"Don't touch my junk:" John Tyner fights the law and the law wins

The Bill of Rights guarantees many protections: Protection of free speech, protection from self-incrimination, protection from undue government imposition in private affairs. Perhaps it was that last one that got misinterpreted by a California man who told a Transportation Security Administration officer in San Diego not to touch his "junk," because all that did was get him thrown out of the airport. American people, take note, the Bill of Rights does not protect you from getting your junk touched by airport security.

Not that John Tyner, the guy who stood up for his junk (while recording it all on his phone), is entirely wrong. There's no question that over the last few years, airport security has gotten ridiculously out-of-hand -- what with the mostly arbitrary rule against packing liquids, the getting half-undressed with the belts and the shoes, and now -- in a realization of the pipe dream of every 14-year-old boy who ordered x-ray specs out of the back of a comic book -- the x-ray that can see though your clothes (which Tyner initially refused). And yeah, buddy, nobody is comfortable with the "groin check."

But let's be realistic here: When you enter an airport, you are in the domain of The Man, and The Man always wins. You cannot fight The Man. All you can do is do what The Man tells you to do and hope the line doesn't take too long and you don't get full-on strip-searched with the rubber glove and everything. What you cannot do is turn the man against the man.

Which is really what makes Tyner's threat to a airport security -- "If you touch my junk, I'm going to have you arrested" -- one of the lamest threats of all time. Arrested? By whom? Airport security? "Security! Arrest this security!"

Really, the most surprising thing about all this is that The Man didn't come down way harder: The worst thing that happened was that Tyner got thrown out of the airport -- after managing to get his money refunded by American Airlines. He also faces a $10,000 fine, but considering the publicity happening in this case, and the general public sympathy, that's probably unlikely to happen.

The lesson we can perhaps take from all this, then, is if you're an affluent white person, you have some degree of protection against having your junk touched -- because if Tyner's name had been, oh, say, Mohammed, we're guessing it wouldn't have worked out so well for him.

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Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte