back to article Judge frees nude TSA protester, citing free speech rights

The techie who stripped naked to protest invasive airport security, saying he was sick and tired of being harassed by Transportation Security Administration screeners, has been cleared of all charges. "It is the speech itself that the state is seeking to punish, and that it cannot do," said Judge David Rees when dismissing …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Anonymous Coward

Fail

Our protestor could have had the decency to have been an attractive female. Nudey nerds don't do it for me, there's always one of them leering at me out of the bathroom mirror.

11
27

Re: Fail

What nerve, I say you should...wait a minute, ahhh I see, you making a joke, right? Clever.

Or not, frankly. Make light of it if you will, I wish more people, including myself, had the balls to stand up to the establishment because those fuckers are getting out of control. I wish I was at the airport with him to applaud and be disgusted and offended by the unlawfulness of our government's acts and not with this man's genitalia. And having some plain ole ugly dude do it in protest, just adds to the validity of his point. Kudos to the judge for seeing things quite clear, too.

54
0
Silver badge

Re: Fail

Absolutely agree with Luna Tick.

The guy wasn't doing it for the amusement of the audience - he was doing it to highlight an issue.

What was purpose of ACs comment I wonder.

4
2
Bronze badge
Windows

Re: "had the balls"

I believe any sort of genitalia would qualify, in this case. :)

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Fail

Just when I'm on the verge of giving up on El Reg, my cockles are warmed by Commentards:

Misogynist: Down-voted.

'Stick it to the Man' comment: Unilaterally up-voted.

2
2

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Anonymous Coward

Re: Fail

"What was purpose of ACs comment I wonder."

Self deprecating humour, of a fom tha is obviously beyond many of you lot, though.

As we used to say in the days of Usenet, "Bwahahahahahahahaha!"

0
0
Pirate

Great

now we just need a wave of this to go through our airports nationwide, and maybe our Federal government would get a clue and realize that we citizens don't like being treated like convicted felons when we want to get on an airplane. Especially not by lowly-paid jerks in the TSA.

33
2

If you think TSA treats you "like a convicted felon"

then God help you, sir, should you ever find yourself in prison.

6
18
Anonymous Coward

Re: Great

In fairness I've got to say that the last couple of times I've flown, the TSA staff haven't been overly officious.

Unlike the airline staff - we get to put up with RyanAir levels of service for flag-carrier prices!

2
0

Re: Great

I've never had trouble with them myself, but I suspect that's because I don't have a point to make. I probably could if I wanted to; I have bits of metal stuck through me in places you can't see when I have my clothes on, so it's dead cert I'll be pulled aside for a pass with the magnetometer wand at the very least. Haven't been strip-searched yet, but if I ever find myself forced to fly again it's entirely possible that I will be -- it wouldn't be the first time in my life that it'd happened, and I suspect I could withstand the experience without any undue loss of aplomb, but I expect if I were so inclined that I could pretty easily whomp that up into the same kind of nonsense this Brennan fellow did.

On the other hand, it's amazing what a little politeness will do for you, especially in dealing with folks who don't see a lot of it in their days. For example, I once forgot to take a 10cm lock-back knife out of my bag before going to the airport, and when confronted with it I simply said "Oh, I'm sorry, ma'am! I forgot all about that -- I suppose it's yours now..." I figured I might be in some trouble, but all that happened was the TSA officer gave me the choice of surrendering my knife, or surrendering my place in line to take the knife through the public area of the terminal to a FedEx drop box so I could ship it back to my house. I opted to surrender the knife and make my flight; being given the option has stuck with me.

5
21

Re: If you think TSA treats you "like a convicted felon"

Don't understand the downvotes.

It's a perfectly good sentiment.

8
7

Re: Great

Politeness does not help if you are not American.

For me it starts long before I even get to TSA. Every time since about 2007 that I have travelled in or from the US I have had the dubious pleasure of "SSSS" being stamped on my boarding card. When I asked why I was told "it's random". If only I had six numbers from the lottery with such regularity. For those left to have the pleasure, "SSSS" is shorthand for "mandatory crevice search" (well, not quite, I think it means "non-US person, so make sure you rough him up a bit"). The randomness of it was confirmed on my last trip when I looked in the "special" line to see me and a bunch of Mexicans, two Asians, and another European. Hmmm, entirely random.

Of course once branded one has to give everything to TSA, who usually force you to turn away from your belongings whilst you are turned over. Turning around to make sure nobody has just lifted your wallet/laptop/whatever gets a severe reprimand. After eight successive SSSS experiences I opted to put the lot in the hold, and had nothing but my passport and a newspaper. That precipitated long and laborious conversations about where my bags where, essentially calling me a liar for not having hand baggage. Explaining "it's because this happens every time" didn't go down too well. After that, I have refused to fly to, or visit, the US again. Not that the US will care about that, but it hardly makes it Land of the Free.

48
0
Silver badge
Meh

Re: If you think TSA treats you "like a convicted felon"

Haning have had the unfortunate experience of spending a bit of time in lock up I can safely say that being felt up, searched, told when you can eat (and even then given awful food), being necklocked for complaints and when you can get up and use the restroom is what air travel has come to. The biggest difference being that travellers pay for the privelage. In lock up you just get it for free.

7
1
Silver badge
Stop

Re: If you think TSA treats you "like a convicted felon"

To the above traveller I can echo his comments. I had the good fortune to have a decent job working for a large construction company. I entailed me travelling to a mid west state about twice a year. Over the 4 years and 8 trips this happened to me each time. I was always stamped with the "not american" special queue. Not only was this a pre check-in queue but a post check in queue too. Thats 4 hours total check in time at a busy small airport. Joy. I too used to check in all my stuff and got questioned about it once - even by the supervisor who thinly veiled threatened me with an official interview (with 40 mins left before takeoff I was already needing a decent jog and a wee, I could see where this was going) if he suspected me of not telling the truth. Luckily my passport backed up my claims, and he did at least look at it.

"I can assure you it is random sir. Move along.".

Nod. Smile. Say "thank you" and carry on. I just want to get out of this country and back to my kids.

I will *never* spend a penny on a holiday in the US, there is no way my kids need to go through this.

19
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: If you think TSA treats you "like a convicted felon"

My problem with the TSA is that they clearly do not care a jot about passengers and probably not security either.

In my most recent flight to the USA, the x-ray scanner belt caught the strap of a bag, somewhat past the plastic wall so no passengers could reach it.

The TSA staff did not notice for at least a minute, continuing to run the belt and tipping the four or five the 'small items and laptops' trays on the belt over, scattering their contents across the belt and floor of the security area.

It took a passenger to raise the alarm, as the TSA agents running the belt and supposedly in charge of the passengers before the belt simply did not look over there, even with the noise it made.

I am certain that some property was lost, but nobody dared ask for it.

On top of that, it implied that it would be trivial for a terrorist to get a bomb under the x-ray machine, as nobody in the TSA would notice.

6
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: If you think TSA treats you "like a convicted felon"

Really ?

Why they treat you so well ?

Come to the UK, where upon entry into the "hallowed halls" (prison) you are told to remove all your clothes (along with others) then stand naked.

You are then told to come to the table and lean upon the table with your legs apart. Your body cavity (male) is then probed by a gloved finger to ensure you are not in possession of concealed whatever.

You then have your body examined to see if you have needle marks/scars etc.

All this by non-medical private security staff. Some of who are female.

With women they get the same, except ALL the staff at that examination are female.

0
7
Bronze badge

Re: a liar for not having hand baggage.

Which is why my colleague always carries a piece of 'hand luggage' with some valuless items in it. He too was sick of wasting time in 'random' searches every time he boarded or exited an internal flight in the USA, and found that having no hand luggage was another source for suspicion, easily circumvented by some nominal hand luggage.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: If you think TSA treats you "like a convicted felon"

That's why it's prison, and not the Hilton. Those searches are because prisons have a high proportion of unpleasant folk that are referred to as 'prisoners'.

Some of these are drug dealers who need drugs smuggling in, while others want various other, restricted items.

0
1

Re: If you think TSA treats you "like a convicted felon"

Been there have you?

0
0

Those who hollered about public pissing laws take note

Remember when I said it's not just the wording of the law, or the opinions of the police on the scene, which matter? This is what I meant.

0
7

Bra-fricken-O

As a business traveler I cannot tell you how many times I have considered doing something like that, but alas didn't have the courage.

13
2

"I have considered doing something like that"

Why?

I mean that seriously. Humiliating yourself in public, as a form of political protest, in the middle of a business trip? Why in God's name would you find that worthwhile?

1
36

@Aaron Em

Actually... that's the whole problem, right there. When you board a flight, the TSA don't have to be nice to you, or even follow the law; the worst that can happen to them is that you lodge a complaint from a remote city, while the worst that can happen to you is that you are humiliated, fined, and forced to surrender your ticket, with no chance of a refund.

When given the choice between being stranded in an unknown city with no money, no clothes, no plane ticket, and possibly no identification, and having someone strip search you... most people will opt for the latter. I know I did. If I had time on my side, I would have opted for the pat-down, but at that point I didn't want to be stranded outside the US with no luggage or money, and my plane was about to depart.

And it's not like people will stage protests - with a plane ticket costing hundreds of dollars, and the guarantee that they will throw you out of the building, that's a lot to invest.

23
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Why in God's name would you find that worthwhile?

Because he's alive.

15
0

Re: "I have considered doing something like that"

Why would you assume he'd humiliate himself.

Perhaps he's hung like a donkey.

3
0

Re: "I have considered doing something like that"

I dont see anything humiliating in being naked. Of course you can feel bad for being too small but you shalt keep that to yourself.

7
0
Facepalm

Given the shootings in Colorado...

Don't be surprised to see TSA-like searches at American movie theatres, followed - at least in Oregon - by naked moviegoers.

5
1

Doubtful, I think

Why drive away customers like that when simply banning costumes, requiring that long coats be checked, and disallowing large duffel bags et cetera being brought into the theaters, should be enough? You could still sneak in a handgun in a purse or similar -- although I would note that Denver law allows both open and concealed carry with the requisite permits, so you could just bring in a handgun in a hip holster, too -- but to do the kind of killing Holmes did, you really need an automatic weapon (he's said to've had an "AK-type" rifle), and smuggling long arms on one's person, without an overcoat, has got to be a damn good trick.

Speaking of carry: If someone else in that theater had been armed, there might not have been a dozen dead people on the deck, and fifty more wounded besides, when the smoke cleared.

2
15
Silver badge

Re: Doubtful, I think

No he didn't smuggle the stuff in, he parked it outside the fire exit.

http://www.oregonlive.com/newsflash/index.ssf/story/12-killed-59-wounded-in-colo-theater/7a91e6f2ec474f46b1c391f3178ee655

If someone else had a gun they would be dead.

9
4
WTF?

Not so doubtful

The TSA has been trying to push the body scanners to the railroads, buses and stadiums. This will only encourage them to do so. The have had VIPER teams go out and randomly pull people off the highway to search.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: Doubtful, I think

Aaron Em's solution to American nutcases shooting up cinema goers? Ban trench coats.

Surely banning the sale of assault rifles and pistols to the general public would be more sensible. You have the right to bear arms in the US but nobody has ever successfully explained to me why the public would ever need more than a shotgun. You can't conceal them, their range is limited, their lethality is limited to close range targets and they can only hold 2 rounds. Good enough for farming, good enough for dealing with burglars, probably not good for making you feel all gangster or whatever.

18
3

Re: Doubtful, I think

Speaking of carry: If someone else in that theater had been armed, there might not have been a dozen dead people on the deck, and fifty more wounded besides, when the smoke cleared.

Yep. Even better, imagine if everyone had been "carrying" - the death toll probably would have been in the hundreds !

8
2

Re: Doubtful, I think

He had 1 rifle (AR15 type, not an AK), 1 shotgun and two pistols which he had hidden outside the fire exit and retrieved them after entering the theatre by the front door. He also had body armour and helmet in his stash.

Protecting the front door with any kind of scanner would not have been any help at all in this case unless someone can come up with an insanity and malicious intent detector.

Bad things happen and not all of them can be prevented unless we all spend our entire lives literally in cocoons.

For some reason our governments think we want them to protect us from everything and fail to realise that it is impossible.

As far as individual, concealed carry is concerned, if there were a half dozen citizens with pistols who returned fire they may or may not have succeeded in stopping the bad guy but there is a high probability that *they* would have been responsible for some of the innocent people shot. A packed movie theatre is not a good place to shoot and miss but missing is easily done shooting under extreme duress in the dark. There are numerous accounts of trained police officers finding that the nice tight centre-mass group that they can reproduce at the range over and over again does not happen when they are in a real life-or-death situation. Can you imagine trying to differentiate between the following:

1. A bad guy you have never seen before who is shooting an innocent you have never seen before.

2. An armed civilian you have never seen before shooting a bad guy you have never seen before.

3. A bad guy you have never seen before returning fire at an armed civilian you have never seen before.

Number 1 is easy, but only if you can see that the innocent has no weapon. 2 and 3 are indistinguishable when they suddenly appear in front of you.

People will bang on and on about how to avoid this in future. Some will advocate banning all firearms from the public (and the counter argument will be that only outlaws will have guns and there will nothing you can do to protect yourself) and others will argue that every responsible adult should carry a firearm every day (with the counter argument that you are making all the undetected insane people carry too). There will be innumerable arguments in between these extremes.

Firearms cannot be uninvented. If the guns used in this case had been illegal, would the victims be any less badly hurt? Remember, when the UK banned self loading rifles – that was in response to the Michael Ryan shooting spree in Hungerford in 1987 – he used a pistol for most of his victims. About a decade later, Thomas Hamilton went nuts in a Dunblane school with some pistols so the government banned pistols. Within a year of the pistol ban Jill Dando (a BBC TV presenter) was shot dead with a rifle banned a decade earlier. Jill Dando still suffered the same whether the rifle used was legal or not.

If you are going to disregard the law prohibiting trying to kill people you are quite unlikely to be overly concerned with the prohibition of the method you choose.

There will be arguments for mercy because the man was insane. I cannot fathom anyone not insane unilaterally deciding to shoot 71 people he or she does not know.

At the end of the day this gunman is responsible for his actions. Do not blame the people who sold him the guns. Do not blame anybody else that has guns. Do not blame the governments who have led the public to believe that all bad things can be stopped by greater and greater restrictions on freedoms.

12
2
Silver badge
Trollface

@Aaaron

Speaking of that movie theatre shooting; the guy was in legal possession of the gun, even had a license for it.

Reminds of another thread...

0
0
Pint

Re: Doubtful, I think

@Fibbles... Nice idea, but try to get it past the teapublicans and especially the National Rifle Association, which now controls our do- nothing Congress on all matters related to weapons, especially assault weapons... Several lame-brain Congress critters from Texas and Oklahoma have already said that everyone in that theater should have been armed and he would have been stopped short... And they see nothing at all wrong with AR-15's and 100 round magazines in the possession of mental defectives.

I'd use FAIL, but I need some serious alcohol... several cases of wine, consumed in mass quantities... (Remember the Coneheads with beer?)

1
2
Trollface

Re: Doubtful, I think

US pump action shotguns load 7 shells

0
1
Bronze badge
Windows

Too bad this wasn't decided in Federal Court...Pirate Dave

If this decision had been handed down in a Federal Court, a nationwide legal precedent could have been established.

Then we could have had the dubious pleasure of seeing naked people waiting in airport security lines everywhere, not just Portland, Oregon (Now featuring the new Clothing Optional security inspection line).

Unfortunately, the same decision would NOT be reached if this had occurred in NYC (birthplace of "Homeland InSecurity Theater") No, the poor fellow would still be naked, waiting for his phone call in Rikers (or Gitmo).

Unfortunately, this would leave only one remaining area of the anatomy left to the imagination of the TSA.

If you think that the searches were "invasive" before... of course you know that only the guilty have something to hide. At least the lines will move quickly (except in San Francisco).

Let's just hope the TSA are issued handwarners and an endless supply of clean rubber gloves. Forget "Free Speech" ;"Free Screech" will be more like it.

At the very least, there will never be another Underwear Bomber....

3
2

I wouldn't worry; it'll get to the Supremes soon enough

Soon as somebody tries it somewhere else and the judge doesn't overrule the law.

1
3

Re: Too bad this wasn't decided in Federal Court...Pirate Dave

You missed a few stereotypes and easy cliches there.

Try harder next time.

1
1
Megaphone

State law - not

It was pretty much a foregone conclusion. As The Oregonian had noted in several earlier stories (for instance: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2012/05/man_who_stripped_naked_at_port_1.html) there was already a judicial precedent for allowing nudity as a protest, and even the law he was being prosecuted under (which was a city ordinance, not state law) only prohibits public nudity with lewd intent.

3
0
Irk
Coat

Re: State law - not

That's correct. The World Naked Bike Ride originated as an anti-oil protest, which it still is (though a lot of participants are now in it for the fun of it). Riders smeared themselves with black paint to imitate oil stains, which some participants still do. The ride is allowed to continue because it is a protest.

Portland does not have the mildest of climates so having a law that allows public nudity for protest only has the effect of making things slightly weird sometimes. There's a guy who bagpipes naked on a unicycle at all times of the year though, I see him in SE and SW from time to time. Not entirely sure what he's protesting. Usually it's at least hoodie weather out here and only the most devoted protesters will strip down for a cause. As the bumper stickers here say, KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD!

Icon is removing its coat in protest of something I'm sure.

6
0
Childcatcher

Re: State law - not

"Icon is removing its coat in protest of something I'm sure."

Now my brain is going to see that icon as nude from now on. Thanks, I really didn't need that. :-)

1
0
Thumb Up

Re: State law - not

Bagpiping naked on a unicycle should be compulsory at all times. If the Aurora guy had been naked on a unicycle with bagpipes for example, he wouldn't have been able to shoot very easily. There should be an amendment to the Constitution at once.

1
0
Devil

The best slaves are those who think they are free.

21
1
Anonymous Coward

Typical judicial incompetence

Let's see can someone protest legally without being nude? Yes by golly I think they can. This judge should be disbarred for stupidity and abuse of authority.

1
24
Anonymous Coward

Re: Typical judicial incompetence

Either you're a troll, or you missed *two* points today.

You can do many things legally *without* something. However, you are permitted everything that is not barred.

As for this situation where nudity was barred, it has 1. been accepted (at least in this situation) as "free speech", which trumps city ordinance - a matter of definition 2. had a precedent set of accepting it as acceptable protest already.

Your argument was "can someone legally protest without being nude? Yes."

Lets perform some substitutions...

"can someone legally protest without Y?"

"can someone legally protest without [being outside]?"

"can someone legally protest without [being in a group]?"

"can someone legally X without Y?"

"can someone legally [read books] without [reading about sex]?"

"can someone legally [eat food] without [junk food]?"

So lets review:

Rights not explicity reserved or barred are inclusive (but limited by their court interpretation).

Rights set by the constitution override wimpy Portland ordinances (if they are found to apply).

Your argument is a logical fallacy by interpreting an inclusive situation as an exclusive one.

Your argument is ignorant of the legal situation.

7
1
Pint

Re: Typical judicial incompetence

You're not from 'round here, are you. [the punctuation is correct]

The Oregon State Constitution guarantees us "the free expression of opinion". This has been found, by the Oregon Supreme Court, to include more than just speech, and, because of this, the State has greater protections for nudity than the United States as a whole. In our State, a competent judge couldn't have ruled otherwise.

(The beer here is pretty good, too.)

1
0
Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: Typical judicial incompetence

I suppose political points could be made without forming a political party to propound them. Does this mean we should lock up those who do the latter, as it is gratuitous? There was no law against what this guy did, nor was there anything ethically adverse.

The doctrine 'no punishment without law' is one which prevents police arbitrarily making up law on the spot, and the judiciary arbitrarily jailing people. The law such as is written down is weighed heavily in this chap's favour, and there's very little it says on the subject of what he did, other than it's 'first amendment protected speech [or self-expression]'.

1
0
Thumb Up

Bravo!

It's about time someone made a stand against security thuggery - it's getting well out of hand.

Catching a plane these days really does make you feel like a criminal, from the moment you step into an airport to the moment you step out.

It seems your liberties as a citizen are completely stripped - which is exactly what this brave man demonstrated.

The crazy thing is, I daren't push too deep into this security nightmare we see in airports in a public forum, for fear of the Spartacus effect.

Due to the anti-terrorism laws, our governments have managed to curtail our freedoms - and get away with it.

Anything they don't like, can be quickly mangled to fall under those laws, regardless of the original intent.

Take a look what happened on the M6 to that coach of people?

They were marched, hands on head, to sit on the side of the road without speaking for a few hours.

That's insanity - and I hope all of them make a case out of their experience, because their rights as citizens were completely trampled on.

Look at the security fracas over the olympics - sheer madness.

Armed troops all over the place, at least put them in plain clothes to tone it down a bit!

When it gets to the stage where we end up fearing our own governments and associated security forces more than we do a terrorist attack, something is very very wrong.

19
1

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums