Not only is Claire Hirschkind a rape victim, she has a pacemaker-type device implanted in her chest, which led her to being pulled aside for a pat down.
“I turned to the police officer and said, ‘I have given no due cause to give up my constitutional rights. You can wand me,’” and they said, ‘No, you have to do this,’” she said.
Hirschkind agreed to the pat down, but on one condition.
“I told them, ‘No, I’m not going to have my breasts felt,’ and she said, ‘Yes, you are,’” said Hirschkind.
When Hirschkind refused, she says that “the police actually pushed me to the floor, (and) handcuffed me. I was crying by then. “They drug me 25 yards across the floor in front of the whole security.”
An ABIA spokesman says it is TSA policy that anyone activating a security alarm has two options. One is to opt out and not fly, and the other option is to subject themselves to an enhanced pat down. Hirschkind refused both and was arrested.
This is a very sticky situation. While I wholeheartedly agree that full body scanners and invasive pat downs should be done away with, it is the current policy. Hirschkind had to have known this when she went to the airport.
We also only have her side of the story at the moment and do not know why she was dragged across the floor or why she was arrested. If she is banned from the airport solely for refusing the pat down, then this rule needs to be changed immediately. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough information at the moment to know why she was arrested and what course of events happened that resulted in the arrest and banning so it is difficult to comment on this aspect of the story without all the information.
“I understand her side of it, and their side as well, but it is for our protection so I have no problems with it,” said Gwen Washington, who lives in Killeen.
“It’s unfortunate that that happened and she didn’t get to fly home, but it makes me feel a little safer,” said Emily Protine.
These are the people we are trying to educate about the security procedures. They willingly accept whatever the government tells them is for their safety, so they are okay with violations of privacy so that they can FEEL a little safer.
The only thing we can do is continue to fight against full body scanners and invasive pat downs and return to a saner time of airport security. If we don’t succeed in getting a majority of travelers to say no to these procedures, we’re going to see more stories like this, with more people banned from airports and less people flying.