April 1, 2013
A friend I’ll call Sam Smith writes that he flies “a lot for business” – which wins him and anyone confronting this dilemma my heartfelt sympathy. I can’t imagine a decision more gut-wrenching than choosing whether to pay the mortgage and submit to sexual assault or lose your job because you insist on your inalienable right to be free of governmental gate-rape.
But Sam doesn’t go quietly into that dark night. He “always opt[s] out of those virtual strip search scanners. (The truth is that if the default were a pat down, I’d probably opt out of that [in favor of] the scanner, since neither option is appealing, but I feel the one option I will not take is just to do what they want quietly.)” Yes!
Sam continues: “On my latest trip, the goon checking my ID asked, ‘Are you Sam?’ I said ‘no’—pause for effect to see his shocked face. ‘I’m Mr. Smith to you.’” If only all passengers—no, let me broaden that: if only all citizens had Sam’s attitude, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in.
But Sam hadn’t finished shaming his assailants. “The other goon preparing for the pat down, after detailing what he was going to do, asked me if I was comfortable with this. ‘No, of course I’m not comfortable with this, but I don’t have a choice do I?’
“After back and forth, he said, ‘Well, sir, I can’t let you proceed unless you say that you are comfortable with this.’”
So Sam capitulated – sort of. “OK…I will say that I am comfortable with a total stranger feeling my private parts.”
The thug “wasn’t happy,” Sam reports, “but there were a few smiles from other passengers.”