Yesterday, I was touched — in my opinion, inappropriately — by a TSA agent at LAX.
I’m not going to talk about it in detail until I can speak with an attorney, but I’ve spent much of the last 24 hours replaying it over and over in my mind, and though some of the initial outrage has faded, I still feel sick and angry when I think about it.
What I want to say today is this: I believe that the choice we are currently given by the American government when we need to fly is morally wrong, unconstitutional, and does nothing to enhance passenger safety.
I further believe that when I choose to fly, I should not be forced to choose between submitting myself to a virtually-nude scan (and exposing myself to uncertain health risks due to radiation exposure)1, or enduring an aggressive, invasive patdown where a stranger puts his hands in my pants, and makes any contact at all with my genitals.
When I left the security screening yesterday, I didn’t feel safe.I felt violated, humiliated, assaulted, and angry.I felt like I never wanted to fly again. I was so furious and upset, my hands shook for quite some time after the ordeal was over. I felt sick to my stomach for hours.
This is wrong. Nobody should have to feel this way, just so we can get on an airplane. We have fundamental human and constitutional rights in America, and among those rights is a reasonable expectation of personal privacy, and freedom from unreasonable searches. I can not believe that the TSA and its supporters believe that what they are doing is reasonable and appropriate. Nobody should have to choose between a virtually-nude body scan or an aggressive, invasive patdown where a stranger puts his or her hands inside your pants and makes any contact at all with your genitals or breasts as a condition of flying.
I can’t say that I’ve ever had quite the same experience as Wil Wheaton, but I agree the choice between groping and the nudeoscope is not a very good one.
If they were serious about improving airline security, they’d do it like they do in Israel. They’re pretty good at it there. They have plenty of reasons to be, too.