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Oct 26 2012

Mother convicted of “disorderly conduct” for refusing TSA grope.

The Tennessean reports that a Clarksville mom has been found guilty of “disorderly conduct” for refusing to participate in an unconstitutional violation of her right to privacy, otherwise known as a TSA “pat-down”.

Transportation Security Officer Karen King testified that before the pat-down, Abbott yelled in her face that she didn’t want anyone “touching her daughter’s crotch.”

Abbott eventually allowed her then-14-year-old daughter to undergo the pat-down, but then she refused a pat-down for herself and was arrested.

You can watch the video at the link above and see for yourself just how “disorderly” this mom really was.

23 comments

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  1. 1
    Lofty

    I’m amazed anyone still flies in the US with this amount of hassle. A few airlines need to feel financial pain before this nonsense is stopped.

    1. 1.1
      Brandon

      [i]I’m amazed anyone still flies in the US with this amount of hassle.[/i]

      I don’t really understand what you think the other option is. If someone lives far from family and friends and desires to see them, there’s not really a plausible alternative. It’s not like I can take a train from DC to Madison, WI.

      1. WMDKitty -- Survivor

        Actually, you CAN take the train. You might have to take a bus for the last leg of the journey, but flying isn’t necessary within the continental US.

      2. Ysidro

        Depending on where you are and where you’re going, you might need to schedule several more days of travel time. Yes, days. Trust me, I’ve already checked my usual “I need to fly there” spots and for my own purposes I’d need to take just under a week of extra time for what would be 3 hours of flight.

        The US passenger train system is not where it needs to be. For some people, the choice is flight, don’t travel, or take extra time they may not have to use alternative travel methods.

      3. ibbica

        Not to mention people flying from outside the US. Sure, I “could” take a ship across the ocean. But these days, that’s simply not practical to expect of the non-independently-wealthy.

      4. TwoPiDeltaIJ

        It is not really the airlines fault that the TSA exists or is as belligerent as it is, so taking business away from them to change the TSA might work but has a lot of potential collateral damage.

        Trains technically do exist in the US, but they are more expensive than flying (in my experience about 1.5x more expensive than flying to the same destination) and much slower (in my experience roughly 10x the travel time). So while this might technically be an option, in reality is probably is not, unless you have extra money and time an in that case you are probably not the person being harassed in the airport.

        Busses are cheaper than trains and flying and currently less hassel (but that might be changing), and faster actually than the trains in the US (in my experience). Knowing that, I still try and not take a bus if I do not have to (and I suspect that is true for many of you as well).

    2. 1.2
      tubi

      I once tried to figure out the possibility of train travel from Denver to Minneapolis. Should be pretty easy, right? Turns out, no.

      I leave Wednesday morning from Denver to Sacramento. Switch to a northbound train that left Thursday morning from Sacramento to Portland. Not too long a ride, but alas, it arrives in Portland only an hour after the (once-daily) eastbound train departs. So I have a 23 hour layover (at least Portland’s a nice town) before I can go east to the Twin Cities, where I arrive early Saturday morning.

      OK if you’re retired and want to see the country before you go, but if actually have to get somewhere, not so much.

      This was a few years ago, so it might be different now, but the point remains. The US is huge, and trains just aren’t there in any convenient way, except for the most meaningful routes, i.e. Eastern Corridor, east-west along the top and bottom of the country, etc.

  2. 2
    Paul D.

    When I came to Japan, I paid extra to get tickets that didn’t stop over in the US.

  3. 3
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    But without the groping and the nude x-rays, won’t we go back to the near-constant hijacking and plane-exploding that we had before?

  4. 4
    Steve R

    Bruce Schneier, the computer security guru, calls it “security theater”, intended to show the public that the government is Doing Something. Of course, its real purpose is to remind us that the old Republic is as dead as Carthage, and that we “citizens” are, in fact, subjects. Except for the People Who Count, who have their own gates, their own procedures and, to a large extent, their own aircraft.

  5. 5
    smrnda

    The argument made in defense of this bullshit is that we need it for our ‘safety’ but whether we should put up with this BS for our ‘safety’ should be up to us, not some top-down mandate.

    Also, I think many of these ‘pat downs’ are clearly excessive to the point that they should be regarded as traumatizing. Imagine if someone who had recently been sexually assaulted had to take a flight.

    This needs to get shut down fast.

    1. 5.1
      Gregory in Seattle

      “This needs to get shut down fast.”

      If it ever does get shut down, it will require a direct order by the US Supreme Court. Quite simply, too many billions of dollars have been spent buying machines, hiring people, running public service campaigns to just walk away from it all. Too many Congresscritters have pontificated about how vitally necessary this all is for national security. Too many very powerful people have invested heavily in the companies that make and sell the virtual strip search machines, and too much money has been given to reelection campaigns by those investors.

      Shutting it all down… highly unlikely. Fast… I doubt it will happen in my life time.

  6. 6
    breaplum

    “I’m amazed anyone still flies in the US with this amount of hassle.”

    Because for may of us, the alternative is unemployment. Flying is part of our job description. And before you say it, no – driving is not an option. I am in Austin. I can’t drive to Omaha or Minneapolis or Fargo or St. Louis for one day business trip.

  7. 7
    ahcuah

    What I found scariest was that this was a jury trial, not some lone law-and-order judge. That means that all the jurors agreed that she really engaged in disorderly conduct and should have just sucked it up.

    Maybe she can get it overturned on appeal.

    1. 7.1
      babyskep

      Well, that’s Bible Belt mentality for you; all authority is ordained by God, and all that… except when it comes to President Obama.

    2. 7.2
      Hazelwood

      I think this may be due to the jury selection process in the US. Here in Australia, you can only know a person’s name and profession. In the US, you could weed out anyone who opposes these security measures before trial.

  8. 8
    timberwoof

    This security theater is not for our protection, it’s for the protection of real estate.

    During the English occupation of Northern Ireland, they learned a very important rule: Don’t march a squad of soldiers all at once through a tight alley; send them through one at a time. If you march them through all at once, a single bomb can kill the whole lot at once.

    This basic rule is being violated at every airport: dozens of people have to stand around in the unsecured area before the TSA “safety” harassment screening. Nothing at all in the TSA’s safety protocol prevents somebody from getting a bomb to the middle of that crowd. The TSA, FBI, CIA, and local police departments all know this because people have been writing about it since the start of this madness. Nevertheless, they do nothing.

    If you wanted to design a system to protect the safety and rights of air passengers from hijackers, how would you do it? If you wanted to design a system to protect the safety and rights of real estate against hijacked airliners, how would you do it? Of those two solutions, which one does the TSA’s system resemble?

    The TSA is not about protecting the safety of air passengers; it is about protecting the safety of real estate assets on the ground.

  9. 9
    Len

    Maybe it doesn’t have to be this close to assault to get on a plane. It can be much easier: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/744199–the-israelification-of-airports-high-security-little-bother

    1. 9.1
      Joey Maloney

      I hear this a lot. However, Ben-Gurion airport has a grand total of 12 international gates and two hundred-ish departures daily. There’s simply no way that security regime can be scaled up to function in, say, LAX or Hartsfield.

      Also, the Israelis make copious use of ethnic profiling which certainly wouldn’t fly (NPI) in the US.

      1. Len

        Has it ever really been considered to ramp it up to fit a major airport? Or is the fact that security is such big business in the US part of the problem?

        As for “ethnic profiling”: if I get on – and off – a plane safely because some real security people really checked passengers properly (instead of just asking standard questions to tick their boxes without even looking at me), then I can live with that. And I’d imagine the innocent people who (unfortunately for them) share their ethnicity (or at least their ethnic looks) with almost all bombers would also be happy that the bad guys get stopped.

        And anyway, as the article says, they really look at believability not ethnicity. It’s irrelevant what you look like. It’s a question of whether you seem like you are telling the truth, with nothing to hide.

      2. Joey Maloney

        That’s what the article says, true. But as someone who flies through there several times every year, I’m going to ask you to take my word for it that the reality is somewhat different. In fact, a lot of the stuff in that article is exaggerated or cribbed from an airport authority press release.

        As for scaling it up – at the minimum you would have to tear down and rebuild every ticket concourse and build new modules between the concourse and the terminal to allow the passenger flow to be controlled properly.

        Bottom line is, if you’re relying solely on security in the airport, you’ve already failed. Police work and intelligence, stopping plots long before they get to the gate, is the key. The Israelis know that. We know that, too, but we have exponentially more people and territory to cover and an unwieldy bureaucracy that sometimes gets in the way.

        All the TSA rigamarole is just security theater, plus boondoggles for various cronies. But here’s the thing – security has to have a 100% success rate whereas attackers only have to succeed once. So the odds are radically against us; no matter what security regime we have, sooner or later it will be defeated. And any politician who has presided over the apparent relaxation of that regime beforehand will be lucky if he or she is only voted out of office. So there’s no upside to doing the right thing.

  10. 10
    smrnda

    I’m all for security, but we should get what we want. My neighborhood might be very safe if the cops decided to do house to house sweeps every day and to interrogate and search everybody in the neighborhood, but I’d definitely NOT be okay with that.

    1. 10.1
      Deacon Duncan

      And think how safe the neighborhood would be if the police just arrested everyone, as a kind of pro-active crime prevention. “Maximum security” is a prison, not a free society.

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