After her jewelry set off a hand held metal detector, Mandi Hamlin was told that she couldn’t board the plane until she removed the jewelry. From the picture on the news article, she had barbell style jewelry which can be hard to take off with ease, which is apparently where the pliers come in. The TSA claims that she could have just opted for a pat down, while Hamlin says that she was not offered that option, obviously. (I think a pat down is more reasonable than taking out body jewelry in what seems like an unhealed piercing). I’ve heard it circulating that Hamlin had a navel piercing, but I can’t confirm. The reasoning behind the incident is a fear of female terrorists hiding things in “sensitive areas”, so of course the response is to ferret through every vulva and nipple until the war on terrorism is over. It’s bad enough to have to flash your nipples to someone just so they believe you’re not packing C4 and shrapnel, but now you have to pull the jewelry out too, and from the descriptions given, it was painful. Their response was to snicker, which doesn’t sound anything like the dignity and respect they claim to give to those with piercings in “sensitive areas”. I can only imagine what happens if someone has genital jewelry, do they whip out the gloves and start inspecting vulvas to make sure there’s no hidden dynamite?
On another note, the article has some issues, “pierced breasts” left a funny mental image, and I’m not sure why they had to work in that her lawyer represents Heather Mills as well.