John Tyner’s “don’t touch my junk” response to the prospects of an “advanced screening” by a TSA official has become a viral hit on YouTube, leading to a television appearance that’s placed his response front and center for many travelers who will probably face delays this holiday from full body scans and more invasive pat downs.
The cost of refusing both? For Tyner, who blogs as “Johnny Edge,” the threat of a civil suit for not completing the screening process and a potential $10,000 fine.
We’re all for not adding stress to the lives of airline or airport employees enforcing rules, but really, a $10,000 fine for not letting someone grope at you in the name of security?
Tyner is a libertarian, but existing suspicion of government notwithstanding, how does fining someone who’s uncomfortable with anyone besides his wife or doctor touching or seeing certain areas make anyone safer?
Tyner refunded his ticket and left the airport when he realized he didn’t want to comply with security demands, which seems to minimize or thwart any potential security incident.
Radiation concerns aside, has anyone shown that these full body scans or 3rd date pat downs are even effective at finding powders like the kind the Christmas Day bomber attempted to use? In that case, the powder was sewn into the crotch area of the potential terrorist’s underwear. Had he refused a full body scan, but consented to a groping, is there really an agent trained or prepared to differentiate between genitalia and other bulges?
Plus, every demonstration photo from the full body scanners shows that they are effective at identifying metal and plastic objects, breasts and genitals, but what if – as in the case of the Christmas bomber – potentially explosive powder is wrapped in fabric or some non-plastic, non-metal object? As Tyner suggests, wouldn’t an explosives detection machine make more sense than gropings and naked body scans?
So much of the airport screening procedure is reactionary rather than preventative, and yet somehow it never makes anything completely safe. After the attempted shoe bombing? Shoes off. So, the explosives move into the underwear, and now we have the type of screenings that would require dinner and drinks in any other situation. In both cases, airport security didn’t stop these attempted attacks – alert passengers did. In the case of the would be underwear bomber, that was in spite of tips and legitimate warning signals like calls from the man’s family saying they suspected him of potential terrorist activity. Somehow, we’re guessing that the next legitimate criminal attempt will find a way around the full body screenings and invasive pat downs as well, and the groping the guy gets before boarding the plane won’t have done anything to deter it.
Enjoy those holiday flights!