Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Revised Service Exclusion Signage

Port Townsend, today. The owner of a cafe near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has taken extraordinary measures to ensure the TSA knows of his displeasure over invasive screen procedures. An employee has offered this explanation:

“We have posted signs on our doors basically saying that they aren’t allowed to come into our business. We have the right to refuse service to anyone.

"If he (my boss) sees a TSA agent come in, we turn our backs and completely ignore them, and tell them to leave. Their kind aren’t welcomed in our establishment.

"A large majority of our customers — over 90 percent — agree with our stance and stand by our decision.

"We even have the police on our side. They have helped us escort TSA agents out of our cafe. Until TSA agents start treating us with the respect and dignity that we deserve, then things will change for them in the private sector."

Seem a little over the line? Consider another incident this past weekend at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, involving Alaska State Representative Sharon Cissna, faced with a TSA pat-down Sunday February 20th.

Having recently undergone a mastectomy, she refused the pat-down. She underwent the invasive procedure southbound to Seattle, and the experience left her shaken.

"It feels like torture. It's a horrible experience. "My upper torso doesn't look exactly the same as it does for somebody who hasn't been through that," she said.

Cissna said she required a pat down for the same reason three months ago and obliged. After that experience, however, she vowed to never go through it again. "It's extraordinarily invasive. I was in full sight of everybody of going through that process."

Thus refused boarding Alaska Airlines, Cissna and her husband rented a car, drove to Bellingham and returned to Juneau on the Alaska State Ferry.

Her colleagues praised her actions.

Last Wednesday, Reuters News Service reported the arrest of two TSA agents at John F. Kennedy International Airport, accused of stealing $40,000 cash from a passenger's bag.

TSA "Agents" Davon Webb, 30 and Persad Coumar, 44, are believed to have committed earlier thefts as well. The investigation began on January 30 when another TSA agent tipped police that the two agents had taken money.

Coumar allegedly X-rayed a passenger's bag and found cash inside. Coumar told Webb, who allegedly marked it with tape. Coumar then located the marked bag in a luggage area, took out cash that he hid before taking it home.

Authorities said they found roughly $40,000 stashed at the homes of Coumar and Webb. Police said the men confessed to other thefts that could total as much as another $160,000.

By the way. Excluding the TSA from a restaurant is perfectly legal, just as refusing service to people without shoes and without shirts. The exclusion is not the same as refusing service on the basis of ethnicity or race.

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