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Pat down protest goes viral in US

world Updated: Nov 17, 2010 00:29 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
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For most Indians, it’s part of a regular cinema outing. In the US, “pat down” as an airport security drill is snowballing into a major privacy row, with one passenger on Saturday refusing to fly than have his “junk” felt up.

“If you touch my junk, I will have your arrested,” John Tyner told security personnel at San Diego airport, left shortly and promptly posted a secretely recorded tape of this experience on youtube. And, he put it up on his blog.

The whole package went completey viral over the weekend – fuelled by breathless TV coverage -- and he turned into a a minor celebrity, being called everything from a hero to a nut to a Gandhi-like figure for his civil-disobedience.

The airport officials had explained – or tried at least – to Tyner as he prepared to board a flight for ahunting trip with his father in law that as he was unwilling to go through the body scanner, he will have to be patted down.

The description went a little too graphic, Tyner blew up threatening to have the screener arrested for patting down his groin area. He later said he used the word “junk” to keep the atmosphere lighthearted.

But little did he know then that word would turn him into a hero. Over 5,000 people have left messages on Tyner’s blog – many more must have visited, read and surfed on -- which he runs under another name Johnny Edge. ‘I'm proud of your civil 'disobediance' and standing up for your rights,” said a post on his blog. ‘Wow, Civil Disobedience Rocks!” said another. Others offered him money to fight any case brought against hi by authorities. Others, not many, were not impressed and called him a retard arguing security was important and people should get used to these little inconveniences.