Friday, March 28, 2008

Dick(s) of the Week: Lubbock Airport TSA

Fucking outrageous.
Traveler says she was forced to remove nipple ring

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- A Texas woman who said she was forced to remove a nipple ring with pliers in order to board an airplane called Thursday for an apology by federal security agents and a civil rights investigation.

[...] Hamlin, 37, said she was trying to board a flight from Lubbock to Dallas on February 24 when she was scanned by a Transportation Security Administration agent after passing through a larger metal detector without problems.

The female TSA agent used a handheld detector that beeped when it passed in front of Hamlin's chest, the Dallas-area resident said.

Hamlin said she told the woman she was wearing nipple piercings. The agent called over her male colleagues, one of whom said she would have to remove the jewelry, Hamlin said.

Hamlin said she could not remove them and asked whether she could instead display her pierced breasts in private to the female agent. But several other male officers told her she could not board her flight until the jewelry was out, she said.

She was taken behind a curtain and managed to remove one bar-shaped piercing but had trouble with the second, a ring.

"Still crying, she informed the TSA officer that she could not remove it without the help of pliers, and the officer gave a pair to her," said Hamlin's attorney...

She said she heard male TSA agents snickering as she took out the ring. She was scanned again and was allowed to board even though she still was wearing a belly button ring.

[...] TSA officials said they are investigating whether the agency's policies were followed.

Unless her nipple was pierced with a functioning handgun, this action by the TSA is complete bullshit.

Setting off a detector is cause for a more thorough inspection, a hand/wand detector, a (same-sex) pat-down, and finally a same-sex visual inspection if needed. Once the metal "threat" was identified as a piercing, she should have been thanked for cooperating, apologized to for the inconvenience and sent on her way.

Seems clear to me that "policies were violated." Offering an opportunity to remove piercings in private to forgo a pat-down is the policy. Forcibly removing piercings already identified and established is not. Those sadists need to be fired, and this woman should sue the fucking pants off the TSA.


Smitty said...

This just adds another level of general misgivings I have about law enforcement. I know there are plenty of cops and TSA agents that are fine; most, most likely. There's a dickhead in every crowd. But when that "crowd" is lawenforcement, the dickheadery is unparallelled. The victim is essentially powerless, and they know it.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

E. Broderick Photography said...


Mr Furious said...

Yeah, these guys were fucking pricks, but the problem is more systemic and cultural. The people in this country are being desensitized to the erosion of liberty with this "security-at-all-costs!" paranoia.

When the example from the very top is intimidation, torture, harsh interrogation, cowboy diplomacy, and brutality, this behavior at the bottom is inevitable.

Nobody is trained to behave the way these asshole agents did, but being empowered by a badge and the impression that "any means necessary" will be approved from above, leads to crossing what SHOULD BE bright fucking lines.

Combine that with a populace that goes through those checkpoints afraid of the slightest misstep or resistance resulting in a trip to a back office for a three-hour flight-missing ordeal (at the least) just furthers the problem.

Red State Blues said...

Yes, sadism and a badge is never a good combination.

Will said...

Mellow out, dude. It could have been a bomb.

Roadkill Refugee said...

I think you're overreacting. I always remove my nipple rings before flying. And my glow in the dark ring tingler. Just sayin.

Adding you to my blogroll, bro.

michelline said...

I have nipple rings (ok - TMI, I know) and I'm extremely thankful that I've never set off the alarm. I've even been through the extra super-duper security scanning required when you meet certain criteria. And never once set it off. (knock on wood). Of course, mine are 18K gold.

I can't imagine what she must have gone through. The pain, humiliation and rage she must have felt. Those TSA goons really deserve to be fired.

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