While preparing to go through airport security on March 31, Amy Alkon got teary when she noticed that everyone in the line she was in was receiving an “enhanced pat-down” by Transportation Security Administration gropers.
Her mind racing at the prospect, she said she decided “these TSA lackeys who serve the government in violating our rights just don’t deserve my quiet compliance.” She was determined she wouldn’t go through the scanner and allow a government employee to see her naked, all for the privilege of flying from Los Angeles to New York. And then there’s the issue in her mind about whether the scanners are even safe.
So, as the pat-down began, she let the tears flow. “In fact,” she writes, “I sobbed my guts out. Loudly. Very loudly. The entire time the woman was searching me.”
But Amy Alkon was unprepared for the sexual assault that was about to take place. But then, who could prepare for such a thing?
“Nearing the end of this violation,” she writes, “I sobbed even louder as the woman, FOUR TIMES, stuck the side of her gloved hand INTO my vagina, through my pants. Between my labia. She really got up there. Four times. Back right and left, and front right and left. In my vagina. Between my labia. I was shocked — utterly unprepared for how she got the side of her hand up there. It was government-sanctioned sexual assault.”
After the assault was over, Alkon yelled to the woman, “You raped me.” She took the woman’s name — it was Thedala Magee — to see if she could file sexual assault charges against her.
She contacted a lawyer about the possibility of filing charges, but was told it probably wouldn’t go anywhere. Alas, this is America, where government-sanctioned sexual assault is now allowed by law. Put on a fancy uniform, get a week’s training, and anyone can grope as many of his fellow men or women as he pleases.
So Alkon did what came perfectly natural to a writer. She wrote about her experience. She told the world — or at least those who read her blog — about the rape. And she identified her rapist as Thedala Magee.
Magee hired a lawyer who contacted Alkon, asking her to remove the post, threatening a defamation suit and asking for a settlement of $500,000. Free speech lawyer Marc Randazza has stepped in to assert Alkon’s right to post about her pat-down experience and “to defend both her definition of the pat-down as rape and, regardless of that, her right to rhetorical hyperbole,” according to Forbes.
“After [the agent Thedala] Magee’s assault on Ms. Alkon’s vagina and dignity, Ms. Alkon exercised her First Amendment right to recount this incident to others in person and through her blog,” writes Randazza. “This was not only her right — it was her responsibility.”
The Constitution was written to guarantee our rights — endowed by our Creator — against unreasonable searches and to protect our freedom to say and write what we want (regardless of how uncomfortable that makes some). And laws are on the books to protect us from assault.
Amy Alkon was violated by Thedala Magee. Whether that violation constituted rape in the eyes of the law is debatable. What is not debatable is that Amy Alkon felt like she was being raped. And had the rapist not been wearing a government uniform, she would have had a case in a court of law.
Amy Alkon has taken a stand against the police state. The cards are stacked against her. Just ask the Texas Legislature, which considered a bill to ban TSA agents from groping or taking naked photos of passengers before the Federal thugocracy threatened to impose a no-fly zone over the State.
It’s the government’s position that a uniform and special training gives its agents the authority to break the law. But what is morally wrong for one to do is morally wrong for a thousand. And what is morally wrong for a thousand is morally wrong for the government.
But unless more Amy Alkons step up, the Thedala Magees will be running every aspect of our lives.
It’s obvious that our government — neither law enforcement nor the courts — is not interested in protecting Alkon (or any of us) against one of its own. So it’s our right, our responsibility, to protect ourselves. And we must stand with Amy Alkon.
If you have a similar story to tell about an encounter with an abusive agent of the government — particularly the TSA — send us the details at firstname.lastname@example.org.