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Old 08-09-2011, 10:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I posted in FYT but would love input from others who have gone through IAH (Houston) or other major airports and have input on the best ways (if any) to avoid body scanners and pat-downs:

http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1325181/flying-from-iah-any-way-to-avoid-body-scanners-and-pat-downs#post_16598443

Thanks!
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Old 08-10-2011, 07:39 PM
 
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We just flew. On the way home, the airport had the body scanner. The kids and I didn't go through it, but dh did get sent through it. My daughter was a little worried that they somehow suspected her dad of something, and I commented that they probably were sending all men through or something like that. The attendant said "No, just whoever's ready when it opens up." So, dawdle and surreptitiously watch the line, and you'll probably be able to avoid it. Just be ready to send your stuff through the xray machine and walk through the regular scanner as soon as someone else goes into the body scanner.

 

 


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Old 08-10-2011, 08:53 PM
 
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We flew through LAX recently and I didn't see body scanners -- but that place is such a zoo that green men from mars could have been there at the same time and I wouldn't have noticed.

 

My DH got a pat down, which for some reason seemed really funny to me. I kept looking at him and giggling. It wasn't anything inappropriate. Nothing to get worked up over.


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Old 08-11-2011, 02:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Lynn! Something makes me think there will be *plenty* of dawdling going on with a 9 month old, a car seat, a stroller, and carry on bags! Oh, and just one adult. eyesroll.gif

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Old 08-11-2011, 06:50 AM
 
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Im flying on Sunday and Ive been looking online a lot about it. If you have a NB they arent going to ask you to go in the body scanners from what Ive read. If you know what airports you will be going through you can search google to see if they have body scanners. Have a fun trip!

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Old 08-11-2011, 09:56 AM
 
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DH and I are flying in a few weeks for an unavoidable commitment. We're making it a simple overnight trip instead of the full weekend and leaving the little ones with our trusted nanny for a night because we can't miss this engagement and I refuse to let them be molested, which would be our only alternative when we refused the porno scan. We're also flying out of a smaller airport half an hour away from our current city instead of our main city's airport because the smaller airport doesn't have the machines. Our destination airport does, however, and I'm just hoping we won't be selected on the way back.

 

Maybe it's not a big deal to some people, but this is my hill to die on. Soft totalitarianism is still totalitarianism and I won't teach my kids that they have to let someone grope them just because that person is carrying a badge and wearing a uniform. It's so frustrating, because we would fly all the time if the airlines didn't allow their paying customers to be treated like convicted criminals. Until these companies wise up and tell the TSA to shove it with its ridiculous security theater and police state tactics, we'll be spending our money on gasoline and roadside hotels, or going by boat if we can't get there by car. The only reason we're flying this time is because the destination is on the opposite coast and we can't take two weeks to drive there and back. irked.gif


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Old 08-11-2011, 10:12 AM
 
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I wanted to add a couple of links that might be helpful:

 

This is a continually updated list of airports that have porno scanners. I can't totally vouch for its accuracy but it's from a pretty large flying forum and seems legit.

 

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-safety-security/1138014-complete-list-airports-whole-body-imaging-advanced-imaging-technology-scanner.html

 

This is a thread full of people's experiences with opting out of the porno scans--it might give you some idea of what to expect when you say no.

 

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-safety-security/1116005-nude-o-scope-opt-out-stories-merged.html


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Old 08-12-2011, 03:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post

I wanted to add a couple of links that might be helpful:

 

This is a continually updated list of airports that have porno scanners. I can't totally vouch for its accuracy but it's from a pretty large flying forum and seems legit.

 

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-safety-security/1138014-complete-list-airports-whole-body-imaging-advanced-imaging-technology-scanner.html

 

This is a thread full of people's experiences with opting out of the porno scans--it might give you some idea of what to expect when you say no.

 

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-safety-security/1116005-nude-o-scope-opt-out-stories-merged.html


Thanks for this. Feeling kind of icky knowing I'd have to go through something like that. I hope the people behind those scanners are ladies.

 

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Old 08-12-2011, 06:01 AM
 
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You don't have to go through, mama. Just say, "I opt out" and prepare for your complimentary pre-flight Freedom Feel. They might roll their eyes and get huffy but you have every right to refuse to allow them to electronically strip search you. It's also worth noting that the machines give false readings all the time and even people who submit to being irradiated or microwaved are often still given the old TSA grope. Remember, these are people who are choosing to get paid to sexually assault innocent travelers, including children, the disabled, and the elderly, and dig through their private stuff without cause. What they think about your choice to opt out is absolutely irrelevant.

 

When you do opt out, don't walk through the machine even if they tell you it's "not on". Walk around it or ask to be escorted through the wheelchair door. Hold your ground and make them accountable--you are worth it!

 

Really, you have nothing to lose by opting out and everything to gain (i.e. not having your skin and soft tissues blasted with radiation or having your naked body viewed by some unaccountable creep(s) in a private booth somewhere). You are not a criminal or a piece of livestock; don't let them treat you like one.


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Old 08-12-2011, 08:56 AM
 
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 Remember, these are people who are choosing to get paid to sexually assault innocent travelers, including children, the disabled, and the elderly, and dig through their private stuff without cause. What they think about your choice to opt out is absolutely irrelevant.


This isn't true, and it's pretty offensive.

 

I'm a sexually assault survivor --- I find it offensive when people equate things that are NOT sexual assault with sexual assault. It really shows that you don't get it.

 

I went into a government building yesterday and walked through a regular metal detector and had my bag searched. The people working there were not "digging through private stuff without cause."  They are doing their jobs.  I watched my husband get patted down last time we flew and he wasn't sexually assaulted.

 

And what security personal at airports think is relevant. They can detain you.

 

My DH travels all the time with his job. We travel together occasionally. What you are saying isn't true, isn't our experience, and isn't helpful to some one getting ready to travel.


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Old 08-12-2011, 09:28 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by peainthepod View PostThe only reason we're flying this time is because the destination is on the opposite coast and we can't take two weeks to drive there and back. irked.gif


What about trains? I should think it would take less than a week, maybe even in three days, to get across the country on Amtrak. ???


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Old 08-12-2011, 10:52 AM
 
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This isn't true, and it's pretty offensive.

 

I'm a sexually assault survivor --- I find it offensive when people equate things that are NOT sexual assault with sexual assault. It really shows that you don't get it.

 

I went into a government building yesterday and walked through a regular metal detector and had my bag searched. The people working there were not "digging through private stuff without cause."  They are doing their jobs.  I watched my husband get patted down last time we flew and he wasn't sexually assaulted.

 

And what security personal at airports think is relevant. They can detain you.

 

My DH travels all the time with his job. We travel together occasionally. What you are saying isn't true, isn't our experience, and isn't helpful to some one getting ready to travel.

 

I'm sorry you're offended. I'm also a sexual assault survivor and I find being groped by a stranger who gets paid to fondle innocent people very triggering. If I were to run my hands along your thighs until they met "resistance" (a euphemism for your genitals) I would be committing sexual assault. That the person doing it gets a government paycheck doesn't make it any less violating.

 

Actually, the TSA cannot detain you. They have no powers of arrest or detainment. Legally they can either a.) not let you through security or b.) have the local police--actual LEO--escort you from the airport. If you remain, you're trespassing and can then be arrested. TSA agents have as much official authority to arrest you as a mall security guard--that is to say, none.

 

I'm glad you and your husband haven't had any unpleasant or intrusive experiences with the TSA, but thousands and thousands of people have. Your anecdotes don't outweigh mine, or theirs. I hope you never have the kind of TSA experience that leaves you in tears, gasping for breath and too panicked to board the airplane. It has happened to me and plenty of others, as the links I provided demonstrate. You can also check out Thousands Standing Around and The Daily Patdown if you still don't believe that people are routinely harassed, assaulted, and violated by the TSA at airports all across America.


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Old 08-12-2011, 10:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by P.J. View Post

What about trains? I should think it would take less than a week, maybe even in three days, to get across the country on Amtrak. ???

 

 

I looked into it. It takes several days depending on the route, and the cost is roughly three times more than a plane ticket if you get a sleeper cabin. Since it would take days, I'd be bringing the children. Since I'd be bringing a three-year-old and an infant, I'd need a sleeper cabin. The cost and the time it would take just aren't feasible for us right now.

 

For us, this engagement is too important to miss, so I'll opt out and deal with the consequences. I hate that I have to leave the kids alone overnight, but I absolutely refuse to let them be molested "for their own good" (what a great way to groom them for future abuse!) nor do I want them to see their parents treated like criminals until they're old enough to understand the full implications. So this is the best compromise we could come up with. greensad.gif


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Old 08-12-2011, 04:01 PM
 
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I'm sorry you're offended. I'm also a sexual assault survivor and I find being groped by a stranger who gets paid to fondle innocent people very triggering. If I were to run my hands along your thighs until they met "resistance" (a euphemism for your genitals) I would be committing sexual assault.


This is what is going on your head, not theirs.

 

If I were to take another woman's breast, squish it around, and them smash it between two hard, flat rectangles until it was as flat as a pancake, it would be assault. But I just got a mammogram, and that's pretty much what it was like. It wasn't an assault. It was part of my routine well woman care. I didn't think of the tech as someone who gets paid to hurt the breasts of innocent women, even though that's pretty much what she does all day.

 

My husband flies all the time for his job. If you want to get past your fears, you can. You don't have to live this freaked out and triggered.

 


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Old 08-12-2011, 04:18 PM
 
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This is what is going on your head, not theirs.

 

If I were to take another woman's breast, squish it around, and them smash it between two hard, flat rectangles until it was as flat as a pancake, it would be assault. But I just got a mammogram, and that's pretty much what it was like. It wasn't an assault. It was part of my routine well woman care. I didn't think of the tech as someone who gets paid to hurt the breasts of innocent women, even though that's pretty much what she does all day.

 

My husband flies all the time for his job. If you want to get past your fears, you can. You don't have to live this freaked out and triggered.

 

 


If you're seriously comparing getting a necessary medical screening by a trained professional with having your Fourth Amendment rights trampled by an unaccountable, glorified mall cop, I think we should probably just agree to disagree. Some of us don't casually submit to being treated like criminals or allowing our children to be abused in the name of "security". Obviously, others don't mind so much. But you don't get to tell me that my concerns about privacy violations and being sexually assaulted--yes, I said assaulted--by a government employee are unfounded or unreasonable. Certainly, they're not unique.

 

My husband also flies all the time for his job, so I'm not at all sure what your point is except maybe that somehow your husband's anecdotes are supposed to invalidate other people's anecdotes? If you and your DH are happy with being groped and searched for the privilege of traveling from one point to another inside your own country's borders, I'm happy for you--but not everyone shares that attitude. And yes, it does affect our behavior accordingly. Having strong principles tends to do that to a person.


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Old 08-12-2011, 04:24 PM
 
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I think seeing all security personal as perverts is ...... odd.

 

 


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Old 08-12-2011, 04:29 PM
 
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I think seeing all security personal as perverts is ...... odd.

 

 


I don't remember saying all security personnel are perverts. TSA employees who make a living by fondling innocent people, including children...definitely.

 

"I was just following orders" doesn't fly as a defense, and it shouldn't. We're all responsible for our own choices, and people who choose to violate the rights of others, even for pay, must be held accountable.


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Old 08-12-2011, 04:56 PM
 
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I don't remember saying all security personnel are perverts. TSA employees who make a living by fondling innocent people, including children...definitely.


When we flew through LAX, it was the same security people. People got the pat down if they continued to beep on the metal detector OR every so many people just got the pat down (some random number). The same TSA employees were checking bags, watching the x-rays, doing pat downs. It was very business like, very impersonal.

 

It's not like they have a special squad of people for pat downs.

 

Frankly, I think it looks like a crappy job. There were LONG LONG lines of people, many of whom spoke little or no English. Every one was in a bad mood. Some were running late.

 

I figure that most people working airport security are doing so because they need the money and can pass the background check.

 


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Old 08-12-2011, 05:10 PM
 
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When we flew through LAX, it was the same security people. People got the pat down if they continued to beep on the metal detector OR every so many people just got the pat down (some random number). The same TSA employees were checking bags, watching the x-rays, doing pat downs. It was very business like, very impersonal.

 

It's not like they have a special squad of people for pat downs.

 

Frankly, I think it looks like a crappy job. There were LONG LONG lines of people, many of whom spoke little or no English. Every one was in a bad mood. Some were running late.

 

I figure that most people working airport security are doing so because they need the money and can pass the background check.

 


Again, I'm not sure what your point is. You aren't bothered by the pat-downs...okay. Many people are though, and their complaints and concerns are valid too.

 

It probably is a crappy job. I can't say I'm too sorry about that.

 

As to background checks, there have been lots of scandals involving TSA employees committing various crimes on the job or related to their position as a security clerk at the airport--kidnapping and rape, theft (more examples herehere, and here), child pornography...

 

I don't think it takes a vivid imagination or any particularly unusual neuroses to understand why certain types of people might be drawn to a job where they're encouraged to rifle through people's things and grope their genitals while wearing a uniform and exerting some pretense of authority. These are far from isolated examples, but came up easily with a simple Google search. We can only guess how many more offenses go unreported. From the stories being documented by EPIC and the ACLU, as well as on sites like Thousands Standing Around and The Daily Patdown, being assaulted or otherwise victimized by a TSA employee is far from a rare occurrence.

 

Speaking of background checks, this is straight from the horse's mouth:

 

Quote:
The DHS IG examined the AAAE database of more than 1.1 million active badges for nearly 900,000 airport workers at 359 US airports. Like the example of the worker of uncertain nationality, some workers held multiple badges for multiple airports. The IG examination turned up omissions or inaccuracies in 96,000 records, which were missing security status, birthdates, birthplaces, and other such information.
 
...
 
With regard to training and tools, TSA does not follow up with airports to see that airport operators are receiving proper training on security responsibilities, the IG report said.
 
...
 
Airport employees also did not use available tools to inspect identification documents to ensure their authenticity before issuing airport worker credentials, the report added.

 

About those TSA perverts... TSA Director Arrested at Idaho Falls Hotel for Indecent Exposure


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Old 08-12-2011, 07:37 PM
 
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Thanks for this. Feeling kind of icky knowing I'd have to go through something like that. I hope the people behind those scanners are ladies.

 



They're not necessarily. 

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Old 08-12-2011, 08:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've spent a lot of time on FlyterTalk reading from various threads on people's experiences. Indeed, TSA agents can't detain you; you don't have to go through the scanners; you may not be selected even if there is one; you may be able to get in a line without one and do the standard metal detector. My hope is that I can go only through the metal detector. I do not have any wish to subject myself to a pat-down, but nor will I go near the scanners which have no guarantee of effect - or lack thereof - on the human body. I certainly won't allow my children to go through the scanners, particularly my infant.

It does bother me an awful lot that this is all done in the name of security when, in fact, it's clear that it provides none. But I'm maostly just concerned about the rights and safety of myself and my child.

This is also a case in which I *have* to fly. I recently went to Chicago and took Amtrak, despite it being somewhat more expensive (I had a tiny compartment to share with my DD) and it taking 10x as long. I know that my airport has some scanners - I'm hearing on one thread here that one of the terminals may have all scanners - but hope that the terminal I'll go out of has the metal detectors, also. I've ended up selecting an early morning flight and don't know if that will be to my benefit, or not. It might be that they're just not up and running when I get there at 5 am, but it may be that since there are fewer travelers on a weekend morning, that they'll try to shove more people into the scanner. I will, of course, opt out if asked to go through. I may even ask, first, if I couldn't just go through the metal detector with the baby... but my understanding is that once your'e selected, you're pretty much bound for one or the other - or both.

I was hoping not to fly until this was all cleared up and some *actual* security options were being used, instead. Unfortunately, I can't wait what may be a very long time to go help my sister with her brand new babies. greensad.gif

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Old 08-12-2011, 08:04 PM
 
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wow. I wonder how many arrest reports you could find if you studied all scout leaders, or church ministers, etc.

 

The badge issue is totally different. The badges are issued to everyone who works behind the security lines at an airport, so the numbers include all people in private industry at the back side of the airport. For example, those numbers include people who retired but their security department didn't collect their badge, and employees who were transferred from one facility to another, and didn't turn in the badge from the first facility.

 

It's actually a big issue in the industry right now. People have been fired over it. But MOST of it is about very minor problems, not huge breeches in security.


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Old 08-12-2011, 08:06 PM
 
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by "detain" I meant, "keep you from getting through to your flight", not "lock you up"


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Old 08-12-2011, 08:19 PM
 
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I am now scared to fly because of the body scanners and because I now have a one yr old child. Before this body scanners thing and before becoming a mom I was fine with flying and did a fair amoutn of it. I am sad that this is happening- I am glad I was able to do a lot of traveling before this- I really hope those body scanners go away at some point!  I would like to take ds travelling some when he is older but right now the thought of subjecting me or my child to those scanners and the general feeling of helplessness at being treated like a criminal for simply flying, gives me enough fear to make it not worth it.  The violating of rights is a big part of it. But the biggest part is that I do not want me, my husband or my child to have to go through one of those radiation machines! I don't care that much about a stranger looking at my body- I think the principal of that is awful and violating but I can just choose not to think about it. But the physical assault of a radiation machine is just too violent. so sad! As there are so many nice places to visit. I have heard it is possible to opt out of them but I feel like the whole drama, while also managing my one year old, if I had to do that would be scary for me. I feel like it would possibly put my child into some compromised position where I did not have authority over his well being- like they could pat him down (he is 16 months!) if they chose to- or put him through the scanner even? And those thoughts of someone doing that to him (or to me) are enough to scare me away.

Do you guys think somehow these scanners will go away and these things will ease up?

What do they do to children/ toddlers regarding the scanners and also pat downs?

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Old 08-12-2011, 08:27 PM
 
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I was hoping not to fly until this was all cleared up and some *actual* security options were being used, instead. Unfortunately, I can't wait what may be a very long time to go help my sister with her brand new babies. greensad.gif


I know it's cold comfort, but you're not alone! And when you opt out, they sometimes shut down the cancer box and wave the people behind you through the metal detector instead. So at least your choice to stand up for yourself may have a positive impact on others, even if they can't appreciate it.

 

Good luck and safe travels, mama! I'll be thinking of you and your family. hug.gif

 

To Linda, I think I just need to bow out of discussing this further with you. It's clear that we have irreconcilable differences of opinion and extremely different priorities when it comes to privacy, freedom, safety, human rights, bodily integrity...a whole lot of things, actually. I don't think my providing you with even more evidence than I already have will be productive. I do hope that others who may be quietly lurking in this thread have been given some food for thought.


Loving wife partners.gif and mama to my sweet little son coolshine.gif (Fall 2008) and a beautiful baby girl babyf.gif(Fall 2010)

 

When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty. --George Bernard Shaw

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Old 08-12-2011, 08:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

by "detain" I meant, "keep you from getting through to your flight", not "lock you up"


Right, which is why I'll definitely be leaving as much time as possible when I go, lest they try to strong-arm me with delays.

HeatherB ~ mama to 3 wonderful boys:  reading.gif 03/02; modifiedartist.gif09/04; sleepytime.gif 09/07 - and Eliana, babygirl.gif 11/13/10!  
Founder of Houston Birth Alternatives: Be Informed, Encouraged, Supported birth support group and aspiring midwife.

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Old 08-12-2011, 08:43 PM
 
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I am now scared to fly because of the body scanners and because I now have a one yr old child. Before this body scanners thing and before becoming a mom I was fine with flying and did a fair amoutn of it. I am sad that this is happening- I am glad I was able to do a lot of traveling before this- I really hope those body scanners go away at some point!  I would like to take ds travelling some when he is older but right now the thought of subjecting me or my child to those scanners and the general feeling of helplessness at being treated like a criminal for simply flying, gives me enough fear to make it not worth it.  The violating of rights is a big part of it. But the biggest part is that I do not want me, my husband or my child to have to go through one of those radiation machines! I don't care that much about a stranger looking at my body- I think the principal of that is awful and violating but I can just choose not to think about it. But the physical assault of a radiation machine is just too violent. so sad! As there are so many nice places to visit. I have heard it is possible to opt out of them but I feel like the whole drama, while also managing my one year old, if I had to do that would be scary for me. I feel like it would possibly put my child into some compromised position where I did not have authority over his well being- like they could pat him down (he is 16 months!) if they chose to- or put him through the scanner even? And those thoughts of someone doing that to him (or to me) are enough to scare me away.

Do you guys think somehow these scanners will go away and these things will ease up?

What do they do to children/ toddlers regarding the scanners and also pat downs?


I'm so sorry you're freaked out. I agree that it's very scary and absolutely horrifying that things have come to this. censored.gif

 

I think the scanners will go away when the first class action lawsuits from irradiated frequent flyers and TSA employees who have cancer and cataracts start pouring in a few years from now. The backscatter machines emit ionizing radiation that is designed to be absorbed by the skin and soft tissues of the body--that's how it gives such a clear image of the victim's naked exterior. Ionizing radiation damage is cumulative and all it takes is one cell to get zapped for the irradiated person to get cancer. You couldn't drag me into one of those things unless I were unconscious.


The thought of a stranger groping my genitals gives me extreme anxiety to put it mildly, but I'd rather endure a debilitating panic attack at the airport than get skin cancer. Great choices, huh?

 

As for putting children through the machines, I wish I could say there's one blanket policy that all TSA employees follow. But a major complaint about the agency is that top-down training is inconsistent at best and often completely ineffective; more than one TSA supervisor has been recorded saying that they basically make up the rules as they go, and this would explain why so many passengers are being treated worse than maximum security prisoners for the crime of wanting to board an airplane in a supposedly free country. I can't give you any ideas for avoiding the machines and protecting your children from molestation, because I won't risk it with my own little ones. If we can't get there by car or train or boat, we don't go.

 

The FlyerTalk board has a whole section about TSA checkpoints; maybe they can help you. Good luck!


Loving wife partners.gif and mama to my sweet little son coolshine.gif (Fall 2008) and a beautiful baby girl babyf.gif(Fall 2010)

 

When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty. --George Bernard Shaw

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Old 08-13-2011, 01:59 PM
 
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I flew to NC twice in spring and had to go through IAH, but it was for a connecting flight, so I didn't have any security issues.  And we flew to Florida a couple of weeks ago.  I did have to go through a body scanner once in Raleigh, but that has been the only time.  I'm not really keen on the idea of going through the body scanner. 

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Old 08-13-2011, 04:43 PM
 
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I'm with peainthepod on this one.  Not ok with the groping.  Not ok with body scanner.  Former military and I know my rights and I refuse to be treated inappropriately.  You may argue for it all you want and that's fine, you many my share of the crotch touching and my childrens share of it as well.  Humane treatment is a right not a privilege. 

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Old 08-13-2011, 06:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post
About those TSA perverts... TSA Director Arrested at Idaho Falls Hotel for Indecent Exposure

 

This article is from 2007, before the body scanners and pat downs were routine. 

 

Peainthepod, I respect your right to opt out and even to have strong opinions about feeling your civil liberties are being violated, but when you use such inflammatory language and cite a straw man such as the example above it doesn't help your case. 
 

 


Trying to get my bearings...
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