Recently, Wil Wheaton had to undergo the indignity of a routine security at the Los Angeles airport and he found the experience anything but routine.
When passengers in America fly, they are given a choice between being scanned, where not much is left to the imagination, or if they opt out of the scan, an intrusive pat-down by a (Transportation Security Administration) TSA agent.
Wheaton chose the pat-down, partly due to concerns over the radiation exposure from the backscatter scanners, and partly due to privacy concerns. His pat-down experience left him “violated, humiliated and angry.”
“Yesterday, I was touched, in my opinion, inappropriately, by a TSA agent at LAX,” he said. “When I left the security screening yesterday, I didn’t feel safe. I felt violated, humiliated, assaulted, and angry. I felt like I never wanted to fly again. I was so furious and upset; my hands shook for quite some time after the ordeal was over. I felt sick to my stomach for hours.”
On his Twitter account, Wheaton said that he “got groped so aggressively…I never want to fly again. Not even my doctor touches my junk that much.”
Some people have chosen other means of transportation due to the choice between being seen nude or being groped, but that is not always an option. “I do not have the luxury of simply refusing to fly unless and until this policy changes,” Wheaton said. “I have to travel dozens of times a year for work, and it simply isn’t practical to travel any other way. Airlines know that I am not unique in this regard, so they have no incentive to take a stand on their customers’ behalf.
“I believe that the choice we are currently given by the American government when we need to fly is morally wrong, unconstitutional, and does nothing to enhance passenger safety.
“I don’t believe that all TSA officers are automatically bad people…For example, I recently flew out of Seattle, opted-out, and got a non-invasive, professional, polite pat-down. I realize that most TSA officers are doing the best they can in a job that requires them to interact with people who automatically dislike them and what they represent. It isn’t the individual officer who is the problem; it’s the policies he or she is instructed to carry out that need to change.”
Wheaton plans to consult his attorney regarding the ordeal.