Although it wasn’t the first airplane hijacking, the 9/11 terrorist attacks have changed air travel security forever. While vigilance, caution, and thinking outside the box (except for the tampon thing … that was just nuts) in terms of potential dangers are both necessary and admirable, it’s only a matter of time before airport security goes too far and airline passengers are …
… essentially victims to something akin to a police state.
It looks like that time is approaching fast, as cancer survivor Cathy Bossi can attest to after being subjected to a pretty humiliating experience in the name of air security. Specifically, Bossi was ordered to remove her prosthetic breast during an enhanced pat-down despite explaining the unpleasant circumstances of her fake boob.
Cathy Bossi, a flight attendant for three decades, told WBTV television in Charlotte, North Carolina, that she was selected by a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent to go through a full-body scanner, and then was sent to be patted down.
Passengers and airline crew members are being randomly selected to pass through new scanners being deployed at airports as part of stepped-up security measures.
They are supposed to be given an “enhanced” pat-down, which includes a frisk of their private parts, if they refuse to go through the X-ray machines or if the scanner shows something suspicious.
Okay, here’s where my brain and my heart diverge. I understand the need for every precaution being taken. I totally do. Logically, I think that any action that could deter another catastrophic nightmare like 9/11 is very wise.
However, at what point does it become too invasive? There have been a lot of stories about airline security going beyond the pale, but the details of this one are especially disturbing:
Bossi said the TSA agent who patted her down “put her full hand on my breast and said, ‘What’s this?’
“I said, ‘It’s a prosthesis because I have breast cancer.’ And she said, ‘Well, you’ll have to show me that,’” Bossi said.
“I did not take the name of the person at the time because it was just so horrific of an experience that it just blew my mind. I couldn’t believe someone had done that to me,” she said.
That’s a horrible violation in my opinion. Like, unforgivably horrible. The woman survives breast cancer, has a prosthetic breast so that she can look as “normal” as possible, and gets harassed over it?
And, yes, I do think that’s harassment. If Bossi had thirty years as a flight attendant under her belt and was upfront about both the prosthesis itself and the painful reason necessitating it, isn’t that enough?
According to an e-mail sent from the TSA to WBTV, agents are “allowed to ask to see and touch prosthetics but are not allowed to remove them.” When I think prosthetics, visions of fake arms and legs come up in my head. With the advances in technology that have allowed prosthetic breasts to be possible comes the need to wade into muddy water in terms of more traditionally private body parts.
It’s one thing to talk about touching and seeing a prosthetic leg, but fondling a fake boob in the name of safety? Yeah, that’s going too far …