Letters to the Editor

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TSA: Security checks make flying a nightmare

Letter by Callum J. Flynn, Lakewood on Jan. 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm with 43 Comments »
January 6, 2012 2:42 pm

I am an 81-year-old male with blond hair and blue eyes. I am also a retired Army chief warrant officer.

On Dec. 2, I was subjected to one of the most humiliating experiences of my life. This was in retaliation because I declined the opportunity of permitting someone to view my naked body by using an X-ray machine at the airport.

It is beyond my understanding why the ACLU has not taken this up as a “cause celebre.” I am absolutely convinced that members of Congress and high-ranking officials of the executive and judicial branches are not subjected to such screenings.

The act of flying has been turned from a once tolerable, occasionally pleasurable experience into a nightmare.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits searches without “due cause. With the unlawful searches at airports, people are being required to prove their innocence rather than the state proving their guilt.

I would rather follow someone onto an airplane who has a ticking backpack than go through another security check. It is time for Americans to start living and acting like Americans rather than a bunch of sheep.

Leave a comment Comments → 43
  1. hansgruber says:

    First, thank you for your service to our country.

    Next, I have no objection for TSA to look at my naked body if need be. I travel several times a year and have been x-ray scaned every time in the last year and a half in the USA.

    For those who agree with Callum, I suggest you drive you cars to where you are going since flying has become such a nightmare. I refuse to get on plane with some idiot with a ticking time bomb!

    Come prepared and it’s a breeze. I have had to wait maybe a max of 20 minutes to get through security in the past few years.

    So Callum, I hope you have a comfortable car for all your travelling!

  2. Callum – isn’t it nice to know that the 4th Amendment can be ignored at will, but if you talk about changing a law concerning guns, millions of dollars become available to lobby against it?

    Maybe, if the Administration during 2001 had paid attention to the memos about terrorist activity, life in our United States would be different today.

  3. Publico says:

    Mr. Flynn needs to take a deep breath and relax knowing that the airplane he is flying on is safer than any car trip he might take.
    The when he buys a ticket and enters the screening line he has given permission to be searched. None of his rights have been violated as a result and the ACLU will not waste its time.

  4. Dave98373 says:

    The only part of flying that is a nightmare is the obscene charges that airlines now charge as well as how they treat their customers. TSA is not the issue. However, if one has an issue with TSA then one needs to take it up with Congress—they made the rules. TSA is only enforcing rules and laws that Congress imposed. Stop hating TSA and start taking out your frustration on your elected politicians that created this mess….and continue to perpetuate this problem.

  5. SCORPION says:

    The plane trip was safer compared to a car before the crotch checks. And do you really feel safer knowing that my jewels have been checked and stowed prior to flight.

    Do your rights need to be violated before they search your person to the point where a TSA agents hand is separated from intimate areas by two layers of fabric (unless you go commando, then it’s one)

    Strawman alert here – but what are you people going to do when instead of a crotch bomber, we have an butt bomber. (It’s been tried). Will you draw the line when an anal check is required. I am not so sure how ridiculous this is considering the brain trust we have in DC and the sheeple we are fast becoming.

  6. beerBoy says:

    Callum – ALL citizens deserve Fourth Amendment protections – not just 81 year olds with Aryan features who served in the military.

    BTW – ACLU is on it – check out this webpage link

    Maybe you could help them in their efforts to protect our civil liberties by sending them a donation.

  7. concernedtacoma7 says:

    The only thing that has made flying safer is the locked cockpit and passengers now know a hijacking is not for money.

    TSA may provide some active deterrance, but we may never know if the money and inconvience is worth it. My personal feeling is no, but I also ‘feel’ very safe when flying, which is often.

  8. bobcat1a says:

    Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
    Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

  9. surething says:

    Damn you, BeerBoy, you stole my comment. Lol

  10. ReadNLearn says:

    TSA has never stopped a hijacking…they are an ironically termed ‘feel good’ measure, eye wash to give the appearance of security that doesn’t stop anything.

  11. Callum J. Flynn are you writing to complain or are writing a personal ad just because you’re a retired warrant officer doesn’t mean to 2 beans other than when you’re on post. The fact that your blonde & blue eyed only helps if you’re looking for a new companion or if you were in Germany during ww2. Now how about turning up your hearing aid. Because if you watch and hear the news you’d seen there has been members of our congress and delegates of other countries that had to go through the same thing you did. You sound like the typical officer that they think there are better than the rest My dad served 30 years and retired Command Master Chief if he can endure it so can you. Also so he could had gone Warrant but didn’t want to get that better than you attitude like you.
    I rather have them do what necessary to get me there safe then to end up in the side of a building. if you don’t like it don’t fly.

  12. keepinitreal says:

    Callum, did you vote for “hope and change” ? Because if you did, you must REALLY be disappointed. Barryack has expanded and doubled down on Bush policies. He’s like Bush x2 in some regard.

  13. pazzo242 says:

    I can think of much more humiliating experiences then being x-rayed at the airport–checking me for a hernia (turn and cough) or prostrate finger in the you-know-where exam both come to mind. Both of those things are not fun but necessary for my personal health, much like checking folks getting on a plane. You don’t have to be a Muslim to be a terrorist, just ask Timothy McVeigh.

    As for the Fourth Amendment this does not apply. Have you not heard of Terry vs Ohio which gives the law enforcement agency (TSA in this case) the right to do pat downs to look for weapons or other life threatening devices? I agree that the system is not perfect but simply taking the time to allow an x-ray is a far less intrusion then some joker getting through with a device that may ruin my day forever.

  14. Pacman33 says:

    Newest TSA Slogan :

    “Smell my finger”

    …….turns out to be an inside joke.

  15. harleyrider1 says:

    Maybe your point was to say we should be looking for suspects that match the description. I agree. I recall when there was so much push back from one race that police were not allowed to state that race in descriptions even to responding officers over the air-waves because all it did according to the NAACP was to continue to promote stereotypes of criminals. The problem was, which 6′ man should they look for? Common sense prevailed and they moved past that. However in the interest of we should be worried about hurting people’s feelings, we go out of our way to appease.

    Jihad carried out by 81-year old white males is not really on the rise, is it?

    Since flying is a privilege and not a “constitutional right”, all of us have to pretend that the rest of us are just like them.

    Or, and here’s a really radical thought, we contract with the government of Israel to be our airport security. They have not had one incident in many, many years. They do not strip search children, old people, or others that do not present a potential threat. Funny, here is the most hated Country in the World by terrorists and they are able to process fliers in a much more expedient and pleasing manner. In reality, probably more safer than us as well.

  16. denismenis says:

    Inconvenient, yes. Unconstitutional? I’ll leave that for another day.

    If it’s less than a days’ drive. I drive.

    Frankly, I worry about the drunk and disorderly who manage to get on. Even unarmed, they’ve been more trouble than anything else lately.

  17. SCORPION says:

    “I rather have them do what necessary to get me there safe then to end up in the side of a building. if you don’t like it don’t fly.”

    Curious if any of you that feel this way about flying have a limit for the TSA to perform their duty…

    x-ray – they are taking a second look at the machines bacause of the amount of radiation and possible cancer issues.

    pat downs – they, through fabric, touch your scrotum, your spouses labia (“until resistance” I believe is the term). That is ok with you?

    Do you really feel safe knowing that has been done to me?

    Do you feel ‘safe’ knowing I have not had a pat down?

    What if they ask you to drop trousers? It’s been done. Feel safer?

    I agree with concerned, we are not going to get hijacked again as long as we comprise 51% of the potential hijackers.

    As far as bombs, I can’t see an explosive powerful enough that can be packed in the nether regions that would down a plane. It would suck sitting next to the idiot, that’s for sure.

    As a reminder, olde Bin Laden said his goal was to break us financially. Considering the money ‘wasted’ at Homeland Security in the name of feel good security, I will say he is playing a potentially winning hand… even sleeping with the fishes.

  18. sandblower says:

    Scorpion wrote: “As far as bombs, I can’t see an explosive powerful enough that can be packed in the nether regions that would down a plane.”
    You don’t know much and that is really obvious from your comments so far.
    Do you know what C4 is…… without looking it up?

  19. SCORPION says:

    yes, some variants but it is a relatively powerful plastique type explosive.

    We are on the edge here (TNT this is NPR educational OK)…

    We are talking about a quantity that can be packed somewhere on the body, in a sufficient quantity to cause severe damage to a large aircraft (intent to destroy), that won’t be detected by the current process.

    Solve the C-4 issue and you would also have to solve getting on board the thingy that makes it go ba-boom (non-technical).

    Second – just because you have an explosion on board an aircraft does not mean you have complete structual integrity loss. You have to quickly assess the damage, the systems that work and yes, fly the plane with less g-force stress… and pray a little.

    Third – you can refer to Lockerbie if you like. That was in a suitcase not on a person.

    Fourth – I believe it was determined that the family jewel bomber did not have enough explosive force to destroy the aircraft though his seat mates would be AFU.

    Fifth – TSA… are you saying you would submit to a nether region check to go see granny for Thanksgiving? (I know, I know a little straw man thingy – but you can still answer it)

  20. beerBoy says:

    Fourth – to say nothing about his family jewels……

  21. beerBoy says:

    What TSA does is security THEATRE. There really is no evidence it does anything but give some folks the feeling that they are safe.

    Airline security is the one area that I think it would be best if we followed Israel’s example. They are PSYCHOLOGICALLY profiling passengers in several locations throughout the airport. This is effective and fulfills reasonable cause for search and seizure as required by the Constitution.

  22. BlaineCGarver says:

    El Al does not seem to have a problem. Let’s adopt their procedures. bB is right…it’s just theater. The military paints rocks white for something to do, and TSA is whitewashing. I despise it due to the incredibly snotty attitude the Jack Boot Thugs take with you. Some deserve to have their azzes kicked real hard.

  23. Misunderestimated says:

    The only way to end these illegal body searches is to “refuse to fly.”
    I have not flown since these illegal checks were instituted, and have no intention to fly until they are removed.
    I proudly drive as needed when I travel.
    If enough of us adopt this attitude, the airlines will be forced to get real or go broke.
    As long as the people remain sheeple, they deserve the treatment they get.

  24. I just dont know why we all dont just make their jobs easier…..We all pop into the rest room, take off all our clothes and just go through the line butt nekkid! There ya go, another one that the Honorable dcr628 has solved for humanity!!! :D

  25. ltkeffer says:

    Flying anymore is a joke and even worse with the whole family. It’s expensive, painful and no longer much of a value. The family and I are driving from now on as it is significantly cheaper than flying.

  26. ItalianSpring says:

    Callum- never fear. As soon as Obomba leaves office (will he?) and a republican (required as you will see here) becomes president, the ACLU and all other lib freedom hating groups will be screaming that these TSA screenings be stopped immediately. They will be shouting that passengers’ rights to privacy are being violated and these searches are unreasonable and warrants should be required. But that’s only IF there’s no longer a marxist in the White House.

  27. papasan says:

    I used to enjoy flying. Most of the aircraft that I’ve flown in, I jumped out of.
    When on a civilian flight, I was required to wear “Class A’s”, the Army rendition of a business suit. People were more dressed up, respectful. Flying was not a chore and nobody wore cutoffs and flip flops.
    As for losing our 4th Amendment Rights, where were all the complaints when this came to fruition? You people elected Bush TWICE. How you liking it NOW?
    I can’t believe that one writer blamed Obama! Where have YOU been the past 10 years, pal? Under a rock?
    Thank you for your service, Chief. Like me, I’ll bet you didn’t expect that our Constitution was in the hands of Howdy Doody, did you?

  28. gerry0416 says:

    The only way to control the TSA is for everyone who objects to their overbearing tactics to just stop flying and let the airlines and your elected representatives know. When the airlines are in more financial trouble than they already are, the Congress will be forced to deal with the problem.

  29. ReadNLearn says:

    So many sheeple so willing to surrender their freedoms for a mere illustion of security. The terrorists win.

  30. Callum? My father is a 76 year old retired military with brown eyes, brown hair and skin. Did it matter before to you that he was searched and x-rayed all for the name of safety?

  31. rampoloparent says:

    That, my dear Mr. Callum J. Flynn, is why I don’t fly anymore. I guess I will miss a trip to Hawaii unless I go by cruise ship. I would love to fly more often to visit my daughter in Arizona. next they will be doing this for bus and train travel.

  32. SCORPION says:

    First they came for my plane ticket, I said nothing…

    Next they came for my train ticket, I said nothing…

    Next the came for my bus ticket, I said nothing…

    What will they come for next…?

    Oh, forgot to add TSA did a vehicle check in Tennessee I believe, it was within the past three months or so.

  33. Wrapper98439 says:

    Unless you are a convict taking part in the conair program, no one is literally holding a gun to your head to make you fly. If you don’t like the screening process, don’t fly. People CHOOSE to fly for their job, but they don’t have to.

  34. SCORPION says:

    wrapper – do you realy not know about the VIPR program by Homeland Security. It’s not just about airplanes anymore.

    You could make that claim for freedom of movement from one part of the country to another via an airplane. It is now getting to the point that travel within a state is restricted via a car.

    A smiling state trooper at a check point asks you…

    “Can I have a look in your trunk sir? You don’t have to grant me permission but you will be restricted from traveling further on this road that your taxes help build and maintain.”

  35. scott0962 says:

    The TSA’s airport screening is supposed to make it safe for the public to fly, right? Then how come they don’t do the security screening for Air Force One? Apparently their personnel and procedures are good enough for us common folk people but not good enough for our president. That tells me all I need to know about the efficacy of TSA security measures.

  36. retrostryker says:

    The American people are SHEEP. I have accidentally boarded planes with knifes in my cary on that were not found 3 times this year. The embarassing x-ray and pat downs found nothing on my body but if I was a coward terrorist it could have been very bad. You are not any safer with this mascarade of security. TSA very much under estimates the enemy and only punishes the inocent people with these invasive proceedures. Next time you are in security please notice the number of big breasted pretty woman who are drug thru the x-ray machine. I wonder how much video is saved for self pleasure??????

  37. SCORPION says:

    “We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah, bin Laden said in the transcript. ”

    He said the mujahedeen fighters did the same thing to the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s, “using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers.”

    “We, alongside the mujahedeen, bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat,” bin Laden said.

    On that note…


  38. Copper2Steel says:

    No offense, Mr. Flynn, but you’re 81-years-old. I’m pretty sure nobody within TSA wanted to see you naked either, much less search/grope you.

    In fact, I’m pretty sure those TSA folks don’t like either part of that job. The majority of the flying public are not models, actors or other “beautiful” people.

    While I certainly don’t like the x-ray “solution” currently in place, I’d rather save EVERYONE the hassle and humiliation and go with the “hands off” approach just to get through the darn checkpoint.

  39. A321196 says:

    For someone who served and retired from the military, it is difficult for me to see what your big fuss is about?? Were you exempt from following orders? Did you not understand the necessity for security while you were in the service?

    As to being blue eyed and 81 years of age, so what? If I recall during World War II the Nazis tried infiltrating Allied lines with English speaking soldiers dressed in American uniforms.

    American military history is full of debacles where the military let its guard down.

    If you do not want the TSA person to see your body or pat you down, drive a car or take Greyhound.

  40. SCORPION says:

    Ok, two people that have absolutely no clue about the VIPR program…

    Ok… remember what mom said about clean underwear.


  41. itwasntmethistime says:

    When they started using the x-ray machines in November 2010 I had already purchased airline tickets for my family’s December vacation. I spent the next 3 weeks completely stressed out about whether it would be worse to expose my children to radiation or molestation.

    My solution? We simply don’t fly anymore. We drive or we don’t go.

  42. TSA deploys ‘VIPR’ teams throughout Tennessee to set up illegal security checkpoints on interstates


    Like TSA? You’ll Love VIPR!


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