Gropers To Gropees: Shut Up And Take It, Or Hit The Road

Print This Post

You may also like...

56 Responses

  1. Mike says:


    I saw the Mom v. The World linked from another site. Might even have been approvingly linked. Can't tell.

    I became enraged when I read that line about flying being a privilege. Really? I need to ask some petty TSA agent permission to get on a plane?

    Can't effing believe we've come to this state of affairs.

  2. Charles says:

    New Business Idea: Selling "I'm a Grower not a Shower" shirts near the TSA screening checkpoints at airports.

  3. Joe says:

    Wow. I could not believe some of the things I read when I clicked on the links in your article. Crazy.

  4. Scott Jacobs says:

    I liked the XKCD idea of passing out viagra… If they want a show, I say we give them one.

    I, on the other hand, plan on opting out, and then moaning during the pat-down. Maybe grind a little bit…

  5. Base of the Pillar says:

    Shouldn't a woman be able to request a woman for a pat down?

  6. Robert says:

    TSA agents and baggage handlers who steal should be charged with terrorism and prosecuted as terrorists.

  7. Charles says:

    Base of the Pillar: I thought the rule was that men pat down men and women pat down women. That was always the case in pre-dickscan days, when people were randomly selected for extra attention.

  8. Kathy says:

    Excellent post. I'm wondering the same as Base of the Pillar – shouldn't a woman be able to request a woman for a pat-down? How horrible for anyone, but especially for a rape survivor. It's too bad that in this case, objecting at the gate will only arouse suspicion. (and hopefully nothing else)

  9. Chris says:

    Too many Americans don't call out other americans for doing this bullshit. Public shunning should be the norm. Get a job working for the TSA and your barber refuses to cut your hair, your bartender doesn't pour you a drink. You tell someone what you do and they react with an "F you, you F'n F."

    It needs to be a stigma.

  10. Contracts says:

    Really, though, what did you expect from Mom?

  11. The other alternative is to try to make it as awkward as possible for the agents by giving an exaggerated show of enjoying it. There's no reason why touching a guy's balls can't be made incredibly uncomfortable for the person forced to do it, via some of the following lines:

    "I think I'm getting an erection"

    "So your job involves touch other guys' balls for $8 an hour, huh? I guess they didn't have any openings at Burger King"

    "If I throw in a crisp George Washington, could you pat down my penis as well?"

    Some others I came up with are here.

  12. Vice Magnet says:

    So by extension should the TSA not be patting me down in my garage? Driving is a privilege, just follow the red light camera pushers, before that the seat belt regulators, who are related to the motorcycle helmet wearers.

  13. Patrick says:

    The courts tell us that interstate travel is a right guaranteed under the United States Constitution. The disconnect is that all of the means of travel, except for walking or riding horseback, are a privilege. That goes for boating, driving, and flying.

    If you can't walk to another state and you don't know how to ride a horse, you have only one option if you want to avoid being subject to petty tyrants.

  14. John says:

    Having had friends blown up on airplanes–not to mention buildings in several countries–I come at this from a slightly different perspective.

    I don't want to get blown up. That's entirely outside my life plan. I will happily comply with security regulations that have a chance, even if imperfect, of reducing the likelihood of my dying in an exploding airplane. As common courtesy, I hope my fellow passengers share my willingness to be scanned and/or frisked.

    Perhaps, too, because I've lived and traveled through countries with far more onerous security regimes, I don't find this current scheme particularly offensive.

    The fact is, there are people out there trying to blow up airplanes. If they were to stop that, then at least half of this security crap would go away.

    Are the scans and pat-downs likely to catch a bomber? Likely not. Are they likely to deter a bomber? Maybe. Do they shut off one mode of terrorism, or at least make it more difficult? Probably.

    I'd rather be scanned than 'groped', but I'll do either if it enhances my survivability. Do that make me sheeple? If you like.

  15. Dan Weber says:

    Flying is already vastly safer than driving. The more of a hassle that flying becomes, the more people drive, and the more people that die from driving.

    How many planes are taken down by objects on a passenger's person? (9/11 pointed out an error in our risk analysis, but since cockpit doors have been secured, that cannot happen again.) I'm willing to let an individual airline due enhanced screening, if people who don't want to fly on that airline aren't subject to it. Let Qantas set up a second security perimeter around their gates if they want.

    Maybe if our TSA employees were really professionals, like El Al's security personnel are, we might feel different about this.

  16. Ken says:

    John, I don't think you're a sheep. But I do wonder: where's the line, for you? Can you imagine security measures where you'd say "bullshit, you're making that up" or "I won't stand for that?"

  17. mojo says:

    Wear a kilt. And grin a lot.

  18. CTrees says:


    Huh. I've heard the "wear a speedo" comment thrown around, but neither I nor anyone I've discussed this with has brought up "wear a kilt." Which then begs the question… If one is wearing a kilt, is there any legal obligation to wear underwear? As I understand it, it's not traditional, and you *are* fully covered under any circumstances but being fondled by government agents, so kilt+commando would not *normally* be considered inappropriate.


  19. Ken says:

    For all that TSA is now staffed by people empowered to grope your junk at Burger King wages, I guaran-freaking-tee you that if you indulge in any creative civil disobedience or theater like showing up in a kilt or commando, the TSA will try to have you arrested for public indecency. Because only they are empowered by the law to perv out at the airport.

  20. Marco73 says:

    Too bad the MSM is looking at only the barking dogs, and not at the dog that isn't barking. It would just take a couple intrepid reporters to dig up the financial connections between the scanner manufacturers and TSA administration. It sounds almost too simple, but I cannot believe that these scanners would be installed everywhere, with all the collateral hassles, and no one is making any money on it. Maybe I'm too naive, but there just cannot be that many perverts out there to fully staff all the groping stations for the TSA.

  21. Patrick says:

    These aren't ordinary metal detectors Marco. They're only installed in the busiest airports, places like Los Angeles and New York, where the pervert supply is nearly limitless.

  22. Reginod says:

    Marco73 — Not quite MSM, but the folks at the Washington Examiner have done the investigation — it turns out it is Congress and not the TSA that is corrupt in this case.

  23. I find the comment from John the most intriguing.
    "Probably not", "maybe", "probably".

    Like Ken, I kind of wonder what it WOULD take before someone with this perspective would call "enough".

    Here's my issue in a nutshell (pun unintended) – Efforts spent on "Probably not" take away money probably better spent on better trained TSA screeners, for example.

    I'll admit, I'lm willing to trade off some liberty for security. But I won't do it for BS, and that's really all we're seeing right now, John. And Security Theater actually makes us LESS safe, because we're watching the show, instead of watching our asses. (which is now the TSA's job, just not in a good way, apparently)

  24. Actually Marco, the Washington Examiner has an article on this, There's definitely money being made here, including George Soros (Links at bottom of article)

  25. Bob says:

    Has there been any movement on the objection that these things create child-pornography?

  26. Marco73 says:

    Thanks for the reply on the scanner manufacturers/lobbyist connection. Well at least the financial incentives are bipartisan. I had almost lost my faith in government corruption.

  27. Dan Weber says:

    Your "dissent" makes a good point. TSA sucks partly because we, as a country, suck.

    Can the citizens credibly signal to the government that "if a plane comes down, we won't blame you; we realize that these things happen"?

  28. Scott Jacobs says:

    You know the dude in San Diego who used his cell phone to record some of his interaction with the Grope Police?

    The TSA has decided to double-down on the "stupid".

  29. CTrees says:

    I asked my attorney. Advice I got was that they'd almost certainly arrest me, that they'd almost certainly not be able to make any charges stick, and that it'd be hilarious.

    So yeah.

  30. John says:

    Where will I draw the line? I guess it depends. If I want to go to Israel, Israeli security (as well as El Al airline) has the right to perform body cavity searches, if they see the need. If I want to go to Israel, I either accept that or don't go. If my job requires me to go to Israel, then I've got a different choice, one that involves losing my job. (I've had young, blonde, female, Caucasian friends internally probed on arrival in Israel because of curious visa patterns, so this is not utterly a rhetorical argument, btw.)

    I'm flying this week. On one or more legs of my travel, I may be offered the opportunity to select between a scan and a grope. As I was at my Urologist only last week, I'm not going to wilt at the prospect of the grope. If TSA decides to go for my prostate, then I might squawk. As I frequent clothing-optional beaches, I'm not going to faint or infarct if some guy in a closet gets a grainy, anonymous look at my junk.

    Clearly, my line is in a different place than the majority of the commenters here.

  31. John says:

    I can't believe what I'm reading here and at some of the links! As an American I am apalled and disgusted that these things are happening here, in my country to my fellow Americans and sanctioned by our government! This is horrible! I decided several years back that I would not be flying anymore as I did not feel it was worth the hassles. Now its become a public safety issue as I would hurt someone were I, one of mine, or even an innocent stranger treated in the fashions I'm reading about in front of me! This in not security, this is compiance training. This is seeing "what we can get away with" while conditioning Americans to meekly take more and more. What has happened to my country?

  32. Scott Jacobs says:

    The difference, John, is that El Al's methods work, and the only make such demands of passengers if there's a good reason.

    The TSA only does it because it makes them feel important.

  33. John says:

    No, Scott, they do it because Congress tells them to do it and doesn't bother checking to see if it makes sense. TSA did not suddenly awake one morning and say to itself, "Let's go for the feel-up!" If you're going to shoot, at least aim at the right target.

  34. Hans Schantz says:

    Thanks for compiling such a detailed piece. I cited it in my post: How Full-Body Scanners Work – and Fail (

  35. Scott Jacobs says:

    John, please show me where Congress said "full grope if they refuse the scanner". It was a decisions by the agency, NOT Congress.

  36. RobertB says:

    Pretty sure your link is to Will Wilkinson, not Wil Wilkerson.

  37. bob says:

    COWARDS like JOHN, willing to sacrifice freedom for safety, frighten me far more than the TSA.

  38. me says:

    Well, flying is a privilege, not a right. Driving a car is a privilege, not a right. Living where you choose to is a privilege, not a right. Saying what you feel like saying… associating with whom you choose to associate… breathing… living.

    I find that formula is always short for power grab.

  39. Bill L says:

    I would like to know if everyone (except pilots) have to go through the screening process each time they leave and enter the “secure” area. That includes TSA agents, vendors, mechanics, baggage handlers and others that work in the “secure” area.

    It would also be interesting to know how many congress people and other high ranking government officials have gotten patted down.

  40. hillbilly says:

    I've seen Israel and El Al mentioned a few times.

    We could learn a lot from El Al.

    Israel has this really crazy, whacko, screwed-up idea that the way to stop terrorists is to look for terrorists, not harass everyone on the plane.

    El Al will search your body's cavities, if they think you are a terrorist.

    Of course, in the USA, where we have a terminal case of political correctness, we have to suspect EVERYBODY of being a terrorist.

    Because looking for potential terrorists means you look at male Muslims from certain countries most of the time.

    You know, PROFILING.

    Gasp, wheeze, gag….we can't do that! NO! We've got to strip-search six-year-olds and take nudie pics of granny, instead.

    We are so stupid as a nation and a culture that we almost deserve this crap.

  41. BEG65 says:

    My favorite present comment going around (though I don't know that it has been verified) is that statistically you are more likely to be executed by Rick Perry than you are to die in a plane crash. So maybe TSA should be redeployed to Texan borders to really increase on saving lives…

  1. November 12, 2010

    […] Ken hits it out of the park with this post about the TSA […]

  2. November 13, 2010

    […] Gropers To Gropees: Shut Up And Take It, Or Hit The Road […]

  3. November 14, 2010

    […] the ultimate statement on this issue . . . and the links are worth it too: Gropers To Gropees: Shut Up And Take It, Or Hit The Road | Popehat __________________ I'm a lawyer, but I'm not YOUR lawyer. Nothing I say should be taken as legal […]

  4. November 15, 2010

    […] Ken at Popehat has a really good takedown of the TSA here. (via Christopher Carr in the […]

  5. November 16, 2010

    […] On a more serious note, my faith that private companies will be any better than the government at respecting travelers' personal dignity is precisely zero. There's no right way, in or out of the free market, to seize a harmless bottle of shampoo, much less to harass a three-year-old or grope a rape survivor. […]

  6. November 16, 2010

    […] week, it's been all the rage to bag on the TSA.  That sounds like I'm the TSA's side.  I'm not.  As […]

  7. November 18, 2010

    […] Posted on November 18, 2010 by Mola Ram A great rant on the shortcomings of the TSA and the state of airport security.  Contains plenty of links to […]

  8. November 19, 2010

    […] The problem with the TSA Throughout my career — both as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney — I’ve observed a consistent inverse relationship: the more petty a government officer’s authority, the more that officer will feel a need to swagger and demand that you RESPECT HIS AUTHORITAH. Your average FBI agent might search your house based on a crappy perjured warrant, invade your attorney-client emails, and flush your life down the toilet by lying on the stand at your mail fraud trial. But he doesn’t feel a need to vogue and posture to prove anything in the process. He’s the FBI. But God above help you when you run into the guy with a badge from some obscure and puny government agency with a narrow fiefdom. He and his Napoleon syndrome have got something to prove. And he’s terrified that you’ll not take him very, very seriously. When I call FBI agents on behalf of my clients, they’re cool but professional and nonchalant. When I call a small agency — say, state Fish & Game, or one of the minor agency Inspector Generals — they’re hostile, belligerent, and so comically suspicious that you’d think I was asking for their permission to let my client smuggle heroin into the country in the anuses of handicapped Christian missionary orphans. They are infuriated, OUTRAGED, when a client asserts rights, when a client fails to genuflect and display unquestioning obedience. They are, in short, the TSA. via […]

  9. November 19, 2010

    […] From Popehat, on the federal gropefest: The purpose of Security Theater is not only to prevent actual security threats. The purpose of Security Theater is to convince us that the government can do something and is doing something, and most importantly to make us accept “unquestioning compliance” with government as an American value. The purpose of Security Theater is to normalize submission. But “unquestioning compliance” is not an American value. […]

  10. November 20, 2010

    […] also points to this musing on the sociology of the TSA: Throughout my career — both as a prosecutor and as a defense […]

  11. November 22, 2010

    […] is now saying that if you won't submit to the screenings, you won't fly.  Security is still fighting as hard as ever, while freedom has only started to figure out how to fight […]

  12. September 9, 2011

    […] whether by opting out of scanners, or voicing objections to groping — will result in immediate retaliation, and possible official investigation, by TSA employees. The TSA has reached the point that its […]

  13. September 11, 2011

    […] whether by opting out of scanners, or voicing objections to groping — will result in immediate retaliation, and possible official investigation, by TSA employees. The TSA has reached the point that its […]

  14. September 11, 2011

    […] him, which it did.  A 24-year-old woman who's top was pulled down by an agent in public. Lots of groping. The ACLU catalogues them, including sexual assaults by TSA agents in […]