this while pretending to tie my shoes. The girl was young, in her 20’s and had blonde hair and blue eyes.
First, she stepped in the Rapiscan machine. That thing is completely deceptive in that it basically just looks like you’re standing in a glass-enclosed walkway, while in fact you’re being undressed via a powerful high-tech x-ray. A 30-something year old man carefully looked at her now naked body on a monitor nearby. I’ve heard the images aren’t quite as graphic as they originally were and don’t show details of your body, but still—the young woman was virtually naked while the TSA guy studied her body. For weapons. Whatever.
Next she was patted down by a hefty TSA woman. The agent felt the girl’s arms and then yep—she felt her breasts. Right there in public—she felt all over the young blonde non-terrorist woman’s breasts, very thoroughly. The TSA agent then moved down her stomach, thighs, etc.
I’m typing this in public and don’t want anyone to think I’m a porn writer so I’ll just leave it at that.
I’m not sure what I would have done had I been singled out. I had my pocket Constitution handy and warned my husband to stand by in case he had to come up with bail money.
I hope that guy who went nuts at LAX is okay; I really, really understand why he ran.
(Update: I wasn’t Rapiscan’d or groped on my flight back to LA, either. So far so good…)