Ted Frank is an attorney and prolific writer. He contributes at Overlawyered and PointofLaw.com and runs the Center for Class Action Fairness. Now, thanks to Scott Greenfield, I see that Ted has opened a new blog to document TSA abuses (a topic we've written about quite a bit recently). It's called, appropriately enough, the TSA Abuse Blog. Keep an eye on it if the issue interests you.
I'm glad that Ted Frank, and people like him, are documenting the TSA, because the dead-tree media is doing a rather inconsistent job. Despite evidence of pervasive problems — from humiliations driven by brutal indifference to deliberate misconduct — many members of the chattering classes continue to tell Americans they ought to just shut up and take it. For every account, they have a dismissive response.
So when Mary in Texas, one of the Americans whose stories have been gathered by the ACLU, gives this account:
The TSA agent used her hands to feel under and between my breasts. She then rammed her hand up into my crotch until it jammed into my pubic bone…. I was touched in the pubic region in between my labia…. She then moved her hand across my pubic region and down the inner part of my upper thigh to the floor. She repeated this procedure on the other side. I was shocked and broke into tears.
– Mary in Texas
At what point did Americans turn into a nation of crybabies? Surely it preceded the sudden squall-fest resulting from new security measures at some U.S. airports — although the fuss kicked up over the weekend and continuing into this busiest of travel weeks has been loud enough to get everyone's attention.
When Paula tells this story:
She ran her hands all the way up and into my crotch with force. To get graphic she could have felt if I had a feminine pad on. When she finished with the front she did the same with my back to the point that she, what I would call groped, my butt. She went under, in between, and on my breast. It was more intense than my monthly breast exam.
– Paula M. Hamilton, Corydon, Indiana
Some individual pat-downs have gone too far, and the T.S.A. was ham-handed in answering those concerns. But the Obama administration should weather this storm by realizing these attacks are purely partisan and ideological. Americans know the difference between a big scanner and big government.
When Melissa takes this story:
I was shaking and crying the entire time. I was begging them to hurry up but they kept stopping and telling me to calm down. It is impossible to gain composure when a stranger has her hands in your underwear. A crowd gathered and watched and I never felt so humiliated. After it was over, I ran into the ladies' room where I vomited and cried until my plane was boarding.
– Melissa, Massachusetts
If you can't handle such a minor inconvenience, perhaps you should stay on the ground.
When "B. from Maryland" tells this story:
Simply, I was sexually assaulted. My breasts were caressed in an almost amorous manner. And on the second canvassing of my groin, single-finger pressure was applied to my labia majora – the plane of which was near-broken, during which the agent made a wildly off-color remark.
– B. from Maryland
The Houston Chronicle is there to call her a hysteric:
The hysterical hullabaloo over airport security procedures is a waste of time
The world's in a swivet over airport security.
When Charlotte in California tells this story:
This was a very different and, I maintain, a deliberately abusive experience…. the agent not only felt the inside of my upper thighs but also probed my vagina three separate times. I made it to the end of the search, but then broke down…I cannot and will not allow this to happen to me again…. I continue to have nightmares about this experience.
– Charlotte in California, female, 68
Whatever happened to the notion that we need to stick together to overcome extremists? U.S. soldiers are still dying for that cause in Iraq and Afghanistan on a regular basis.
And when Caitlin in Conecticut tells this story:
I was the only female in a crowd of men. Even though I was not next in line, I was called over to the body scanner. As I got closer to the scanner, I could clearly hear him say "got a cute one, some DD's." … I was appalled and decided at that point to "opt out" of the scanner…. I was then put through the pat down procedure which I only can only describe as sexual assault.
– Caitlin, Connecticut
The enhanced screenings are necessary to avert a situation in which a would-be terrorist attempts to hide weaponry under his clothing.
Also, Ruth Marcus at the Washington post would like to add that all of these people should just grow up, shut up, and pretend you're at the doctor:
"Don't touch my junk" may be the cri de coeur – cri de crotch? – of the post-9/11 world, but it's an awfully childish one. We let people touch our junk all the time in medical settings.
Remind me, again, why I should give a shit that the newspaper industry is dying and these people will all be unemployed? Sooner or later, the state is going to have to find fluffers someplace else.
Regrettably, it can probably find its fluffers reliably in the blogosphere. It's tempting to try to frame this as a fight between statist mainstream media figures and liberty-defending bloggers. But the truth is that bloggers — small and large — are just as likely to be government-apologist, dissent-belittling assholes as mainstream journalists are — that's a point clear from a wide array of bloggers from the Koch-sniffers at The Nation to Marc Thiessen at The Corner willing to minimize, marginalize, and dismiss dissent and parrot the government message.
That's why blogs like Ted Frank's new one are important. Check it out.
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