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Do we even know what it is we're frightened of anymore? Asshats...

Posted by Al | March 27, 2008 2:13 PM

This is ridiculous. If she could take down that plane with nipple rings, every motherfucker on board deserves to die.

God I hate America.

Posted by Mr. Poe | March 27, 2008 2:16 PM

That is un-fucking-believably ridiculous. I would sue too.

Posted by President Hillary | March 27, 2008 2:19 PM


For most people, unfortunately, they are frightened by whatever isn't just like them.

Posted by Packratt | March 27, 2008 2:20 PM

You could put an eye out with one of those things.

I'm not exactly sure how, but then again, I'm not a National Security Expert.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | March 27, 2008 2:22 PM

This kind of petty, daily tyranny that wrecks the state's credibility. They want us to "trust them" with big, scary powers you can't see like warrantless wiretaps, and they you constantly hear about stupid bullshit like this. When are TSA assholes who exceed their authority going to get fired?

Posted by Westside forever | March 27, 2008 2:23 PM

Proof positive that the terrorists won.

Posted by Mr. X | March 27, 2008 2:27 PM

I tried to get the metal plate out of Fnarf's head, but he kept saying it hurt ... so does this mean vets can't fly on planes now?

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 27, 2008 2:33 PM

What next...? Braces?

This is fucking ridiculous...

Posted by Pliers?!? | March 27, 2008 2:34 PM

Holy crap... wow. And to think, I got irritated when they started making you take your suit coat off.

The guy on the post Dan linked to must be mentally retarded. He says that making someone taking out nipple rings with pliers is a "bit much" but he doesn't have a problem with the TSA inspected a woman's breasts if she has nipple rings (apparently this happened to Nicole Richie). Because the alternative is to trust them, and the terrorists will try to get us any way they can. Even with nipple rings. For fuck's sake....

Posted by Julie | March 27, 2008 2:39 PM

She could have used them to sexually arouse the pilots, and overpower them with her body-modification hottness.

Posted by Fnarf | March 27, 2008 2:40 PM

Best comment from the link:

They can have my nipple rings when they pry them from my cold, dead nipples.
Posted by Julie | March 27, 2008 2:42 PM

Jesus. I have an apadravya. I hope they don't make me take that out the next time I fly.

Posted by TacomaRoma | March 27, 2008 2:44 PM

Not to sound xenophobic, but ... when was the last time you encountered a TSA screener that was a native English speaker, or could even be assumed to have been born in the US? I guess Cambodia, El Salvador, etc. do not have a lot of nipple rings.

This reminds me of the story that came out just after 9/11 about the old-timer in Phoenix that was not allowed to take a metal star-shaped object on a flight. That "object" was his Medal of Honor, won in WWII. The guy was a retired Lt. Col, had been Governor of Iowa (I think that's the state), and would be rather conservatively called a war hero. None of the TSA staff at Sky Harbor Airport knew what a MOH was! Even though the guy was 80+, that's the one guy I'd actually want on a flight if shit hit the fan!

And if things got really hairy, I think I'd like some chick with nipple rings around to make things OK again.

Posted by Sir Vic | March 27, 2008 2:55 PM


Posted by j4zz3rgrl | March 27, 2008 2:55 PM

TSA is on crack about nipple rings. Never been stopped myself for having them

Gloria Allred (attorney) is just using this as a platform to get more time on CNN and other news outlets. Her drive for media attention never ceases to astonish me.

Posted by Dave Coffman | March 27, 2008 2:55 PM

FYI, for anyone who doesn't know what an apadravya is. Don't google it at work. The images results that pop up are definitely NSFW. Trust me.

Posted by mscanard | March 27, 2008 2:58 PM

Nipple rings -- and people who get nipple rings -- are stupid. Instead of making her take them out, they should have barred the woman from normal society.

Posted by joykiller | March 27, 2008 2:59 PM


I travel constantly. You, good sir, are a fucking idiot.

Posted by Mr. Poe | March 27, 2008 2:59 PM

@14 - Sir Vic

You called it. That was xenophobic, and also sorta reverse-provincial. In smaller cities most TSA are native-born, as far as I can tell. Tons of whites, tons of blacks, I don't think it's a valid excuse, anyway. "They don't know what nipple rings are." Regardless, can't you tell that a fucking tiny ring of metal is HARMLESS???

This is just petty tyranny, as someone above said. It's probably extremely unevenly enforced, too.

Posted by STJA | March 27, 2008 3:03 PM

Goths, emos, women with nipple piercings—is it open season on everybody?

The answer to your question, sir, is: Yes, if you're not white, rich, straight, Republican and Christian.

Posted by michael strangeways | March 27, 2008 3:04 PM

Sounds like a challange for that TV show "Mythbusters" to me. Our challange today, is to see if you can bring down an airliner armed with nothing but nipple rings. Kari will play the part of the hijacker, while Tori and Grant see just how lethal they can make the rings. In the meantime let's check in on Jamie and Adam...

Posted by Paul In SF | March 27, 2008 3:09 PM

@ Fnarf, effin hysterical.

Posted by arduous | March 27, 2008 3:10 PM


Scratch that "straight", yo!

Posted by Mr. Poe | March 27, 2008 3:12 PM

Oh, and it's not in the least surprising to me that Aravosis as per usual gets it wrong and comes down on the side of the TSA.

Posted by arduous | March 27, 2008 3:20 PM

I flew last week...TSA made my 2-year old take off his shoes. I mean, know what's less insidious than a nipple ring? Bob the Builder sneakers, that's what.

Posted by j4zz3rgrl | March 27, 2008 3:25 PM

Breast implants come in three types.

Saline, silicone...and grenade.

You don't want someone pulling the pin on a pair of grenades on a plane.

(That's the only scenario I could think of...)

Posted by pgreyy | March 27, 2008 3:28 PM

Oh Joykiller @18 you're silly.

Posted by Daniel | March 27, 2008 3:35 PM


When my family and I flew back from Disneyland this Christmas they made my mother wake my baby brother up, take him out of the stroller, take off his shoes and coat, and made him walk through the arch thing by himself. He is three years old. Then, of course, we had to dismantle the entire stroller, emptying all the pockets and having them scan every bit of it.

Poor kid was in tears and the TSA man wanted to run the wand over him, but gave up on that.

Posted by Phelix | March 27, 2008 3:39 PM

@27 - Wouldn't be hard to put a bomb in there - liquid gel explosives are relatively simple, provided you have an ignition mechanism ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 27, 2008 3:39 PM

Joykiller, have you ever played with someone else's nipple ring? The noises they make are quite interesting. I highly recommend it as a way to pass the time.

Posted by Phelix | March 27, 2008 3:40 PM

I'm surprised the rings set off the metal detectors, I wonder if they were on the larger end? I worry about that every time I go through but I've never had an issue, granted I just have a small loop in one nipple.

Posted by piercednipple | March 27, 2008 3:45 PM

crazy, however if she had two fuses comming out of there, that would be differant.

Posted by Jeff | March 27, 2008 3:55 PM

@29 - that SUCKS. I hope TSA enjoyed all the half-eaten Cheerios and such they found in the stroller.

Posted by j4zz3rgrl | March 27, 2008 4:00 PM

@33 - I know, but it could be an external ignitor - we're talking suicide bombers.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 27, 2008 4:25 PM

I was almost arrested at Seatac for having a necklace in my bag with a small silver charm of a revolver- less that 1" long. They freaked the hell out.

DOESN'T EVERYBODY FEEL SAFE NOW? It's like Halloween these days, they teach the kids that your neighbors in your community aren't safe to trick or treat from; instead go to malls and stores for your candy.

SCARY SHIT. Screw fearmongering and all the people who think that removing nipple rings will keep our country safe. You are blind or stupid or both.

Posted by Shilo Urban | March 27, 2008 4:25 PM

@36 - exactly. We're Americans. We should refuse to live in Fear. That's what the terrorists want (they kill fewer people than get a specific rare genetic disease, for example).

Refuse to live in Fear.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 27, 2008 4:29 PM

it was unclear from the article- was the woman given the option of inspection or removal? cause, sorry, if she was setting off the metal detector, they have to find what was setting it off. and if she refused to be inspected (can you refuse to be inspected?) they could certainly have been like, ok if its just nipple rings, take them out, then you'll stop beeping.

and the people bitching about the stroller incident- did you seriously expect to get through with a fully loaded stroller? all loaded down with crap? sorry, you are an idiot. a stroller has way more than enough space to hide dangerous stuff in.

it makes me so irritated to hear people bitching about being given a hard time for trying to break rules that you damn well know the reason for. if it bothers you, try and get the policy changed, but, please, dont attempt to do something you *damn* well know you are not going to be allowed to do, and then bitch when the guys there to enforce the rules are like, um, you cant do that.

Posted by clausti | March 27, 2008 5:05 PM


You are made of fail.

Posted by AMB | March 27, 2008 5:12 PM

Well...Add that to my list of reasons why I don't ever want to get my nipples pierced!

Posted by Anna | March 27, 2008 5:27 PM

The last time I was traveling the TSA screener at Sea-Tac made me take off my sweater because "all outer garments must be removed." This kind of upset me because the sweater was my shirt--all I had on underneath was an undergarment. When I tried to explain that I would be basically exposing myself if I took off my sweater the screener looked at me and asked if I had a problem. Fearing what would happen if I continued to object, I took off my sweater and walked through in my undergarment.

Posted by PopTart | March 27, 2008 5:34 PM

this all seems so weird - i've had body piercings for years, and have NEVER had the wand go off on them. my family and i all flew internationally earlier this month and, yes, they made our 3 year old walk through the arch (and take off her shoes) but neither my belt buckle, body jewellery, or indeed the lighter i forgot i had in my pocket, set off any alarms...

Posted by poopy | March 27, 2008 5:42 PM

I had to explain a hood piercing when it set the wand off once. I don't know if the sensitivity of those things vary, but they must given the amount of times my piercings, with heavier jewelry, never set off anything before.

A girlfriend once accidentally took an Exacto knife, with a set of extra razors, through security in her carry-on backpack. We didn't realize until after we had landed and unpacked. Being young and stupid, we decided to see if they'd catch it on the reurn trip. They did not.

Posted by Camilla | March 27, 2008 5:49 PM

I had to explain a hood piercing when it set the wand off once. I don't know if the sensitivity of those things vary, but they must given the amount of times my piercings, with heavier jewelry, never set off anything before.

A girlfriend once accidentally took an Exacto knife, with a set of extra razors, through security in her carry-on backpack. We didn't realize until after we had landed and unpacked. Being young and stupid, we decided to see if they'd catch it on the reurn trip. They did not.

Posted by Camilla | March 27, 2008 5:49 PM


Sorry if I wasn't clear, but I said "dismantle the stroller" not unload the stroller. TSA rules say you can take strollers through screening stations, they just have to be scanned. Most airports we've been to passed a wand over the stroller, swabbed it with that bomb detecting clothe swab, and let us know there weren't any traces of explosive materials on our stroller.

At that screening station they had us remove every detachable piece of the stroller, run those through the Xray machine, then have those pieces thoroughly examined by not one, not two, but three TSA agents. Those same three TSA agents then went through the entire stroller feeling over every piece of it that was not detachable. The bags had already been removed from the stroller and put through the machine. When they found empty bottles in one of the side pockets they tried to throw them away, but only stopped because we told them we'd read the TSA guidelines and that empty containers were allowed.

The diaper bag, the luggage, and all the other items were put through the XRay machine per the norm. The stroller itself was empty when it went through the metal detector arch. Anyone who looked at it could see that.

So, please, Clausti, take your presumptions and indignation elsewhere. I'm not an idiot, and we were following the rules. They were excessive in their searching, but not to the point of breaking any policies. We fly regularly and know what to expect in most airports. What happened was a few TSA agents were bored and went overboard on our group.

Yeah, that's all really.

Posted by Phelix | March 27, 2008 5:50 PM

@43, look, these security screenings, quite frankly, are a waste of time. They always have been, and always will be.

What they need to do is just watch and observe people.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 27, 2008 6:09 PM

Meanwhile, I passed through airport security recently with a pint of gel/fluid/squishy substance in a ziploc bag tucked between my breasts.

No hassle.

Good work, TSA.

Posted by Thisbe | March 27, 2008 6:16 PM

One of my favorite TSA moments was the time I saw this old woman in a wheelchair (and I mean old, like, probably over 100 old). She was basically in full-on dementia, totally feeble. They made her get up and walk through the metal detector. I was watching in line, and it was just awful, she could barely stand, even assisted, and you could tell she was in pain. I have no clue what the regulations are about wheelchairs, but that just seemed to be excessive.

On the flip side, I'm a little surprised sometimes at the stuff that is allowed to be carried on -- knitting needles, my Epi-Pen, etc.

Posted by Julie | March 27, 2008 6:27 PM

i still have nipple rings, the only piercings i have left over from the 90s. and because they aren't visible I have pretty much forgot I have them, except a couple times when they have set off the metal detector. once at sea-tac a few years ago, and then recently in vermont. but i got felt up by a cute/uncomfortable little 20-something straight boy. it was worth it. (i'm a guy, btw).

but they've never asked to see them or take them out.

Posted by um | March 27, 2008 6:41 PM

#38, the article I read specifically said that the woman asked to be examined by a female officer instead of removing the jewelry.

Seems to me that should have been adequate.

Posted by puzzlegal | March 27, 2008 7:04 PM

C'mon people, lighten up. If YOU were an underpaid, overworked TSA screener, wouldn't YOU occasionally try to relieve the boredom by requiring someone to unpierce their nipple piercings?

Just think of TSA screeners as the McDonald's back-line cooks of the transportation industry, and it will all make sense...

Posted by COMTE | March 28, 2008 12:50 AM

Hasn't anyone seen the movie "Austin Powers in Goldmember"? For all these inspectors knew, this woman could have been a "fembot" designed to fire bullets from her breasts. In my humble opinion they exercised appropriate caution when dealing with a suspected "fembot". If they did not suspect as such, they behaved way out of line and should be reprimanded.

Posted by lawrence clark | March 28, 2008 4:30 AM

LIBERALS/PROGRESSIVES: This is what happens when you put the gov't in charge of things. Why on earth would you want to expand government's role into areas like healthcare?

Posted by Blogger | March 28, 2008 8:14 AM

That's more of the comment I was after. It's not so much that the screeners aren't Americans (though the couple of times a year I go through SeaTac, there does seem to be a language barrier with TSA folks), it's that they are grossly incompetent. Not understanding the culture of the people you are screening can be from plain stupidity, or from being a foreign national. This is an incredibly important job, but these people seem to have no training at all, other than how to push a button on a machine now & then. The "rules" that the TSA folks are supposedly following aren't documented, so how could they be evenly enforced?

If you remember, there was a minor struggle in Congress when the Fatherland Security Dept. was created about whether it's employees would be unionized. Of course, the GOP said no, so we get minimum wage results. The CEO's of the security firms that got those contracts are probably doing well, but the public gets to deal with low rent talent.

I apologize if I offended any Cambodians or El Salvadorians. It's not that they are stupid people (though I wonder about education in the 3rd World sometimes). It's that they are hired because they'll work cheap and aren't properly trained. Most people would fail under those circumstances.

Posted by Sir Vic | March 28, 2008 8:27 AM

@52: I think you're referring to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Austin's new bride, Vanessa (who'd been replaced with a fembot) had machine guns hidden in her boobs. Then she became a bomb and exploded.

Posted by Anna | March 28, 2008 9:34 AM

@53. The government didn't make that woman take out her nipple rings. Individuals human beings did. If everything associated with the airlines was completely privatized, with no regulations, you'd still have security screening and you'd still have some idiotic individuals who handle things improperly or let the "power" go to their heads.

Just because the government is not running something doesn't mean that the front line workers automatically behave perfectly.

Posted by Julie | March 28, 2008 10:22 AM

Julie (53):
The difference is that if the screwup is done by a employees of a private firm, one can complain. Enough complaints will lead to a change, because some competing business will want to do the job better and or less expensively.
When the government has a monopoly on the service, complaints are useless. There is no competition, so the government doesn't have to put the customer first.
Millions of poeple complain every April about how complex it is to fill out your 1040, but it never changes because the federal govt. has a monopoly on tax collection.
Yet thousands of people complain about the taste of new Coke, and one of the largest companies in the world reformulates the beverage for fear their customers will switch to Pepsi.
Yes, people will always screw up things. But when those people are government employees, there is little recouse. That is why the proper sphere of government is only things that shouldn't or can't be done by private entities such as running the armed forces and running diplomatic relations with other countries.

Posted by Steve | March 31, 2008 11:06 AM

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