25 December 2009

You've been randomly selected...

No, I did not become the lucky recipient of a million dollars through Nigerian email spam. However, a young Nigerian's failed attempt at terrorism on a Northwest flight to Detroit seems rather timely today.

A reasonably frequent flyer, I've gone through many expected inconveniences of modern-day air travel, including baggage lost for days and baggage lost for weeks, eight-hour delays, full baggage searches, and canceled flights. This year, I've even gotten used to having my temperature taken by genderless swine flu-chasers in white biohazard suits.

When going through security, I seal my "liquids and gels" in advance, remove my jacket and shoes, and take out my laptop -- all to be placed in separate bins, naturally. Yesterday, I did not trigger any alarms, and neither did my carry-on. Yet, I got selected for a random security check without cause.

The latter is somewhere between a mild pat-down one gets when actually setting off a metal detector and a full-blown strip search. It's a polite spit in the face. A bit of public embarrassment, a mild abuse of authority, but with a cherry of political correctness on top. After all, airport security seems to "respect my feelings as a woman and a human", as a certain musician once said.

So, my personal Bestower of Safety (female, of course) even inquired if I "had any body part that hurt", before proceeding to thoroughly determine that I, in fact, did not hide any weapons of mass destruction in my bra. And, I'm not quite sure what pulling my jeans' waist so far away from my body so as to reveal the pattern on my underwear had to do with terrorism prevention. But, maybe I simply lack the intellectual capacity necessary to grasp the mysteries of airport security rituals, so I politely complied.

In the end, all I wanted to know was the selection criteria. "Every fourth female", said this shining example of professionalism and asked, "So, are we cool, yo"? I haven't seen my family in six months and had a flight to catch, "Yes, but rather inappropriate".

Not a contradiction.

Best of all, I paid $54.33 for this masochistic present to self: $45.00 (!) of my airfare went to Canada Airport Improvement Fee, and $9.33 -- to Air Travellers Security Charge (ATSC). The latter certainly seems like money well spent on stopping islamofascists in North America.

Merry Christmas!


Andy Nowicki said...

I assume this is you featured in this photograph accompanying your post. Who took the picture, and did the security inspector have any problems with being caught in the act of groping a passenger's chest? Did she ask for the camera?

Anonymous said...


Brian Doyle was the TSA official involved with this case, applauding the Portland Police Department and swearing to the rightfulness of their actions, swearing in the name of Transportation Security that the author of the piece went crazy over the mentioned scissors.

Google Brian Doyle and TSA and see what's become of this guy.