Getting Nuked, or Groped, for the Holidays.

Via Roger Wolsey
on Nov 17, 2010
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Enough is enough!

My 10 year old son and I will be traveling via air to visit my family in St. Paul for Thanksgiving next week. I do not want him blasted by radiation and nor do I want him to be aggressively groped by a TSA agent. We shouldn’t be treated as guilty until proven innocent.  There needs to be a better way.  Apparently, I’m not alone in my concerns about this.  Complaints about the body scans and new pat-downs are on the rise.

Beyond the civil liberties/Big Brother issues, this is also a matter of public health.

Because radiation harm is an accumulative process, and I don’t want my son to have more of it in his system starting at such a young age, we’ll be opting-out of the body-scan in favor of the newly “aggressive-ized” pat down procedures.  sigh.

UPDATE: …..oh heck.  In doing research for this blog, I’m now leaning toward thinking that the amount of radiation emitted by these body scanners is quite low.  In fact, it seems that it’s far, far, far, lower than the amount of radiation people expose themselves to by flying in a plane at high altitudes.  However, this is a matter that is worthy of public discussion so I’m going ahead and posting this blog.

*** REVISED UPDATE *** Just discovered this document.  Seems the radiation levels are actually quite high because they’re focused solely on the skin and surface tissues. The plot thickens.

…There’s also the question if this is an unconstitutional violation of privacy and (literally) unwarranted searches and seizures.

What do others think?

[for those that prefer to “watch” rather than read.]


About Roger Wolsey

Roger Wolsey is a free-spirited GenX-er who thinks and feels a lot about God and Jesus. He’s a progressive Christian who identifies with people who consider themselves as being “spiritual but not religious.” He came of age during the “Minneapolis sound” era and enjoyed seeing The Replacements, The Jayhawks, Husker Du, The Wallets, Trip Shakespeare, Prince, and Soul Asylum in concert—leading to strong musical influences to his theology. He earned his Masters of Divinity degree at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO. Roger is an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church and he currently serves as the director of the Wesley Foundation campus ministry at C.U. in Boulder, CO. He was married for ten years, divorced in 2005 and now co-parents a delightful 10-year old son. Roger loves live music, hosting house concerts, rock-climbing, yoga, centering prayer, trail-running with his dog Kingdom, dancing, camping, riding his motorcycle, blogging, and playing his trumpet in ska bands and music projects. He's recently written a book Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don't like christianity


52 Responses to “Getting Nuked, or Groped, for the Holidays.”

  1. There is a solution. Don't fly! I have chosen to "opt" out of the "you must get on a plane to see Uncle Mike". No thanks, I refuse to be subjected to this. I bought my own small airplane and if I want to bring a lot of "stuff" I now rent a large car or van and drive it. There are ways around this.

  2. Alden says:

    A prominent mommy blogger is suing the TSA for sexual assault when they gave her a very personal patdown, including a detail groping of her crotch. She was not warned that this would happen.

  3. Thanks for the article. I'm not a fan of getting nuked. I was upset that they scanned my breast milk. Read:

  4. There is a solution. We need to come together and make the unanimous decision to end political correctness. That decision alone will raise the IQ of the nation at least ten points. And then we can use the intelligent solution. The solution based on observation, probability math, intelligent strategy. We can profile. We can quit patting down grandmothers and six year old children from Des Moines and we can put our attention on those with whom we are in a war. That is going to take some real changes for liberals… but I am convinced liberals are really smart people who have simply been hypnotized and if we snap our fingers real loud everyone will wake up.

    • Steve says:

      …and please do tell what your definition of "political correctness" is and how it's "end" will remarkably reward us a solution to this problem.

  5. Roger Wolsey says:

    The plot thickens… apparently the radiation levels are in fact quite high. See:

  6. Jonathan says:

    The main "enemy" in all this is ourselves. Or, at least, the frightened "soccer mom" archetype in all of us that says "safety at all costs." Ugh. First thing to do is to educate. People die all the time. the chances its going to be due to an airborne terrorist disaster is almost as small as being hit on the head by a falling meteorite. Does that keep people from freaking? No.

    People have got to realize that life is hazardous. We live in the most aneasthetized, securified, bubble of a world that humans have ever lived in…. and it only shows signs of getting worse!!! Next time someone harps on safety, tell them to chill out.

    • melanie says:

      We are all like the pygmy shrews. Scared of our own shadows. Fear of this type is more a control issue than actually keeping us safe. Just like the NRA wants all of us to have guns because we need it for defense.

  7. mamabear234 says:

    If someone who is patting me down along with thousands of other travelers per day is really getting their jollies off on it, I feel sorry for THEM. I think people really need to get over themselves and deal with their trauma issues and stop being afraid of their own bodies. Same goes with seeing my boobies on the x-rays. Now the radiation issue if there is one is another issue entirely, but really not a big deal for me if others see my very unsexy boobies along with thousands of others per day.

    • 13thfloorelevator says:

      That you believe ppl who find this objectionable should just get over their "trauma issues" says more about you than anything else. When people need to minimize the pain of others, it's often because there is something about themselves they're having trouble acknowledging.
      Second, even *if* we're only talking about the possible trauma of 1 in 6 women who have been sexually abused, raped and assaulted in the past, you're an asshole for minimizing it.

  8. Roger Wolsey says:

    Mamabear, fair enough, and I'm fine being felt up by a fellow grown up. Not so thrilled about having my child treated this way.

  9. Roger Wolsey says:

    an interesting post about this article from the Elephant FB page:

    Barbara White

    To all of you who say you are willing to put your health at risk or be groped in order to fly safely, the thing is that the scanners actually don't make you any safer. The head of airport security in Israel (if anyone understands airport security, he would) has been quoted as saying that the new scanners are a waste of money because they can't detect explosives hidden in body cavities. Neither can the pat downs. They are simply security theater that is making the manufacturers of the machines richer and the American people more submissive. Check out
    24 minutes ago · Like ·

    • elephantjournal says:

      Wow, that's interesting. And, as Benjamin Franklin himself said, "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." ~ Angela Raines

    • So true. A day after the negative publicity started George Soros sold his 11,000 shares in the company that manufactures the devices. But Chertoff, former Homeland Security Director when the machines were ordered (yes, under Bush), still consults with the company and makes money from this business.

      The point that El Al security personnel make is that it is profiling that works. They profile like mad. Why do American liberals have such a burr in their saddle parts about profiling? Bowing to the gods of political correctness ends up costing us an incredible amount of wasted time and money.

    • 13thfloorelevator says:

      No, just like most of the TSA regulations, they don't actually ensure safety, which is why they are not minimally invasive to meet agency goals (of safety), which is why they are unconstitutional.

  10. Forest says:

    gee… cant wait to get gropped at the airport next month, seeing as how i dont really need any more radiation in my life.
    the terrorists have already won, seeing as how we are acting like a bunch of "terrorized" people by gropping down children and elderly folks…. its a shame. just another reason to escape the country before this kind of personal intrusion from the government escalates to the point where the security line at the airport consists of a stripper pole.

  11. Melanie says:

    Personally, I think I prefer a nice leisurely road trip where I can see some scenery and stop along the way. No rush. And, of course, I cannot afford my own plane nor would I want to pay for all the repairs and maintenance that comes along with the responsibility. But, thats just me. Some people will spend tremendous amounts of cash for trendy and pretentious. Have a nice day. 🙂

  12. mamabear234 says:

    Most and I say most people who look at or feel a lot of bodies, naked or not, really do not get a charge out of it. I mean, it is a job after all. Like for folks in the medical field, nothing untoward about it. Just routine. One becomes sensitized I suppose. And when a kid goes to the doctor and the parent is in the room, same sort of thing in my opinion.

    • 13thfloorelevator says:

      People become TSA agents for different reasons than ppl go into medical work. The kind of people that are attracted to this stuff (many are former cops) often have issues with control and domination. The idea that they are all sensitized to seeing bodies and patting ppl down fails to recognize that when they start feeling up ppl's labia and balls, they may not get a "sexual" thrill off it, but a control and domination jolt. Don't assume sexual assault has much to do with sexual enjoyment. There are, and will continue to be, some TSA agents who abuse and humiliate passengers just bc they can.

  13. Roger Wolsey says:

    Melanie, I hear ya, but there is no such thing as a "nice leisurely road trip" to Minnesota at this time of the year. It's very often a scary, white knuckled, prayer laden quest across icy and/or blizzardy roads.

  14. Roger Wolsey says:

    Jennifer, granted, but the thing is, these body scanners do *not* allow us to see beneath the surface of the skin.
    They do not allow TSA to see what may be in body cavities.
    Hence, they are a big ol waste of money and don't provide anything more than an x-ray machine and a pat down can't provide.

    • jennifer says:

      Martyrdom is ugly to all, and cannot be screened, scanned, or patted down. My point is that its ALL a waste of money. Profiling will work until a blond white woman is radicalized…oh wait, that already happened!

  15. jcrows says:

    This is an effort to humiliate the general population into submission by Big Sis and Big Bro. Instead, Opt out of flying and buy a silver coin or two :
    Crash JP Morgan Buy Silver
    Get 2 birds with one stone.

  16. jcrows says:

    Don't "touch my junk" John Tyner full video

  17. The notion that we all have to fly all over hell on Thanksgiving is a modern day delusion that is way at odds with the need to cut down use of fossil fuels. Stay home. Or, don't move so far away from those you need to be with on holidays. Check back on this message in a couple of years, because that will be the reality. Shut up and enjoy your immediate surroundings, because you're giving me indigestion.

  18. Roger Wolsey says:


  19. mamabear234 says:

    Being patted down does NOT in my book constitute sexual assault. No more than a medical procedure. Stop being so dramatic. Really. Now for a survivor of trauma they may see it that way but really they need to work their issues. That is something else entirely than what is going on here.

    • JDroz says:

      Perhaps ignorance is blinding your perspective on this issue Mamabear? This procedure is not merely a "pat down" it is an invasion of your personal space to the point that some TSA agent has the "right" to place his/her hands directly on your genitals – all because of a monumental LIE. If anyone here needs to work on some issues of clarity and compassion, seems to me that person would be you. Keep on drowning in the lies of your government & Good luck to you in living your life of continued illusion.

    • 13thfloorelevator says:

      Maybe you'd like to invite me over for a cup of tea, and I can feel up your labia. It's no big deal. Please share with us what you're hiding down there.

      You really are a fucking asshole.

      • mamabear234 says:

        Wow, you seem really angry. Please do yourself and others a favor and get some therapy do some yoga or meditate or something. Obviously you do have some issues and I am sorry for whatever happened to you. There is a lot of support out there to heal rather than emotionally vomiting on people you don't even know.

        • 13thfloorelevator says:

          Everything you just said applies to yourself. That seems common among ppl like you.

          You're a moron, and morons spouting off is maddening. Do yourself and others a favor and learn how to think properly.

          • mamabear234 says:

            Again, I do not need some angry man ( I am again assuming you are male by the way you write) attacking me for disagreeing with him and telling me how I , a woman, SHOULD be thinking. And getting more obnoxious and angry when I, a woman, disagrees with him. I can think for myself, thank you. I am exercising my right to free speech. If you don't agree with me, fine, that is certainly your right in our free country, but in a forum like this personal attacks have no place. I am done talking about this. Good bye..

  20. Nella Lou had a good post on the "security theatre" these new procedures constitute:

    This article from a pilot also covers the issue in great depth:

    There are actually far fewer successful terrorist attacks on planes now than there have been historically.

  21. elephantjournal says:

    Hear ye, hear ye!

  22. thil says:

    Roger, your dad is great

  23. Roger Wolsey says:

    That does it. The terrorists have won.
    Little boy strip searched by TSA.

  24. The scanner and the pat down do not handle that problem. What was your point?

  25. Love your response. So true.

  26. Roger Wolsey says:

    and now for something completely different,

    of course, this would likely result in a double whammy of being body scanned and then groped right after. two for the price of one! : P

  27. Eilan Wilder says:

    I'm with Jonathan. Welcome to LIFE. Pat down or radiation to be or not to be…..whatever! America is out of control. Better to start worrying about a civil war in the next 5 to 10 years when average people will be fed up with our soon (it's here friends) to come hyper inflation and poverty is on your doorstep. Most people are not too worried about being killed by a terrorist on an airplane. Far more dangerous to ride a bike in Boulder.

  28. Eilan Wilder says:

    P. S. Guess who's company owns the new scanners???? Michael Chernoff.

  29. 13thfloorelevator says:

    "…there is not one organization that is fighting for the rights of these women."

    Yes, there is, actually.

  30. 13thfloorelevator says:

    mamabear thinks you are "really angry" and have "issues," I'm sure.

  31. 13thfloorelevator says:

    It's ok to say vag.

  32. mamabear234 says:

    I love it when men ( I am assuming you are a male since you at least write like one) tell me how I , a woman SHOULD be feeling about an issue. As a true feminist I can make my own decisions and have my own opinions, thank you very much! I do not need some opinionated guy telling me how to think, nor do I need some opinionated guy attacking me when I disagree with him.

  33. Papabear says:

    “I love it when men ( I am assuming you are a male since you at least write like one) tell me how I , a woman SHOULD be feeling about an issue. As a true feminist I can make my own decisions and have my own opinions, thank you very much! I do not need some opinionated guy telling me how to think, nor do I need some opinionated guy attacking me when I disagree with him.”

    Get over yourself, you hyper-feminist cunt.

    Your opinions are not sacrosanct, your views are not holy, and your “rights” are an illusion. We all have the exact same rights, which means NO ONE is special. So stop trying to enforce rules that don’t exist.

  34. […] after I opened the program, a questionnaire popped up asking if I have taken more than 2 commercial flights in the last year. I figured it was some marketing agreement that brings them some income, allowing […]

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