A More Humane Way to do "Body Patdowns"

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by nachtnebel, Aug 12, 2012.

  1. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    I mentioned in a previous post about my recent experiences of airport security down under at AKL and SYD. On the way home to the US, the kiwis at AKL used a different procedure than the simple WTMD walk-thru and hand wanding used at SYD or at AKL when I transferred on the way in. The change from the procedure done earlier on the way to SYD perhaps at random, perhaps because some of the flights this time were going to the US.

    The new procedure was WTMD, then take random, (ie, as many as you could without slowing the line down) persons, and lightly touch them (frisk) with the wand. I experienced this, wasn't fantastic, but wasn't nearly as bad as having someone touch you you. It's like getting wanded, with light incidental touch at some non intimate locations. They stayed away from breasts and crotch, and there was mixed gender screeners vs screenees. Some folks were not screened in this way to keep up the throughput. Some by design--one lady in a wheelchair was let through, one very well endowed young lady was also let through without the hand wand touching--they seemed very sensitive to propriety in that regard.

    I spoke with several of the screeners during a lull, and they told me that they could feel anything they needed to feel in that way, and that going into the crotch and breasts was not called for, nor would they be doing it (unless of course, it was shown to be warranted by something they felt during their normal screening). They brought in a dog every now and then to sniff around, then took him away.

    The folks on the receiving end didn't react much to this. The screeners did their jobs delicately and with discretion. This is completely something that TSA could learn from. They would eliminate a lot of ill will if they would conduct themselves in a similar manner. Btw, the screeners wandered around the airport also, went shopping etc, and it was interesting to watch the reaction of others toward them. They were treated as everyone else, no sidelong glances, no looks of contempt, none of the baggage that TSA clerks load on themselves.
  2. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    You say "hand wanding." Was this the type of wand that alarms on metal? We've heard that the hand wands formerly used in the US would alarm if they touched the body and, indeed, this was a tactic used by screeners to create an excused for a more thorough pat down.
  3. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    Yes, but the wand is turned off. They could just use an inert piece of material, but the wand was a smart choice IMO because the screeners are already deft with it and it wouldn't unduly alarm anyone. It really feels like a normal hand wanding with the occasional and extremely light, barely perceptible touch, back pocket, shin, leg, back. that's it. That's in the hands of the Kiwis, who seem to be an intelligent lot and not the TSA, where I expect the criminal TSA element that works there would just jab the wand up your butt crack.
  4. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    ...except that the TSA and its idiots and thugs are either unwilling or incapable of learning.
    FaustsAccountant likes this.
  5. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    This would be a rational alternative that would be hard for TSA to fight. You should mail this suggestion to some of our friends in Congress. Rand Paul, Rogers, Hatch and Blackburn come mind. I'm sure I can come up with few others if you are interested.

    You can sometimes email to them even if not in their district but hard copy snail mail gets read more often.
  6. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    The TSA has made it clear they want to be in our crotches and in females' breasts. Having a wand shoved in my crotch instead of a hand is such a marginal improvement that I probably wouldn't bother. Also, the kiwis do this because they don't have scanners. Oz is getting scanners, and I suspect kiwis may at some point get them too. The US would simply threaten to revoke landing rights.
    Sunny Goth and Elizabeth Conley like this.
  7. Monica47

    Monica47 Original Member

    The pat down is punishment for refusing the scanners. Using a wand would be too civilized and wouldn't teach the "opt outs" a lesson.
    Sunny Goth, jtodd, DeafBlonde and 3 others like this.
  8. jtodd

    jtodd Original Member

    When they decided to implement the nude scanners, they needed an option that would be so bad, so unacceptable that people would "choose" to be seen naked over the alternative. Thus the beginning of the sexual assault they termed "patdown".
    FaustsAccountant and nachtnebel like this.
  9. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    I'm still struggling with the use of the word 'humane' in this context. I don't think patdowns of any kind can ever be described as 'humane'. Patdowns (in a criminal sense) are designed to find drugs and weapons. They aren't designed to be humane. For me, I'd rather see the TSA use a probable cause standard, or even a reasonable suspicion standard (instead of using the administrative search doctrine). If you've done something that is articulably suspicious, then okay, do the patdown. The vast majority of people aren't going to fall into the 'doing something suspicious' category though.

    And as we've discussed, the TSA shouldn't be trying to perform law enforcement functions - like looking for drugs, immigration violations, etc.

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