We keep wondering what else the government is going to do to us as, in the name of “security,” it scales back our rights. The skeptics ask questions, which the believers in big government dismiss as ridiculous. Skeptics asked whether sanitary napkins and tampons might be picked up on the TSA’s new gee-whiz body scanners and suspected of being deadly weapons. They were told to chill out. But as has so often been the case up ’till now, it turns out they were right.
A woman at a European airport recently aroused TSA suspicion when the scanner revealed a potentially-dangerous object in her underpants. She was then patted down, with special attention paid to her crotch. What agents suspected might be a bomb turned out to be a reusable flannel sanitary napkin. The San Francisco Chronicle’s SF Gate blog reports that the suspect, “an Army vet,” was “humiliated” by the ordeal.
“She was further upset by the fact that the pat brought back memories of a sexual assault.”
In an email quoted by Prison Planet blogger Steve Watson, the woman said,
“what ultimately happened is that I was subjected to search so invasive that I was left crying and dealing with memories that I thought had been dealt with years ago…”
In the coldly clinical term preferred by the TSA, what she got was ”a full groin search.” We must, by no means, offend the easily-offended by profiling passengers in any way. The government-appointed guardians of our safety will protect us from terror in the skies by forcing rape victims to relive their traumas, eighty-year-olds to remove prosthetic breasts and children to be touched in ways they once were warned against in stories about Stranger Danger.
The woman in question asserts that she generally supports the TSA’s efforts. She simply wants to keep another woman from being subjected to the same treatment ”because she didn’t know that her glad-rag would be a matter of national security.”
To what is a matter of national security, there apparently will be no end. The woman mauled at the European airport describes herself as “a rule follower” who wishes to jump onto no “bandwagon” of protest. But to the degree that the TSA has reflected on its methods at all, it seems to have done so only because many people have protested. The great American tradition of acting up when freedom is threatened may be all that stands between us and still worse invasions of our privacy.
We now wonder if our intimate body cavities will soon be probed. The TSA says our imaginations are running wild. But they seem willing to leave little to the imagination.