There were virtually no delays yesterday as a result of the National Opt-Out Day protest. Most of the delays reported at airports were weather-related, with high winds causing some problems around New York. A Spirit Airlines computer crash caused hour-long lines at LaGuardia and elsewhere, but for the most part yesterday was not The Worst Travel Day Nightmare Apocalypse of the Year Ever that everyone feared. "I don't care about the machine," Long Island's Drew Davis complacently told the Post at LaGuardia. "I think all the protesting about the machines is a little ridiculous. It's all for safety." But one local blogger and ad man wasn't about to roll over and let all the publicity pass him by—Jason Rockwood showed up at LaGuardia wearing just an undershirt, boxer shorts, and slip-on shoes. Here's why:
A few days ago, I saw where a cancer survivor named Thomas Sawyer was humiliated when the TSA spilled urine on him during a pat down at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. I was so horrified by this that I decided I had to protest the TSA in some fashion. I thus decided to wear my underwear to the airport...to point out how undignified the TSA’s security procedures have become.
I wore my underwear to remind all the people who submit to security procedures that they have options besides blind compliance. Unlike the protestors [sic] that intended to slow down the flow of security, I dressed in a manner that would allow the TSA to process me in as efficient a manner as possible. I disagree with those who intended to slow down the TSA. But I agree with them that something needs to be done to restore dignity to the American people.
Most terminals at LaGuardia and JFK don't yet have the full-body scanners, so Rockwell just passed anticlimactically through an old-fashioned metal detector. He told the Daily News, "The American people need to stand up for their rights and dignity and say, 'I don't feel comfortable with how you're treating me.' " ABC reports that a traveler showed up at an airport in Salt Lake City wearing only a Speedo, and a woman stripped down to a bikini at LAX.
"It turns out Opt-Out Day was a bust," says Genevieve Shaw Brown, Senior Editor at Travelocity. "The vast majority of people have gone through security with no issues whatsoever, and in fact, in many airports security lines are moving at a pretty fast pace. It seems that in the end, travelers just want to get to their destinations as quickly as they possibly can with as little drama as possible." Don't make waves. Relax. Submit. Don't resist the machines. They just want to see what's under your clothes.
But City Councilman David Greenfield isn't giving up the fight. Earlier this month he introduced legislation that would ban the full-body scanners from all NYC buildings, not just airports. Greenfield unveiled a new Web site yesterday, ReportTSAabuse.com, where fliers can report misconduct by TSA agents. "If your doctor touches you inappropriately, that's sexual battery. A police officer touches you inappropriately, that's sexual abuse. TSA agents are no different than anyone else," Greenfield tells the Post. "They're watching us, but who's watching them?"