John Colson: Hit and Run | AspenTimes.com

John Colson: Hit and Run

John Colson
Aspen Times Weekly
Aspen, CO Colorado

I don’t know about you, but I’ve stopped flying.

I will do anything, ANYTHING to avoid getting on a commercial plane these days – drive, take a train or a bus, hell, I’ll walk to Madison, Wis. to see my sainted mother rather than subject myself to the cruelties and indignities of getting on a damned plane.

It’s not that I’m afraid of flying, you understand – although, truth to tell, there was a time when I wouldn’t get on a plane in any condition besides completely drunk, because I could not empirically comprehend why they stay in the air. I mean, they’re just too damned big, and I keep thinking that we’ve fooled ourselves into believing in them, and at some point we’re going to snap out of it and all those aircraft are going to come plummeting to the ground.

I’ve gotten over that, thank you very much, and have been flying without fear for a number of years.

But that’s over now. If my need to travel somewhere gives me the time to get there by any other means, then this nation’s commercial airlines can kiss my white ass good-bye.

The reason I’m staying off planes is this damned new security system imposed by the Department of Homeland Insecurity, these new scanners and gropers.

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Now, I recognize we need to do something to prevent homicidal and suicidal lunatics from turning planes into flying coffins, bettering rams or some other form of deadly conveyance.

But aside from the embarrassment of scanners that basically put your nudity on display, there’s the “enhanced pat-down” techniques that I haven’t heard of since those long-lost days of my high-school sexual awakening. That is where most of us learned the meaning of the term, “grope,” and from what I’ve read, these TSA perverts must get part of their training from films of hot-blooded high school seniors on the prowl.

I recently received an e-mail containing descriptions of what passengers are going through before they even get close to the loading chute to the plane’s door.

A blogger named Erin Chase, for instance, is quoted as saying she was trembling uncontrollably while being “sexually assaulted” by a TSA groper.

A flight attendant, whom you might think is immune to all this, told of a groper who “put her full hand on my breast and said, “What is this?” The flight attendant, named Cathi Bossi, is quoted as saying, “It’s my prosthesis because I’ve had breast cancer.” The groper told her, “Well, you’ll need to show me that.”

A 61-year old bladder cancer survivor had his colostomy bag broken, dribbling pee all over his clothes.

A 37-year-old Texas woman reportedly had her nipple ring removed with a pair of pliers before she could get on a plane.

Another flight attendant had a groper slide her hand up the inside of the passenger’s pants leg so hard it rammed into her crotch and “lifted me off my heels.”

Get the picture? I had to read about it because, as I said, I haven’t been on a commercial plane in months, perhaps more than a year.

My question is, what good will all this do? I mean, every time some wacko has tried a new bombing gimmick, the TSA knee-jerks and devises new, cleverly invasive ways to assault us.

Those scanners? There have been reports that they expose you to more radiation than a dental x-ray. And if you’ll recall, the technician leaves the room and hides behind a leaded shield when they x-ray your teeth.

I read an account from a former Israeli airport security guy who feels as I do – that all our security stuff is essentially useless – and who suggested TSA simply start talking to passengers as they line up at one point or another during the pre-boarding phase. This Israeli, whose name I can’t recall, wrote that he found a bomb planted in a woman’s luggage by her “terrorist boyfriend” who was taking another plane, and he did it just by talking to her for a few minutes.

Lacking any hope for revision of the TSA rules, I’ve come up with a new plan. From here on, all of us should simply strip naked as soon as we enter the airport, walk right by the scan, which can x-ray my bags and clothes until the cows come home, and then get dressed again before boarding the plane.

Not only will this rid us of fears of radiation poisoning and the grasping hands of perverted TSA workers. It might go a long way to solving another national crises – obesity – and spur a sudden growth in exercise centers and physical fitness programs.

jcolson@aspentimes.com