Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More on the TSA

OK, I promise to not go off on another rant on the TSA.  Pinky swear.

Andrew Dodge over at Pajamas Media details his recent encounter with the TSA and a pat down. During his initial pat down, the TSA agent happened upon Mr. Dodge's abdominal scar.  Mr. Dodge was then poked and prodded by the agent for several minutes to make sure that the scar was really a scar, even when he offered to lift his shirt and show the scar for visual examination.  He was apparently probulated pretty hard, as he reports that his scar and the area around it were still quite sore the day after.

So now we have another category of passenger who will be singled out for an intrusive bodily search, those with a physical anomaly.  Breda has already discussed her travails of going through a TSA checkpoint with a prosthetic limb.  And now those of us who have OEM parts, but may have something that isn't outwardly 'normal' have reason to dread travelling.

As most of you know, I have hit the genetic lottery (Thanks Mom!) and have a mild, well controlled case of psoriatic arthritis.  Beyond the skin issues, which are wholly cosmetic, the joints in my back and extremities can become very swollen and mushy.  Basically, my body inundates the soft tissue around my joints with fluid, which causes sausage fingers and swollen, red, hot, and sore elbows, shoulders, knees, and ankles.  If someone was to vigorously pat me down when I'm having a flair, such as when I'm tired, stressed, or upset from standing in line for a couple of hours waiting to be probulated in an airport, they will undoubtedly find that my joints don't feel 'right'.  To me, that means that I'm sore already, and will be paying for this come the dawn.  Apparently, to a TSA agent this means that I need a vigorous kneading of inflamed tissue to make sure I haven't injected binary liquid explosives into my limbs or possibly sewn a weapon into my own flesh.  From past experience, I know that someone spending several minutes rubbing, squeezing, and kneading my joints is going to make activities like getting to my gate and sitting still for several hours on a plane extremely painful.

My mother died of Lupus.  During her life, she had multiple abdominal surgeries, and her belly was criss-crossed with decades old scar tissue, some of it quite thick and tough.  This was exacerbated by her eventual need to inject herself daily with insulin, which toughened the remaining patches of skin.  An intense patdown of her body would have found that her abdominal skin was as rigid as a flak vest.  Imagine the time a TSA agent would have taken to make sure that each of these scars was legitimate.  Imagine a middle aged grandmother, who already feels crummy, being not only felt up by a TSA agent, but having the scars on her body worked over to make sure she hasn't macramed a knife into her gut.

The TSA needs to get a grip and borrow a clue.  Middle aged American citizens with scars and physical ailments are not going to try to take over an airplane.  Neither are people in wheelchairs, Catholic nuns, or toddlers in diapers.  There needs to be a comprehensive reform not only of the methods we used to secure the airlines, but of the mindset of the TSA, the Department of Transportation, and the American public in general when it comes to effective security.  Stop harassing the law abiding public and start concentrating on those segments of our society that are a true risk.

1 comment:

Old NFO said...

TO hell with PCism, START profiling... I'd probably be arrested cause if somebody pokes me, they are going to get poked back...

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