Patted Down in Atlanta

I travelled to and from Atlanta last week with my good friend Jim Hamilton. When we arrived back in Louisville yesterday, there was a reporter waiting at the security check-point. He wanted to interview us about our experience with the new TSA security procedures (video above, text version here). In short, he wanted to know if we had been through a full body scanner or had been patted down. Neither of us went through a scanner, but I did get patted down in Atlanta. For some reason, the reporter missed that detail and reported that none of the travelers he interviewed had been patted down. That was incorrect. I was.

In the interview above, I’m fairly untroubled by the new procedures, but then again the pat down I received was all above the waist. I might feel differently if I had to undergo the invasive search that I’ve seen in some of the pictures on television. In the comments section below, I’ll be interested to read how you feel about the new measures.

18 Responses to Patted Down in Atlanta

  1. Barton November 22, 2010 at 1:59 am #

    At first, I wasn’t bothered. I suppose personally it would not be a huge deal either way. However, to think of my wife having to undergo either the scan or pat down convinced me to care a bit more.

    Despite my original and second subjective opinion, the procedures are very invasive. It seems too far for me. I just can’t imagine these procedures going for anyone.

  2. Josef November 22, 2010 at 4:04 am #

    That video doesn’t do the situation any justice. While you’re experience appears to have been rather mild, there have already been cases where TSA employees have gone far beyond what these measure are supposed to do. Especially in the case of women, it can amount to sexual molestation. One shouldn’t be “untroubled” by this.

  3. don g November 22, 2010 at 8:19 am #

    I will only fly if i have to, and i’ll opt out of the scanner then…my wife and children will not be flying as long as these procedures are in place. I’ve let my Congressmen know that.

    I feel badly for businessmen/women who have to fly 2+ times a week. The whole thing is degrading. It also doesn’t really help security.

  4. Donald Johnson November 22, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    I know 6 people in my immediate family circle who will not fly under these conditions, one of them cancelled her Christmas flight from TX to VA and will be making other plans.

    Here is what I can find out, some details are lacking as TSA says they do not want to tell the bad guys everything.
    1. Most people go thru metal screeners as there are not enough body scanners.
    2. Some are randomly chosen to go thru body scanners and this is indicated on your boarding ticket. You can ask the ticket agent if a child has been selected for a body scan and opt them out, but you need to ask.
    3. The enhanced pat downs are done if you fail the metal detectio

  5. Donald Johnson November 22, 2010 at 9:40 am #

    I know 6 people in my immediate family circle who will not fly under these conditions, one of them cancelled her Christmas flight from TX to VA and will be making other plans.

    Here is what I can find out, some details are lacking as TSA says they do not want to tell the bad guys everything.

    1. Most people go thru metal screeners as there are not enough body scanners to do everyone. But these will ramp up over time.

    2. Some are randomly chosen to go thru body scanners and this is indicated on your boarding ticket. Some are probably chosen non-randomly. You can ask the ticket agent if a child has been selected for a body scan and opt them out, but you need to ask (and know to ask).

    3. The enhanced pat downs are done if you fail the metal detection or body scan. Or you can choose to go directly to the pat down. The scans take a few seconds, the pat down a few minutes, so they discourage people from choosing this option.

    4. Once you enter the line, you cannot leave until scanned in some way and if you do you are subject to a civil suit and $11,000 fine.

    5. The metal scan does not seem to have any health risks, not clear about the body scan. On the body scan it is a graphic image showing privates with some fuzz. In test mode, the systems can store and send images.

    6. If you are a sexual abuse survivor, the new pat down may feel similar and trigger memories.

  6. John November 22, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    Once again, our airport security gets it wrong. Because we have to be politically correct, we cannot profile individuals. We have to treat everyone equally, whether you are a nervous sweating middle eastern man or an 87 year old grandma. Until we actually get serious about profiling as El Al does, it will only get worse. We’ll soon go to full strip searches and body cavity searches until people have had enough and rebel against it.

  7. Darius November 22, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    Well, they don’t do anything to actually increase safety. If they wanted to increase security, they would start profiling. But this is all about Orwellian speech and government control.

  8. judd Rumley November 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    Denny,

    We have a lady who is a member our church who heads up the TSA at the local airport. She says the presentations on TV are not the norm. Having heard her speak to the issue, I am more comfortable with the regulations. Unfortunately both the media and some TSA agents make something good (our security) into something evil (cheap thrills, conspiracy theories, etc).

    I would only ask people to do more research before they decide on what the see or hear. Kevin Deyong had an article on that recently at The Gospel Coalition.

    As far as it being degrading. I have flown recently, before the media outburst, and went through a scanner and didn’t think twice about it. I have also been patted down, below the waste, and was not violated in any way. So I guess I want folks to know that some of us do not see this as something to write our congress people about.

    You can always drive to grandma’s house this Christmas.

    Judd

  9. Chris November 22, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

    Simple: If you don’t want to go through whatever security procedure that is in place than don’t fly. It’s your choice!

  10. Scott November 22, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    It’s not about Orwellian speech & government control. At least not anymore that wire-taps 😉

  11. Derek November 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

    Not surprisingly, Michael Chertoff, former head of Homeland Security, and some other former politicians are profiting royally from the expensive naked x-ray machines.

    Always follow the money… it helps you understand the real motivation behind these things.

  12. Collin November 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm #

    Dear Denny,

    I went through the full scanning machine on my way out of Atlanta this weekend. It was actually kind of cool. It was great to see you.

    CG

  13. Kamilla November 22, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    This is nothing but capricious lunacy on the part of pc-driven government functionaries. Last night, in Chcago’s Midway airport, I was pulled aside for a pat down. Not because I set off the metal detector. Not because I had a code printed on my boarding pass.

    I was selected because I was wearing a skirt. Denny, I wonder how you’ll feel about those pat-downs when you wife gets selected some time . . .

  14. Denny Burk November 22, 2010 at 11:18 pm #

    Okay, everybody. I repent in dustcloth and ashes. I was at a conference all last week and haven’t been following the news very closely as a result. My main experience with the new searches has been my own. I’ve been catching up with things since I got home, and I have been scandalized by the invasiveness of these searches.

    Having said that, I’m not sure what the alternatives would be. Obviously, the new measures are a response to a specific kind of a threat that our government perceives to be out there. Short of profiling, I don’t know how else they can respond except to perform searches that won’t let terrorist plots go unnoticed by TSA officials.

    Anyway, just wanted y’all to know that I’m no fan of the searches, even though I don’t know what the alternative would be.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  15. Charlton Connett November 23, 2010 at 9:26 am #

    Denny,

    You stated the alternative: profiling. This is the way the world works, you locate those who are the most likely suspects to commit crime, and you focus on them. Patting down my wife, who has never even had a speeding ticket, makes absolutely no sense. When was the last time a white, female, naturally born citizen attempted to blow up a plane in the United States? (Likewise one could ask the same for a white male, or black male, or black female, all natural born with little international travel experience, etc.)

    Profiling and actually integrating the systems and databases the government already has make far more sense than what they are doing now.

  16. Ryan K. November 23, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    I went through the whole TSA process flying out of Denver on Sunday afternoon.

    I am not angry but did find it to be a bit absurd. My wife and I were traveling with our four month old daughter who also had to be patted down. After I went through the screener they were still not convinced I had nothing on me so I received a partial pat down also.

    I really am not as mad about the whole process as many others because I shudder at the alternative if something horrific were to happen and it could have been prevented. Yet I do wonder how much delay, animosity, and rage we are creating when we refuse to even integrate some form of profiling.

    Charlton is right on this one. I wonder if one of our kids were abducted in a neighborhood if any of us would be offended by the police “profiling” in order to maybe rescue our child.

  17. beth November 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

    I serve in Asia, and I get patted down each time I ride the metro or enter the mall. These searches, which are done woman-to-woman or man-to-man, are typical in many places outside the US. That’s just life.

  18. Charlie November 24, 2010 at 9:46 am #

    Just a question, Why does the TSA need to increase security to such measures in the US when every attempted post-9/11 terrorist attack by a plane has come from outside the country? Shouldn’t we be figuring out how to work with security in every airport which sends planes over to us instead of having our citizens go through such degrading measures?

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