back to article Judge frees nude TSA protester, citing free speech rights

The techie who stripped naked to protest invasive airport security, saying he was sick and tired of being harassed by Transportation Security Administration screeners, has been cleared of all charges. "It is the speech itself that the state is seeking to punish, and that it cannot do," said Judge David Rees when dismissing …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Our protestor could have had the decency to have been an attractive female. Nudey nerds don't do it for me, there's always one of them leering at me out of the bathroom mirror.

    1. Luna Tick

      Re: Fail

      What nerve, I say you should...wait a minute, ahhh I see, you making a joke, right? Clever.

      Or not, frankly. Make light of it if you will, I wish more people, including myself, had the balls to stand up to the establishment because those fuckers are getting out of control. I wish I was at the airport with him to applaud and be disgusted and offended by the unlawfulness of our government's acts and not with this man's genitalia. And having some plain ole ugly dude do it in protest, just adds to the validity of his point. Kudos to the judge for seeing things quite clear, too.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

        Re: Fail

        Absolutely agree with Luna Tick.

        The guy wasn't doing it for the amusement of the audience - he was doing it to highlight an issue.

        What was purpose of ACs comment I wonder.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fail

          "What was purpose of ACs comment I wonder."

          Self deprecating humour, of a fom tha is obviously beyond many of you lot, though.

          As we used to say in the days of Usenet, "Bwahahahahahahahaha!"

      2. Homer 1

        Re: "had the balls"

        I believe any sort of genitalia would qualify, in this case. :)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fail

        Just when I'm on the verge of giving up on El Reg, my cockles are warmed by Commentards:

        Misogynist: Down-voted.

        'Stick it to the Man' comment: Unilaterally up-voted.

  2. Pirate Dave Silver badge


    now we just need a wave of this to go through our airports nationwide, and maybe our Federal government would get a clue and realize that we citizens don't like being treated like convicted felons when we want to get on an airplane. Especially not by lowly-paid jerks in the TSA.

    1. Aaron Em

      If you think TSA treats you "like a convicted felon"

      then God help you, sir, should you ever find yourself in prison.

      1. John A Blackley

        Re: If you think TSA treats you "like a convicted felon"

        Don't understand the downvotes.

        It's a perfectly good sentiment.

      2. Don Jefe

        Re: If you think TSA treats you "like a convicted felon"

        Haning have had the unfortunate experience of spending a bit of time in lock up I can safely say that being felt up, searched, told when you can eat (and even then given awful food), being necklocked for complaints and when you can get up and use the restroom is what air travel has come to. The biggest difference being that travellers pay for the privelage. In lock up you just get it for free.

        1. Danny 14

          Re: If you think TSA treats you "like a convicted felon"

          To the above traveller I can echo his comments. I had the good fortune to have a decent job working for a large construction company. I entailed me travelling to a mid west state about twice a year. Over the 4 years and 8 trips this happened to me each time. I was always stamped with the "not american" special queue. Not only was this a pre check-in queue but a post check in queue too. Thats 4 hours total check in time at a busy small airport. Joy. I too used to check in all my stuff and got questioned about it once - even by the supervisor who thinly veiled threatened me with an official interview (with 40 mins left before takeoff I was already needing a decent jog and a wee, I could see where this was going) if he suspected me of not telling the truth. Luckily my passport backed up my claims, and he did at least look at it.

          "I can assure you it is random sir. Move along.".

          Nod. Smile. Say "thank you" and carry on. I just want to get out of this country and back to my kids.

          I will *never* spend a penny on a holiday in the US, there is no way my kids need to go through this.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If you think TSA treats you "like a convicted felon"

            My problem with the TSA is that they clearly do not care a jot about passengers and probably not security either.

            In my most recent flight to the USA, the x-ray scanner belt caught the strap of a bag, somewhat past the plastic wall so no passengers could reach it.

            The TSA staff did not notice for at least a minute, continuing to run the belt and tipping the four or five the 'small items and laptops' trays on the belt over, scattering their contents across the belt and floor of the security area.

            It took a passenger to raise the alarm, as the TSA agents running the belt and supposedly in charge of the passengers before the belt simply did not look over there, even with the noise it made.

            I am certain that some property was lost, but nobody dared ask for it.

            On top of that, it implied that it would be trivial for a terrorist to get a bomb under the x-ray machine, as nobody in the TSA would notice.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If you think TSA treats you "like a convicted felon"

          Really ?

          Why they treat you so well ?

          Come to the UK, where upon entry into the "hallowed halls" (prison) you are told to remove all your clothes (along with others) then stand naked.

          You are then told to come to the table and lean upon the table with your legs apart. Your body cavity (male) is then probed by a gloved finger to ensure you are not in possession of concealed whatever.

          You then have your body examined to see if you have needle marks/scars etc.

          All this by non-medical private security staff. Some of who are female.

          With women they get the same, except ALL the staff at that examination are female.

          1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

            Re: If you think TSA treats you "like a convicted felon"

            That's why it's prison, and not the Hilton. Those searches are because prisons have a high proportion of unpleasant folk that are referred to as 'prisoners'.

            Some of these are drug dealers who need drugs smuggling in, while others want various other, restricted items.

      3. Bernard M. Orwell

        Re: If you think TSA treats you "like a convicted felon"

        Been there have you?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Great

      In fairness I've got to say that the last couple of times I've flown, the TSA staff haven't been overly officious.

      Unlike the airline staff - we get to put up with RyanAir levels of service for flag-carrier prices!

      1. Aaron Em

        Re: Great

        I've never had trouble with them myself, but I suspect that's because I don't have a point to make. I probably could if I wanted to; I have bits of metal stuck through me in places you can't see when I have my clothes on, so it's dead cert I'll be pulled aside for a pass with the magnetometer wand at the very least. Haven't been strip-searched yet, but if I ever find myself forced to fly again it's entirely possible that I will be -- it wouldn't be the first time in my life that it'd happened, and I suspect I could withstand the experience without any undue loss of aplomb, but I expect if I were so inclined that I could pretty easily whomp that up into the same kind of nonsense this Brennan fellow did.

        On the other hand, it's amazing what a little politeness will do for you, especially in dealing with folks who don't see a lot of it in their days. For example, I once forgot to take a 10cm lock-back knife out of my bag before going to the airport, and when confronted with it I simply said "Oh, I'm sorry, ma'am! I forgot all about that -- I suppose it's yours now..." I figured I might be in some trouble, but all that happened was the TSA officer gave me the choice of surrendering my knife, or surrendering my place in line to take the knife through the public area of the terminal to a FedEx drop box so I could ship it back to my house. I opted to surrender the knife and make my flight; being given the option has stuck with me.

        1. Yet Another Commentard

          Re: Great

          Politeness does not help if you are not American.

          For me it starts long before I even get to TSA. Every time since about 2007 that I have travelled in or from the US I have had the dubious pleasure of "SSSS" being stamped on my boarding card. When I asked why I was told "it's random". If only I had six numbers from the lottery with such regularity. For those left to have the pleasure, "SSSS" is shorthand for "mandatory crevice search" (well, not quite, I think it means "non-US person, so make sure you rough him up a bit"). The randomness of it was confirmed on my last trip when I looked in the "special" line to see me and a bunch of Mexicans, two Asians, and another European. Hmmm, entirely random.

          Of course once branded one has to give everything to TSA, who usually force you to turn away from your belongings whilst you are turned over. Turning around to make sure nobody has just lifted your wallet/laptop/whatever gets a severe reprimand. After eight successive SSSS experiences I opted to put the lot in the hold, and had nothing but my passport and a newspaper. That precipitated long and laborious conversations about where my bags where, essentially calling me a liar for not having hand baggage. Explaining "it's because this happens every time" didn't go down too well. After that, I have refused to fly to, or visit, the US again. Not that the US will care about that, but it hardly makes it Land of the Free.

          1. david 12 Silver badge

            Re: a liar for not having hand baggage.

            Which is why my colleague always carries a piece of 'hand luggage' with some valuless items in it. He too was sick of wasting time in 'random' searches every time he boarded or exited an internal flight in the USA, and found that having no hand luggage was another source for suspicion, easily circumvented by some nominal hand luggage.

  3. Aaron Em

    Those who hollered about public pissing laws take note

    Remember when I said it's not just the wording of the law, or the opinions of the police on the scene, which matter? This is what I meant.

  4. Cubical Drone


    As a business traveler I cannot tell you how many times I have considered doing something like that, but alas didn't have the courage.

    1. Aaron Em

      "I have considered doing something like that"


      I mean that seriously. Humiliating yourself in public, as a form of political protest, in the middle of a business trip? Why in God's name would you find that worthwhile?

      1. ArmanX

        @Aaron Em

        Actually... that's the whole problem, right there. When you board a flight, the TSA don't have to be nice to you, or even follow the law; the worst that can happen to them is that you lodge a complaint from a remote city, while the worst that can happen to you is that you are humiliated, fined, and forced to surrender your ticket, with no chance of a refund.

        When given the choice between being stranded in an unknown city with no money, no clothes, no plane ticket, and possibly no identification, and having someone strip search you... most people will opt for the latter. I know I did. If I had time on my side, I would have opted for the pat-down, but at that point I didn't want to be stranded outside the US with no luggage or money, and my plane was about to depart.

        And it's not like people will stage protests - with a plane ticket costing hundreds of dollars, and the guarantee that they will throw you out of the building, that's a lot to invest.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why in God's name would you find that worthwhile?

        Because he's alive.

      3. John A Blackley

        Re: "I have considered doing something like that"

        Why would you assume he'd humiliate himself.

        Perhaps he's hung like a donkey.

      4. stanimir

        Re: "I have considered doing something like that"

        I dont see anything humiliating in being naked. Of course you can feel bad for being too small but you shalt keep that to yourself.

  5. steward

    Given the shootings in Colorado...

    Don't be surprised to see TSA-like searches at American movie theatres, followed - at least in Oregon - by naked moviegoers.

    1. Aaron Em

      Doubtful, I think

      Why drive away customers like that when simply banning costumes, requiring that long coats be checked, and disallowing large duffel bags et cetera being brought into the theaters, should be enough? You could still sneak in a handgun in a purse or similar -- although I would note that Denver law allows both open and concealed carry with the requisite permits, so you could just bring in a handgun in a hip holster, too -- but to do the kind of killing Holmes did, you really need an automatic weapon (he's said to've had an "AK-type" rifle), and smuggling long arms on one's person, without an overcoat, has got to be a damn good trick.

      Speaking of carry: If someone else in that theater had been armed, there might not have been a dozen dead people on the deck, and fifty more wounded besides, when the smoke cleared.

      1. Tom 35

        Re: Doubtful, I think

        No he didn't smuggle the stuff in, he parked it outside the fire exit.

        If someone else had a gun they would be dead.

        1. Galidron

          Not so doubtful

          The TSA has been trying to push the body scanners to the railroads, buses and stadiums. This will only encourage them to do so. The have had VIPER teams go out and randomly pull people off the highway to search.

      2. Fibbles

        Re: Doubtful, I think

        Aaron Em's solution to American nutcases shooting up cinema goers? Ban trench coats.

        Surely banning the sale of assault rifles and pistols to the general public would be more sensible. You have the right to bear arms in the US but nobody has ever successfully explained to me why the public would ever need more than a shotgun. You can't conceal them, their range is limited, their lethality is limited to close range targets and they can only hold 2 rounds. Good enough for farming, good enough for dealing with burglars, probably not good for making you feel all gangster or whatever.

        1. Stuart Gepp

          Re: Doubtful, I think

          He had 1 rifle (AR15 type, not an AK), 1 shotgun and two pistols which he had hidden outside the fire exit and retrieved them after entering the theatre by the front door. He also had body armour and helmet in his stash.

          Protecting the front door with any kind of scanner would not have been any help at all in this case unless someone can come up with an insanity and malicious intent detector.

          Bad things happen and not all of them can be prevented unless we all spend our entire lives literally in cocoons.

          For some reason our governments think we want them to protect us from everything and fail to realise that it is impossible.

          As far as individual, concealed carry is concerned, if there were a half dozen citizens with pistols who returned fire they may or may not have succeeded in stopping the bad guy but there is a high probability that *they* would have been responsible for some of the innocent people shot. A packed movie theatre is not a good place to shoot and miss but missing is easily done shooting under extreme duress in the dark. There are numerous accounts of trained police officers finding that the nice tight centre-mass group that they can reproduce at the range over and over again does not happen when they are in a real life-or-death situation. Can you imagine trying to differentiate between the following:

          1. A bad guy you have never seen before who is shooting an innocent you have never seen before.

          2. An armed civilian you have never seen before shooting a bad guy you have never seen before.

          3. A bad guy you have never seen before returning fire at an armed civilian you have never seen before.

          Number 1 is easy, but only if you can see that the innocent has no weapon. 2 and 3 are indistinguishable when they suddenly appear in front of you.

          People will bang on and on about how to avoid this in future. Some will advocate banning all firearms from the public (and the counter argument will be that only outlaws will have guns and there will nothing you can do to protect yourself) and others will argue that every responsible adult should carry a firearm every day (with the counter argument that you are making all the undetected insane people carry too). There will be innumerable arguments in between these extremes.

          Firearms cannot be uninvented. If the guns used in this case had been illegal, would the victims be any less badly hurt? Remember, when the UK banned self loading rifles – that was in response to the Michael Ryan shooting spree in Hungerford in 1987 – he used a pistol for most of his victims. About a decade later, Thomas Hamilton went nuts in a Dunblane school with some pistols so the government banned pistols. Within a year of the pistol ban Jill Dando (a BBC TV presenter) was shot dead with a rifle banned a decade earlier. Jill Dando still suffered the same whether the rifle used was legal or not.

          If you are going to disregard the law prohibiting trying to kill people you are quite unlikely to be overly concerned with the prohibition of the method you choose.

          There will be arguments for mercy because the man was insane. I cannot fathom anyone not insane unilaterally deciding to shoot 71 people he or she does not know.

          At the end of the day this gunman is responsible for his actions. Do not blame the people who sold him the guns. Do not blame anybody else that has guns. Do not blame the governments who have led the public to believe that all bad things can be stopped by greater and greater restrictions on freedoms.

        2. LateNightLarry

          Re: Doubtful, I think

          @Fibbles... Nice idea, but try to get it past the teapublicans and especially the National Rifle Association, which now controls our do- nothing Congress on all matters related to weapons, especially assault weapons... Several lame-brain Congress critters from Texas and Oklahoma have already said that everyone in that theater should have been armed and he would have been stopped short... And they see nothing at all wrong with AR-15's and 100 round magazines in the possession of mental defectives.

          I'd use FAIL, but I need some serious alcohol... several cases of wine, consumed in mass quantities... (Remember the Coneheads with beer?)

        3. <shakes head>

          Re: Doubtful, I think

          US pump action shotguns load 7 shells

      3. sam bo

        Re: Doubtful, I think

        Speaking of carry: If someone else in that theater had been armed, there might not have been a dozen dead people on the deck, and fifty more wounded besides, when the smoke cleared.

        Yep. Even better, imagine if everyone had been "carrying" - the death toll probably would have been in the hundreds !

      4. Anonymous Coward


        Speaking of that movie theatre shooting; the guy was in legal possession of the gun, even had a license for it.

        Reminds of another thread...

  6. Dan Paul

    Too bad this wasn't decided in Federal Court...Pirate Dave

    If this decision had been handed down in a Federal Court, a nationwide legal precedent could have been established.

    Then we could have had the dubious pleasure of seeing naked people waiting in airport security lines everywhere, not just Portland, Oregon (Now featuring the new Clothing Optional security inspection line).

    Unfortunately, the same decision would NOT be reached if this had occurred in NYC (birthplace of "Homeland InSecurity Theater") No, the poor fellow would still be naked, waiting for his phone call in Rikers (or Gitmo).

    Unfortunately, this would leave only one remaining area of the anatomy left to the imagination of the TSA.

    If you think that the searches were "invasive" before... of course you know that only the guilty have something to hide. At least the lines will move quickly (except in San Francisco).

    Let's just hope the TSA are issued handwarners and an endless supply of clean rubber gloves. Forget "Free Speech" ;"Free Screech" will be more like it.

    At the very least, there will never be another Underwear Bomber....

    1. Aaron Em

      I wouldn't worry; it'll get to the Supremes soon enough

      Soon as somebody tries it somewhere else and the judge doesn't overrule the law.

    2. John A Blackley

      Re: Too bad this wasn't decided in Federal Court...Pirate Dave

      You missed a few stereotypes and easy cliches there.

      Try harder next time.

  7. Petrea Mitchell

    State law - not

    It was pretty much a foregone conclusion. As The Oregonian had noted in several earlier stories (for instance: there was already a judicial precedent for allowing nudity as a protest, and even the law he was being prosecuted under (which was a city ordinance, not state law) only prohibits public nudity with lewd intent.

    1. Irk

      Re: State law - not

      That's correct. The World Naked Bike Ride originated as an anti-oil protest, which it still is (though a lot of participants are now in it for the fun of it). Riders smeared themselves with black paint to imitate oil stains, which some participants still do. The ride is allowed to continue because it is a protest.

      Portland does not have the mildest of climates so having a law that allows public nudity for protest only has the effect of making things slightly weird sometimes. There's a guy who bagpipes naked on a unicycle at all times of the year though, I see him in SE and SW from time to time. Not entirely sure what he's protesting. Usually it's at least hoodie weather out here and only the most devoted protesters will strip down for a cause. As the bumper stickers here say, KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD!

      Icon is removing its coat in protest of something I'm sure.

      1. Petrea Mitchell

        Re: State law - not

        "Icon is removing its coat in protest of something I'm sure."

        Now my brain is going to see that icon as nude from now on. Thanks, I really didn't need that. :-)

      2. kissingthecarpet
        Thumb Up

        Re: State law - not

        Bagpiping naked on a unicycle should be compulsory at all times. If the Aurora guy had been naked on a unicycle with bagpipes for example, he wouldn't have been able to shoot very easily. There should be an amendment to the Constitution at once.

  8. Richard Cartledge

    The best slaves are those who think they are free.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typical judicial incompetence

    Let's see can someone protest legally without being nude? Yes by golly I think they can. This judge should be disbarred for stupidity and abuse of authority.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Typical judicial incompetence

      Either you're a troll, or you missed *two* points today.

      You can do many things legally *without* something. However, you are permitted everything that is not barred.

      As for this situation where nudity was barred, it has 1. been accepted (at least in this situation) as "free speech", which trumps city ordinance - a matter of definition 2. had a precedent set of accepting it as acceptable protest already.

      Your argument was "can someone legally protest without being nude? Yes."

      Lets perform some substitutions...

      "can someone legally protest without Y?"

      "can someone legally protest without [being outside]?"

      "can someone legally protest without [being in a group]?"

      "can someone legally X without Y?"

      "can someone legally [read books] without [reading about sex]?"

      "can someone legally [eat food] without [junk food]?"

      So lets review:

      Rights not explicity reserved or barred are inclusive (but limited by their court interpretation).

      Rights set by the constitution override wimpy Portland ordinances (if they are found to apply).

      Your argument is a logical fallacy by interpreting an inclusive situation as an exclusive one.

      Your argument is ignorant of the legal situation.

    2. handle handle

      Re: Typical judicial incompetence

      You're not from 'round here, are you. [the punctuation is correct]

      The Oregon State Constitution guarantees us "the free expression of opinion". This has been found, by the Oregon Supreme Court, to include more than just speech, and, because of this, the State has greater protections for nudity than the United States as a whole. In our State, a competent judge couldn't have ruled otherwise.

      (The beer here is pretty good, too.)

    3. Tapeador

      Re: Typical judicial incompetence

      I suppose political points could be made without forming a political party to propound them. Does this mean we should lock up those who do the latter, as it is gratuitous? There was no law against what this guy did, nor was there anything ethically adverse.

      The doctrine 'no punishment without law' is one which prevents police arbitrarily making up law on the spot, and the judiciary arbitrarily jailing people. The law such as is written down is weighed heavily in this chap's favour, and there's very little it says on the subject of what he did, other than it's 'first amendment protected speech [or self-expression]'.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    It's about time someone made a stand against security thuggery - it's getting well out of hand.

    Catching a plane these days really does make you feel like a criminal, from the moment you step into an airport to the moment you step out.

    It seems your liberties as a citizen are completely stripped - which is exactly what this brave man demonstrated.

    The crazy thing is, I daren't push too deep into this security nightmare we see in airports in a public forum, for fear of the Spartacus effect.

    Due to the anti-terrorism laws, our governments have managed to curtail our freedoms - and get away with it.

    Anything they don't like, can be quickly mangled to fall under those laws, regardless of the original intent.

    Take a look what happened on the M6 to that coach of people?

    They were marched, hands on head, to sit on the side of the road without speaking for a few hours.

    That's insanity - and I hope all of them make a case out of their experience, because their rights as citizens were completely trampled on.

    Look at the security fracas over the olympics - sheer madness.

    Armed troops all over the place, at least put them in plain clothes to tone it down a bit!

    When it gets to the stage where we end up fearing our own governments and associated security forces more than we do a terrorist attack, something is very very wrong.

    1. JohnMurray

      Re: Bravo!

      You forgot the missiles sited around the place.

      All the components are in place for a legal massacre.

    2. kissingthecarpet

      Re: Bravo!

      We fear our own governments and associated security forces more than we do a terrorist attack, and this is something very very normal.


    3. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Bravo!

      Look at the security fracas over the olympics - sheer madness.

      Armed troops all over the place, at least put them in plain clothes to tone it down a bit!

      What???? you think it was bad luck that G4S couldn't recruit anyone?? It's all part of of the conditioning exercise, after getting used to seeing armed troops on the streets for the Olympics and seeing how well it worked (nothing happened) you'll start to think " well that worked out OK, we could have troops policing the streets more often"

      That's how you remove people's liberties, a little bit at a time.

  11. anon9045839452


    while your body may not be that beautiful, your actions are!

    Beer is on me!

  12. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    It's got so bad in the US that quite a few holiday companies no longer stop off at Miami on route to South America. They got so many complaints and refusals to go again, that they now go direct if they can.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TSA: Giving Grandparents Issues

    A particular (70<x<80) wheelchair bound grandfather I know had his [multiple] bottles of medication dumped out onto the [dirty] stainless steel tray, bouncing all over the place, and then the particular grandmother traveling with him was told to collect all the medication that was dumped, and expected to know which bottles the pills were supposed to be placed in!

    I have to say, the process of indicating that stripping down nude is free speech, does not make me feel comfortable about flashers convicted under the law, who are exposing themselves to women and children. I don't agree with the judges decision, because of possible future legal precedent, but I also don't exactly blame the [now well known] dude who did it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: TSA: Giving Grandparents Issues

      Firstly - read above. In the USA you have the right to protest naked. He did nothing wrong.

      Secondly - who the hell are you to automatically assume that naked = some kind of perv.

      Not everyone (except you it seems) thinks of naked equalling sexytime/pervytime.

      1. handle handle

        Re: TSA: Giving Grandparents Issues

        Careful! In *Oregon*, we have the right to protest naked. I'm pretty sure that decency laws in other states within the United States criminalize such activity.

        Nudity for for the purpose of lewdity is still illegal.

        The fact that this is being discussed in a British I.T. web site forum, leads a lot of credence to the effectiveness of his choice of expressive form!

    2. kissingthecarpet

      Re: TSA: Giving Grandparents Issues

      Perhaps dogs should wear pants as well - sometimes they get the hard on & start licking it in front of women & children or start shagging their leg(always good for a laugh). Children are only freaked out by things like that or nudity when adults tell them to be.

    3. Aaron Em

      Re: TSA: Giving Grandparents Issues

      flashers convicted under the law, who are also exposing themselves to women and children


  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leaves you to wonder...

    When reading all these stories and others (there's plenty more where this came from) one has to wonder... How long before the politicians finally realize that their attempts to keep their country safe are actually hurting it where it counts.

    I simply heard too many stories around me (not Internet mind you) about people who will "never go to the US on vacation and be treated like a criminal".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Leaves you to wonder...

      It doesn't leave me wondering at all.

      I hear people constantly bitch about security measures but no one has yet come up with any better solutions. Here's my challenge to all who bitch:

      You and I will go to any public, commerical airport in the world. Your job is to point out every would be terrorist on the airport complex. If you are 100% correct you don't have to go thru a security check. If you can't point out every would be security threat then you go thru security and be damn thankful the would be terrorists that you don't know about didn't get on the plane.

      If it really bothers some people that much to go thru airport security, I suggest you fly via private jet or use other commercial transportation. I've travel in the U.S. and internationally for better than 25 years and I just don't find the U.S. security checks that big a deal. Germany was far stricter than the U.S. prior to 9-11 so to suggest that U.S. airport security checks are unreasonable is inaccurate IME.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Leaves you to wonder...

        That's great. I suppose you use airports infrequently. To me, having racked up something like 40 flights over the past 4 months, security is by far the most stressful, annoying and unnecessary part of the whole experience. Why do I fly? because it is quick, it gets me to where I am needed, and often in this part of the world it is the only option if I actually want to be at the destination the same day.

        yes, I go along with it. I have no choice. But in today's globalised, connected world, why do we need such inane controls on the general public? Do we get screened every time we get onto a tube train? on a railway station? taking a coach trip? No. It's no different - they're all just modes of transportation.

        Terrorism affects a stupidly small percentage of air-transport compared to the people that use it, and I'd be willing to bet that invasive security and scanners have foiled precisely zero attempts at blowing shit up for some $deity. Yes, you get madmen, in every walk of life, but really, if they're causing stress, anxiety and wasted time (which is directly linked to the health of the economy, in this depression) to a large proportion of society, then the controls are extremely detrimental to that society. It's an example of unnecessary fear which is blown all out of proportion. It's not like it is just the super-rich who fly any more, and the rest of us neither demand nor require such overblown security measures to "keep us safe."

        It doesn't *have* to be stressful. Automated passport readers are commonplace, albeit only for residents, and they're quick. Metal-detecting gates - sure, don't mind them provided I can walk through and only get stopped if I'm carrying a gun or half a kilo of loose change in my pocket - a belt, mobile glasses and a few coins - so what? It can detect the fact that there isn't enough metal there/of the right sort to actually be a weapon. X-ray, yeah, sure okay. bag in, bag out, move on. It's a deterrent, nothing more.

        Fucking about with liquids being in 100ml bottles, shoes off, stripping, full body scanners, captains being unable to take a fork to eat his meal with (despite the fire axe right behind his head in the cockpit), stupid questions about having ever planned to overthrow a democratic government, not carrying toner cartridges (I mean, seriously?) - just completely unnecessary. It's only the UK and the USA that bother with all that rubbish anyway, yet last time I checked, other countries didn't have 8x as many terrorist attacks just because they didn't bother with rectal examinations of every 3rd passenger.

        We need more proper security, less showy security, and fewer people who fly once a year telling the rest of us that they have nothing to hide and hence will submit to do anything the state requires of them. I dream of the day where I don't need ID to hop across the channel and go skiing for the weekend because I haven't had to pay the entire airfare again in airport taxes employing these people and their processes.

        AC because I don't want to be on a no-fly list for voicing my opinions.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Leaves you to wonder...

          I think reasonable freedom is worth, even requires some risk. If we all accept the "strict" security, during which there are probably more injuries and accidents, directly or as a result of the frustration and hurry caused, where is the freedom supposedly being protected? The cotton wool merchants talk of restricting "dangerous sports", such as hill walking, climbing, sailing because somebody may get hurt and need rescuing. They stop normal childhood activities in case some little darling gets scratched or bruised.

          An active, free life of any value requires that we take risks, that 100 criminals go free rather than one innocent be convicted. That risk includes accidents and crime, Clearly, I do not mean do away with all law and order. I do mean a balance that ensures respecting the individual, his freedom to live, move, work and NO arbitrary detention or punishment (that includes the infamous M6 coach incident, the daily nastiness in airports, the sheer rudeness of "officials", the pointless cordoning-off of large areas around scenes of crime that seems to have come into fashion, "kettling", camera seizing and so on.

          Odd that, in most of the USA; people happily or at least subserviently knuckle under to excessive security and over-bearing officialdom, for the sake of "safety", while fighting like hell to "bear arms" and against "socialised medicine".

          The UK managed thirty years of pretty grim IRA activity, with real death and injury on a suprisingly large scale, in all parts of the country and even in Belgium and Germany. I was in a job dealing with the prevention and aftermath of some of that and later working as an IT worker in London, when trains were delayed or cancelled every day of a three month contract because of real explosives. I lived in a road in London in which three bombs (at different times) exploded within 1/2 a Km. of my flat, one within 100 metres. I know, personally, several people who witnessed, were caught up in or had to help clean up the results of this American-sponsored terrorism (which, by the way, continues in N. Ireland today) in London, Birmingham and the home counties.

          This terrorism was awful: the perpetrators were, to all intents and purposes, the same as the victims: the same language, tastes, culture, background, freedom to move etc.. They killed each other, children, men, women, tourists. Visit the centre of Manchester and marvel at the wholesale destruction of a whole city centre.

          I was proud to say that, on mainland Britain, hardly any onerous, extra restrictions were placed upon normal life.

          Now, a couple of bad cases, rather isolated and rare, result in a lot of irrelevant, intrusive, non-democratically decided restrictions on our freedom of movement, behaviour and association, enforced by ill-trained, badly selected, hardly supervised and badly educated types of the sort, I imagine, who happily enforced nazi and communist party "discipline", probably contrary to all sorts of British, general European and even American laws if any of us had the money, time and will to test it.

          It's even bad for governments in the end as decent people are made more and more sceptical of government pronouncements or even somewhat "anti".

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What rubbish

    Who the Hell is being injured from security screenings? This B.S. perpetuated as knowledge is a disgrace. If you're Hellbent on taking risk then do it by yourself, not with me on the plane.

    There is no God given right to fly so if you're that unhappy with airport security then come up with a better solution or accept reality for what it is. It's not like airport security is some torturous ordeal for chrissake, it's a security screening. Ask yourself what's more of an inconvenience: going thru an airport screening or having your plane blown out of the sky at 10 thousand meters? People can't be bothered until something terrible happens then they'll bitch that security was insufficient.

    1. Aaron Em

      Re: What rubbish

      Two years ago, at least, when I last did it, you could just walk into an Amtrak station, buy a ticket, and get on a train. It's a much more pleasant experience than flying, not least for the ample legroom and lack of partial anoxia; I'd recommend it to anyone who has a dogmatic issue with TSA screening, who isn't crossing an ocean, and who isn't in an all-fired hurry.

      (I will note, not that it'll matter to anyone, that I never said I like going through TSA screening -- only that I don't see a need to be an obstreperous asshole, purely for the sake of it, at any point during the process. I gather this sentiment is unpopular, but so are lots of things which make good sense.)

  16. Figgus

    How about letting each airline set their own security policy? You want ironclad security, fly Body Cavity Airlines. You don't want to be hassled with a waste of time? Fly Open Airways.


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