TSA: Making Air Travel “Punitive” for Persons With Disabilities and Those Accompanying Them

Dec 02, 2010
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The groping by TSA agents, “enhanced pat-downs” were supposedly meant to be so offensive, that no person in their right mind would opt-out of the “naked” body scanners. However, people with disabilities have no “opt-in” for the scanners.

Although TSA claimed its enhanced pat downs are not punitive, that is the only recourse for many individuals with disabilities. While it’s true that TSA has patted down persons in wheelchairs for years, showing weapons and drug smuggling as the reasons why, it was nothing like their new procedure using front-of-hands that slide intimately over private areas.

The letter released by TSA stated, “Some people with disabilities are ineligible for screening using AIT [Advanced Imaging Technology] including the following: people who use wheelchairs and scooters who cannot stand; anyone who cannot stand with their arms raised at shoulder level for the 5-7 second duration of the scan; anyone who is not able to stand without the use of a cane, crutch, walker, etc; people who use service animals; people using or carrying oxygen; and individuals accompanying and providing assistance to those individuals described above. These people will be screened using alternate screening techniques including pat downs.

Whether or not the person is young or old, a virgin or sexually experienced, it is punitive to require TSA agents to invasively slide his or her hands over innocent and law-abiding citizens’ private parts. Can TSA’s multimillion dollar scanners not see well enough? The backscatter scanners that can see into cars and buildings when mounted in roving vans cannot differentiate between body parts and wheelchair parts? For those who require assistance in traveling, anyone who accompanies them will also be punitively put through an embarrassing and unnecessary TSA groping.

TSA Blogger Bob suggested that passengers with disabilities should contact TSA prior to being patted down, but to what end? The result will be an enhanced pat down that some people call groping or sexual assault. If you have traveled previously, you know you can make all the arrangements in advance only to deal with a person in real life who either did not get the information or does not care.

TSA seems to be out of control. A breast cancer survivor was forced to remove her prosthetic breast for a TSA pat-down. According to a 61-year-old cancer survivor who wears a urostomy bag and was left covered in his own urine, TSA agents do not listen and did not apologize or even acknowledge what was done to him. “And every time I tried to tell them about my medical condition, they said they didn’t need to know about that,” he stated.

Thanks TSA for punishing Americans with disabilities and anyone traveling with them. Their lives are not challenging enough. Thanks a whole heap, TSA.

Author: Tessa