"Don't Touch My Junk"

Serena - posted on 11/16/2010 ( 31 moms have responded )

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Airport body scans, pat-downs draw more complaints
(AP) – 3 hours ago

CHICAGO (AP) — An airport traveler who famously resisted a full-body scan and groin check with the words "If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested" has become an Internet sensation, tapping into rising frustration over increasingly invasive searches.

John Tyner's online account — complete with cell-phone video of the encounter — has helped fuel a campaign urging travelers to decline the body scans next week during the busiest travel day of the year.

It also raised questions about the complaints: Are Americans standing up to government overreach or simply whining about the inconvenience of air travel while insisting on full protection from terrorists?

"I think Americans, in their hearts, still feel airport security is just a big show — form over substance," said Joseph Schwieterman, a Chicago-based transportation expert. "So they're impatient with strategies they feel are just there to placate political demands rather the genuine security threats."

Many of the people who have little tolerance for airport security are the same ones who want the government to work aggressively to prevent terrorist attacks, Schwieterman said.

Long-simmering annoyance among passengers and even plane crews has recently risen to new heights with wider use of full-body scanners, which show a traveler's physical contours on a computer in a private room removed from security checkpoints. Faces are never shown, and the person's identity is supposedly not known to the screener reviewing the images.

About 300 of the scanners are in use at 60 U.S. airports. The Transportation Security Administration hopes to deploy approximately 500 units by the end of the year.

Not all travelers are selected to go through the scanners, but the TSA requires people who decline to submit to pat-downs that include checks of the inside of their thighs and buttocks. Top federal officials insist the procedures are safe and necessary to ward off terror attacks.

"It's all about security," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said. "It's all about everybody recognizing their role."

Tyner, a 31-year-old software engineer from Oceanside, Calif., insisted he was not looking for notoriety when he confronted TSA agents last weekend at the San Diego airport.

"I don't think I did anything heroic," he said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "I stood up for what I thought was right."

After Tyner declined to go through the full-body scanner, he refused to submit to a groin check as part of a pat-down. He was thrown out of the airport Saturday after being threatened with a fine and lawsuit.

His confrontation spawned online sales of T-shirts, bumper stickers, hats and even underwear emblazoned with the words, "Don't Touch My Junk!"

But he does not advocate travelers following his lead, saying he appreciates that most people cannot afford to put expensive trips at risk.

"But people ought to do what their consciences say they should do," he said. "If civil disobedience is a way they think would work, I think they should do it."

Tyner's one-man protest has inspired other efforts, including an online campaign urging air travelers to refuse body scans in a "National Opt-Out Day" the day before Thanksgiving, one of the year's busiest travel days.

Brian Sodergren, 33, of Ashburn, Va., said he put up the site a week ago. Interest spiked after Tyner's video went viral.

"This issue has picked up steam more than I ever would have imagined," said Sodergren, who works in the health care industry. "The outpouring has been huge."

Sodergren stops short of urging people to refuse both the scanner and pat-down.

"The proper reaction isn't walking away and subjecting yourself to penalties," he said Tuesday. "The proper response is to write to your lawmakers and get the law changed."

But compared to security in some other countries, Schwieterman argued, procedures in the U.S. are far from intrusive.

In Israel, where Palestinians attacked planes in the 1970s, passengers face tough questioning and multiple inspections. Single women who are not Israeli citizens are sometimes inspected more intensely because militants have tried to use them as couriers.

"Americans have yet to make any really major sacrifices for their security," said Schwieterman, a professor at DePaul University in Chicago. "Pat-downs and scanners are minimally evasive — and there's even resistance to this, just 15 seconds of awkwardness."

A woman whose flight was targeted by a Nigerian man suspected of carrying explosives in his underwear said she believes all security measures, including full-body scanners, should be considered to curb threats.

"People shouldn't be too much concerned about their privacy because this is a life-and-death matter," said 55-year-old Shama Chopra of Montreal, who was traveling from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day of last year. "We should be discussing all security."

But it's not just passengers putting up resistance. Some airline pilots are pushing back, too.

"I would say that pilots are beyond fed up," said Tom Walsh, a pilot and sometime aviation security consultant. "The TSA is wasting valuable time and money searching the crew, who are not a threat."

One of the nation's most celebrated pilots, Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, has also detected the growing unease.

"The fundamental reason is that airline pilots are already the last line of defense for anyone who poses a threat to the airplane," said the soft-spoken Sullenberger, who successfully ditched his US Airways plane in the Hudson River last year after it struck birds during takeoff. "We are — and would like to be considered — trusted partners in that important security mission."

At least one pilots union, the U.S. Airline Pilots Association, has issued new instructions to members to call in sick and not board flights if, after a pat-down, they are too upset to fly.

"If the pilot feels the groping is too much and they are stressed out — they are obliged not to fly," union spokesman James Ray said. He insisted the new instruction is not meant as a protest, saying it complies with rules that pilots don't fly if they feel they are not fit.

Despite the concerns about pat-downs, Ray said, the union recommends pilots avoid going through scanners out of concern that cumulative effects of low radiation could be harmful.

But Ray agreed that if enough pilots and travelers opt out of body scans, delays could result, especially if there aren't enough TSA screeners to conduct the more time-consuming pat-downs.

From now on, Tyner said, his protest of choice will be more straightforward: Whenever he can, he simply won't fly. He said that should be practical option because most of the friends and relatives he visits are in the California area.

"I would suggest other people also take the train, bus or car instead of a plane," he said. "Take a trip and enjoy the countryside."


I was just wondering what everyone else thought about this? Do you think this is an invasion of privacy? For those of you outside the US are the procedures comparable to this? Opinions...

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Jackie - posted on 11/17/2010

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OK so here's my thing. Flying is not a right. It's a privilege giving to you by airline company's that are a private business that has the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason. When you buy that ticket that means you have agreed to the air fair, security fees, procedures, ect.... If you don't like that they are going above and beyond to keep me, you, your kids, and as of 9-11, even people on the ground safe, then stay the hell off the plane. I'm all for it. Is it an inconvenience? Maybe. Worth it? Yes.



If it were you on a plane that has a bomb or has been hijacked bu someone with a razor blade, you're going to wonder why and how they made it on the plane, right? Right.



EDITED TO ADD: If another terrorist was successful in killing another 3000+ people, everyone is going to wonder why the government didn't do more to keep everyone safe.

LaCi - posted on 11/18/2010

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"And also, do you think whatever the root causes were warranted the 9/11 attacks? "

I feel the need to answer this. as a collective group if we were suddenly in their position we would be doing the same thing- at the individual/citizen level. Our government, does the same/similar shit all the time. So I'm not sure why we point the finger at anyone but ourselves. The oppressor will not oppress forever, there will always be an uprising. It's like, a rule of the universe.

Sal - posted on 11/18/2010

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he's a twit....you fly you know the rule, the guards are like nurses, drs, police.....ike your junk is the only ones they are touching, they do so many it is just a job,

Jenny - posted on 11/17/2010

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"But if I'm understanding your question, we would not be at war right now if they hadn't come here and killed 3000+ men women and children. War isn't a nice thing. I don't however support the killing of civilians."

Nobody focuses on WHY that happened. How can we ensure it never occurs if the root cause(s) is (are) never adressed? All we do now is deal with the side effects and put out fires.

Rosie - posted on 11/17/2010

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i don't see it as fear as much as i see it being smart. i think that banning breastmilk, or formula or whatever other liquid things had been banned before were overkill, but how is making sure someone isn't carrying an explosive device overkill, or living in fear?
i'd rather be "living in fear" and ALIVE than dead because some dickhead made a big stink about being randomly picked to undergo a pat down.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

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Melanie - posted on 11/17/2010

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i think its hilarious....the guy wasted how much money? to prove a point...hmm decline the search & dont fly!! what an idiot lol
last time i flew from vic to wa there was a woman declining a bomb scan (they wipe a bit of paper on ur clothes & stick it in a machine) she was told if she didnt let them she couldnt fly..she gave in
they then asked me...i agreed instantly...id rather know theres no bombs on my plane than them let some nut thru even tho they declined the bomb scan.
i think the more tests/ scans they have the better & safer our trips will be
its not like it adds hours to your trip!

Jackie - posted on 11/17/2010

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You're damn right that's freedom to me. Because when I get off the plane on US soil ALIVE I can go anywhere I want, with who ever I want, say what I want, preach what I want, protest what I want, wear what I want, eat what I want, teach and learn what I want....





I think we would be naive to think that it won't happen again.



I do agree with you, though. This isn't a war that anyone is going to win. But with that being said we have to do what we can to ensure safety to the best of our ability

Rosie - posted on 11/17/2010

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i tend to agree with your last statement, jenny, to a point. i still think we need to do something to protect ourselves. that's how we got attacked in the first place. if we stop it's like an open invitation for it to happen again. but i agree that a war on terror isn't going to work, and we need to start fixing the root problem as well. what that is, i'm not too sure...

Jenny - posted on 11/17/2010

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I have my ideas that have to do with the advancement of Capitalism but it is irrelevant to this thread. My point is the country doesn't focus on that part at all. The discussion is not being had to begin with. The focus is on fighting "terrorism" which is an ideology and not a specific group of people or army or country. It is a battle that can't be won. It's a perpetual war machine. Instead of trying to get to the root issue they convince the citizens it's best if they just check out your junk for bombs. Is that freedom to you?

Jackie - posted on 11/17/2010

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Would you care to elaborate on why you think that it happened in the first place? I'm curious because a) like I said, I know squat about politics and b) because is there something that you know that I don't as to why they came over here and murdered a shit ton of people.

And also, do you think whatever the root causes were warranted the 9/11 attacks? If not, (which I'm going to assume) then all we CAN do is "deal with side effects and put out the fires." I think we need to take whatever precaution necessary to keep people safe and not just Americans but everyone.

Jackie - posted on 11/17/2010

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I would personally never give my own life for a cause unless that cause had the name Allison and stood about 2 ft tall.



And it may not be your reality but it is our reality.



"Do you realise how many Easterners the US has murdered?"



No, as a matter of fact I don't. But if I'm understanding your question, we would not be at war right now if they hadn't come here and killed 3000+ men women and children. War isn't a nice thing. I don't however support the killing of civilians.



I also do not claim to know shit about politics and I also don't keep up with all of the headlines but what I do know is that what we stand for



Honor

Liberty

Freedom of speech

Freedom of Religion

Government



I will tell you though I'm not going to attempt to have a political debate with anyone because I will surely loose.

I just think people need to stop being such assholes about "personal space" when it's for the common good.

Jenny - posted on 11/17/2010

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Jackie, that is the definition of lviing in fear. It's not reality, it's a mental state. When was the last attack in Idaho? In Hawaii? In Seattle? They are not trying to kill you because of MTV and letting girls go to school. It is much deeper than that. People have formed their opinions on the situation from mass media and are quite content to hide in their panic rooms with their TV's and spend, spend, spend.



Have you ever tried to think from the other perspective? What would it take for you to be willing to give your LIFE for a cause? Do you realise how many Easterners the US has murdered? Most of the deaths overseas are CIVILIANS. It runs much deeper than hating you for what you stand for.



What do you stand for by the way that they hate so much?

[deleted account]

They could go to the toilet Jackie-Rae, nobody would think it unusual for a person to use the toilet on a plane and then KABOOM....

Jackie - posted on 11/17/2010

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"I wonder if this is what it would take before the people say enough is enough and get back to life without fear."

But you see, it's not just a fear. It's reality. We are at war with people who would love nothing more than to kill us because of what we stand for and will stop at nothing to do it. They are not above killing themselves so that they can kill as many of "us" as they can.

Jackie - posted on 11/17/2010

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@ Laci - I don't think that everyone on the planes knew they were doomed. I think that they all thought that if they cooperated, they may make it out alive. It wasn't until one of the last planes that people knew they were going to die because they started hearing reports of what was happening. It's then that they attempted to regain control and obviously unsuccessfully.



You make a good point about the ass bomb. However I think a metal detector would still be able to detect metal inside the body. I may be wrong about that but I'm pretty sure. I also would be inclined to think that if you have a bomb in your ass, you have to have some type of detention devise which would not be in your ass. And you couldn't very well stick your finger up there in front of a hundred people with out them being suspicious. Ok, I know, that was stupid but hey, for the sake of argument...

Jenny - posted on 11/17/2010

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"All we need is one "terrorist" to have a bomb in his rectum and we'll all be prodded. It's just ridiculous."

Absolutely, it is quite apparent the security measures are just knee jerk reactions to single situations. I wonder if this is what it would take before the people say enough is enough and get back to life without fear. Although if a bunch of people can't get off their butts to stop razor blade weilders, perhaps there is no hope after all. Sad.

I have never been in an airplane or in the mainland US and never intend to. I am not willing to give up my rights in these ways, travelling is not as important. I'll wait till you guys calm the hell down first.

LaCi - posted on 11/17/2010

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"The terrorists involved in the 9-11 attacks used razor blades. I'm sure if it was as easy to just punch them in their face, somebody would have"



I also question this, which is a different topic altogether. I don't buy that a few guys with a razor blade could easily overpower a hundred people who KNOW that if they stand up for themselves they may be killed but if they don't they will surely die, and involve whoever is on the ground in that as well. Just saying. Punch them in the face. You *might die* or you *WILL die* it's not a complicated decision.



And, quite frankly, I find it ridiculous that we are seriously worried about flaming underpants, and yet we think that a guy who sets his cockpiece on fire wont simply carry a bomb in his ass. We carry drugs in our asses, why not bombs?



It's overkill.

Rosie - posted on 11/17/2010

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i think it sucks, but yeah that's reality now. unless someone wants another 9/11 to happen i suggest stopping the whining and deal with the reality of our world now. i'd love to hear what would be going on through this asshats mind when the guy next to him on a plane has another underwear bomb. suck it up and deal with it.

Jackie - posted on 11/17/2010

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The terrorists involved in the 9-11 attacks used razor blades. I'm sure if it was as easy to just punch them in their face, somebody would have.

Again, the government may be involved but like I said, if something like that happens again people are going to point their fingers at the government and ask WHY they didn't do something MORE.

LaCi - posted on 11/17/2010

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"OK so here's my thing. Flying is not a right. It's a privilege giving to you by airline company's that are a private business that has the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason. "

But these procedures are not left to company discretion, these procedures are the result of government interference in the airlines business. So saying that "flying is a privilege and you should abide by airline rules" is kind of null, since these are government regulations not the airlines desires. The TSA is a government entity, part of homeland security.

If a terrorist hijacks a plane with a razor blade I wonder why no one got up and punched him in the face. Just saying.

As for the TSA employees not enjoying pat downs, they don't care. I've done pat downs, you get used to it, it's a non issue for the person DOING the patting.

Jackie - posted on 11/17/2010

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Also, how do you think most of the TSA employees feel about having to DO the pat downs? Do you think most enjoy it? I don't think so. It's not like their job is to humiliate you

[deleted account]

Pat downs and body scanners are all there to protect us, personally I would rather go through a thorough security procedure such as full body scanners than be on a flight with a terrorist. Some things are worth being inconvenienced for and I feel life is definately one of those things.

The last time I flew was in 2008 when we went to my cousins wedding in Miami, so security was restricted but not too much. They gave random pat downs to anyone who made the metal detector beep and that was it. Except for the regs saying we wasn't allowed to have more than a small clear bag of liquid products (make-up, creams etc) and no drinks.

They are running a trial of full body scanners in the UK now and are ordering them for UK airports.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/...

Laura - posted on 11/17/2010

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Unless you have to go over seas if you don't like it, don't fly. My parents are almost 60 and have never been in a plane in their lives. And I know my dad never will.

LaCi - posted on 11/17/2010

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I think the procedures are overkill. I feel for people who have to fly constantly.

I hate planes, I hate flying. I will only fly if I have to cross an ocean, and I will drug myself to make it through the flight. I will opt for pat downs, I will not go through the scanner. Until they start cavity searches, which I give another couple years. All we need is one "terrorist" to have a bomb in his rectum and we'll all be prodded. It's just ridiculous.

I wouldn't let my son go through them either. Only because there are conflicting "experts." Flying in general gives you a big dose of radiation, there's no need to potentially add to that.

Tracey - posted on 11/17/2010

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Don't see the point of scanning pilots for bombs, if they want to destroy a plane they will crash it.

I have no problem making body scans compulsory for everyone wanting to fly, although I don't know if there are risks for pregnant women?
If a 15 second scan will save the lives of everyone on a plane what is the problem?

Becky - posted on 11/16/2010

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I haven't flown in a long time, not since they started using the full body scanners. But I'd comply. The guy got kicked out of the airport over it. No way I'm wasting several hundred - or thousand, if I'm flying with my family - dollars just to make a point!

C. - posted on 11/16/2010

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My sister actually posted this on her profile yesterday or the day before.. Anyway, I think this man just wanted his 15 minutes of fame. It's ridiculous, if you ask me. First of all, I've been patted down before. It sure doesn't feel like they're trying to molest you in any way, shape or form. He's a nut.

Johnny - posted on 11/16/2010

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Really? Who are these people? I never pass up a nice groping. I travel to the US just to get one. Actually, last time I flew I was nicely groped here in Vancouver too.

Stifler's - posted on 11/16/2010

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No, they're just whingeing. They aren't being forced to fly, if they want to fly and be protected from terrorism they should play by the rules. No one is forcing them to fly.

JuLeah - posted on 11/16/2010

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It's a joke. I used a wheelchair for years and traveled often. They would pat me down, waist up and let me through. My wheelchair could have had a bomb anywhere on it, I could have been carring any kind of weapon. A fellow from my hometown was detained and his guide cane was taken; they felt it could be used as a weapon. He is blind! You don't give him a voice cue and let him know where you are at, he won't have much luck hitting you with the cane.

Two others I know were detained for using American Sign Language; it was felt it was 'secret code' and they might be 'bad guys'

None of this left me feeling real safe with our airports. Anyone can get on any time and if another attack were to happen by plane, the little dudes at the check point wouldn't stop them; wouldn't even see them.



But on another note .... why do folks use the term 'junk'?

Serena - posted on 11/16/2010

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We don't fly very often mainly because we have three young children and the stress that comes with it, but I don't have a problem with the new procedures. If I am randomly selected than I will comply. Its not something I might want to do but I'd rather live to see my destination...

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