82-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Demands Apology From Airport Security Over Screening

from the threat-assessment dept

This isn't a TSA story, since it takes place up in Canada, but it involves the Canadian equivalent, who apparently had a bit of trouble dealing with an 82-year-old woman who had a (gel-filled) prosthetic breast to replace the one she lost in a mastectomy due to breast cancer. By failing to alert them to this "gel" on her body, she was later accused of lying to officials. She was also put through one of the lovely new full body scanner machines, in which passengers are required to lift their hands above their head. The problem? This woman is no longer able to do so. Rather than understanding this, security officials told her she had to. She then tried to lift her left arm with her right arm, and again security told her she was not allowed to do that. At this point she broke down and started crying. Eventually, security did let her get on the plane, but you have to ask what exactly they accomplished here in embarrassing this woman and making her cry.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 9:34am

    The Goal is Not Safety

    The goal is to make you obey.

    Just because it's not physically possible for you to comply is no excuse. Obey or be punished.

     

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  2.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 9:53am

    Re: The Goal is Not Safety

    "The goal is to make you obey.

    Just because it's not physically possible for you to comply is no excuse. Obey or be punished."

    Actually, that's EXACTLY the way it's SUPPOSED to work.

    Trouble is, it's supposed to be US saying that to government, not the other way around....

     

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  3.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 9:53am

    Re: The Goal is Not Safety

    She should sue the TSA for sexual harassment.

     

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  4.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re: The Goal is Not Safety

    "This isn't a TSA story"

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    James Carmichael, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re: The Goal is Not Safety

    She should sue cancer while she's at it.

     

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  6.  
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    DH's Love Child (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:04am

    Re: Re: The Goal is Not Safety

    Not to be an ass, but the article clearly stated this was in Canada, so the TSA isn't to blame.

     

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  7.  
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    pixelpusher220 (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:04am

    Monty Python

    why am I seeing a Black Knight skit in this story?
    slighty paraphrased:

    "I've got no arms"
    [TSA] "Yes you do! Raise them!"
    "Look at me, I have no arms!"
    [TSA] "Raise them anyway!"

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:05am

    It all tracks back to "she failed to disclose...". All of this could have easily been avoided up front.

    transparency: It isn't just for governments.

     

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  9.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: Re: The Goal is Not Safety

    DH's Love Child - Now thats funny.

     

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  10.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:11am

    Re:

    "Rather than understanding this, security officials told her she had to." Appears she DID tell them.

    A cancer survivor, Strecker had a mastectomy five years ago and now wears a prosthetic breast — which is made of gel.

    When she pointed that out to security officers, Strecker said she was accused of lying when first asked about liquids and gels.
    While in the full body scanner, Strecker said she was also told to raise her arms above her head, something she can no longer do.

    “I told (the security officer) I can not do that (with her left arm) and she said I had to so I yanked it up with my right arm and she said ‘you can’t do that, you have to keep both arms up.’

    “By then I started crying.”

    Clear case of you didnt respect my authoritah!

    AC she failed to disclose or did you fail to read? I know you were so anxious to try to pounce on TD. Better luck next time.

     

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  11.  
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    Jay (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:12am

    Re:

    How airport security does it?

    They enforce and become mini dictators of a situation. More than likely, no one asked her what was the problem. Usually, it's like programming

    Do X
    If X :=Y,

    Do Z
    If Z :=X

    Repeat

    (No, it's not a serious program. It's to say that people can't go past what they do to control a situation. I bet if ONE person had asked, it may have given her time to tell her story.)

    The entire environment of security theater is the problem here. I don't know how big the bureacracy of Canada is for airports but when you have people not beholden to the airport for their screwups, there's bound to be problems.

     

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  12.  
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    Kevin (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:17am

    Re:

    I agree, she should have gone to her doctor and gotten an note and an X-ray of the prosthetic. Then she should have gotten a document about the prosthetic from the manufacturer which clearly stated the manner in which the prosthetic was built and the materials used during it construction. Finally she should have had a background check performed on all of the technicians, assemblers. testers, nurses, doctors, and anyone else who may have handled the prosthetic to ensure that none of them would have had a reason to plant an explosive device in said prosthetic on the off chance that this 82 year old woman was going to board a plane yesterday.

     

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  13.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:23am

    Re: Monty Python

    "T'is but a scratch!"
    "You've got cancer!"
    "No I haven't."
    "Your tits off!"
    "It's just a flesh wound..."

     

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  14.  
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    Joe, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:24am

    The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CA-TSA? really?)have since offered a form of apology

    ---
    We apologized for not having met her expectations and expressed our regrets for the unpleasant experience, and that doesn't change, regardless of the results of the review,
    ---

    Which sounds like the bare minimum they can say and still get a headline of Airport Security Apologizes to Elderly Woman.

    They are doing an investigation and have video of the incident. Interestingly, they say they will not be publicly releasing either the video or the results of their investigation.

    http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2011/01/15/16903496.html

    Hopefully there will still be some public pressure on them to actually make changes and not just to damage control.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re:

    But that does not address the more serious security threat of the 82 year old woman. The prosthetic is a mere decoy, what was she hiding with her arm so she could not raise it over her head?

     

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  16.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:28am

    Re:

    "Interestingly, they say they will not be publicly releasing either the video or the results of their investigation."

    Well that sucks. If only there was a website some concerned CATSA employee could send that too....

     

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  17.  
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    aikiwolfie (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:31am

    Water Is The Most Successful International Terrorist Ever!

    I would like to know what the authorities are doing about the terrorist threat from Water. In recent times it has flooded Brazil, Pakistan, eastern Sri Lanka and Australia. It has wrecked havoc with our economies and transport systems posing a fluffy harmless snow.

    All year round water strikes across the planet. Some how it keeps slipping past those naked scanners and sexually arousing groping pat downs.

    Just when will we have a war on water!?!

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:32am

    Re: Re:

    Or she could just carry a note from her doctor, explaining that she has a gel implant, that she cannot lift her arm over a certain level, etc.

    The rest is just you off on a stupid rant.

    After all, if disclosure didn't mean anything, why is it part of the story?

     

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  19.  
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    Cowardly Anon, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:34am

    This angers me. I can't even put into words how angry I am.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:34am

    Re: The Goal is Not Safety

    Considering she was allowed on board even though she didn't pass the tests, I tend to agree with you.

     

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  21.  
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    Joe, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re: Re: The Goal is Not Safety

    > 'so the TSA isn't to blame.'

    Actually there may be some blame to throw around. American Homeland Security puts a lot of pressure on Canada to 'bring their security into compliance'. I've no doubt that they made security demands to increase security to match US standards.

    Where I live (Vancouver), there was a wonderful restaurant down by the docks named the Cannery.
    http://www.yelp.ca/biz/the-cannery-seafood-restaurant-vancouver

    After 9/11, there was huge pressure on Canada to secure everything. After that, in order to go to this restaurant, you had to pass through a security checkpoint and have a photo of your drivers license taken. The Cannery survived due to being spectacular, but was eventually forced to close by the Harbour Commission. Point being, different country but don't be surprised to see the TSA's fingerprints in this.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    On the topic of disclosure, I'm asking that you upload a copy of the letter you received from the doctor which clearly states that you are a mentally retarded sociopath.

    After all, I'd hate to think that you're just an idiot when you may have an excuse for being such a cold hearted a-hole.

     

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  23.  
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    Bengie, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:42am

    ...

    So where do they find these sadistic people who like to pick on young, infirmed, or elderly?

     

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  24.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I don't see why the first thing a cancer survivor would think when flying is "what about the gel in my body" - she did disclose it when it occurred to her, but can you honestly say you are sure that a breast implant would cross your mind when a guard asked you if you were carrying any liquids or gels? It's been part of her damn body for years. Do you ever stop and warn security that your bladder is full?

    And why would an 82-year-old woman need a doctors note to tell everyone around her that she's fucking 82 years old and probably a little more frail and a little less flexible than the rest of us?

    Hey, old man taking forever to cross the street! Show me your doctor's note for that cane or else I'm running you down!

     

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  25.  
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    Charlie Potatoes, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:46am

    Where are we going? ...

    Where are we going? And what am I doing in this hand basket?

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Stephen Straka, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:48am

    Having traveled by air numerous times in my native Canada as well as between Canada and the US, I feel confident in saying that this is an isolated incident. Every time I've gone through security on both domestic and international flights, the CATSA agents have been a lot nicer and practical than their American counterparts. This includes traveling into the US because airport security is still handled through CATSA, the DHS only handles customs. This has the odd effect of creating more security for me going back to Canada than there is to enter the US. That said, I think I've encountered TSA enough times that I can say I don't feel comfortable at all whenever I go through US airport security, whereas in Canada they've been as quick and noninvasive as they can. In several airports I haven't even had to take off my shoes!

    Basically what I'm saying is that, with the TSA I felt that their invasive screening procedures are standard across the board and the staff are under-trained and incompetent whereas with CATSA that was most likely an isolated incident. We'll see if CATSA management rectifies this (even in Canada, I wouldn't hold my breath) but even if they don't, I still have confidence in the average CATSA agent, something that I cannot give to TSA.

     

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  27.  
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    Kevin (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 11:10am

    Re: Re: Re:

    less rant, more sarcasm. Life is to short to take so seriously, you'll never get out alive.

     

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  28.  
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    Ben (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 11:21am

    Why does gel matter

    and silicon boobs don't?

     

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  29.  
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    AG Wright (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 11:22am

    I can't help but think that a bit of profiling would have been relevant here.
    How many octogenarians have blown up airliners?

     

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  30.  
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    Ben, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 11:29am

    Re:

    She's 82 dumbass! do you think that an 82 year old, a SICK 82 year old should be required to remember ANYTHING?

    The Airport should apologize and the mouth breathers responsible should be fired!

     

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  31.  
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    Kevin (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 11:43am

    Re:

    If you only knew.. We have all the proof that we need, but we cannot release it as it is a national security issue.

     

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  32.  
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    Laura, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 11:46am

    Sue the bastards! WTF!!!!!!

     

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  33.  
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    Mr. LemurBoy (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 11:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The Goal is Not Safety

    Actually there may be some blame to throw around. American Homeland Security puts a lot of pressure on Canada to 'bring their security into compliance'. I've no doubt that they made security demands to increase security to match US standards.


    And yet they still have to re-check my bags every time I fly from Canuckistan to the states, and have stop-over in some American city. I just love sitting on my connecting flight and listening to people around me griping because they have to do a luggage check of the international luggage.

    "Bring your security in line with ours, but we still aren't gonna trust you"

     

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  34.  
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    freak (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 11:49am

    Re: Water Is The Most Successful International Terrorist Ever!

    Sign my petition to ban dihydrogen monoxide?

     

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  35.  
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    Don, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 11:54am

    Re: The Goal is Not Safety

    Wow, unfortunately you are right. It's an issue with someone asserting their authority on someone else.

     

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  36.  
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    Jay (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 11:55am

    Re: ...

    Well, Rent A Cop was hiring, but airport security pays more.

     

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  37.  
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    johnny canada, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:00pm

    We have another problem in Canada (Thank You TSA/HS)

    Canadian domestic flights often fly over U.S. airspace. The U.S. demands full screening of passengers/cargo on these flights as if they where landing in the U.S.

     

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  38.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:08pm

    Re:

    "We apologized for not having met her expectations and expressed our regrets for the unpleasant experience"

    Hilarious. They are sorry that she had the expectations for them to be perfect, and they apologize that her absurd expectations weren't met! Clearly she was expecting caviar and wine with her horrible screening.

     

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  39.  
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    PandaMarketer (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

    Re: up front

    Well, where else would you put a gel breast implant?

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re:

    Rules is rules! If I'm required to raise my hands, she is too. A previous poster has also given me the idea to let them know about the state of my bladder when going through security.

    If old ladies don't raise their arms, they will turn them into suicide bombers. Just wait until the terrorists find out that their grandparents can be used for play destroying fodder. You'll be sorry.

     

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  41.  
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    borg, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re:

    Resistance is futile... You will be assimilated

     

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  42.  
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    theangryintern (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:35pm

    Wow....last time I checked, 82 yr old grandmas were not very high on the "likely to be a terrorist" list.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 1:08pm

    If you can't comply...

    then you shouldn't fly.

     

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  44.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 1:16pm

    Re: If you can't comply...

    Man I hope you're being sarcastic.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 1:16pm

    Re: If you can't comply...

    Not sure if serious.

     

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  46.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    not only do i warn them that my bladder is full... but that im not afraid to use it too

     

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  47.  
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    trench0r (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 1:39pm

    thoughts...

    I can't help but feel like there is a conspiracy to limit travel of all forms, if you are fat, or old.. if you are a child, or have a brain in your head, they would simply rather you did not travel.. flying is a privilege, not a right.. but in this day and age, is it really feasible to sail to australia?

     

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  48.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Re: up front

    ...in my Y-fronts. Where else would you put nice, sotthing gel?

     

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  49.  
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    Johnny, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 2:44pm

    Behaving just like...

    Comparisons to Nazis are always a bit over the top, but this total lack of empathy and barking out orders to innocent people who then no longer know what to do and just break down, just is a little Nazi-esque.

     

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  50.  
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    Chargone (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: Monty Python

    i... i can't decide if that's hilarious or just horribly insensitive.

    good job... i think?

     

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  51.  
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    Chargone (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 3:11pm

    Re: thoughts...

    oddly, yes. and New Zealand, for that matter... if you don't mind some combination of signing up as crew, spending far more than it would cost to fly, and/or taking three months... (the latter based on Amazon's shipping practices, admittedly :P)

    i think the only real passenger ships that do that these days are cruise liners though...

     

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  52.  
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    CJ (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 3:19pm

    More to it than you realize

    First she had a mastectomy. Some mastectomy's are more invasive than others. Apparently hers was. When you have the invasive mastectomy, You loose muscle, lots of skin, and breast, plus lymph nodes. This can include all the way to the arm pit, and up towards the neck. There is no way for some men and women, to gain back what they have lost muscle wise, because it is all gone. So they also loose certain abilities like being able to lift your arm(s) up, pick objects up over a certain weight, etc.

    Second she should of only had told them she had a mastectomy. For which I am pretty sure she did, and anyone can see this for what it is in a body scan. Regardless of whom did her scan, or pat down, it does not matter most mastectomies are done one way or the other. Following picture outlines two versions of a mastectomy. Most are done to er on caution to be sure they get all the cancer.
    This is just a drawing.
    http://cancer.osu.edu/NCI/Media/CDR0000415523_full.jpg

     

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  53.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 3:56pm

    Re: Re: Monty Python

    Dude, that comment is wrong-er than usual!

     

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  54.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Re:

    """If only there was a website some concerned CATSA employee could send that too...."""

    Oooh, oooh, I know one, I know one! I read about it in the news once!

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 5:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: The Goal is Not Safety

    It -is- a TSA story, because without pressure from the U.S. TSA, the Canadians would not have put the procedures in place.

     

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  56.  
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    aikiwolfie (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 5:43pm

    Apartide Travel

    I think we should have separate security checks for people travelling to America and travelling else where. We can indulge the Americans security demands. And make travelling everywhere else easier.

    When it's easier to travel to China, Russia and Iran to do business I'm sure the Americans would start rethinking their policy.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 6:10pm

    Re: More to it than you realize

    Second she should of only had told them she had a mastectomy.

    I don't think she should have even had to tell them that much. Between the full-body x-rays, physical examinations, and interrogations, they may just as well be giving people medical examinations (except that real doctors at least change their gloves between patients, which these "agents" don't).

    What's next, side-of-the road body cavity exams? I'm not kidding, that's exactly where it's heading. "Oh, but it's to catch terrorists, so don't complain, unless YOU'RE A TERRORIST!"

     

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  58.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 8:33pm

    TSA

    I read a similar story recently about a man who was paralyzed from the waist down and was told by the TSA screener that he was required to walk through the security screener. He explained to them that it was physically impossible for him to walk and that if he could walk, he wouldn't be in the damn chair to begin with.

    None of this seemed to impress the mouth-breathing mongoloid running the screener, who insisted that TSA regulations said he had to walk through, therefore he just had to get over his paralysis.

    Apparently the TSA is the modern-day equivalent to Jesus and can heal any malady with nothing bit a well-placed regulation.

     

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  59.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 8:41pm

    Re: thoughts...

    > flying is a privilege, not a right

    I love the way the government has managed to brainwash the totality of the American public into thinking that the routine and necessary activities of modern life are mere privileges that may revoked by some bureaucrat at their whim.

    Pretty soon they'll be telling us that breathing is privilege not a right and if we want to continue doing it, we'd better shut up and get on board with whatever they're requiring of us.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Daniel J. Lavigne, Jan 18th, 2011 @ 3:46am

    Revenge . . .

    Someone should tell that lady about her lawful right and duty to refuse to support a society that commits mass murder.

    However, that wouldn't stop such as the sheep that thought it was a wolf . . . until "it" has to pay more taxes to make up for what that new member of "The Tax Refusal" is no longer paying.

    Speaking of which:

    "The Tax Refusal" has been receiving hits from all sorts of "Law Enforcement" types.

    ************************************* 

    Add your voice to reason's call.



    Join the Tax Refusal. 

    *************************************

    http://www.TaxRefusal.com
    ****************** *******************
    And the related effort to wake the world:

    http://www.StopYourEngines.com

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Bob H., Jan 18th, 2011 @ 6:24am

    Re: anonymous coward

    Good idea, now 300 people getting on a flight have to stand there and explain all their ailments before walking thru.

     

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  62.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jan 18th, 2011 @ 6:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Monty Python

    "i... i can't decide if that's hilarious or just horribly insensitive."

    That answer is that the two aren't mutually exclusive.

     

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  63.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jan 18th, 2011 @ 6:33am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Rules is rules! If I'm required to raise my hands, she is too. A previous poster has also given me the idea to let them know about the state of my bladder when going through security.

    If old ladies don't raise their arms, they will turn them into suicide bombers. Just wait until the terrorists find out that their grandparents can be used for play destroying fodder. You'll be sorry."


    If it weren't for the snowflake then I'd actually think you were the previous anonymous coward. Much better than sarc marks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Jan 18th, 2011 @ 6:48am

    Re: Re:

    "Well that sucks. If only there was a website some concerned CATSA employee could send that too...."

    If it can be believed then they are more concerned with complaining in the article comments about the journalist not using the word "alledged" [sic] in the story. What's weirder is that I can't find anywhere to insert the word in the story. They don't make any libelous claims, but merely report what Ms Strecker said. Perhaps they wanted the title to say 'Cancer survivor demands investigation after alleged Calgary airport screening'?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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