25 June 2008

This is a Rant

I hate the TSA. And I don't care if someone from "Homeland Security" (don't even get me started on that freaking rhetoric) who is paid to do nothing but troll the internet for "dangerous" "anti-American" speech finds this and puts me on some sort of list or starts some kind of file. Because airport security in this country is COMPLETE bullshit.

I submit the following story, with digressions:

Today I flew back to Austin. It is my greatest desire to get through security without incident or without having to converse in any way with anyone who works for the TSA. So I go out of my way to travel clean--to wear simple and minimal clothing and shoes that slide off. To have only one carry-on with nothing that will raise any alarms. To have all my documentation at the ready. But I have some kind of security problem every time I fly. And it is always ridiculous.

Last time I flew was in March, when my Frontier flight was canceled and everyone on it was rerouted onto different airlines and I had to scramble to find someone to take my class and proctoring shift the next morning, and a trip that should have taken 6 hours ended up taking 24. But EVEN BETTER, since the TSA has a policy to flag any tickets that are purchased within 48 hours of a flight (or something like that) all of us, who had already been dicked over by our airline, were subjected to full searches of our persons and our carry-ons (and most likely our checked luggage too). But I had booked that flight 2 months in advance of the trip. The airline arranged my alternate flight. There is no way to override TSA policy in that situation? It has to happen all the time.

Anyway, I told you this was going to be full of digression. That is not the story I wanted to tell. It is just proof that The Man is always after me when I want to fly. And keep in mind, I do not want to fly to Austin anyway. So being hassled just adds injury to insult.

Here was the problem today: apparently my pants had too much metal on them. I set off the metal detector when I walked through it. Knowing that I didn't have any metal in my pockets or otherwise on my person, I told the guy that I thought it was the buttons and snaps on my pants. He told me that was impossible, and then asked me multiple times if I had anything in my pockets (NO, I told you, NO) and also multiple times if I had had a knee or hip replacement. (Jesus, I think I'd remember that.) So I had to submit to a full pat down thing. And I hate that. I'm not a real touchy girl. As many of you know, I'm not even a hugger with my closest friends, and I have been known to do some damage to the kidneys and/or the junk of guys that think that they can touch me in a crowd at a show. I sure as hell don't want to be felt up in public by some strange TSA worker--and, no, it does not help that they only have females search female passengers (I don't want to be touched by a woman TSA employee any more than I want to be touched by a man TSA employee), and, no, it doesn't make it better if you offer to do it in private. I. Don't. Want. Your. Hands. On. Me.

It was not pleasant the first time it happened at PDX this afternoon (and, by the way, it was my pants, idiot who told me that was impossible). But then--

My layover (because there is no such thing as a direct flight from Austin to Portland) was in San Jose. The San Jose airport has three separate concourses, which are in three separate buildings. I was flying in on Alaskan, but out on American, so I had to go from building "C" to building "A". Which I did. Without stopping. I did not get anything to eat. I did not stop in a restroom. I got off the plane and went directly to building A.

So then I had to go through security again. And, once again, I had a problem with security that wasn't my fault, but was due to the fact that San Jose has an outdated and impractical facility. I told the guy at the metal detector what had happened in Portland. I told him that I didn't stop anywhere between the first concourse and the second. I told him that he could look at my paperwork. That I really, really did not want to be searched again. But he informed me that he had to and that, after all, this was for my safety too and wasn't I pleased to know that airport security was so thorough? (The answer to this is no. Because I am of the belief that most of this crap is just for show. If someone wants to bring down another plane on American soil, I believe that they are going to find a way to do it. I think that security "policy" is completely reactionary, and therefore 99% ineffective at prevention. As such, I think that it's only purpose is to make stupid people feel safe. Some days I even feel sympathetic to that crank Alex Jones and might even agree that the only other possible purpose of these policies is to brainwash the American people into believing that they should give up their civil liberties in order for the government to "save" them from terrorists. But I usually only go that far on a day when two different TSA employees insist on touching my breasts in public. Oh yeah, and another thing. They tell you that they are only going to touch the inside of your thighs and your breasts with the back of their hands. Like that makes it less creepy and undesirable.)

Anyway, the second woman came to search me and I was less than cooperative. Actually, I think that I scared her. Because I was really, really pissed. She offered to take me into a private room and I told her that it was not necessary, that my problem was not that I was being searched in public but that she was touching me unnecessarily and I. Do. Not. Want. To. Be. Touched. Then she had the audacity to act like that was unreasonable of me.

Hey, and guess what? I didn't have anything dangerous on me. I didn't have any plans to disrupt or endanger any other passengers or employees of the airlines. I am not a member of any far right or left wing religious or political group (in fact, I think that you will find that I sort of shy away from group affiliation of any kind). I don't know a damn thing about chemistry. I'm not a drug mule. I, in fact, have never had any illegal substance in my hands ever.

It sucks. It's a violation. And it doesn't help keep anyone safe--especially not the twins.


Marcus said...

My. Relatives. Should. Never. Reference. Their. Breasts. On. Blogs. I. Read.

KRD said...

Um, yeah. It isn't like I've never heard you say something disgusting that I wish I hadn't heard.

And, frankly, breasts are relatively (ha!) unoffensive. Even when they do belong to your cousin.

james said...

Just because a lot of Alex Jones's ideas are completely kooky, and he does things like use Charlie Sheen as a credible source for 9/11 or pretty much anything else, doesn't mean he's wrong all the time. I agree that airport security is pretty much designed to degrade citizens while showing them where the power really lies. Any system that assumes that its citizens are criminals is undemocratic. Congress has systematically taken away small freedoms from travelers, which we generally become inured to because we accept that it's for our safety. Take the John Kerry lighter ban for instance. No lighters on the plane because some jackass decided he'd set himself on fire, but you are allowed to have a couple of books of matches. In my opinion, matches are much more dangerous than lighters--if you burn the whole book it produces a lot more heat than a butane lighter does. Also, according to I Spy (the original with Cosby and Culp), you can make a small bomb using fairly commonplace items, with a book of matches as fuse. It also nullifies the millions and millions of people who flew on commercial airlines carrying lighters who didn't set themselves on fire. It's a transparent control mechanism, if they really examined butane lighters, they would find that they are perfectly safe in most people's hands. Of course, the trade of liberty for safety is helped by the fact that many people are apprehensive about flying, anyway. I also don't think that the sexual violation aspect is an accident. It's sort of the man saying, "You have to conform to our arbitrary rules because if you don't, we are authorized to molest you." It is a demeaning experience, and in American life there are very few like it, with the exception of going to prison, a courthouse, or police station.

Next time you talk about your breasts in a blog entry, I hope it's under happier circumstances.