If I had any doubts about the fact that our [U.S.] government has their own agenda for all the "over the top" security at our airports, they were dispelled on the latest trip my husband and I took in October.
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For the past 25 years we have been traveling to Hawaii twice a year. We own a condo there and have always found it fairly easy to get there and back with very little hassle. This is due to the fact that we leave from a small airport at both ends. Once we get thru security, we do not usually have to go thru again since our connections always put us behind security lines at each destination.
There were several friends that joined us on this trip after our arrival. I was asking one of them how the trip went for her since she arrived from another island and there are no longer any direct flights, inter island.
This particuliar friend is from the Ukraine, and was a superstar Prima Ballerina in the Moscow Circus for many years before immigrating to the U.S. If anyone in our group understands serveilance it would be her.
She told me that she was selected for a "pat down" and they took her to another location for this. When she entered the room, she saw another woman that had been stripped naked for this procedure. She said that a man was also selected but they had him behind a screen up to his waist in the boarding area but he was asked to strip as well. Unbelievable! In full view of all passengers.
Before we came home, we had decided to spend a few days at another island, something we have not done for several years. After going thru 2 security checks, we were selected for another just before entering the plane. We had to hand over our personal belongings for search by people that I would NEVER let look into for any reason. Of course we were given the standard speech about how much safer we all are because of these searches. They even searched thru my husband's wallet and my small credit card case. When I asked them why they were needing to search thru these things, they said they were looking for dangerous materials. When I asked what kind of dangerous materials could be carried in these tiny objects, I was not given an answer. I was merely told it was for everyone's safety. I told the woman searching my body that "I was very sorry she had to believe that".
When we traveled home a few days later we had to go thru Honolulu and submit to another security check. They have the standard x-ray machine looking for weapons and for agricultural material that has not been properly wrapped. They also have a new machine that sniffs out residue of anything that might be connected to weapon making.
Just proir to taking this trip, I purchased brand new luggage. Never been used. But, lo and behold, my purse sized cosmetic bag set off the bomb machine. If it had not been so demoralizing, it would have been comical.
There had to be at least 20 security personal at that station, and they looked shocked when it went off. They ran around like ants trying to figure out what to do about it. Finally they decided to open some drawers and look in a few manuals to see what the procedure was. At that point, all security closed around us while we stood there wondering if we were going to be taken away by the armed guard. Noone would answer any question posed them. They would not look at us or respond to us in any way.
My husband asked me if there was anything I could think of that could do this. I told him that the strongest thing in that bag was tylenol and hairspray and that something was wrong with the machine. At that point a very large man ( I am assuming a "FED) yelled at me saying that there was nothing wrong with the machine. That that machine is checked and checked and double checked. That they have checks that check their checks. I had to laugh and say "well, you bettter check again"! Not the thing to do, I soon found out. Apparantly, when this happens, you immediately loose your citizenship and the right to free speech because it all became very menacing and my husband warned me to stay quiet before they took us away. Not a small task for me.
I finally asked someone if they realized that there were people attached to our bags and that we were going to miss our flight. They decided to open the bag, take everything out, and run the bag thru again. A purse sized canvas bag with no liner. No liner. No place to hide a toothbrush let alone a gun or bomb. Again the machine went off. A machine that had been checked so many times.
At last they decided to bring in United officials to look at it all, fill out forms, check our ID's, inform us that our bags on the plane had to be taken off and rescreened and then we could go. I started to say something but my prudent husband stopped me before I got the both of us thrown in jail for using words we are no longer free to use.
I advise anyone traveling in this country to carry nothing but their own bodies and a book. Pack everything into checked baggage. When walking thru the metal detector, walk very very slowly. This gives the machine time to read and sense that there is nothing suspicious in their pockets. If the machine does not beep when going thru, a body search will be unnecessary. Show no fear, it gives them a reason to suspect you.
And, this is very important, if you are traveling with someone going thru this nonsense, stay close by and watch and support them with your presense. Even if it means not getting on a plane as planned. The more people that are there observing, the harder it is for the jerks in this world to have power. There is strength in numbers.
Names withheld to protect the VICTIMS of Compassionate Conservatism