This is not directly related to the TSA, but it is about the growing presence of security searches. It’s about my latest stand at demanding autonomy over my physical person. And it has to do with a local district courthouse.
Last time I visited a courthouse (2013) I was inappropriately (in my assessment) touched. A deputy decided, with no forewarning, that it was appropriate to rub my right hip. I complained to the Sheriff, who had a minion call me. Said minion’s attitude was arrogant. Give an apology? Wasn’t going to happen. Lesson learned: stand up for myself and set the rules first. That is a leap of courage — deciding to take on authori-tay.
I had need to visit a District Court this morning for a building inspection ticket. I wrote two letters to the Court Clerk, stating my position that I do not consent to search and got no response, other than a hearing in front of a judge. So how do I get to the judge? I mean, physically, how do I get to his courtroom without giving up dominion over my person? Quite the quandary.
I called the Court Clerk’s office and spoke to a very understanding woman and explained what had happened to me before. She told me that security never touched anyone, but she would alert the security staff.
I presented myself at the security checkpoint, which was manned by two large, and I mean, LARGE men. Here comes the courageous part: I put my keys, handbag, and papers into the bin, looked the one guard in the eyes (as close as I could get, anyway, being that he was well over a foot taller than me) and told him that I give only limited consent to search. I would allow my purse to be x-rayed, and I would allow a hand-held metal detector. But if he thought he had the need to touch me that would not be okay, and I would not give my consent. The look on his face was priceless. Not happy, incredulous maybe, but definitely priceless.
He actually didn’t have the time to formulate an answer, because that lovely woman from the Clerk’s office had taken it upon herself to come down to security to usher me through. Bless her. As I was leaving, one of the guards muttered that they never touch anybody. Maybe somebody read a memo . . . who knows?
Anyway, I am here to tell the story. I am here even after challenging the guard. Even after granting only limited consent. Yeah for me. I will now do this every time I might need to access my local government. Sad commentary that I feel the need, but great end to the story. I stood my ground and prevailed. Sadder still that total strangers believe they control access to my body.
Oh, and by the way, the ticket was dismissed.