Home > Current Events > Sometimes, there really is a right and wrong way.

Sometimes, there really is a right and wrong way.

November 22nd, 2010

When I saw the headline, I wanted to laugh hysterically at what I imagined would be some very embarrassed TSA workers stumbling all over themselves when confronted by a woman in lingerie making a huge deal out of transparency.  And for a split second, when the TSA worker asked FurryGirl to put her coat back on, I was.

Then M said, “Is that a baby crying? What’s she doing? Trying to cause a confrontation?”

I started to think about it.  And ya know… I’m really not sure this “Humiliate the TSA!” approach is the right one. 

Yeah… I get it.  They’re humiliating Joe Citizen, yada, yada.  And revenge is sweet, and let’s see how they like it, and all that jazz.  But two wrongs don’t make a right.  And it’s not all TSA workers.  These are just the ones we’re hearing about.

A few years ago, when M and I flew the friendly skies, things went swimmingly.  The only mishap occurred when we weren’t there.  Our suitcase went through the metal detector, with my steel collar inside, and they searched it to make sure it wasn’t something dangerous.  I don’t blame them, and I don’t mind.  I don’t travel with anything more dangerous than a flogger, or paddle, and my gut reaction, had I seen a distinct metal circle inside a suitcase going onto a plane, and no real knowledge of what it was, would have been “What the fuck?” And honestly? I think I’d search the suitcase whether I had the right to or not.  Err on the side of caution.  Especially considering not only was my luggage marked for a flight, but it was marked for Disney World, as well.  The sheer numbers that would be at risk on any given day is obscene.

Granted, this was before they increased security again, but TSA was friendly enough, and there wasn’t a single altercation in the two hours we were in line.  Things moved quickly and efficiently, and no one touched anyone beyond the occasional accidental bumping in line, or graze with the wand.  I seem to remember a visible dog presence, but I could be mixing memories.  What I remember distinctly is that they’re people, too.  And while the vast majority of the stories you hear about TSA are bad, the fact of the matter is, they’re just a handful of agents out of how many U.S. airports? 600ish? And how many agents would you say each employs?

M said, “The people doing the searches, you can be sure, are not the policy makers.  They’re just doing what they’re told.”

I made the same arguments people made in the EF debacle with the links, only with righteous anger over an injustice much greater than not getting a rating increase on the internet.  “But this is so wrong! It violates our fourth amendment rights! It goes against everything so many have fought for! I would quit! No way would I be party to that!”

And all M had to do was remind me of CamNet.  Schenectady’s security blanket.  A network of cameras installed in known dangerous/heavy traffic areas with the hope of decreasing the steadily growing crime rate, increasing the conviction rate, and making the white collar workers, college kids, and avid theatergoers feel safe when they’re in town.  If you know anything about us, it’s that we’re always broke.  So when M’s boss announced that their company would be helping install CamNet, M voiced His discomfort, but even though I had a job at the time, there was no way He could quit.

Back then, the job market was much better than it is now.  These days? Employment rates are in the toilet, and prices are on the rise.  Families with two or more occupations are struggling, much less those with only one.  And I imagine that, just like everywhere else, there are a lot of single mothers and fathers working for TSA.  And they’re all just doing what they’re told to keep their jobs regardless of how they feel about it.

I’m all for promoting a sex-positive culture, and while I wouldn’t be offended by a woman going through the security checkpoint in see-through lingerie, I’m sure some people would.  Especially those with children in tow.

I dunno what’s going on with these TSA workers.  I, too, am sitting here wondering why we’re talking about “sensitivity training” to teach human beings how to treat other human beings.  I haven’t the first clue about how they’re trained, or what they’re told to say and do.  I’m willing to bet at least a couple of the ones acting out of turn are just off their rockers, and need to feel the boot on the cusps of their collective asses.  And maybe one to the throat to remind them they don’t have all the power as they seem to think they do.  I know a few doms who, given a second or two, could straighten them out without so much as breaking a sweat.  I bet a couple would volunteer their services, too, in the name of justice.

Expose the bad seeds.  Protest the unfair treatment.  Step in and/or file a complaint when you see or are involved in something that shouldn’t happen.  Tell everyone you can about the man they soaked in his own urine, and the sixteen year old girl with the prosthetic leg, and the seventy year old man with the artificial knee.  Tell them about the fact that at least one of the bomb attempts (the underwear bomber) made it through because the man wasn’t ever screened, not because the equipment failed.  Give people the information they need to understand that these invasive measures are unnecessary.  And then hope for the best.  That’s all you can do.

I know it’s frustrating, but don’t try to provoke a confrontation.  Don’t make up fake stories about TSA walking off with your baby. (No, I’m not joking.) Don’t lodge frivolous complaints about snippy attitudes.  At least half of us are on the attack right now, and TSA is our prey.  It’s only natural for them to feel a little defensive.  And the frivolous complaints will only detract attention from the serious cases.

Our side can’t win if we don’t approach this the right way.  If it becomes about what we’ll do to get our point across, our point will be lost in the sensationalism.  I mean, why should the government and TSA care about humiliating us if we’re humiliating ourselves in the checkpoint line? And I get that she wasn’t humiliated, and shouldn’t be, and blah.  But I’m betting some people were.  And I know quite a few who would have been had they been there.

Anyway… that’s my opinion.

  1. Dinora3228
    November 25th, 2010 at 21:04 | #1

    Yep, issues are rarely simplistic, though we tend to try to see them as such. It’s great to read a well thought out point of view.

  2. November 29th, 2010 at 09:01 | #2

    @Dinora3228 Thanks. 🙂 Unfortunately, it looks like we’re going to lose this battle no matter how we approach it.

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