Our story last week about a TSA screener's security pat-down of a Los Angeles media sweetheart touched a sensitive area among readers.
The story ("TSA Employee vs. Advice Goddess," by Martin Berg, Sept. 16) reported that advice columnist Amy Alkon says a TSA agent placed her fingers inside Alkon's vagina, through her pants, and groped her breasts at LAX. On her Advice Goddess blog, Alkon called it rape. Then everyone lawyered up. The agent, Thedala Magee, claims defamation and wants money.
"Amy Alkon is far from the only person who has been thus abused," writes reader Lisa Simeone. "Thousands upon thousands of others also have. Don't believe me? I've been tracking these abuses for over a year. ... Go to Travel Underground (domain is dot-org) and look for Master Lists of TSA Crimes and Abuses."
Jonathan Corbett writes: "Every member of the TSA is a part of a systematic raping of the American people of their constitutional rights. By putting her hands in between Ms. Alkon's labia, the airport security screener went even beyond the rape allowed by the TSA. Assuming truth of the accusation, Ms. Magee should be in jail."
Michael Morgan writes: "Not only am I totally behind Ms. Alkon ... if she ever starts a legal defense fund I'll be sending money the minute I hear about it."
Elizabeth Conley takes exception to this line of our story: "At issue in particular are pat-downs TSA conducts when air travelers refuse to go through body scanners at the airports."
"Nope," Conley writes. "These assaults are usually perpetuated against the docile majority who consent to irradiation. Not only are the machines medically hazardous, but they simply don't work. Forty percent of the time the submissive radiation victims are groped as a result of the machine having malfunctioned.
"While 100 percent of the people who refuse to be irradiated are groped, 40 percent of those who submit to irradiation are groped as well."
And what discussion of rape would be complete without the opinions of a lunkhead?
"Rape," writes Benjamin Cole. "Through the pants? By a gloved hand?"
Damn 1 writes: "For any male who cannot fathom how that could be rape, or at the very least overly invasive, let that same hand delve an inch or so into his rectum and, even through the pants, I'm sure he "might get the point.' "
Iam Wendy replies: "Yes, Benjamin ... at least in the surrogate sense. You might not understand (being that you are a Benjamin and all), but having some stranger stick fingers in a female's private parts does, to many of us, constitute rape."
Yes, and you can include the authors of state rape laws among those who define rape that way.
Saving Malibu Lagoon
Our cover story on the dispute over the best way to save Malibu Lagoon ("The Battle for Malibu Lagoon," by Hillel Aron, Sept. 2) continues to draw letters.
Kim Drobny of Malibu writes that the story "neglected to challenge a consistent false argument made by proponents of the state's plan to bulldoze Malibu Lagoon. Supporters of the plan would have us believe the debate is between activists with passion and scientists with brains. That is untrue. Top scientists are also critical of the state's misguided project. Preeminent wetlands scholar Wayne Ferrin stated in comments last year to the California Coastal Commission that the state's Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Plan was 'based upon a number of conceptual and factual errors' and recommended that it be denied approval.
"Ferrin's alternative plan, which can be seen on www.savemalibulagoon.com, is based on strong science and backed by the activists who have rejected the state's existing project."
Gene Maddaus' cover story on the FBI bust and subsequent suicide of a Hollywood producer ("Secrets & Lies," Sept. 16) brought an eager response from a reader in Valencia.
"Doooods," writes P.B. "I have just finished Gene Maddaus' wonderful article and couldn't help but send along my congrats. I laughed out loud at times and had to be shushed by co-workers, until I gave them a copy and then 20 minutes later, they were laughing out loud. Excellent article.
"You have proven once again that the L.A. Weekly, not the Daily News, not the Times, certainly not the Recycler, is the premier printed paper in L.A. county."
Dooood. You had us going until "Recycler." Where do you think we get our ideas? (But nice to know you're reading us at work.)
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Ian Cohen's Sept. 1 story, "Thundercat Emerges With His Debut, Co-Produced by Flying Lotus," incorrectly states that singer-songwriter Bethany Cosentino was in a manufactured pop act before starting Best Coast. Cosentino did, in fact, do session work as a teenager, but was not in a pop group.