Monday, February 28, 2011
When I first heard about the new scanners in airports, I did some research and wrote a column on the topic. By the time all of this happened though, my husband and I had already purchased tickets for a vacation so I knew it was possible that I would have to deal with this myself.
I knew the airport we would take off from Standiford Field, Louisville International Airport which does not have the scanners but our destination, Miami International Airport, does so I realized this could affect me if I was randomly selected.
Well guess who was randomly selected?
I said I was not going in the machine and they said that’s fine, you don’t have to, you can opt out. They directed me through the metal detector and out of the way to wait. The lady at the metal detector yelled out to a group behind her, “We need a female for a pat down!”
I stood there for a minute and nothing happened and she yelled again.
“We have a female pat down!”
I started pacing and she said stay where you are and yelled again for a female pat down. I heard the snap of the rubber gloves and knew someone was finally ready for me.
She had me collect my bag and put it on a table near the pat down area and proceeded to tell me what she was going to do, where she was going to touch me and if it I was okay with the procedure.
I said, “Well, no, it’s not okay for you touch me.”
She looked surprised and nervous and then called a man over. She explained to him that I did not give permission for her to touch me and so she wanted him to be there with her when she did it.
He looked at me and said, “You opted out of the machine so we need to give you a pat-down. If you don’t give us permission, we can escort you out of the airport if you prefer. So do you give permission?”
I said, “No. I might end up accepting a pat down but I want to be very clear that I object to this treatment.”
He said, “You have to have the pat-down if you want to go any further.”
By this time, my husband was behind us waiting for me. I wanted him to video tape the pat down but unfortunately I did not plan ahead and had my camera in my bag.
I said, “Okay I will allow it if my husband can video tape it for my protection. The camera’s in my bag so I need to get it out and give it to him.”
The guy immediately said “NO, you can’t do that.”
He looked at John and said “Back away sir!” like he was some sort of threat just standing there waiting for me.
I asked if it was written somewhere that I can’t videotape this and he said yes, it’s on our site. I had no idea whether it was or not but I continued, “I just don’t understand why you won’t let my husband videotape this for my protection.”
He was getting annoyed now and said “You can’t do it. We don’t know what you will do with the tape. Do you want the terrorists to see how we do a pat-down? Do you want to help the terrorists?”
I started to object again and make some obvious points about how silly that was when he said, “I’m not discussing this with you any more. You can get a pat down or I will call the police to escort you out of this airport. It’s your choice.”
We stared at each other for a minute before I told the lady to do her thing. They asked me if I wanted to do it in private and I said, “No way. I want everyone here to see what you guys are doing to people.”
As the lady was feeling around my breasts, I asked her if she liked her job. She said “Someone’s got to do it.”
(I have since looked on the website and am still not sure if I could have pushed to get the camera to my husband. Anyone know for sure?)