Get ready for another round of outrage at the TSA. Breast cancer survivor Adrienne Durso says she was forced to undergo an invasive pat-down on the delicate skin left by a mastectomy by an agent at the Albuquerque International Sunport airport. When her 17-year-old son wanted to know why his mom was being singled out, and he wasn't being searched, the agent's supervisor allegedly stated that he "didn't have boobs."
Ah, so that's the pre-requisite for getting a pat down. And here we thought being patted down was something that happened if you opted out on a naked scanner or set off an alarm in one of them. After all, here's what the TSA has to say about them:
Pat-downs are primarily used to resolve alarms that occur at a walk-through metal detector, if an anomaly is detected during screening with advanced imaging technology (AIT), or during random screening. If one of those situations arises, you will be given a pat-down before you're able to continue on to your flight.
Pat-downs are also given to passengers who opt out of screening by AIT or walk-through metal detectors.
Surprise, surprise. There's nothing about boobs in the official literature! The story only gets worse, with paperwork from a lawsuit Durso has filed -- along with some other concerned airline passengers -- against the Department of Homeland Security showing she notified agents of her mastectomy and was still poked and prodded in the painful area.
About the only thing that did go right here is the agent doing the poking and prodding was female. Having someone of your own gender feeling you up is somehow supposed to make you feel better -- at least according to that same TSA literature. But let's be realistic. It doesn't matter if it's a girl or a guy feeling your boobies. Your Mom told you you had to start wearing a shirt when you went outside around 6 or 7 for a reason; they're not to be shared with just anyone.
Even those of us who are skeeved by the pat-downs (I'd prefer a scanner) have been hoping that the series of breasts that run through these airports in a day all run together for the agents. It's the attitude I take when I go into the gyno -- he sees vaginas all day; mine is nothing special. He approaches me not as a man but a machine. We don't want people doing the airport security. We want machines.
Because people, even people who are going through the motions like robots, eventually feel something. And that's not fair to the poor woman who had to stand there and take it. The fact that the supervisor used the words "boobs" to the Durso family makes it clear she was aware of what she was doing. She could have told the son, "because you didn't set off a scanner." She didn't. Because that's not what she was thinking.
Does the TSA agent's choice of words elevate this story above the other TSA outrages we've had recently?
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