The experience of airline passenger Mandi Hamlin last month when ignorant TSA thugs forced her to remove body piercings with pliers in a Texas airport nauseates me. I don't understand the enchantment of most body piercings. I do have three manmade holes in my head, but they're in my ears. (Two were done at one of those shopping mall piercing kiosks somewhere in New Jersey, and the third one was the result of an evening drinking with an insane Texan on whom I had a pathetic crush my first year in college.) Nipple rings aren't my thing, but if you've got a hankering for cold, hard surgical steel in your chesticles, go for it. Just don't expose them at the Super Bowl.
And, apparently, if you're in the Lone Star State, don't try to take a plane.
Mandi Hamlin's nipple piercings set off the metal detectors in the airport in Lubbock. Instead of giving her the option for a "visual inspection" of her piercings (which is pretty intrusive, frankly, but if you're wearing metal in sensitive places, it may be somewhat understandable), the local branch of TSA's moronic monster squad insisted she remove the piercings before she would be allowed to fly.
Now, I know how painful it is if I try to move a tiny earring through that extra booze-induced hole in my left ear after not wearing anything in it for ages - it's miserable. Imagine having to remove a steel post from a much more sensitive location - one where new skin has possibly grown around that hunk of metal - in an airport, with pliers, while male TSA vermin laugh at you a few feet away.
I've read a couple of articles about Ms. Hamlin's humiliating and painful experience, and it just makes me more and more angry. TSA's half-assed website response to Ms. Hamlin's protests and complaints was to say "TSA acknowledges that our procedures caused difficulty for the passenger involved and regrets the situation in which she found herself. We appreciate her raising awareness on this issue and we are changing the procedures to ensure that this does not happen again."
"Difficulty"? TSA "regrets" the situation?
How about this as a response, you fascist bastards: fire the fuckers who laughed at her as she was humiliated and put through physical pain. APOLOGIZE to her. Don't "regret" jack shit.
And stop hiring thugs and jerks.
A couple of years ago - not long after I was hit by the Murano-driving toolette who backed into me as she left a parking garage - I was hobbling through the security line at Dulles and was pulled aside for a "random" secondary search. I was walking with a cane, and as I approached the female screener, I explained I was unstable without the stick and asked her if I could hold onto it as she wanded me. She said no and took the cane away from me. As I wavered, afraid I was going to fall, I asked if she could hand me the cane. She was wanding my legs as I asked, and that vermin - that guard from a British women's prison soap opera - shoved her wand up into my crotch as she said "NO" again.
It was such a violating move, a vile thing, designed to make me feel insignificant. Diminished. Powerless. And as she did it, she smirked with this absolutely reptilian grin, her eyes narrowing to a evil slit. I felt like I was on the grade school playground with a sociopathic bully, just about ready to move up from pulling wings off flies to drowning puppies.
It used to be that I that didn't anticipate ignorance, malice, and stupidity from those who represent my government.
Now, I expect it.