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Protesting TSA security theater

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TSA security doesn’t make us safer. It just wastes everyone’s time and taxpayer money. Screening misses 95% of weapons that undercover agents try and sneak through, and the head of the TSA doesn’t think the agency can be fixed.

For years, I’ve protested the TSA by opting out of the useless naked body scanners and requiring them to do a full pat down instead. If only a small percentage of flyers did this, the lines would be so incredibly long at airports that the TSA would be forced to change their screening system.

Once at the pat-down station, I’ve done a number of things designed to illustrate the ridiculousness of the process. Give yourself an extra 30 minutes to get to your plane if you do any of this. Hand a copy of the Constitution to the agent, letting them know they seem to have lost theirs. Keep a copy of the Fourth Amendment (unreasonable search seizure) in my pocket for them to find. Recite the pat down instructions along with them, making sure I’m slightly ahead of them. Standing on one foot. Giving absurd answers to "do you have any sensitive areas on your body" (my spleen is very sensitive). Make funny noises while they’re patting me down. Recite poetry, and when they ask me to stop, ask them what law restricts my speech while at the checkpoint. When they ask where I’m flying to, I give them the name of the city I’m currently in. Change your mind about a private screening halfway through the procedure.

Flight before last, when asked to remove my hat before going through the metal detector, I told them the hat isn’t made of metal, so should be OK. They were not amused, and asked me to take it off again. I’m going to start telling them I wear it for religious reasons.

Last week, I took it a step further. I casually mentioned to the TSA agent that was about to pat me down that I’m really a woman. When he looked at my full beard and hesitated, I told him I haven’t had the surgery, but I identify as a woman. Apparently, the TSA actually has a procedure for this, since I got a woman and a privacy screen. She was not happy, and a little rougher than she needed to be.

Please join me in messing with the TSA’s fake security. Maybe we’ll save some money and implement useful security instead.

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