Local guy refuses airport scan – his story has gone viral.

by on November 15, 2010 · 37 comments

in Civil Disobedience, Culture, Popular, San Diego, War and Peace


john tyner refuse scan

John Tyner.


Editor: Local Oceanside resident John Tyner refused an airport full body scan and refused a groin pat-down by security – and all holy hell broke out at Lindbergh Field last Saturday, November 13th. He caught the entire incident on his cell phone and he posted it on his blog – and his story has gone viral.  Here’s the San Diego U-T version:

By Robert J. Hawkins / San Diego U-T / November 14, 2010

SAN DIEGO — John Tyner won’t be pheasant hunting in South Dakota with his father-in-law any time soon.  Tyner was simultaneously thrown out of San Diego International Airport on Saturday morning for refusing to submit to a security check and threatened with a lawsuit and a $10,000 fine if he left.

And he got the whole thing on his cell phone. Well, the audio at least.

The 31-year-old Oceanside software programmer was supposed to leave from Lindbergh Field on Saturday morning and until a TSA agent directed him toward one of the recently installed full-body scanners, Tyner seemed to be on his way.  Tyner balked.

For the remainder of this article, please go here.

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar dave rice November 15, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Jeez, man…some of the comments. Readers of the U/T make my brain hurt.


avatar Marisag November 15, 2010 at 5:20 pm

LOL I know! But that’s mainstream SD for you.


avatar annagrace November 15, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Pilots and frequent fliers have hunkered down and refused to go through these scanners. There are t-shirts to be bought heralding the fact that “I have been groped by TSA.” I am personally ready to swear off flying ever again. I cannot bear to once again drive to the airport an hour and a half before my flight, remove all of my jewelry and place it in my purse, stand in line to pass through security, remove my shoes, wonder if I can take a cigarette lighter and bottle of unopened water, then stand with my legs spread and my arms outstretched because I am being “virtually searched” by a full body scanning machine that may be deemed really really bad for our health in the near future. I don’t like the way it feels right now- to be frisked. My send through bag is always examined- I am always left a formal advisement to this effect. Is someone truly going to tell me that this is the cost of freedom?

War against terrorism? I don’t believe one word of it. This is the lucrative fear industry at work, which feathers its own nest quite nicely at the public expense. Fear is good business. How much do those scanners cost, how many of them have been sold, where are they being used? Who makes them? And who in our government has opened his or her arms to this brave new world?

The OBrag website gets comments from people decrying the “nanny state.” Damn few of these same commentators express concern about the police state. The homeland security cameras on the OB pier. Verizon- which is the City’s preferred provider- listening to and turning over our private conversations to the government without a warrant.

I frankly do not care that we are ticketed (nanny state!) if we don’t use our seat belts. Use your friggin’ seat belt. I’m an old woman and need to set some priorities in life. I DO care very much about these scanners and the bloated pig that Homeland security has become. Ordinary citizens have been yanked around by the security/industrial/ governmental complex. Spied upon. Humiliated. Our privacy invaded. We pay through the nose with our tax dollars. And the security/industrial/government complex still fucks stuff up. All those warnings about the “Diaper Bomber” and even 9/11 were ignored by top level intelligence. What’s with that?

Of course it is easy to take pot shots at the TSA workers themselves, as is so manifestly shown in the U-T comment section. We are generally willing to lower the culpability bar to those stupid, undeserving people beneath our own exalted, responsible, intelligent station in life. It’s an American tradition to feel infinitely superior to someone else- particularly the poor and marginalized. Never look up at the people making a buck, sinking their assets in offshore accounts, and partying like there is not tomorrow!!!


avatar Marisag November 15, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Well said and great point about the police state.


avatar Goatskull November 15, 2010 at 5:55 pm

“I cannot bear to once again drive to the airport an hour and a half before my flight, remove all of my jewelry and place it in my purse, stand in line to pass through security, remove my shoes,”

I mean this with all respect Ms. Grace. One way to avoid this is do what my girlfriend does. Don’t wear any jewelry when flying and for shoes this is what we both do. Where either slip on slip off shoes or if during the summer just wear flip flops. But I hear ya. One of my neighbors is a TSA agent and she actually refuses to fly because by her own admission she does not want to go through what she and her colleagues put people through every day.


avatar Goatskull November 15, 2010 at 5:57 pm

“Where either slip on slip off” OK I meant to say “wear”, not “where”. I’m typing this while enjoying a pint of OB Chronic.


avatar annagrace November 15, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Goatskull- you are such a deeply decent guy. I hope I didn’t come across as some whining privileged woman who would rather die than remove her diamonds and eat SPAM, for god’s sake. I have never felt really comfortable flying, well before 9/11. Back in 1994 my dear friend Alexia Markarian gave me a beautiful unique cuff which we refer to as “Drive-By Guadalupe. ” This particular piece of jewelry is my own idiosyncratic mojo- a talisman, an invitation to conversation, my protector. This cuff has been rained upon, kissed, marveled at, and been an entre into the lives of women everywhere as I have made my way through the world. I love it and its maker. It also completely screws up the security process.

In the past, I would walk through the TSA checkpoint, set off the alarm and be asked to remove this cuff. The TSA checkpoint people were always quite interested in this piece of art and we would exchange interesting bits of conversation as they waved me through. Now I remove the cuff and place it into my purse and put it on again once I am on the plane. No conversation.

Over the past decade, which not only included 9/11 but the dying and death of every one of my immediate family members, I have worn that talisman, that beautiful work of a dear friend. It distresses me to slide it off my wrist and tuck it into my purse. Am I really making my country safer?

Before I travel, I give great thought to my clothing. Since there are no direct flights to Pittsburgh anymore (@5 hours direct) I need to anticipate a flight that takes anywhere from 7- 12 hours with a layover. I think about my shoes, and how they will fit when my ankles and feet start swelling. I think about how to pass through security quickly and how long it will take to get to the next gate.

The rub Goatskull is that I can remember driving up minutes after my plane was supposed to leave at the airport in Key West Florida circa 1994, honking the horn and the tiny tiny plane staying in place, the window of the plane open and the pilot hanging his arm out. The ladder was dropped and I was on my way to Miami in a plane that looked like a Volkswagen bus. Sweet Jesus. I am so happy to remember those times. ..

My mojo is here:


avatar Gary Gilmore November 15, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Jewelry is an existential part of a wardrobe. I don’t care what they x-ray or how they want to pat but… the jewelry stays. “Nuff said.


avatar Goatskull November 15, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Again I hear ya. I didn’t know about your cuff cuff so I hope I wasn’t comeing off as inapropriate. I just get annoyed the way so many people KNOW about the whole security thing and yet wear tons of accessories. As to the getting there an hour and a kalf early, I have a solution for that. this is what I and my significant other do . Get there TWO and a half hrs early, get through security, get to your terminal, get to the bar, park it, and get yourself a tall and stif bloody Mary. Just keep an eye on the time.


avatar Goatskull November 15, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Jeeze my spelling looks bad. Lame excuse typing on an iPod touch is a bit challenging.


avatar dave rice November 15, 2010 at 9:51 pm

I developed my routine before the movie came out, but when I was flying to the Bay Area or Sacramento a few times a month from ’06-09 I developed a preparation similar to Clooney in Up In The Air…jewelry and everything else out of the pocket and into the luggage, by the time you’re third in line. Have nothing but an ID and ticket on you, shoes already untied. Grab 2 buckets, pull the computer out of your luggage (which should already be unzipped) and throw it into one, your shoes, coat, and belt in another. Shoes/coat box goes in first, bag second, computer last. Get through, shoes and belt on, computer in bag, grab jacket and luggage and retreat to nearest clear area to re-tie shoes, re-fasten belt, get jewelry, wallet, and phone out of bag. Proceed to bar. Freak out over ID not being in wallet. Remember you stuffed it into your front pocket with ticket. Drink until 10 minutes before scheduled pushback. It’s lame that I actually went through such a dehumanizing process so many times it’s become routine. Lamer still that they’ve even upped the ante since then – how am I supposed to rubber-band a couple joints to my ankle now?


avatar Abby November 16, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Not everyone has jewelry that can be easily removed. Many body piercings require tools to remove. Tools that you are not allowed to have in carry ons.


avatar annagrace November 16, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Ah yes, the tool problem…


avatar JEC November 15, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Cutting the federal budget? Start here with TSA. Consider their choices – scan, humiliate, frustrate 100% of the people sitting in the seats (yes more than the 1 out of 8 ) but check less than 5% of the commercial cargo they put in the planes’ belly. Safety? Security? TSA has made us, yes, you and me, the enemy. Troubled about the future of America? Hell, I’m troubled about the present America.


avatar Marisag November 15, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Has the TSA even caught ONE instance of a terrorist getting on a plane? Its my understanding that the Air Marshalls and the OTHER PASSENGERS have been the ones to catch attempted terrorist attacks aboard planes. And the TSA certainly had nothing to do with the freight package attempt of last week. This guy did not disagree to being searched, what he didn’t want is to be fondled and groped, even in a non-sexual way, the only person who gets that close is my Doctor.


avatar Goatskull November 15, 2010 at 5:59 pm

My neighbor who is a TSA agent talked about that very fact. Her answer was “no”.


avatar BillRayDrums November 15, 2010 at 5:47 pm

I think the most damning part of this story is the absolute chaos and noncommunication that occurs in their departments. They told the guy he could leave….no wait! You gotta stay….oh, you can leave but it’s going to cost you $10k. They did not have any CLUE how to handle that situation. And there will be more, you watch.

This guy exposed them and they are pissed. Did you read the thing on the Head of TSA San Diego said “The fine is now $11,000.” Someone get that guy a tampon!


avatar judicurry November 15, 2010 at 9:17 pm

I think the next time I fly I will cover my “private parts” with signs that say, “f – – – you”. Or is that against the law too?


avatar Goatskull November 15, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Keep in mind that TSA agents are only following the guidlines they are given and doing their job the way they are trained.


avatar BillRayDrums November 16, 2010 at 8:44 am

“Only doing their job”. Sound familiar?


avatar Goatskull November 16, 2010 at 9:45 am

Yes but TSA agents are not rounding people up and putting them in death camps. There is a difference I think.


avatar BillRayDrums November 16, 2010 at 10:26 am

No they are not, you are right.

All I got for those people is to tell them that they are Bad Americans. That’s like the worst thing I can think of to tell anyone in authority these days who abuse their power. Whether it effects them, I don’t know.


avatar Goatskull November 16, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Do you know any of these people personally? What would you do if a new neighbor moves in next door to you and turns out to be a TSA employee? Will that person from that point on be on your doo doo list? Will that person be under your microscope? I don’t personally know very many of them but I have one who lives two doors down from me and is actually a pretty good friend. My GF and it sometimes get together with her and her work colleagues for beers football watching. They seem lake any normal average people to me. Bottom line, just because you don’t like the way TSA does things or even like the fact that they exist is no reason to judge individuals. My opinion anyway.


avatar Goatskull November 16, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Probably doesn’t affect them much. I’m assuming that because being a federal employee myself I went into it knowing there will always be people who just won’t have it and nothing I can say or do will change their mind. The way so many people hate each other these days being called something like that just goes with the territory. I’ve never been called a “bad American”, but I’ve been called a traitor, liberal scum, fag loving tree hugging commie etc, you name it. What would put those people into a tailspin of confusion is when I would mention that I am a retired Navy vet. By the same token, a small number of liberals seem to be disgusted with me for being said navy vet. Truth is, there are just some people out there you can never win with.


avatar Goatskull November 16, 2010 at 9:47 am

One thing I just posted abov is that I have a neighbor who works for TSA and she won’t even fly herself. So it’s not fair to lumb all agents into one stereo type.


avatar Sarah November 16, 2010 at 6:06 pm


I’m sure it’s against the law. Written assault of a TSA Agent


avatar Old Hermit Dave November 15, 2010 at 9:35 pm

As long as the intelligence of the American people remains at the level it was when they believed the almost Kissinger report on 9/11/01 the conditions they must meet to to fly back to to visit grandma will get worse. If they would just get… …smart enough to say OK “IT’S BACK TO THE COVERED WAGON” that would hit politicians where it hurts most, money from corporations. Shut down the airline industry, it would in turn shut down the FAKE war on terror. Otherwise remain ignorant and prepare for this word “PROCTOLOGY” to be part of your next exam before your flight.


avatar Sarah November 16, 2010 at 6:05 pm

You are absolutely right, OHD. I usually find your opinion a little bit extreme, but in this case I’m just right there with you.

I wish I’d not just purchased a ticket fly home to visit over Christmas. I would take a train instead. I have the time and I think I can work on AMTRAK.

No more flying. Let’s all just stop. :)


avatar Old Hermit Dave November 16, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Thanks Sarah, since I am an EXTREME liberal atheist, I know some of my stuff is hard to take, but this will never make me change my opinion. I just did a comedy stand up show on this TSA thing, got laughs and it is playing on you-tube.


avatar Old Hermit Dave November 16, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Oh here is a link to the video–


By the way anyone notice the kid Tyner looks like he is one of Bobby Kennedy’s kids.


avatar doug porter November 16, 2010 at 8:03 am

Pollster Nate Silver at the NY Times has a report about his experience in San Diego recently, along with a poll showing that 81% of Americans support the use of scanners- http://goo.gl/Ewfr6
The Times also has an article about the Internet-based campaign encouraging fliers who opposed the new machines to observe a “national opt-out day” on Nov. 24, the day before Thanksgiving. Any passenger can opt out of a scan that creates an image of the naked body and choose a full-body pat down instead. http://goo.gl/Ewfr6 Needless to say, the TSA is freaking out.


avatar Abby November 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Aside from the radiation concern, I don’t care about the scanners. I’d go through naked if it meant not getting molested and being allowed to have liquids.

If you are male go for the pat down! I suggest wearing a kilt with no underwear, and taking Viagra before you get to the airport.


avatar Patty Jones November 16, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Quite the visual Abby!


avatar annagrace November 16, 2010 at 2:15 pm

This just in- one righteous rant -and petition from Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake to “Investigate the TSA, Not Tyner. ” The article is revelatory- The House did not want to move forward on the use of these scanners; Homeland Security did an end run around congress, then used an obscene amount of our (job creating) stimulus money to purchase the porno scanners. It is a nasty story. Don’t forget to sign the petition.



avatar Sarah November 16, 2010 at 6:02 pm

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To Work (or How Much I Love TSA)

I have a titanium knee. It beeps every time I walk through a metal detector. I traveled for a living and flew two to three flights a week. When I took off on my first post-surgery flight with my “I have a metal body part” card in hand I had no idea what I was in for. I hand my cane and my “I’m a bionic” to the TSA agent. I suppose I had a preset expectation, somehow, that the cane, the card, the six week old scar, the fact that the hand-wand only beeped at the knee and my record as a weekly flier for the four previous years would ease my way to the gate. I was horribly wrong. Every flight, every time, no exceptions I had to be hand-searched.

Every single time I beeped, so every single time I got patted down. Sometimes gently and with respect, sometimes gruffly and with embarrassment and sometimes with barely disguised disdain, occasionally with a little bit too much “tenderness”. Mostly, however, it was with a disassociated non-chalance and disregard for any thought other than going by the rules and they treated me as if I were not a person, but a suitcase needing to be swapped for explosives. These employees are not hired to think or to use logic and they didn’t. At best they are competent, at worst they are despicable. I flew two to three times a week and every time I did I was subject to the abuse of the TSA minions.

(Note: Yes, I am sure there are good TSA agents and I’m sure they have nice families and I know there are exceptions and I know that I am generalizing to some degree. However, I reserve the right to rant)

After a run-in with the St. Louis TSA that could have landed me in jail my stress level was through the roof and I had decided to ask for some time off. I needed to finish recovering from the total knee replacement and I needed to stop wanting to stomp of the toes of every TSA agent I passed.

My last trip (no pun intended): As I’m making my way to the security line at the San Diego Airport I was taking a deep breath and preparing myself for the first of what will be six total weekly gropings, the woman in front of me stopped suddenly and I caught my left foot under her trailing roller-bag and went down two times, hard on my “new and improved” knee.

Career over.

If I were the victim type I’d blame TSA. But what the hell, I drove over the hill from Pt. Loma, found OB, parked at the end of the pier and haven’t left.


avatar annagrace November 16, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Sarah- what a story! No respect out there even for a card carrying bionic woman. I’ve imagined all kinds of scenarios regarding how careers could conceivably end. I never imagined yours- down on your new improved knee- and not shooting craps or praying at the time. You are remarkable for your grace and resilience.

So glad you drove over the hill to OB. Keep those posts coming!


avatar nunya November 22, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Thank you for telling your story Sarah. I appreciate it, and I’m sorry you had to go through all that.


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