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Oceanside man challenges airport's full-body scan [Updated]

A recording made by an Oceanside man who refused to undergo a full-body scan at San Diego International Airport over the weekend has gone viral as Internet viewers ferociously debate whether airport security measures have gone too far.

John Charles Tyner, 31, said he wasn't trying to pick a fight when he refused an X-ray scan of his body Saturday, but he was ready to defend his rights, according to his blog, if they made him do it. He is opposed on principle to the X-ray machines because it would show an image of his naked body, said Tyner, who blogs as "Johnny Edge."

[Updated at 9:33 a.m.: At one point, as the airport screener explained that the patdown would include brushing his groin, Tyner replied, "You touch my junk and I'm going to have you arrested."

He also refused to be patted down by a TSA agent, Tyner says on a blog post recounting the details of his confrontation with airport security. Tyner recorded most of the face-off on his camera phone, and the images and audio have gone viral on the Internet.

Tyner said he wanted to draw attention to an erosion in liberties and "senseless" efforts by the government to detect terrorists before they board a  plane.

"Every attempt to blow up a plane since 9/11 has been stopped by passengers after the government failed to provide protection for them.... All I did was draw attention to this," he wrote.

Tyner said he would have gone through a metal detector but that airport security did not give him that option. Instead, they refused to allow him to board his plane and he had his ticket refunded.

As he was preparing to leave the airport, another unidentified security official told him he could be sued civilly and fined $10,000 if he exited without undergoing a search, Tyner said on his blog.

Tyner refused and left the airport.


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Comments () | Archives (291)

This guy is just a whiner. Flying on a plane is not a "right." Airlines are businesses that have to function in a world full of dangers (both mechanical and man-made), and they can take reasonable precautions to protect the safety of their customers and crew. If you don't like those precautions, then don't fly. But spare us your whining....

Ok... how many of us have the cell phone camera turned on when we go through the airport screening? Only those who are already planning on being confrontational and may be just maybe trying to make a buck on this ordeal?
I would rather choose overall safety over inconvenience; I do however agree that the body search should be done by a police officer or military staff in uniform who should be specifically trained on terrorism and not by a TSA clerk. At LAX they revealed many of the "clerks" had records and were not nice people in general; so I'm suppose to let this person touch me? I would be offended but not to risk danger to others on the flight; I have nothing to hide except my dignity and embarrasment. Get the police to do searches...

If people feel frightened, they're more likely to behave, listen and obey. Just what the Government wants.

US Government + Terrorists = American transformed to sheep.

I also think this guy was being a tool, and didn't feel bad for him until he tried to leave. The threat to prosecute him for leaving without a search was bull****.

But hey, that's what all your State Senators voted for when they passed the Patriot Act so swiftly without letting Americans read it first. What choice did we ever have about this? Thank them.

Let's suppose that the government stops all screening, as Mr. Tyner might suggest. What do you imagine the public will say when the first hijacking occurs? Let's further suppose Mr. Tyner is on that plane? Is he going to be the one to take a bullet to save everyone else?

Let's get serious. As the possibilities to get weapons and explosives onto planes become more difficult to detect, the detection methods have to become more sophisticated and invasive. Those who object can stay off of the airplanes.

Personally, I don't want to rely on fellow passengers to save me. We can certainly debate who and how screening should be done, but screen we must.

I agree with TSA's decision with not allowing him through security. It is not iilegal as TSA has been directed by Homeland security to undergo these searches for our safety. These rules and regulations are set for a reason to keep us safe on the sky. As a matter a fact, TSA had lessened their body search for a while. I worked for an airline and after 9/11, I was one of the passangers at the gates and had to feel under a breast and between a leg and I did not have 1 complaint from anyone! They knew what security precautions needed to be taken. This guy thought he was above everyone else not needing to be searched. People need to understand that TSA adds procedures from learning by somthing getting through their lines because of not intensive enough to have found through our wanding. Look back at the "Shoe Bomber". Before that incident we only wanded the bottom of your shoes. After that everyone had to take thier shoes off. What about liquids... Thats right. Someone was found with a large amount of liquids that contained something suspicious. Why doesnt evryone begin to look outside the box....Get real people. Comply with TSA's regulations or dont fly. I dont want you on my flights!

hypogonadic syndrome?

Wow. All of you posting that if he didn't want to travel by plane then he didn't have to? He did attempt to leave and was threatened with legal action. I do't think any of you have ever stopped really think about this. It is okay to take freedoms away from others? What will you think when they come to take your freedom?

Tyner says: "Every attempt to blow up a plane since 9/11 has been stopped by passengers after the government failed to provide protection for them."

What a fantastically ignorant statement. It's true that individual citizens have thwarted certain hijacking attempts, but it doesn't even compare to the number of crimes stopped by government security personnel.

This moron thinks that the only attempted crimes that occur on airplanes are the ones he hears about on Fox News. What an absolute clown. He should move to a country where he won't be burdened by government intrusions-- Somalia comes immediately to mind.

Please post a picture of yourself, I don't want to be on your flight when at 34,000 feet, your plane disintegrates. I don't want to hear your screaming and crying during your 6 mile free fall. I don't give a rats *** about your "junk", I just want to fly safely.

Hypothetical: if the FBI and CIA discover strong proof that terrorists have developed the ability to swallow active bombs or to stuff them up their colon...what security should we have in response?

This is a serious question. Please ask yourself if we have limits to personal searches and what kind of trade-off you're willing to make between the mere feeling of safety (since that will never be 100% guaranteed) and freedom/privacy.

And if you still feel "better safe than sorry", then I want to know when you plan to install such searches in schools, churches, theaters, coffee houses, stadiums, bus stations, and train stations. After all, if we lived in a permanent state of searches at check points, we'd be safer. Right?

You folks do remeber that the TSA is part of Homeland Security, the same bunch of dumb***** that took 5 days to get water to the Superdome after Katrina, right? The same group that still cant secure our borders better than Uncle Festus armed with his shotgun. The same group that got busted wiretapping without a warrent. The same group that has been trying to put new computer systems in place at the FBI et al to the tune of over 10 Billion, 10 years past due date and they STILL*DONT*WORK.

Chris Rock said it best: "the TSA is a joke created to make white people feel safe."

I have been poked and prodded and delayed for years at airports, so I stopped flying. It takes an hour to fly from Chicago to Detroit. Between having to get to the airport 2 hours before the flight and the inevitable delays at each end plus the price gouging, I just drive. It's close to the same amount of time. Plus the food is better and cheaper.

If Amtrak didn't suck and went somewhere I wanted to go, I'd totaly be on baord.

This guy knew what he was doing. He turned on his camera and starts making a big fuss. Imagine how long he held up the lines just because he didn't want his "junk" to be touched? These same people then rail against the government for not doing their jobs to protect us, but you always have a couple pinheads who pretend to understand their "rights." Listen carefully: traveling on an airplane is not a right, it's a privilege. Don't like the safety protocol? Feel free to drive to your destination.

Obviously this fool went in wanting to make a video of it for fame and fortune.

Shouldn't this be in the celeberty/reality show section?

I recently refused body scan at Memphis airport. The TSA people did a pat down. I agreed to have pat down in public rather than private room because I do not trust the TSA mentality and I did not want to be out of sight in a closed room. I refused the scan for several reasons; I believe we have given up our previous freedoms to a faceless and corrupt government, I believe somebody has to make a stand, I believe there are health risks associated with the new scanners. Overall, the Memphis TSA were o.k. I have actually been fearful of some TSA employees at Los Angeles, Newark and Detroit. Do not respect or trust their motives!

For all of you saying "quit whining, it's for safety" etc., you haven't studied history. The Jews were taken to camps "for their safety," and did you know that anyone who mentioned the atrocities happening at these camps was called a "conspiracy theorist" and "whiner?" Wake up, folks. The last thing they do before taking you out of the picture completely is strip you naked.

John Tyner is on the fast track to becoming an American folk legend...

@ anon - what you stated is simply not true. I fly often and see many people opt out of the scanner. The pat down is explained and it is thorough, but not even close to your story. The solution remains, don't fly if you don't like the rules. We will not miss you.

The bottom line:

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

Posted by: Brian | November 15, 2010 at 09:07 AM
Worth reposting.

The fervent political ambitions of the Radical Religious Right will continually propagate the aura of fear since thier base is so susceptible to it.

I don't have a problem so much with "requiring" a scan.

The problem I have is with the TSA Manager that tried to intimidate and harass the guy AFTER everything had played out.

The guy refuses the scan, he is barred from entering the plane, he is escorted back and given a ticket refund.

All in accordance with "the rules."

THEN the TSA manager wants to harass and intimidate by telling the guy he WILL have a civil suit filed against him.

Uhh, NO, he will not have a suit filed against him. The passenger did everything legally and was denied entrance.

The passenger knew the laws/rules better than the TSA manager. The Manager was wrong.

@TheBigPicture, yes, but you are also a sheep.

Have you ever taken a stand for ANYTHING? Do you just do what everyone tells you to do?

Your follower mentality leads to fanaticism.

Flying on an airplane is not a right. If you don't like the procedures then don't fly. Easy enough.

Posted by: Jazzy_Jeff | November 15, 2010 at 09:56 AM
The airlines did not come up with these rules, they are government issued.

Airlines should be able to determine their own level of screening.

Easy enough.

100 times more people have died on our highways since Sept. 11 2001 than actually died on Sept 11 2001. So what are we really being protected by these unconstitutional measures. There was also a TSA worker who was continually harassed for his small penis, which his co-workers discovered from these screenings. Eventually he resorted to violance against his co-workers which is why it was in the news. Look it up if you believe these are professionals that are above that mentallity. I'd bet anything these screeners, spend more time on attractive bodys then unattractive bodies. This is a perverts dream job! WAKE UP AMERICA! if we allow ourselves to be terrorized, then the terrorists win! Is America the home of the brave or the coward?

99% of the value of the post-9/11 security changes were made in the first week: cockpit doors are now secured during flight, and the rules for the crew during a hijacking attempt were changed from "submit" to "fight".

With these changes, hijackers have a very small chance of commandeering an aircraft and replacing the pilot.

AIT's, groping pat-downs, shoe scanning, and liquid restrictions are expensive, invasive theater - nothing more.

You don't have to fly. Stop sniveling.

Posted by: Jagexxx | November 15, 2010 at 09:28 AM
Uhh, he actually wasn't "sniveling." He was standing up for his rights. You know...the unlawful search and seizure???

You, sitting on the sidelines doing what everyone tells you to do while bitching quitley to yourself might be considered more "sniveling."

And, he actually didn't fly. He was approached, refused and then did what was expected....he did not board the plane.

I don't exactly understand what you think he should have done??? Should he have done what YOU would do and just be a follower?

Yah, you have to undergo a patdown, absolutely -how are we supposed to know you aren't some terrorist smuggling an altered toner cartridge about your person.....

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