Samuel Wolanyk, a 40-year-old San Diego resident, enjoys building fast cars, making investments and discovering the truth. He is also active in the San Diego Open Carry Community. However, in November of last year he suddenly and unsuspectingly became another example of the growing acts of civil disobedience against the TSA’s new and often thought to be invasive screening measures. The California Review recently sat down with Mr. Wolanyk to ask him about the incident and its progress.
Q: Why were you at the airport on the day in question?
A: Flying to Barbados for a weekend vacation with a friend.
Q: Can you briefly describe the incident?
A: I was selected for secondary screening and didn’t want to go through a body scanner, so I was going to be patted down. I’d been patted down the week before and it was disgusting. To avoid being felt up, I stripped down to my underwear so they could see I was not carrying anything on my person. My boxer briefs left nothing to the imagination. I wanted to keep what little dignity I had left, standing there in my underwear.
Q: Were you arrested?
A: I was arrested. I was repeatedly asked if I was refusing the process. I wasn’t. I was not refusing the search; I just didn’t want to be groped and I understand they have to ensure I’m not carrying weapon or a bomb and I thought this was the best way to achieve both ends. They threatened to call the Harbor Police unless I put my clothes back on but I had committed no crime. The supervisor called Harbor Police and said that if I didn’t complete the process, I’d be arrested. I didn’t protest; I just didn’t want them to grope me. Then the TSA supervisor told me to put my clothes back on so I could be patted down! I refused to get dressed just so they could put their hands all over me. It was ridiculous. So I got arrested, cuffed, paraded through the airport in my underwear and put in a patrol car.
Q: What were you charged with?
A: Failure to complete the screening process and making an audio recording without permission from San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.
Q: Will you appeal?
A: Well, I’m not being prosecuted, as of yet. It has been thirty-four days, but they have up to a year to press charges.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to say?
A: Yes, everybody has a point at which they won’t go any further. If the TSA is left unchecked they will eventually meet that line for everyone. Let me give you a scenario: you get selected to go through the body scanner, and the scanner doesn’t penetrate skin. So, you can take something like a .22 automatic, clench it in your butt cheeks, go through scanner, and onto the plane. The security measures are a joke. What would happen next is the TSA would announce that everyone would be anally and vaginally probed as a condition of flying. I think then more people would be upset and not willing to cross that line. My line happens to be closer than most other people’s. I’m not a horrible guy but I am very conscious of civil rights and privacy. Everyone else will do the same thing when their line is crossed.
Scott is a senior in Eleanor Roosevelt College majoring in History and Political Science.