Sunday, January 29, 2012
My Date with the TSA.
My 1-30-12 interview on "Declare Your Independence" with Ernest Hancock
When talking about my date with the TSA, I use to kept most of the details to myself. The fact that so many people don’t defy the TSA, saying “No” already comes off as a fish story. When my letter of investigation came in the mail it brought so much of what I’ve been saying to reality for so many around me. I couldn’t have anticipated how much I would like to thank the TSA for proving what kind of country we live in to my loved ones.
On a hot Sunday in Phoenix I was headed to the airport to board a flight joking about being on a no fly list and looking forward to talking smack about the TSA with other people at the airport. Everything was normal in getting my boarding pass and such up until I got to the check point. I never enter a check point without scouting the operation. In this case the metal detectors were roped off and everybody was being x-rayed with some still getting patted down afterwards. This was the point that I became very embarrassed seeing my people march along and groveling, being barked at, and not a one opted out of the x-ray scanner in the 5 minutes I watched. Instead of turning tail and calling my wife I jumped into the lions mouth to pull some teeth.
Like a good little slave I kept my mouth shut, took my shoes off, belt, and keep my head down when being barked at. As I got up to the scanner I sternly said I won’t be entering that machine. The blue shirt then got excited, didn’t question me, and screamed out “MALE OPT OUT, MALE OPT OUT!”. Two more blue shirts hurried over and escorted me to a side cubical where I met Mr. Patdown. Now I’m not a homophobe, but this guy likes his job, and it wasn’t just the glazed eyes of the guy telling me this. I asked myself, “how easy are they going to make this for me to say No?”.
So Mr. Patdown proceeded to explain the procedure and I was fine up until he explained the part about pressing with the back of his hands onto my junk. Genius! Now why didn’t I think of that with my 1st girlfriend. I shook my head “No” but the blue shirt continued to mumble about touching my buttocks and going inside my beltline till I verbally said it wasn’t going to happen.
He then flagged a supervisor and this guy didn’t walk, he stormed my way with an accompanying blue shirt. As he got closer his eyes exited his head more and more and then barked, “What’s the problem we have here?”. With my arms crossed I stated his screener here wants to break the law. The eyes quickly reentered his head and he then introduced himself as Seth, and BSed me about how it’s perfectly legal yadda yadda yadda. I then cocked my head and noticed this guy was no older then 28-30 and was wearing a carpal tunnel band. From there we had a back and forth, but I was more concerned with how the check point was becoming populated with blueshirts. One in particular caught my eye because he didn’t have a goonish look to him and was approaching us. He was clean cut, with a huge smile, and peaking out at barley 5 foot tall. Amongst the fray a blueshirt grabbed my wallet out of the tupperware and walked away. I wish I said something at that point but I was fired up and on a roll. About 5 minutes later he comes back with my wallet, a scan of my driver’s license and demands a phone number. “If you can’t get enough information off my license you need to find a new line of work”, I said. He then peered back at me, “You’re setting yourself up for a fine, give me a current phone number”. “I’m not giving a criminal anything and I haven’t done anything wrong”. I forget what he mumbled as he got up and left, but all I can remember is he was cross eyed.
Things got eerie as I will now discover how freaky this operation was. Short stuff was the mind probe shrinky dude and you could see in his eyes he loved his job. Mr. Headly opened up the dialogue with his arms behind his back and rocking back and forth, “How’s everything going today?”. I replied, “You’re going to ask that in this gulag training ground?”. His reply was packaged BS about keeping people safe and policy and as he noticed I wasn’t paying attention to his bull he then asked “Where was I flying to?”, “My boarding pass will tell you that!”. Cocking his head he asked, “What are you worried about?”. “I’m not worried, here you got a cancer cluster waiting to happen, why aren’t you worried?”. As he BSed me, I continually barked out the reality of this situation with facts loud enough so the passing slaves could hear me.
Later a clean cut man in a brown dress shirt with a smile strolled over to me and extended his hand out to shake my hand. I was burning with life at this point holding myself down with crossed arms. As he got to me he extends his hand out and very professionally with a smile, “Hi, I’m Frank Martinez TSA Manager blah blah blah”. As I just stand there he pulls his hand back, “Well you don’t have to shake my hand”, I replied, “You got that right”. Now this guy was pretty lame dealing with someone who wasn’t playing ball as he repeated much of the same line of questioning, “…are you sure you won’t go thru the pat down…”,”…you know you may not be able to fly today…”. After a couple I said, “give it a rest, save your breath and do what you have to”. From here out Frank was on his cell looking important and about this time Mr Headly returned to his hole.
After a couple minutes an officer of the PHXPD approached me and began to instruct me that if I’m not allowed to fly he would be escorting me away from the check point and we exchanged a few words. As soon as I asked, “what do you think about all of this prisoner training?”. He became very uncomfortable and said, “They are just doing their job”, I interject, “that didn’t save anyone in Nuremberg”, “this is to keep people safe but I understand, you’re not the only one”. Wow, that one single statement from an uncomfortable cop fulfilled my day. I’m not the only one.
During this exchange Seth slipped in the cubical and listened to much of it. When the officer walked away Seth noticed an x-box in my bag and giggly asked, “What games do you play?”. I was dumbfounded, and knowing I’m talking to a game head I said, “I don’t, I watch Netflix”. Oh he knew all about that as well but this young guy who stands out on this floor all day, not behind a computer, has a carpal tunnel band from playing video games. AND HES THE SUPERVISOR! After getting over my amazement of the epiphany I continued to grill Seth on the reality of his job. Getting miffed and realizing I was a real person he quickly exited when he didn’t have an reply for when I told him, “you know a well trained dog and biscuit will put you out of work and the best part there isn’t a pension plan at the end”. This experience ended with the PHXPD peacefully escorting me away from the check point, and my wife coming to pick me up.
About four months later I received a certified letter from the TSA stating that my incident was under investigation. It sighted that I violated a regulation that made me subject of up to a $11,000 fine, and I needed to turn in a letter of my accounts of that day. The next Monday I met with Mark Victor. He was as amazed with the situation as many others were. He did give me some valuable pointers and stressed that I should ask for an extension on my deadline to turn my letter into the TSA.
Well, at this point I am going to milk this for everything its worth. Instead of contacting the guy who signed my letter, Brad Foster, I was going to research for the highest ranking person in his office and call them. The number I found and left a message at, was a Heather Callahan, Deputy Federal Security Director ( 480-375-2560 Office | 617-285-7614 Mobile), thanks to someone else who had an date with the TSA at Sky Harbor. About 7:15 pm that night I get a frantic call from Brad Foster (Home number: 602-908-8205). He didn’t know what this was about, and from there I spoke calmly, talking him off the ledge. I stated I wanted the code expressed on my notice on paper and an extension on my deadline. The next day he granted me 10 additional days.
So being the aggressive animal they already view me as I decided I wasn’t going to wait for an email, I was going to show up to the office on 410 N. 44th Street, Suite 300. This building was off the street and not easy to find with no markings dictating what was inside. My clue was the 20 or so blue shirts out on a smoke break. As I drove by flashing my Ron Paul wares it looked as if everyone of them turned their heads. A minute later I confidently walked up and most of them were acting as if I was going to jack them or something. From there I went up the elevator and entered the 3rd floor and noticed this was also the training location for the new goons. I thought, man this might be a fun place to do some interesting activism. As I opened the door to the lobby even the receptionist, who takes her beauty tips from Big Sis, had a horrified look in her eyes. Christ, what are these people afraid of? I introduced myself and stated what I was there for. About 15 minutes later in came Brad Foster with this 6’3” 300+lb goon standing behind him. Brad handed me the paper with my requests and described that no person is able to enter a sterile area without being screened. I said, “But the screening evolved touching my genitals”, he embarrassingly replied, “Some people makeup things about our…”, I then interrupted, “No, your screener stated he would be touching my growing and going into my belt line”. He paused and then said, “Well we aren’t actually touching the genitals and…”, “But you are, and is illegal to do outside of an emergency” as I butted into his BS. The part that ground me the most in this exchange was that I actually shook the guys hand, man I suck sometimes, but I did peacefully leave the building.
I returned to submit my letter without incident. A little less the month later I received my another letter from the TSA stating that they would not press the issue but would not adjourn the case. Finally stating that this was a warning and if something similar happens again that very serious sanctions would be brought onto me. Well, after the stern wag of the finger here I am writing about it for the world to see. I swore off flying about 2 years before this event because of the TSA, but the tickets were purchased by my company for some training. The buck needs to stop somewhere and I believe will be saying “No” to this very same agency in the future when they show up on my highways and malls.
Posted by Gremlin at 9:19 PM