I am being tortured. Tortured not by coordinated design — tortured by an uncoordinated and independent set of procedures that, taken together and individually, can be described as nothing less than the deliberate infliction of repeated and significant emotional distress. I have come to that distressing reality by pondering exactly why I get so upset when I need to go somewhere with “security.”
I always alarm. I always alarm because I have metal in my left wrist and both hips, and because I wear an artificial leg. So I always alarm. The latest was at my county courthouse. My right hip was felt up and down, without announcement, without request for permission. A female guard simply reached out and pawed me.
I’m sick and tired of being tortured. After being criminally assaulted twice in my life, I get a little touchy when I’m not in control of when and how I am touched by strangers. Sorry, but that’s what commonly happens in trauma cases. So since I am again getting worked up about yesterday, here is the text of the letter I sent to my county sheriff:
Dear Sheriff Bouchard:
I am writing to describe an incident that occurred at the Courthouse this afternoon. I was entering via the North Entrance, where a thin, tall white-haired male officer was at station accompanied by a rather petite, short, sandy-haired female officer with extremely blue eyes. I was intent on registering for the real estate auction, as I want my IRA to hopefully either flip or hold and rent some local units. As I was putting my purse on the conveyor, I announced that I would set off the metal detector “like a Christmas tree.” I have extensive metal on and about my person, and announced same: “Wrist, two hips, knee, shin, and ankle.” As described, I did indeed set off the metal detectors. However, instead of merely wanding me, as has happened countless times by your officers, this woman summarily ran her hand up and down my right hip. No explanation, no asking for permission – just unannounced and quite unwelcome physical contact. After attending to business in the Treasurer’s office, I returned and chastised the officer for her treatment.
I want to invoke some empathy here . . . imagine what it is like being me – a 62-year-old, 114-lb woman with teratogenic birth defects caused by my father’s WWII exposure to Hiroshima radiation. Over the past 12 years I have had my sense of humor totally destroyed by being constantly assaulted, to the point of being strip-searched, by various security personnel. For me, it is becoming death by a thousand cuts.
I can accommodate being wanded, although that really is a concession on my part. I have quite a philosophical problem with current security approaches that treat medical assistive devices as probable cause for a frisk. I believe that is morally wrong. However, mostly, the male officers with whom I have dealt in the past (even at TSA headquarters in Arlington) quickly assess the situation, wand me, and I’m done. This woman fell right into a TSA-like “guilty until proven innocent” mindset. I take great umbrage to the second-class treatment that this woman meted out.
So, my federal government has effectively locked me out of air travel. Private entertainment venues, such as football games, have locked me out of attendance. My question to you is, then: are your officers going to effectively bar me from accessing my county government?
Can we please band together and stop this insane and egregious intrusion upon an individual’s personal physical sanctity? This, from a member of society who belongs to the population subset that experiences this far more than you physically “normal” people. Band together now . . . this might just be coming to a theater near you, soon.