Fly the ‘friendly’ skies … of international paranoia

I have a new hero. His name is Jon Tyner. He’s the ‘Don’t touch my junk’ guy who had the balls to stand up to what we have permitted in the name of airport security these days.

I say ‘we’ have allowed it because few of us have the balls of a Jon Tyner sufficient to tell the mokes who work for Homeland Security, and its equivalents elsewhere in the world, including Canada, to piss off with indignities to my person, or my wife’s person, or my next-door neighbor’s person or any of the other non-terrorists of my acquaintance who either need to or choose to fly on airplanes.

Tyner was arrested and escorted from San Diego Airport last week when he refused to go through a full body scan. Here’s how the report goes: 

“When Tyner was given the alternative of the thorough pat down, he refused that as well. His famous line which earned him thousands of fans all across the internet was “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.” Tyner recorded the whole experience of going through security by turning on the recording feature of his phone.”

Kudos to Mr. Tyner. He did it for us and he expressed how so many of us feel about such invasions of our privacy and our rights as citizens of ostensibly free societies. 

Of course the penalty for standing up for your rights is, as Mr. Tyner found, is getting the boot and no access to your flight, even though no crime had been committed. Did we give this right to the people in charge? If not, why have they assumed it and why are most people not even whimpering about it.

When I first heard of the body scans, I cringed. Not because I am overly modest, but there is time, place and circumstance in such realms. Morons at airport security don’t qualify as people with a right of access to my ‘junk’. That is reserved for myself, my doctor and my spouse, and even in the case of my doctor and my spouse, I have the right of refusal, although in the latter it would likely be a matter of ‘as if’.

Such a right belongs to any of us. That right. Mr. Tyner saw this invasive procedure as “sexual assault” and in any other circumstances it would be deemed as such. And there are cases galore of people being so invaded in the name of a dubious international security. One woman reported having a hand thrust down her panties in the name of something or other.

Yes, it’s an insecure world, and yes there are terrorists. Terrorists that are probably sophisticated enough to thwart airport security checks. Probably? Definitely. We know that because too many have breezed through while ordinary citizens like Jon Tyner are confronted with indignities.

I have flown since increased security measures came into being, and they haven’t been pleasant, but I have gritted my teeth and kept my mouth shut. I haven’t faced the body scan thing yet, and I am not quite sure how I’ll approach it. I guess if I want to go to Europe or Hawaii, I’ll be forced to bear with it – very resentfully and wistfully, dude to the fact that we once had free societies.

As for now, a train or a road trip look increasingly appealing.

Thanks for what you did, Jon Tyner. Now, if the airlines began to show similar courage we might get some of our rights back, and they might get some of their trade back. 

Meanwhile, the more terror we show, the more the bad guys are winning.

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14 responses to “Fly the ‘friendly’ skies … of international paranoia

  1. I agree.

    It’s a hugely exaggerated threat anyway: the occasional attack should not come to determine a nation’s way of life to such an extreme degree. There’s the argument that a really major attack like 9/11, even if rare, warrants an extreme response, but I disagree; not least on the grounds Ian already mentioned here: that the really sophisticated and determined terrorists (of which there are manifestly very few) will not be thwarted by a ban on shampoo…

    It’s not an Axis of Evil; it’s the occasional group of incompetent, sometimes borderline mentally retarded zealots, and the very, very occasional group of intelligent well-read zealots. The different groups who committ terrorist actions may frequently have Islamism in common but like extreme leftist militias they are as likely to hate and fight each other as anyone else. Bin Laden and the Taliban both despised Saddam Hussein, yet we’re still in Iraq fighting ‘terror’ anyways…

  2. I wonder if George Bush and Barack Obama have happily consented to being groped and peered at..?

  3. G has a good point.
    Let us see our Dear Leaders – and their spouses – undergo this routine….every time they have to travel.

  4. G, you raise some extremely good points. Thank you for that.

  5. All this hocus-pocus, security claptrap has never made me feel the slightest bit safer on a flight. Do I really give a rat’s if the person next to me has a Swiss Army Knife on their person? Or if we eat with real cutlery or plastic? Explosive shoes or underwear? Give me a break. It’s all just to “control” us and I, for one, am not buying it. Some security is needed. No argument there. Single out suspicious individuals. Certainly. But the whole airport security drill has just reached a whole new level of ridiculous. Not to mention making as many people as possible so paranoid they actually think the security is necessary and a good thing. I’m with you Ian.

  6. It just goes to prove that actually, the terrorists have won.

    When has a security measure been proactive? Never. It’s always reactive, after the liquid thing, no more than a drop of shampoo on the plane, after the underwear guy, this. Security isn’t on top of it, never has been and the only ones winning besides the terrorists, are those with security companies.

    Come to think of it, if I were a terrorist, I’d make sure I owned a lots of security companies in North America and Europe. So much money to make to fund my efforts.

  7. Thing is, the terrorists haven’t really won. It’s an American-British fallacy that their aim is to destroy Western freedom and liberty; most terrorists are nationalists or ethnic separatists who want to end Western interference and to achieve other domestic goals. Few have such grandly megalomaniac visions as forcing Sharia law on Americans, despite what the Whitehouse and Fox News keep saying.

    Terrorism does sometimes achieve its aims, or at least win some concessions. But the Islamist terror projects so far have tended to backfire – they seem to persist nevertheless because of a) the resiliency of dogmatic fervour and b) the inflaming actions and reactions of the West. All over the world, most ordinary Muslims want the terrorists to bugger off just as much as they want Uncle Sam to bugger off. The terrorists also struggle to ‘win hearts and minds’. But, for example, Western forces have made life so miserable in Afghanistan now that it’s not uncommon for people to look back nostalgically to the good old days when the Taliban assured basic stability and security for most of the people most of the time. Now in the major towns and cities you see unprecedented miseries, like 40% of men, women and children addicted to opium.

    If we had not made life so bad for them, the terrorists would probably be considered a nuisance in their own country. Even now, some Afghans have the insight to realise that their homegrown militants have helped bring misfortune to their country.

    The actions of the terrorists are as futile as those of the imperialists who try to crush them – there are no winners in this war, really. The only victory would be for the whole thing to be defused peacefully.

  8. Following the ‘logic’ of not allowing shampoo and liquids onto planes, how come we are not being required to fly sans underpants?

  9. I’m sure the underpants thing will come shortly, Leslie. I mean, they’ve already stripped us of our dignity, so why not our drawers, too?

  10. Yay Jon Tyner !! You are so right about airport security – they are bloody morons. A year or so ago, we were coming back from a family trip to Holland and as is usual for me, I beeped as I went through the metal scanner thing at Schipol Airport ( I think it must be the underwire in my bras!!). Anyway, a female took me into a little booth and pulled a tatty piece of cloth across which I think was meant to represent a curtain and she did the whole pat down thing but I could see one of the other security men just blatantly standing there and looking in ! And then, he turned to my husband …..and smiled!?! Ewan nearly decked him but it made me realise that these sad little people clearly need whatever titilation they can find and these full body scans are probably providing it!

  11. Wow, I guess I’m the only one here that disagrees. I say let them do whatever it takes to make flying safer. As for your “rights” – there is no “right to fly.” It’s a choice and a privilege if you can afford it. If people don’t want to be scanned, patted down, have to remove their shoes, whatever, they don’t have to fly.
    I got pulled out of line last month to be wanded and have my purse searched at one of the baseball games I attended and didn’t even mention it in any of my blog posts because I didn’t think anything of it.
    I say BOOO Jon Tyner. I’m glad he had to miss his trip. People are cheering him on for being a rebel without a cause. I’m sure he’s thrilled with his 15 minutes of fame for doing something pointless. If he’s a hero to you guys, you need to maybe look around for a better one.

  12. Geewits, does it really make flying safer?

    And okay, if you think there’re no ‘rights’ involved as such, what about just ordinary decency and respect? Maybe I have the ‘right’ to strip-search my child before and after school every day to make sure he has no drugs or other contraband, but would it be right?

    I would not describe Jon Tyner as a ‘hero’ – he’s a ’cause celebre’ because he said what was on many people’s minds anyway. People are voicing their disapproval at their loss of dignity and freedom as citizens in the name of a war against a phantom enemy. And remember, this is happening at a time when there is considerable hysteria and rage in the US directed at ‘big government’ and these forces which supposedly make ordinary citizens feel small and unimportant. Humiliating, depersonalising experiences – which will be unavoidable from most people, let’s face it (it’s hardly a ‘choice’ like you say for many people) – inflicted by snickering state goons, are the perfect vindication for the Tea Party and other crackpots who are all anger and no ideas. Incluuuding… homegrown terrorists, like the Unabomber!

  13. ..like I said over at my place….

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