Meditations on a father’s duty

Anyone with internet access has no doubt heard of the latest act in Transportation Security Theatre.

A quick recap for those who have not: a gentleman who happened to have a digital recording device “opted out” of walking through the full-body scan (also referred to as the Porn-Scan, the Pervo-Scan, and the alliteratively correct RapeScan), and was informed that he would be the recipient of the new “comprehensive pat down”.

Having not received the time-honoured dinner and movie, nor even a kiss, the gentleman in question announced that if his wedding tackle got groped, he would have the groper arrested.

The local TSA operatives got their noses out of joint, with the end result that said dissenter got escorted from the aeroport with dire threats of an investigation and an $11,000 fine in his near future.

This has happily rebounded throughout BlogWorld with the result that a TSA spokes-critter has been caught on record making a very stupid statement:

“The (body image scanning) technology is sent to the airports without the ability to save, transmit or print the images,” said Greg Soule, TSA spokesman, in an interview with “At airports, the images are examined by a security officer in a remote location, and, once the image is cleared, they’re deleted.”

Oh, dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

TSA employees are people. And people — like it or not — will find some way to Rule 34 the scanner images. Trust me, I deal with people every day.

It’s going to happen.

So, I predict that in about a year — two years at the outside — a different TSA spokes-critter will be on national TeeVee explaining that the assorted scanned images of females’ dishabille (Herself gleefully comes up with “PILFs!”, I leave the translation of that to others better versed with Seinfeld than myself, but apparently the first word is “Passengers”) is an isolated incident, that it can’t happen again and steps have been taken to fire the TSA employee responsible.


In light of this, if I were the father of teenage girls, there is no way this side of Hel that I’d take them anywhere near an aeroport with this kind of set-up … ever again.

In what rational world does it become okay for someone to tell you, “Hey, we’re going to take nekkid pictures of your precious daughters — but it’s okay! It’s done by an anonymous person, and it’s for your safety! And we won’t ever, ever keep those pictures! We promise!” …

… And people are fine with this. More than that, people are being told this is a Good Thing.

It’s a Good Thing for a stranger to take nude pictures of your little girl. More than that, It’s For Your Safety! The Government Says So!

*blink, blink*

Is it just me, or is there something fundamentally wrong with that whole mind-set?

Those wishing to make some kind of statement to the aerolines, may check out these links:

Opt Out Day

We Won’t Fly

Personally, unless some government entity is paying my way on government business, I’m going to do my level best not to ever go through an aeroport with this level of idiocy installed.

And I plan to send a hand-written letter to the major aerolines and the local aeroports stating just this, also.


The Cornered Cat

53 thoughts on “Meditations on a father’s duty”

  1. sorry, first attempt to comment wasn't clear. let's try again.

    I am driving from Dallas to Houston tomorrow instead of flying, in part, for the very reasons you mention. It's a day trip for business that Southwest Airlines stood to receive almost $300 of my company's money due to late booking on my part. I have not decided on whether or not to advise Southwest Airlines of their lost business at the hands of the guberment yet.

  2. K. Erickson, by all means do tell them. Because the only way this idiocy will get rectified is by pressure from the airlines.

    Their argument, and I find it unconvincing, is that you don't have a right to fly, it is a privilege they claim. But by my reading of the constitution, I have the right to do any damned thing I like that is not otherwise infringing on the rights of others. therefore such a search is a violation of my fourth amendment rights. To date, they have gotten away with this because nobody has ever taken them to court. Methinks this may change very very soon.

  3. The missus, bless her, had a very good week at the local Aboriginal Casino (Tulalip, actually) up Nawth of us. Since she now has several thousand in found money she booked a Christmas trip to Las Vegas. When we heard of the new porno scans and sexual assaults offered as alternatives, she called the airline to cancel. We got a full refund as she pointed out that the rules were drastically changed after purchase. She also called the hotel and cancelled. The nice lady on the phone said that was happening often and they were concerned about it.

    Janet's Jerk Offs are sowing salt over O'Dumbo's debris piles which are becoming what's left of Nevada's economy. Apparently that's how the NSDWP (National Socialist Democrat Worker Party) is going to rescue the US Economy.

    So instead of seeing a few shows and having some nice meals in LV restaurants, we're seriously looking at a very nice six year old diesel motorhome, which will cost us 1/3 less and last much longer.

  4. Actually, things are getting much worse because now they are gropeing 3 year old little girls and putting their hands down people's pants. But if you are wearing a Hajib or a Burqua, you may pass through freely without molestation…

    Now what part of the world have all of these terrorists hailed from again? What religion did they claim to practice? I do believe they were obstensibly muslims were they not? Gee.. something doesn't seem quite right…

  5. I long ago made the decision not to fly with the TSA. Anyone with a modicum of training can get improvised weapons past their "security" and people accidentally taking weapons on multiple round trips (in their carry-on luggage) without anyone noticing.

    We need to switch to the Israeli model of airport security. What we have now is a joke.

  6. My daughter is 2.5 yrs old and VERY talkative and loud. Her newest phrase is "Whatever, loser…I rock!" which was taught to her by her aunt. I am tempted to by a ticket from COS to DEN for her and I, so I can get her to say that to the TSAGoon doing a pat down.

    The problem is, my fatherly instinct would leave at least one dead Goon and me either dead or in prison and I couldn't protect her from there…

  7. I just yesterday ran across a financial news item which commented that shared ownership and chartering of corporate aircraft is now a booming business. Saves wasting time with all the commercial aviation folderol.

  8. I'm driving 14 hours to see relatives for the holidays rather than fly for two reasons:

    1. I don't particularly feel like supporting the airlines, and by proxy the Touchy Sexually Agency, by submitting to unnecessary and ineffective search procedures.
    2. It's too expensive to fly my dog out for the holidays, and seeing as how she's treated me better than 99% of the people I've known over the years, it seems kinda crappy to make her sit out the holidays in a kennel.

    That said, I will have to fly for business in the near future, and when that happens, I plan to go the full nine yards during my groping after opting out of being bathed in radiation by groaning, moaning, and demanding more (see When Harry Met Sally – the Restaurant Scene if you still haven't gotten it). I may turn four shades of red, but it'll be worth it. hehehehe

  9. I would think the parents of daughters of any age would avoid flying. I found the TSA inspection of my then-year-old daughter's diaper at LAX back in 2005 to be crossing the line quite enough.

  10. I work for the DoD. They send me on work trips about once every month or two on average, and I still don't fly. I've learned that picking up every work trip within a 12 hour driving radius allows me to pawn off the few trips that require flying onto my co-workers.

    Granted, the fact that they don't even make seats wide enough for my shoulder span is just icing on the TSA cake I would have to deal with before even boarding.

    So just because the government is paying you to travel doesn't mean you have to do it by air.

  11. I'm disgusted by what's going on in airports in the name of security. But I'm not interested in not flying. I'm going to keep pushing, as you are, to get things changed.

    I've already declined to pass through the nude-o-scopes, this summer, and went through the earlier, much less intrusive, form of pat-down. They were professional and reasonable about it.

    But next time I fly, I will continue to decline to pass through the nude-o-scope. I will consent to a reasonable pat-down, but will not consent to sexual assault. If assaulted, I will defend myself. Simple as that. If that means my travel plans are delayed or canceled, or I become an example of TSA authority run amuck and spend time in jail, so be it.

  12. I can imagine (in my snarky imagination) a TSA guy, while groping one's groin, saying something like "Nothing personal about this, Sir, I'm a sociopath." Sadly, that would be better than what we have now. If I had to be groped by someone, I would rather it be an intelligent cold-blooded badass than the silly normal doodahs doing the job now.

  13. LawDog:

    Way, way back in 2002 I was flying for business, part of which was going to involve some on-the-spot graphing, by hand, of data as it was gathered. A long straight-edge made of polycarbonate was part of the stuff I brought. As I went through the metal-detector, having already laid my day-bag and briefcase on the x-ray scanner, something tripped the buzzer. I’d already emptied my pockets, so now I was puzzled. They wanded me, and sent me through again. Still buzzed. Being worried about catching my flight, and already shoeless, I simply dropped trou, handed my pants into the x-ray scanner, and stepped through the detector in shirt, skivvies and socks…no buzz, so I was clear to put on my pants and catch my plane.

    I learned three things:
    – First, the zipper or button on a pair of pants was enough to set off a badly-calibrated metal detector
    – Second, nobody in the airport (passengers, “security”, or airline personnel) will even blink at a near-naked man
    – Third, you can bring through a Roman gladius made of polycarbonate in a briefcase, razor sharp and with a bodkin point, since the straightedge I “smuggled” through wasn’t even glanced at.

    I’d been flying internationally for several years before this, and the removal of my constitutional rights at the airport had always bothered me…but this was the last straw. The demonstration of the utter uselessness of their “procedures” to protect their phony-baloney jobs (harrumph-harrumph) while rendering me incapable of fully defending myself made me decide then and there to never, ever fly again until this was changed. I made the return flight home, and haven’t flown again.

    I’ve had to make many trips for business since then, crossing the continental US in both directions. I’ve let my company know that I will be anywhere in the lower-48 within two days notice…but I’m not getting on a commercial flight until I’m allowed to carry my personal weapons, including my .45, with me. If they ever decide to make a fuss about it I’ve already decided that I’ll claim a “fear of flying” is covered by the ADA, since it’s a recognized condition, and I’m making a reasonable accommodation for them.

    Here’s my modest proposal:

    Let the fed-gov mandate that all cockpit bulkheads be armored and strengthened against intrusion from the passenger compartment. Require that at least one of the flight crew be armed (as a last-ditch measure). And unless there’s an emergency with the aircraft that requires the pilot to physically inspect some rear portion of the aircraft, they are NEVER to leave that cockpit, regardless of what’s happening in the passenger compartment. Don’t care how much blood is seeping in under the bulkhead door, they simply don’t open it until they’re on the ground.

    But let the airlines decide, based on their assessment of their market, how they want to scan passengers.
    – Want to fly without being even looked at? Fly “Mayhem Airlines”
    – Want to fly stripped naked inside a transparent tube, with separate air supplies and a catheter? Fly “Nanny-State Airlines”

    What’s the worst that can happen? Somebody smuggles a bomb on board, and blows up the plane? That’s the risk you take when you buy your ticket. As long as no terrorist can take over the flight deck and turn the plane into a multi-hundred-thousand-pound guided missile, you might rain some miscellaneous debris on the ground, but you’re simply not going to cause much damage.

  14. I've already gotten fed up with the Kabuki rituals, and I'm not even American!

    But I have decided that unless I absolutely have to be there within the next two days or if it's further than I could reasonably drive in the time-limit I have to get there, I'm not flying any more. I'd rather drive or take a train – if I've got to travel, I'd rather be able to pull over and stop when I want to, rather than being forced into someone else's schedule.
    So the only times I'll be flying, I think, is for winter holiday; pond-hopping; and funerals.

  15. This all wouldn't bother me TOO much, except that Our Gummint Idiots have imposed this crap in lieu of profiling.

    IOW, we're subject to groping because no President–not Bush, not Obama–would stand up on his two legs and say to the Muslims "Screw You! Your'e the suspects, you're going to be treated that way."

  16. One of the problems that I see with the whole refusing to fly thing is that the statists will only continue to march. Once they have reduced the airlines into another gov't 'rescued' industry they they'll move on to the trains, buses and eventually to private transportation. In the name of 'saving the children' or the 'planet' or some other such idiocy of course. Nibbling away at personal liberty, one liberty at a time. Long term relentless doesn't even do them justice. I'm happy to see so many getting up in arms over this issue. Hopefully the masses won't get sidetracked on the goal. KeyStoneCops Security Theater is an appropriate moniker.
    I also wonder if this isn't a contrived sham taken with knowledge that once 'Big Sis' gives in to all of the uproar she created, that some 'terrorist event' will allow her to claim "I told you so" and create even MORE draconian rules. Naaaaaa, the statists are THAT evil……….

  17. Here's a thought. Require the TSA personnel, for every touch they give you, you get to give the same touch to them!

    I bet they’d be far less enthusiastic after being groped by 500 people a day. Ha!


  18. Interestingly enough, the Electronic Privacy Information Center has filed suit against the TSA over the nude-o-scope security scanner business. One of their claims is quite creative, and I hope ultimately successful: They argue that the use of full-body scanners in excess of what the law should reasonably permit violates the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act of 2003. Keep an eye on their site for details – the fur should be flying.

  19. I foresee a surge in the purchases of SUVs and land-barges once again as people take to the roads in lieu of air travel. A few years ago I drove from San Antonio to my home in KC in about 14 hours.

    Another time I flew, via DFW the same route. That time it took me 12 hours. I spent almost 10 hours sitting in DFW waiting on the plane to get fixed. Several of the passengers pooled their funds and rented cars to complete their journey. Unfortunately, none were headed in the direction of KC.

    I can afford another 4 hours to not be harassed and molested by the FedGov.

  20. I had to travel this last week. I can't comment only other than the one really upsetting thing about the whole pat down. I'm so humiliated.


  21. If I am forced to fly I plan to opt out, and as the guy is gloving up I plan on saying "No way jose, If anybody is gonna grope my junk it'll be her (pointing out the least unattractive female TSA officer in sight.). You can get your homosexual jollies from some other poor schmuck." and sitting back and watching the steam shoot from their ears and blood from their eyes. Then I'm going to do my level best to imagine the most beautiful woman on the planet so the ostensibly female TSA agent has plenty of junk to grope.

  22. Agreed!

    What's the penalty for "Child Porn" in texas aeroports, anyway?

    Ulises from CA

  23. As my son pointed out to me today, much to my amazement, the U.S. is becoming like the old pen and paper rpg, PARANOIA. And you know what, he's right. Anyone who has ever read the dm and player handbooks for that old game are reminded of the way things are shaping up around here. Funny, and Sooo worth the read, but sad none the less…

  24. A less polite protest:

    1. Males wear kilts when flying.
    2. Forgo the use of toilet paper for 24 hours prior to clearing security.

    Make it as much fun for the TSA as it is for you.

  25. One of Jerry Pournelle's emailers (He doesn't do "comments") who is a late-middle-aged woman, is proposing to show up at the airport in a swimsuit covered by a a coat, and then doff the coat at the security station. She said that if that's not enough for them, she'll offer to doff the swimsuit. She admits to being, ah, "well fed."

  26. I actually have nothing to say at the moment, but the WV is funny.

    WV: shlit. What happens when you drink too much beer and get farts with liquids and solids in them.

  27. P.s. Did y'all know that the name of the company which makes the backscatter machines is "Rapiscan"? Honest Injun.

  28. The "We don't save images" mime has already been debunked by their own people. First is "We only keep them for X number of days", then it was "We will be deleting all images stored thus far immediately", now it's ….. crickets, crickets, crickets…

    It's the Government we're taking about here; a horse race of lies & corruption, neck-n-neck with incompetence & Political Correctness coming up fast on the inside rail.

  29. No tis NOT a joke…the Thousand Stealing Anything is no joke. They are mostly a bunch of McDonalds rejects who now have power and license to hassle ordinary citizens going about their business.

    I just returned from a business trip to the Land of the Rising Sun (thats Japan) during which the TSA was ABOMINABLE in both word and deed…after taking EVERYTHING out of a closely and tightly packed bag and strewing it on a table where i was not allowed to touch it, I was nearly strip searched and thoroughly groped by a VERY large, overweight and foul smelling male of the species…all becuase i had chargers for BOTH cell phones, the power adapters for 2 computers, two flashlights, two mirrors AND a bag of all my keys that I wouldnt need for the trip all in the same bag contained within my carry on.

    Both flashlights were disassembled, I was questioned as to WHY the Pelican light was labeled "EXPLOSION PROOF", was I expecting it to blow up or something? DOH- Its for hazardous enviroments, like aircraft fuel tanks and other flamable leakage zones.

    Next question…WHY WOULD I BE CARRYING THAT? WELL maybe its because I WORK ON AND INSPECT AIRCRAFT? for my employment?

    Next question: well how can we be sure it wont explode???…its labeled explosion proof…. "OK- get me your supervisor….I dont have time for 63,000 ignorant questions."

    I nearly missed the flight even though i was 3(!!!!!) hours early

    In JAPAN;

    Mr Woodswalker Sir, may we examine your bag more closely?

    Yes, Please use care as it is closely packed.

    Yes Mr Woodswalker.

    Can you please turn on these lights?

    Yes, see they both work.

    OK thank you Mr Woodswalker, Enjoy your flight!

    Eh wot? Over…

  30. YoelB – not at all. Many of the political developments of the last, oh, 15 years or so have reminded me of "Revolt in 2100", too.

    But Dog, it is not only the fathers of daughters. I am the mother of a teenage son, and I will be rolled in flour and fried before I will permit anyone to take naked pictures of him or permit some lackey to touch him in a way that would get the adult in question arrested for child molesting in any other context. So long as this crap continues, we will not be going anywhere that isn't within driving range. And I will be writing the letters necessary to make sure that the airlines and the TSA are aware of that decision.

  31. Even if the scanner doesn't/can't record images, you know the mook running it has a camera in his cellphone.

    WV: resis
    Resistance is futile!

  32. A friend of mine, a sailor of some years distant past made a hobby of injuring pickpockets. On shore leave in many ports of call, he walked around the bazaars and marketplaces with a loaded mousetrap in his hip pocket. He claimed that on a good day, he could break the knuckles of 2, maybe 3 thieves of various description–young and old, male and female per day.

    I wonder if we could adapt that technology for TSA screeners.

  33. Two things: local radio station just reported that "TSA spokesman has responded to the complaints", with the 'response' boiling down to "It's necessary, so shut up and do what you're told."

    Second, TSA has, with the 'flying is a privilege' extended the 'driving is a privilege' meme; with driving it's "If you want to use personal powered transport, you give 'implied consent' to various bullshit", with flying it's "If you buy a ticket you give us permission to do just about anything we want."

    I would state my opinion of both, but I'm trying to restrain my language nowadays.

  34. One more point on the images… The machines that they run on are Windoze based, AND if you read the RFP, it specifically states the ability to RETAIN images is required… Even if they claim different, it's a two keystroke operation to do a screen capture on ANY Windoze machine…

  35. I've survived and healed from two sexual assaults. I'll be damned if I willingly submit to being groped by strangers in the name of "security." Cue the Willie Nelson as I'll be on the road…

  36. Chris: Anything that could do that to a TSA pervert would be hazardous to the wedding tackle as well. Arguably more so.

    Justthisguy: The male version, of course, being a Speedo and a trench coat. I would hate to cause people to go blind from my admittedly ample physique, but I wouldn't mind blinding a TSA pervert or two. The only problem would be possibly having to spend the rest of the flight dressed that way.

  37. This is making me regret a choice that i have not regretted in any other way over several years, to move very far away from my family. it's where i want to be for work, (i.e. I have a job here!) and I'm very well settled, housing, friends, church community,etc. but now the airports are making me question if it's possible to visit my family. I don't have enough vacation days to drive 3 days each way, no matter how much I want to- if I'm paying good money for that ticket I would have thought I had the right to use that technology the private company sold me access to to travel long distances quickly, without having to submit to groping. (pictures are just out.). Its a private company and private citizen, why is the government even involved?

  38. There is an article floating around now (I can't remember link, google is your friend) about a female flight attendant, who was a breast cancer survivor, and in surviving said cancer had to have a breast removed and wear a prosthetic replacement. Upon going through the scanner and sexual assault…er patdown, the breast was discovered as not looking and feeling quite right. The lady already embarrassed and humiliated, then had to be subjected to the ultimate humiliation by these over powered goons, and was forced to remove her prosthetic breast for further 'examination'.

    To me this is outrageous, and had that been my wife/mother/grandmother, I guess I would be in prison for assault of idiot today.

    Rarely have I been so sickened and appalled by what I see our freedom becoming. Today it's the airport, tomorrow it's roadside checks, next thing you know it's in your house, or any other time they dang well please.

    How do we stop this? Or do enough of us even care, or see the danger?

  39. The next time I fly on a commercial plane, I will have my loaded sidearm in a holster on my belt as I walk into the airport, and the security people will smile and nod as I walk down the concourse to the gate and board.

    Solemn oath.

    Haven't flown since before 9/11. Don't expect to ever again.

  40. Ya know, there's always the possibility of charter flights from smaller airports.

  41. One small gesture that will clog up the system as much as outright revolt would be to demand a new pair of gloves.

    How can the TSA defend such a request when they are touching bare skin under clothing, potentially spreading disease, lice or bedbugs (rampant in major cities or so teh MSM tells me.

  42. I wonder when the TSA will figure out that flight crews get to actually OPERATE THE AIRCRAFT? And have access to crash axes and other such things. Flight crews should just have to prove their ID and then stroll on board. Personally I'd like for my pilot/co-pilot/flight attendants to be able to have a pocket knife, a leatherman, or even a pistol for that matter. We trust them with the keys to the plane (so to speak, airplanes that size don't have keys) after all.

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