Friday, March 28, 2008

Land of the Free? Not If You Have Nipple Rings

I just read this:

A Texas woman who claims she was forced to remove a nipple ring with pliers in order to board an airplane called Thursday for an apology by federal security agents and a civil rights investigation.


Hamlin said she was trying to board a flight from Lubbock to Dallas on Feb. 24 when she was scanned by a Transportation Security Administration agent after passing through a larger metal detector without problems.

The female TSA agent used a handheld detector that beeped when it passed in front of Hamlin's chest, the Dallas-area resident said.

Hamlin said she told the woman that she was wearing nipple piercings. The female agent then called over her male colleagues, one of whom said she would have to remove the body piercings, Hamlin claimed.

Hamlin said she could not remove them and asked if she could instead display her pierced breasts in private to the female agent. But several other male officers told her she could not board her flight until the jewelry was removed, she said.


"Still crying, she informed the TSA officer that she could not remove it without the help of pliers, and the officer gave a pair to her," said Hamlin's attorney, Gloria Allred, reading from a letter she sent Thursday to the director of the TSA's Office of Civil Rights and Liberties. Allred is a well-known Los Angeles lawyer who often represents high-profile claims.


She said she heard male TSA agents snickering as she took out the ring.
And here's the kicker:
She was scanned again and was allowed to board even though she still was wearing a belly button ring.
She was allowed through with a belly button ring, but not nipple rings? That's blatant evidence of reckless abuse of power by TSA.

Looking more into this story, I came across a BoingBoing post with a comment that directed readers to this site -- quote possibly the most unjust turn of events I have read in my life. It's so surreal that you'll think you're reading Kafka.

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