The Full Story: Like so many civil-disobedience champions before him, John Tyner touched a nerve with his stand against the controversial airport screening "backscatter" X-ray. In his case, he accidentally coined a phrase, a call for the oppressed: "Don't touch my junk." On Nov. 13, Tyner opted out of the full-body scan at San Diego International Airport, citing discomfort with the lucidity of the entirely naked images it creates. The TSA alternative to the scan is a pat-down. But when the TSA agent described the groin check -- how he would "put a hand on your inner thigh, slowly go up and then slide down" -- Tyner responded, "If you touch my junk, I'm going to have you arrested." He was not allowed to fly, ejected from the airport and threatened with a $10,000 fine and a civil suit. However, he caught the interaction on his cell-phone video camera and posted it on his blog -- writing in that post that "I felt what they were doing was a sexual assault, and that if they were anyone but the government, the act would be illegal." Within 48 hours, the whole world knew. He was interviewed on CNN and other outlets, and his "touch my junk" remark became the rallying cry for the growing discontentment with airport security measures.
What's Happened Since? It's strange, and somewhat ironic, to become instantly famous by insisting on privacy. Tyner has been both hailed as a Rosa Parks-type hero and ridiculed as a hysterical leftist. His name is mentioned frequently as a jumping-off point for conversations about the full-body-scan controversy, and while "don't touch my junk" isn't quite as stirring as "I have a dream," it has nonetheless grown into a meme with a purpose. Bumper stickers and all.
In His Own Words: Reached by AOL News this week, Tyner said, "I don't like the celebrity that has come along with what I did. I'm not getting rich from it, and it comes with a certain amount of negative attention. Don't get me wrong. I'm proud of what I did, and part of me enjoys the positive attention, but that hasn't outweighed the time it takes away from my personal life and the loss of privacy, even if only a perceived loss. On the other hand, there are a lot of people who are behind what I did. If it was just me, I'd be happy to say that what I did got people talking and leave it at that. On the other hand, not everyone is in a position to take a stand the way I did for any number of reasons, and I've had a lot of people tell me that they hope I won't let this issue die. ... I feel a certain responsibility to those people."
Video: Tyner's original cellphone video | Tyner on Fox News
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