NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - Antonia Riggs Miernik reluctantly rolls up her left pant leg, revealing a scar that runs down her knee. When Miernik was 27 years old, she was injured in a car crash, and “basically destroyed the knee.” Now, she has a metal knee implant.
One of the effects of the implant is that whenever the New Port Richey woman flies, she triggers the metal detectors at airport security. She says the normal procedure is that she is then subjected to a TSA pat down. She has experienced multiple pat downs since Sept. 11.
“I feel molested. I’d like to go take a shower with Lysol (afterwards),” Miernik said, describing the pat downs, which she said includes being “touched all over.”
Miernik said the worst experience she had came when her 7-year-old granddaughter was at the airport with her. When her granddaughter saw the pat down, “She went ‘Grandmama, they touched you on your special girl spots.’”
Miernik was mortified, as was her granddaughter, she said.. She believes the pat downs are unnecessarily intrusive, and she hasn’t even experienced the “more aggressive” pat downs the TSA started employing Oct. 29.
“If this happened to me in college on a date, I would have called the police,” Miernik said.
TSA, though, has maintained the aggressive pat downs are an important measure in preventing any exploding device from making it onto a plane.
On Saturday, President Obama said the pat downs “cause huge inconveniences for all of us,” adding that he “understood people’s frustrations.”
Miernik said she once wrote a letter to TSA complaining about the pat downs. She said they responded that, as an American, she didn’t have to submit to the body scanners or the pat downs. They added, though, that she would have to find a different form of transportation.
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