24 November 2010

I'm sure she was quite the threat...

A 15 year old girl was chosen for screening at a Sudbury airport, denied use of a private room for her "pat down", and then was subjected to a patdown that included her breasts and inner thighs. The screener said, after finishing her legal assault, "that wasn't so bad", which sounds suspiciously like, "See baby? I told you it wouldn't be that bad!"

You know, all this is blowing up because it started to violate the rights of straight, white men. People of colour, disabled people, and various other vulnerable groups have been screaming about these violations of rights for years. I remember flying out of Denver in September 2001, a few weeks after the terrorist attacks. The guy in front of me kissed his boyfriend goodbye and then struck up a conversation with me. He said that he'd been targeted for strip searches every single time he came to the airport with his honey, but not once if he didn't. Sure enough, he got pulled out again. He called it, "harass the fag".

But what got me thinking was what's going to happen when someone with Autism is targeted for a patdown? Say a teenage boy. He'll be separated from his parents and then touched without his permission. That's going to lead to an epic meltdown, and probably he'll be tased or shot. Especially if he's one of the kind who yells threats he's heard on TV when he gets agitated. I know a young man who is 15. He's very large (he's 6'3'' and about 240lbs). He has a fairly low IQ (60ish), and is echolalic. That means he repeats things he's heard without understanding what they mean. For example, he was at school, working with his aide. She was making him finish his math, which he hates. He was getting agitated and said to her, "Get out of my way or I'll rip your fucking head off, and shit down your throat", which was something he'd heard someone on the bus say. He had absolutely no idea that what he was saying was a threat. He just knew it meant, "move" and "I'm angry". His Mom got to the bottom of the issue and explained it to the aide, who knows now not to take his threats seriously. Just what do you think will happen if that boy is taken from his Mom and felt up? They'll beat him senseless if they don't kill him. The TSA makes no accommodations for people with disabilities. I somehow doubt CATSA does either.

I will not be flying with my kids. My daughter has serious issues about being touched. If they touched her in public, she'd cry. A LOT. And that's if she was properly medicated and on her diet. If they did it on her way back - after the inlaws glutened her? EEP. I don't want to think about it.


shelly said...

Thumbs down. :( This is insane.

There's a video on Youtube of a three-year-old boy being patted down. A THREE-YEAR-OLD! And no one was there to stop it. >:(

I don't blame you for not wanting to fly or think about what would happen if one of your kids became subject to a pat-down.

C.M. said...

This possibility terrifies me, because it's all too easy to see it happening.
Even the last time I flew out of LAX--which was about eight years ago--the screening process was ridiculous: I basically got felt up in public because I was wearing an underwire bra. (And the security person was as respectful about it all as she could be, but the guy behind me in line leered through the whole thing, so it was massively uncomfortable).
Now imagine that happening to your daughter...it's awful. And from a security point of view, probably completely useless anyway.

MgS said...

This isn't about security - it's about power through fear and intimidation.

The real question is how long will it be before people wake up to how their rights and freedoms are being bled away not for their security, but to secure the grip of tyrants on power.