Everybody Wants to Drop Trou for the TSA

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AP:

Daryl Miller didn't make it through airport security because he couldn't keep his pants on.

Airport police said a security screener was waving a metal-detecting wand over Miller's pants area on Friday when Miller pulled his shorts down to his ankles. He wasn't wearing any underwear.

Miller then said, "There, how do you like your job," thus ending the screening, according to the police report. He was charged with indecent exposure and released on $300 bail…

"This person exposed themself in a public area, a clear violation of the law, and we needed to take some action on that, otherwise everybody would be dropping their pants," [airport police Lt. Matt] Christenson said.

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  1. Stephen,

    I haven?t been ?abused? in any serious sense of the word by TSA inspectors; I?ve just regularly had to deal with them being rude, condescending, and generally bullying. I don?t fly enough (maybe half a dozen times a year) to make it worth complaining about, even if I thought it would do any good.

    Of course, I don?t believe for a second it would do any good, because of TSA?s repeated unwillingness to accept any sort of criticism or admit any sort of wrongdoing. Many stories linked to from Hit and Run (and many other places) have documented this. A couple that stand out are:
    1) A passenger who _did_ complain about how he and his wife were treated. In response to the complaint, the TSA supervisor attested in writing that the inspector hadn?t done anything wrong, even though he later admitted that he wasn?t even there.
    2) Internal TSA investigations showed that their inspection process did a very poor job of preventing various banned objects from getting onto planes. Instead of owning up to the problems and discussing how they were going to solve them, TSA attempted to suppress the study (even though it was already out) because it might give terrorists ideas. (I think I have the details on this one right; I think it came up on a thread not too long ago, but a very quick search didn?t turn it up.)

    Obviously a couple pieces of anecdotal evidence don?t amount to much (although the second one is pretty damning), but there have been enough of these examples that they add up to the reasonable conclusion that complaining will do very little good, and might only get your name on their shitlist as some sort of trouble maker.

    Besides, if no one is allowed to complain until they?ve exhausted any reasonable avenues for recourse, I?m afraid we?re going to have to shut down Hit and Run and about half of the internet.

  2. “I know you’re just doing your job bitch. I want to make your job so fucking unpleasant that it isn’t worth the thirty bucks a day they pay you to be a fucking asshole. Then when you quit there’ll be one less cunt interrupting my dinner because you’re douche-bag employers wont ever pay enough that anybody would be willing to do your shity job”

    So long as there are two-dollar whores in the world, I don’t think you could *ever* make the job shitty enough.

    Thus, the do-not-call list.

    Anyway, they’d just send the work to India and hire untouchables, who they could pay a dollar a day and it’d be a big raise.

  3. Jennifer posts:

    “I’ll admit he should not have dropped his pants; he should have demanded to know why the cops were riffling through his magazines and reading his private notes.”

    No, no, I got a better one:

    He should have told the screener that the note was to his father confessor (or high priestess, or Scientology auditor, or whatever) and then claimed the government was unconstitutionally interfering with his freedom of speeach AND religion.

  4. “This person exposed themself in a public area…”

    Sorry to get a little bit off topic, but is anyone else bothered by this grammar? For starters, “themself” isn’t even a word — “them” being plural and “self” being singular.

    Furthermore, people usually use the third person “them” (albeit incorrectly) when they want to be gender-neutral. But in this case, the person making them comment knew the sex of Mr. Miller! Have people really become so politically correct that they need to use gender-neutral words to describe people of whose sex they are already aware?

  5. Cops are not generally known for their superb grammar and concise syntax (though that does bother me). “High rate of speed”, anyone?

  6. psst… Steve…

    The usage you just criticized is well-attested and of very long standing, and held to be correct by an amazing array of the very finest literary lights. Refer to this page for more information:

    http://www.crossmyt.com/hc/linghebr/austheir.html

    Oh, incidentally, way to impersonate an unthinking statist following stupid rules for no other reason but that they’re rules.

  7. Hey speedwell,

    Who says I’m following the rules just because they’re rules? I follow them because I benefit from doing so. I benefit from other people being able to understand me. Maybe I can just stop following the rules of spelling, too. Or, maybe I can just stop following the rules of language altogether. I’ll just start mixing languages and writing nonsensical sentences from now on, because, hey, rules are just authoritarian bullshit, right? So all I have to say to you is ldskghnjkldgbfvjkfdbvlkjndbfgejfrgb$#^fgEWRT!!! Happy now?

  8. Just to clarify–is it illegal for airline passengers to carry in their purses, pockets or carry-on luggage a note that says, “If you are reading this, then go fuck yourself?”

    It’s a sad commentary on where our country’s heading that that was a SERIOUS question. IS it illegal?

  9. In response to comparing cops to tsa employees in many ways, underpaid is definitely not one of them (at least in California). Starting salary for police in Oakland is $48,000 (one of the lowest cop pay rates in the bay area). Not bad for a job that only requires a high school diploma and a love for exercising authority.

  10. Penn Jillette’s hilarious tale of misadventure at the airport, courtesy of the screeners.

    Hey, it works, we’re talking about someone’s crank here…..

    Just click on TWC or cut and paste:

    http://pennandteller.com/sincity/penniphile/federalvip.html

  11. TWC,

    That was a GREAT story. Thanks for the link :-). I haven’t had any run ins with TSA, but the only time I go to McCarran is to pick up and drop off my step kids three to four times a year.

  12. Wow, harrassing an $8/hr employee for doing his job.

    How ruggedly individualistic.

  13. nice. This is a form of civil disobedience that has been long neglected.

    Starting out my day with a smile on my face!

  14. Can’t the TSA employees just swallow their pride?

  15. At least the TSA security screener had time to page through the magazine and find the note.

  16. I’m less sympathetic when the $8/hr employee’s job is harrassing everyone else.

  17. joe:

    I guess airport screeners in your world are never rude, inconsiderate, inappropriate, etc..

    In my world, I had a magnetic wand shoved down my pants and it TOUCHED. Between that and the X-rays (no joke, the detectors fried my electronic pass card), I guess they wanted to make sure my little jimmies won’t be swimming.

  18. “This person exposed themself in a public area, a clear violation of the law, and we needed to take some action on that, otherwise everybody would be dropping their pants,”

    Hee Oh yeah that’s the money quote

  19. I guess then it’s safe to say “no more Mr. Nice Guys.”

  20. There is a certain type of person who takes delight in being rude to waiters, parking garage attendants, interns, and flight attendants. They’re called bullies, and they always have an excuse for why they should be allowed to pick on people who aren’t allowed to stand up to them.

  21. Joe,

    “and they always have an excuse for why they should be allowed to pick on people who aren’t allowed to stand up to them.”

    That’s a good description. It pretty much sums up the lives of many petty civil servants, TSA included.

    Though I’m sure you didn’t intend it that way…I know in JoeWorld the government’s always there to help us.

  22. “…people who aren’t allowed to stand up to them.”

    What?!? I don’t think that’s something TSA screeners really have any problem with. Waiters, definitely. Flight attendants, sure. Parking garage attendants…OK. But there’s no way airport security screeners are in that category. When there’s any bullying going on more often _they’re_ the bullies, and passengers get the pleasure of meekly accepting their rudeness and self-importance.

  23. Joe-

    I’m actually quite good to waiters, valets, interns, and other low-wage workers. I tip very well, I don’t make lots of annoying requests, and I’ve supervised my share of interns in the lab without bullying anybody. (OK, I made them work weird hours, but I was there for every one of those hours, and I rewarded them well and made sure that they spent those hours doing interesting projects rather than making copies or cleaning glassware.)

    I absolutely despise, however, the TSA. I’ve detailed my thoughts on airport security in other threads, so I won’t rehash it all here. Anyway, the only reason I’m not more abusive to them is because they can cause me far more trouble than I could ever cause them.

  24. “I don’t think that’s something TSA screeners really have any problem with. Waiters, definitely. Flight attendants, sure. Parking garage attendants…OK. But there’s no way airport security screeners are in that category.’

    As this prick appears to have learned the hard way. Yup, you make 5x what Kwanisha takes home in a year, so I guess it’s ok to screw with her. Well ha ha ha tough guy.

    thoreau, whatever your problems with the TSA, the underpaid shmuck manning the wand isn’t the cause of them, any more than the underpaid shmuck on the tech support line is the cause of Microsoft’s software problems. You should avoid persecuting innocent people because it’s the right thing to do, not because you hope to avoid retaliation.

  25. Joe-

    Well, if the TSA employees didn’t have the power to make my life miserable I probably wouldn’t have any desire to abuse them. So they’d be safe from my wrath if they were powerless. In the status quo, of course, they’re safe from my wrath because they are powerful.

    So either way I’m not going to mess with those guys.

  26. Nice use of ellipses, Mike. Here?s the paragraph of the article that you left out.

    Miller also became belligerent during the screening, Transportation Security Administration officers told police. One TSA employee also told police that Miller had a note inside a magazine in his bag with an expletive, and told a TSA employee “Oh yeah, it’s for you” when asked who the note was directed at.

    Please pardon me if I don?t feel sympathy for this asshole, and don?t see his fine as a grievous trampling of our inalienable human rights by an evil tyranny, staffed by vicious petty bureaucrats. It?s pretty clear from this that Mr. Miller set out to make a scene. He succeeded, and should be congratulated for being such an effective, goals-oriented person.

    Oh well, maybe the ACLU will take his case. I?m sure the First Amendment covers our fundamental right to wave our dicks at $8/hour government employees, prior to boarding our flights.

  27. How is it not their fault? They are the ones who start off with attitudes, like you’re already a suspect. Fuck ’em. That is not to say that I’m rude to them – I try to be as polite as possible, because I’m a polite person, and as you say, joe, it’s the right thing to do. But they’re like police officers in a lot of ways. They’re underpaid and under-trained, and when they start off any interaction with attitude, they shouldn’t be surprised to get people who are rude.

  28. Ok, so this Mr Miller was trying to provoke them, so he’s an asshole. Agreed.

    But just because the TSA person says that someone became belligerent doesn’t mean that they weren’t goaded into it. Also, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a police officer lie/exaggerate in his incident report – and it’s not to be nice. I can imagine it’s not much different with TSA screeners and other authority figures.

    But then again, I’m just an anti-authoritarian libertarian who hates America. 🙂

  29. Joe:
    “Yup, you make 5x what Kwanisha takes home in a year, so I guess it’s ok to screw with her. Well ha ha ha tough guy.”

    Are you saying that I can resent being bullied ONLY if the bully makes more money than I do?

    Also, considering how quick you sometimes are to accuse others of racism, perhaps you shouldn’t assume that TSA bullies have names like “Kwanisha.” Just a suggestion!

  30. Yeah, I was thinking “poor guy” too. Then I saw his reaction to the TSA looking through his magazines.

    I mean, we have to give up some rights to be safe. If anyone can read any magazine they want and put notes in them in total privacy, we’d have planes falling out of the sky every day.

  31. I’ll admit he should not have dropped his pants; he should have demanded to know why the cops were riffling through his magazines and reading his private notes.

  32. Okay, so everybody here has been horribly abused by TSA. Fine – so why not go to TSA or DHS’s office of inspector general or their civil rights offices or whatever, and file a complaint? Has anybody here done that? Has anyone here filed a court claim against them to teach them a lesson? Or would you rather just fulminate and stew over it? If you’ve been abused, and you haven’t fought back, then you are at fault as much as the abuser for letting it happen. And if you haven’t actually been abused, if you’ve merely been inconvenienced – and I define getting a wand search with a metal detector at an airport an inconvenience, not a brutal rending of the fabric of American life – then you need to get a grip.

  33. It’s like when my roommate told a telemarketer;
    “I know you’re just doing your job bitch. I want to make your job so fucking unpleasant that it isn’t worth the thirty bucks a day they pay you to be a fucking asshole. Then when you quit there’ll be one less cunt interrupting my dinner because you’re douche-bag employers wont ever pay enough that anybody would be willing to do your shity job”

  34. Are libertarian values actually being used by people to rationalize a vulgar, immoral, illegal, and unmannered act such as exposing one’s genitals in public? Is this really striking people who believe in the non-coercion principle as a legitimate form of protest, even though it forces other human beings to see something they very likely would choose not to see? I suppose this is yet another example of the increasingly crass society from which I feel more alienated everyday – a society where the slightest frustration causes people to explode in a torrent of obscenity and possibly violence (as if their needs and wants are the center of the universe)or where misanthropes feel free to throw insults and invective at anyone who disagrees with their opinion while hiding cowardly behind the anonimity of the internet. The value of manners being the social lubricant for a society of free, self-interested individuals seems to be fading with each passing year. That voice in people’s heads of their mother telling them to behave like proper ladies and gentlemen is fading as well.

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