eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
eruthros ([personal profile] eruthros) wrote2009-12-30 11:13 am
Entry tags:

air security and the normal body

A thing that really bothers me about all the recent air security talk is the assumption of certain kinds of "normal" bodies -- air security is merely an inconvenience to everyone, not an impossibility, because all bodies can do the things we ask.

So here are some of the problems with proposed air security rules, some of the people who are left out:

Some of these rules have been enforced, some are enforced at the pilot's discretion, and some seem to have already been rescinded.

1) No ipods or headphones on flights for some random length of time.
People talk about how this is a problem for everyone (adults will get bored, kids will get antsy). But more than getting bored, there are folks who process sensory input differently and find that many people on a plane overwhelming without things like music, or noise-blocking headphones. Or people use music to help with anxiety. Or all sorts of other things.

2) No bathroom in the last hour of a flight.
People have said, this is an inconvenience for everyone, especially for small children. That's true. But it is also a reason for people who have IBS, incontinence, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or take medication that can cause any of those things, not be able to fly at all. (I have seen several comments in the last few days on the basic subject of "do they want me to piss on the seat? To wear a diaper? What?")

3) Greatly restricted carry-on items on a flight.
So you can only take medical devices and life-sustaining items -- well, what's a medical device? What if you're carrying "too much" food, or a pillow and a bunch of blankets to make the airline seat comfortable, or hand lotion, or books to distract you, or fiddly toys, or a stressball, or special headphones -- well, did you get a prescription from a doctor for that? Can you prove it's a medical item? (FWD/forward asked people to list things they use as assistive devices. Conclusion: pretty much anything can be an assistive device. I'm willing to bet that air security won't believe people about most of them.)

4) No access to carry-on in the last hour of the flight.
Here are some things people might suddenly need in the last hour of their flight: meds, distractions, headphones, pillows, blankets, braces, earplugs, eyemasks, jackets, and probably other stuff I can't think of right now but check out the above list of assistive devices. These are necessities. They are possibly sudden, emergency necessities. You can't have them.

5) Hands on your lap during landing.
What if you can't? What if it hurts? If you have a visible disability, you might be able to explain; if you don't, or if you already "look suspicious" for reasons of religion, name, race, gender presentation, who knows.

6) No pillows or blankets or jackets on your lap (so that we can see your hands).
If you use them as sensory tools? Tough. Use blankets because your thermoregulation doesn't maintain your temperature? Tough. Does the standard (cold) temperature of the plane make your joints stiffen? Not our problem. Do you use blankets to feel protected and secure? Oh well.

This isn't the first time this has happened; it happens every time there's a security scare, and suddenly people are being told by airport security that they can't take their meds on the plane, that they can't take the things that make flying bearable, that they can't have a pillow or a blanket.

And it makes me so angry, because it's completely obvious that there are millions of people who can't do the things air security tells us to do, and who are willing to tell TSA so at length. But they're ignored, they're transformed into suspicious bodies because air security defines "normal" bodies.

Innocent people would put their hands on their laps. Why won't you? Come on! Stop wasting everyone's time! Do it already!
monanotlisa: (angry johnny - sga)

[personal profile] monanotlisa 2009-12-30 11:22 pm (UTC)(link)
Innocent people would put their hands on their laps. Why won't you? Come on! Stop wasting everyone's time! Do it already!


Yes. To all of this.
amadi: Lt. Sulu from the film Star Trek looks unhappy with the legend Not Amused (Sulu isn't amused)

[personal profile] amadi 2009-12-30 11:33 pm (UTC)(link)
I twittered after the second incident, with the poor gentleman who was merely having digestive problems, that as a 1/4 Nigerian with IBS, I'm just not flying any more. I've amended that to a very fat 1/4 Nigerian with IBS and flying nerves which cause me to feel it necessary to pray during takeoff and delivery in a non-English language. Suspicious!!

My hopes of visiting the world will rely upon my overcoming my fear of open water, because I'll be going by ship. Infinitely more expensive and far more time consuming but my experience with cruise lines is that they are more body friendly if you aren't in a budget cabin.
amadi: A bouquet of dark purple roses (Default)

[personal profile] amadi 2009-12-31 02:18 am (UTC)(link)
The security folks aren't going to stop. They're being emboldened by certain people, who are the same ones who are hellbent against expanding passenger rail service domestically. The politics of it are the most frustrating part.
ryca: (Default)

[personal profile] ryca 2009-12-31 07:05 am (UTC)(link)
I'm really quite worried about my upcoming flight home from Canada. Aside from the strong possibility that I won't be able to just shut my mouth like a good little drone, there's the issue of my shoe. Not shoes, shoe. I'm not sure how much I've talked about it recently, but I *might* be having surgery soon to lengthen my right leg; it's 2.3cm shorter than my left (due to a break in high school, not just "well everybody's a little bit assymetrical - 2.3cm is not "a little bit"). In the meantime, I've taken my Doc Marten's to a cobbler and had the sole of the shoe lifted to make up the difference. The change that it's made in my back is AMAZING - my back doesn't hurt anymore! I can stand for more than 20 minutes without excessive pain! It doesn't pop every time I get out of bed or stand up! I had no idea that other people did not all always experience these things. It's phenomenal.
Anyhow, before I got the boots done, I was wearing a pair of shoes that I inherited from my aunt (she had nearly the same difference between her legs - from arthritis - and I decided to give her shoes a try, which led to me doing up my own shoes). When we flew back from Belize in November, airport security got extremely confused about the one shoe - why was the sole on the right shoe nearly an inch thicker than the sole on the left? I had to do my little "long leg/short leg" dance to explain it - so much fun.
So now I'm exceptionally worried. The boot looks like something Hermann Munster would wear. It's not subtle. But if I don't wear it... well, for one thing, I don't *have* any other shoes with me, so it would be slippers. Plus, not wearing it means back pain, and that's under the best of circumstances. Standing for 3+ hours while I wait in line? I'll be in tears - it's amazing how quickly I've gotten used to *not* hurting, and going back to it... well it scares the crap out of me.
But if I wear it - hell, I'm honestly worried that they might not let me on to the flight! And that's just beyond ridiculous. And I don't even have any idea of who or what I should call or do in advance...
So yeah. That got long, sorry. But you can add "assistive footwear" to the list (in addition to all of your other extremely valid points).
sasha_feather: dolphin and zebra gazing at each other across glass (dolphin and zebra)

[personal profile] sasha_feather 2010-01-21 11:31 pm (UTC)(link)
This post has been linked at [community profile] access_fandom. Thank you!
gorgeousnerd: #GN written in the red font from my layout on a black background. (One of those days.)

[personal profile] gorgeousnerd 2010-01-22 08:45 am (UTC)(link)
(Here via FWD/Forward.)

Speaking as someone with panic disorder, IBS, and a host of other disabilities, this is exactly what I've been thinking, so thank you. It's hard enough for me to do short-term car rides without my iPod, a book, a notebook, and some other items, not to mention constant bathroom breaks; flying right now's completely out of the question.

There could be problems before flying starts, too. I saw this article a little while ago, and I was furious at the thought that a person's anxiety levels could get them pulled aside in airport security. Certainly, the pressure would be too much for me.
ext_392021: a concept picture of the Disney Princess Tiana.  (Default)

[identity profile] 2010-01-23 01:43 am (UTC)(link)
I'm here from FWD/Forward as well.

Your post is spot on. I wish I had more to say, but I don't.
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)

[personal profile] holyschist 2010-01-23 05:32 am (UTC)(link)
I don't have the problems many other people have, but I do have frequent, without-warning digestive issues and get really cold on airplanes (I usually wear a winter coat the whole time, which is probably Really Suspicious). I'm not sure whether I'm more scared or more angry.

I used to joke about how the only way to "prevent terrorism" would be to ship us sedated, restrained, and naked, and it's looking more and more like the future and less like a joke.

[identity profile] 2010-01-25 11:38 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you, thank you, thank you! These restrictions are going to hurt everyone with a disability, but it's going to be doubly hard for those with invisible disabilities. I know that my chronic nerve condition and psychiatric needs are much harder in situations like this than my rights as a blind person with a Guide Dog. Someone has their head in the sand with these restrictions.
the_jack: a low-res style drawing of Te and Jack (Default)

[personal profile] the_jack 2010-03-31 01:41 am (UTC)(link)
I have hopes that, like the patently ridiculous "You can't open a bank account with a state-issued non-driver's photo ID card, it has to be a driver's license; sorry, it's the Patriot Act" line the bank tried to give my fiancee, this kind of BS will be seen to be patently ridiculous and not even actually helpful in enhancing security, and go away. (When I responded to the bank officer's pronouncement with, "Really? So blind people, deaf people, and people with epilepsy can't have bank accounts?" she got a funny look on her face and said, "Hunh. You know, let me go check on this..." and less than an hour later we left the bank with a shiny new account for my fiancee set up.)

Since this is the TSA we're talking about, and they never relaxed that idiotic "no more than 3 droplets of liquid!" rule that, at the time it was introduced, was based purely on a theory about a method some terrorist organisation might start using in the future, I can't bring myself to be very optimistic about this.

On the other hand, the last time I flew, in 2005, I was kind of shocked by how lax airport security was in handling me, a person using an electric wheelchair and cane but who had no medical documentation whatsoever stating I need it, stated to every security person I dealt with that I was capable of standing briefly with the cane, and who -- as strangers are always telling me -- doesn't "look disabled!"

I offered to get out of the chair at each stage of security but was always told they could screen me fine in the chair. (Of course I was going to have to get out of the chair anyway at the door to the plane to either transfer into the aisle-chair or, as I was luckily able to do, hobble slowly on board and into my seat before the crush of main coach boarding using my cane.) I in fact had a cigarette lighter in the back pocket of my jeans that made it onto and all the way through the flight with me (and oh, it was sooo nice being able to get that calming first post-flight cigarette without having to hunt through carry-on or, worse, checked baggage for it). And really, I could've had a pretty big knife or some other weapon either under my butt on the seat, or between the seat's cushion and sling, and nothing they did screening me would've picked it up. They checked the chair for battery residue, and both wanded me and patted down my front, but that was it. I didn't even have to take my shoes off, even though everyone able-bodied around me was still being made to, and even though I offered to and had worn slip-on Birks so I could do so easily.

It might be a function of where I was flying to and from (Newark to Vegas & back in 2004, Newark to Houston & back in 2005) but the TSA people I dealt with back then seemed to believe both that someone who used a wheelchair couldn't possibly be a terrorist, and that a terrorist couldn't possibly acquire a wheelchair for the purpose of sneaking something past airport security. I was frankly unnerved by this attitude, even though it made my trip less inconvenient. Because those are kind of extremely gaping security holes.

Honestly, it often seems like the Patriot Act / Homeland Security Act / other post-9/11 stuff is at least 40% stuff they know does nothing whatsoever to make us safer, but by being so visible has the effect of making it seem like the government is doing something. Way too much of that "something" they're doing is as effective as "duck and covering" under a school desk is for surviving a nuclear warhesd detonation, though.

I have been keeping up on TSA outrages, like the sterile backup feeding tube, for a boy who had a feeding tube in, which TSAsses forced his parents to open even though its packaging was transparent and they explained that opening it would render it unusable and endanger their young son's life. I don't by any means intend to belittle anyone's fears about, or negative experiences with, airport or border security.

Until the people who make the rules learn to check on what people who fly actually need (e.g. headphones may be a mere convenience for some, but are absolutely a necessity for others) when they're writing the rules, and TSA and other security personnel are trained effectively and appropriately to distinguish between things they shouldn't allow on board and things they must allow on board in order to avoid violating the passenger's civil rights and/or endangering their health, the nightmare stories are going to continue. Sigh.
the_jack: a low-res style drawing of Te and Jack (Default)

[personal profile] the_jack 2010-03-31 01:46 am (UTC)(link)
Ugh. That should read, "They checked the chair and batteries for explosives residue, not "They checked the chair for battery residue," as my comment above says. Stupid words-other-than-the-words-I meant coming out.

Deaf people do drive

(Anonymous) 2011-03-12 04:30 pm (UTC)(link)
'"Really? So blind people, deaf people, and people with epilepsy can't have bank accounts?"'

I know I'm replying a year late so maybe no one will see this, but for the record, tons of deaf people DO drive and DO have driver's licenses. Being deaf doesn't make you unable or unsafe to drive. And although there are countries that do discriminate against deaf people by not allowing them to get a license, many other countries do allow it, including the US.

Of course this does not negate your underlying point that non-driver's state IDs SHOULD be just as accepted as driver's licenses. But for some reason the idea that deaf people "can't drive" seems to be a ridiculously common misconception that tends to irk me. I don't drive myself, but I have certainly caught rides with deaf people who do drive on plenty of occasions.