Steve Bierfeldt managed to stay out of jail after defying screeners thanks to his taping their abuse on his cell. Now John Tyner, 31, of Oceanside, Calif., may avoid not only prison but a fine of $10,000 as well thanks to the same tactic.
Mr. Tyner had hoped to fly from San Diego International Airport this weekend but avoid the TSA’s carcinogenic strip-search machines. So this software programmer checked the TSA’s website with the list of airports it has inducted into its national peepshow. He didn’t see San Diego’s name there (though the catalog has since been updated to include it). Accordingly, he packed his bag and headed for the airport …
… where the porno-scanner he had tried so hard to avoid lurked after all. No wonder he “balked” when a screener ordered him through it, “opting for the traditional metal scanner and a basic ‘pat down’" per the TSA’s website. But though the TSA continues to call its molestation “pat-downs,” an ex-cop labels that a “lie” and says the TSA should ’fess up to what it’s actually inflicting on us: “TSA agents are using … the front of their hands to search passengers’ entire bodies.... In police work, that's called a custody search that includes everything short of a cavity search.”
So when Mr. Tyner’s assailant described this sexual assault to his victim, including a "groin check," Mr. Tyner objected. Vehemently. As any red-blooded man would. In fact, he warned his attacker, "You touch my junk and I'm going to have you arrested."
The TSA refuses to tolerate many things. One is uppity passengers. It expects us to accept our status as serfs, admit our total ignorance of security, and trust our omniscient overlords at the TSA to protect us. This requires our playing along with the fiction that the TSA is all about security, not tyranny. If the agency’s witches and warlocks mutter their incantations, stir the cauldron, and read the tea leaves to decree that “touching” passengers’ “junk” will defeat al-Qaeda, our job is to present our “junk.” And cheerfully.
For Mr. Tyner to assert instead, “I don't understand how a sexual assault can be made a condition of my flying” sorta undermines the whole charade. It calls the TSA’s perverts what they are — sexual predators who belong in prison, not infesting airports to pester us. It also lets Our Rulers know that though they’ve deliberately confused groping with fighting terrorism, we haven’t. And so Mr. Tyner’s “threat triggered a code red of sorts as TSA agents, supervisors and eventually the local police gravitated to the spot where the reluctant traveler stood in his stocking feet.”
Now ensued lengthy discussions about whether Mr. Tyner was free to leave the airport or whether the goons would first get a shot at him — after all, he “may have an incendiary device and whether or not that was true needed to be determined.” Notice the leaps in what passes for logic at the TSA: because a man objects to molestation, and frequently says so, he may be a terrorist. But then these are the same geniuses who steal our liquids and gels because they might be explosive, then pile them in bins at checkpoints where hundreds of hapless passengers wait.
Eventually, Mr. Tyner’s captors agreed to release him, though not without a parting shot: “one told him that if he left he would be subject to a civil suit and a $10,000 fine.” Mr. Tyner “looked him in the eye, and said, ‘then I'm leaving.’ He replied, ‘then we'll bring a civil suit against you,’ to which I said, ‘you bring that suit’ and walked out of the airport.” He went home to blog about his ordeal and post the tape he’d made on the Internet. Both have “gone viral.”
The TSA’s employees are not known for their smarts or erudition, so I hesitate to assume Mr. Tyner’s assailants were literate, let alone that they peruse court cases. But in US vs. Aukai, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that once passengers enter the checkpoint, we are no longer free to change our minds about flying. We may not leave. In effect, we become the TSA’s prisoners. Meanwhile, other courts have ruled that when we buy an airline ticket, we agree to whatever Our Rulers decide to do to us — which now encompasses sexual assault.
Mr. Tyner was plucky and lucky. The rest of us may not be. The best weapon of all against the TSA? Don’t fly. Boycott aviation until Congress abolishes this vile agency.
Becky Akers, an expert on the American Revolution, writes frequently about issues related to security and privacy. Her articles and columns have been published by Lewrockwell.com, The Freeman, Military History Magazine, American History Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Post, and other publications.