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Latest TSA horror story

Did Martin Luther King and his supporters march for freedom to have nipple rings?

A Texas woman who said she was forced to remove a nipple ring with pliers in order to board an airplane called Thursday for an apology by federal security agents and a civil rights investigation.


Hamlin said she told the woman she was wearing nipple piercings. The women then called over her male colleagues, one of whom said she would have to remove the jewelry, Hamlin said.

Hamlin said she could not remove them and asked whether she could instead display her pierced breasts in private to the female agent. But several other male officers told her she could not board her flight until the jewelry was out, she said.

She was taken behind a curtain and managed to remove one bar-shaped piercing but had trouble with the second, a ring.

"Still crying, she informed the TSA officer that she could not remove it without the help of pliers, and the officer gave a pair to her," said Hamlin's attorney, Gloria Allred, reading from a letter she sent Thursday to the director of the TSA's Office of Civil Rights and Liberties.

Assuming Hamlin's story is true, the behavior of the TSA officer was beyond absurd.

Dr. Steven Taylor at Poliblog, whose initial reaction is to believe Ms. Hamilin, 'Indeed, TSA policy could easily lead to the scenario above.'

On its Web site, the TSA warns that passengers "may be additionally screened because of hidden items such as body piercings, which alarmed the metal detector."

"If you are selected for additional screening, you may ask to remove your body piercing in private as an alternative to a pat-down search," the site says.

Hamlin would have accepted a "pat-down" had it been offered, Allred said.


TSA spokesman Dwayne Baird said he was unaware of the incident. There is no specific TSA policy on dealing with body piercings, he said, "as long as it doesn't sound the alarms."

If an alarm does sound, "until that is resolved, we're not going to let them go through the checkpoint, no matter what they're wearing or where they're wearing it."

Dr. Taylor and I both feel safer. Do you?


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Comments (24)

Quick, someone patent compo... (Below threshold)

Quick, someone patent composite body jewelry! Get the franchise for every airport in the US. And sell the abandoned metal jewelry to melt down to pay for your meth lab.

"You cannot professionalize... (Below threshold)

"You cannot professionalize unless you Federalize." Tom Daschle on the TSA.

And even then, you've got maybe a 50-50 shot. Whole lot of people going past low-wage rent-a-cops... yeah, they're gonna attract the best & brightest, the reasoning and discriminating, to serve as our front line of defense.

And see what you get. Some dudes with a tit fetish. Phooey.

She needed a pliers to take... (Below threshold)
Jane Author Profile Page:

She needed a pliers to take it out?

Yes I feel safer if we can continue to find a way to identify idiots who try to go through metal detectors with metal body piercings.

I'm sorry, but I find this ... (Below threshold)

I'm sorry, but I find this one hard to believe. Maybe right after TSA was formed, but not 5 years on.

And so many lefties want th... (Below threshold)

And so many lefties want the government of handle healthcare. Can you even imagine? ww

Just another in the long st... (Below threshold)

Just another in the long string of out of control unionized federal leaches to suck money from and harass the public. I see nothing these people do that is useful.

As a former federal beauroc... (Below threshold)

As a former federal beaurocrat, that sounds dunderheaded enough to be true. I would much rather the TSA actually provide security than this sham Appearance of security.

If nipples are outlawed...<... (Below threshold)

If nipples are outlawed...

If anyone's ever had a medi... (Below threshold)

If anyone's ever had a medium/high-gauge ring piercing, they're often closed off with a dimpled bearing that is nearly impossible to remove. Basically, once you get the effing thing in (which usually requires a special tool at the piercing parlor), it doesn't come out.

Jane, why is someone with body piercings an "idiot"? Why are people allowed on airplanes with earrings but not nipple rings?

I call shenanigans.... (Below threshold)
Eric F:

I call shenanigans.

Here's a nice YouTube video... (Below threshold)

Here's a nice YouTube video on the TSA!


Just another reason why I n... (Below threshold)

Just another reason why I no longer fly. If enough people refused to fly because of the idiots in the TSA, only then would something be done to restore some sanity.

Why the hell would they req... (Below threshold)

Why the hell would they require her to remove the rings anyway? What was the threat? What was TSA's motive? Oh wait...boobs (snicker)

I agree with Matthew - I travel several times a year, and I have yet so see someone remove their earrings at security.

What if someone goes through with a metal plate in their head? Are they handed a crowbar and some gauze?

Please understand that I'm ... (Below threshold)

Please understand that I'm not indicting the person wearing the nipple jewelry or anyone else who wears jewelry for that matter, but I would ask myself whether or not that piece could keep me from smoothly boarding the plane. The only jewelry I ever wear anymore is my wedding band and solitaire. I wouldn't dare wear lace-up shoes either. Just something more to diddle with.

The TSA can't spot fake bom... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

The TSA can't spot fake bombs, but Lordy, try to get a nipple ring by them and you're in a world of hurt!

WTF? Common sense has gone the way of the dodo.

It is security theatre.... (Below threshold)

It is security theatre.

The principle is exactly th... (Below threshold)

The principle is exactly the same as if something in your pocket sets off the alarm. You empty your pocket and go through again. If the alarm sounds again, you don't get on the plane until they are sure what is setting off the alarm.

Those are the rules, and have been the rules. I believe they were even the rules before 9/11, but weren't as strictly enforced.


matthew ~

Jane, why is someone with body piercings an "idiot"?

Same principle at work here as in restaurant menus without prices. If you have to ask . . .


Just because you're a Repub... (Below threshold)

Just because you're a Republican, Jim, doesn't mean you have to pretend so hard to be boring. :) I've outgrown my taste for it, but body jewellery can be really sexy. I'm not talking about 16 interlocking labia rings, mind you, or "tribal" ear spacers the size of quarters, but small-to-mid-gauged barbells here and there can be tasteful. A labret (sp?) piercing is, to me, far sexier than any gaudy diamond shite one might find at Tacky Southern Belles 'R' Us. I will say, however, that nothing says "two daiquiris short of a taxi ride to your place" more than a fake-tanned midriff with a dangly navel piercing.

You might be interested to know that there is a tongue stud available that has a small watch battery on the bottom of the post, and on the top, a vibrating egg-shaped thing. And the world is a better place for it. :)

I thought the TSA sunsetted... (Below threshold)
John S:

I thought the TSA sunsetted after 5 years. Isn't it time to send those idiots back to Mc Donalds?

What happens to someone wit... (Below threshold)

What happens to someone with a "Prince Albert"?

matthew ~ On the contrary, ... (Below threshold)

matthew ~ On the contrary, the problem is with those who must deface and mutilate themselves in order NOT to be boring. What a truly empty life one must lead to believe they require such "enhancement" . . .

TimMatthew ... (Below threshold)


Matthew uses his special piercing vibrator on it!

Now we know why Matthew is ... (Below threshold)

Now we know why Matthew is particular to whom he asks to kiss his behind...

I've not got a tongue pierc... (Below threshold)

I've not got a tongue piercing. I expect I'd find them annoying. I like my body as it is, and you like yours as it is--kumbaya! But don't conclude that anyone is wrong to change theirs, with superficial piercings or tattoos or whatever. Remember Where the Wild Things Are? My brother has all of the monsters and the boy in his pajamas tattooed across his abdomen and back in a congo line. He's into that UFC crap, so he's got obnoxiously protrusive muscles covered in the most bad-ass children's book characters ever. There is a zero percent chance that your torso is as cool as his. I'm glad it's not my torso, though.

You people are so close-minded, it's kind of painful. Have sex in an airplane or something, or if you're afraid of flying, try leaving the lights on for starters.






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