April 18th, 2012
05:36 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Readers cheer efforts of naked TSA protester

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

We last spoke of jets carrying shuttles and planes dodging Venus, and we're venturing skyward again (after the security check) with this story of a man who stripped naked at Portland International Airport in Oregon to protest TSA searches. Many of our readers have hailed him as some sort of unclothed hero, while others aren't sure about the value of being naked in public.

Police: Man strips naked at Oregon airport in TSA protest

CNN has already spoken with John Brennan, the naked flier, and we found him apparently commenting on the story about the incident. One of the posts gave this advice:

John Brennan: "Always smile for your mug shot. I look so grim, but I'd never been to jail before."

From our other readers, this was the most-liked comment:

Anex: "While it sucks for the people who had to wait because of him, or the children's/passerby's poor eyes, I respect what he did. His protest was non-violent and just shows the general sentiment of airport security."

USA401: "Yes but it is also illegal to be naked in public and refusing to cooperate. Lets face it, those are two things we want to keep as laws."

Many of our readers said people need to calm down and realize that airport security is a necessity.

collagekid: "Get off your high horse and deal with it. If you dont want to fly because the TSA may feel you are hiding something or have cause to search you then don't fly. Its your right not to; however, when you purchase a ticket I feel you give up your right to some of those privacies and liberties. I have no problem with TSA doing whatever and whenever to ensure that they can prevent someone from inflicting harm on an airplane or worse. The truth is, when they search children or people in wheelchairs, they do it because there are people out there who are disturbed enough to strap a bomb to a child!"

A few readers with knowledge about Portland's local laws had a different take.

Clay Pratt: "I am amazed he was arrested in a city they allows a mass public naked bike ride right through it's most congested and populated business districts every year. Portland has no laws against public nudity. They do have laws regarding lewd behavior while nude, though they would not apply to this mans behaviors."

Some of the people who responded said nudity isn't such a bad thing.

in13deep: "Is it wrong that I would rather my children see a naked human being standing up for his rights than seeing fellow human beings being treated as suspects and cattle? If you hide your children's eyes from anything, it should be mommy and daddy being treated not as free men but as slaves to the system."

yalesouth: "Ridiculous. Mommy and daddy could have driven if they did not want to go through security. I agree that at times it seems superfluous, but you have no right to fly if you do not submit."

This person claimed to have unknowingly snuck banned items through security.

Chips_Handon: "A while ago I traveled from Chicago O'hare to Minneapolis-St. Paul and back while unknowingly carrying two live rounds of rifle ammunition in my backpack that I had failed to clear out after a day at the range. I found them after the trip and I was shocked that neither airport identified the ammunition on my way through. It was then that I realized that the TSA workers are so jaded about their jobs that they're just looking for the standard toothpaste and hairspray to confiscate because real threats never occur. The only thing the TSA is good for is offering exciting job opportunities for perverts and amassing the worlds largest collection of nail clippers. We are no safer because of them."

One reader said he thinks the whole situation is a bit ironic.

GuyIncognito26: "So, Uncle Sam only likes seeing you naked when it's against your will? When you do it willingly it's a crime. Gotcha."

Another replied to the above comment thusly:

lifeandliberty2012: "It is protests of this nature which sends a message to governments and to tyrants of every sort. Elected or otherwise. He made it clear that them seeing him naked would be on his and not their terms. It is the last act of dignity of a free man who will choose to voluntarily die or unclothe instead of being forced to. Tyrants fail when people protest by making it clear who is in control of them. It is the last and most provocative act of protest that any man can muster. It is to send a message that you may be able to beat me, you may be able to arrest me, you may even be able to kill me but you will never destroy my spirit. A bully may be able to physically and institutionally dominate their victims but they lose when they can not destroy our spirits and our thirst for liberty."

Another said they don't understand why some other commenters were using words like "tyranny."

CaptnKirk: "If you think just getting groped is tyranny, give up your U.S. citizenship and go live in Iran for a year or two then give us your assessment of tyranny."

Hmmm ... idea.

Buddharoddy: "I say they have a naked line. It would move pretty fast."

What's your take on this story? Would you ever get naked for a cause? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. ♚Mmmmm♛

    the layers of rolls...and no butter!

    April 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • keeth

      Only shallow minds pay attention to such things.

      April 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. lisasimeone

    Good for him. Someone with guts, unlike the masses of sheeple in this country who blindly acquiesce to the abuse by the TSA.

    April 18, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. ronvan

    YEP: Have to say he has more guts than I have. Wonder about all those that took pictures? Unfortunatley this will only be an anecdote for a couple of days and then things will return to normal. STRIP SEARCH anyone?

    April 18, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Mr Dalloway

    I think it was a brilliant move on his part, BRAVO!

    April 18, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Richard

      I agree. I would love to be on his jury. Jury nullification. Nonviolent protest is the way to make a point.

      April 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sara

    He should have cooperated? Hell no. Airport "security" is a travesty and designed to oppress Americans in their own country. The Bush administration failed to heed warnings that Al Quaeda had planned a major attack on the United States, (paraphrased from an actual National Daily Briefing), so in the name of "doing something," my 85-year-old mother-in-law has to take off her shoes and have naked pictures taken in order to get on an airplane to see her daughter. I won't fly ever again.

    April 18, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Mark

    This man's brave act could also be a taste of things to come if some whacko tries to hide things where the sun doesn't shine. If the underwear bomber or the shoe bomber had inserted his device up his butt, we would already be subjected to strip searches and/or cavity searches. So all you "patriots" who are so willing to give up our rights just to fly on a plane can think about that while you bend over for freedom.

    April 18, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • mickey1313

      Agreed to paraphrase Ben Franklin, those who will give up liberty for security deserve neither.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. mickey1313

    It is sad that nudity is illegal. It out three natural state of being, and only because society is governed by Victorian standards, are people persecuted for nudity. So, we mandate the buying of corporate goods, just like the mandate of issuances insurance, I'm talking vehicle not health. Sig hail to corporate fascism.

    April 19, 2012 at 1:47 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. N Tyler

    America show they butt again where have our morals gone to hell in a hand bag.We dont trust in God no more.Everything is out of control and its nothing funny about it.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:04 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. StrCrsd Willamette

    @CaptnKirk. Is punching you in the eye "just a little', rather than making your face into hamburger meat any less assult? Tyranny in any measure is none the less tyranny.
    @mickey1313. Bravo.
    For all, we have a "nude without lewd" law here in Oregon, so he was breaking not the law, however I speculate, both the TSA agent and a Portland Port Authority Police officers egalitarinistc sence of being able to order around citizens unlawfully.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. StrCrsd Willamette

    Furthermore, shame on any Multnomah Co. circuit court judge that even entertains finding him guilty.
    That being said, a message to all Multnomah Co. circuit court judges. The voting public of Oregon will be watching this case. If you rule against justice, we will pay it back come election time!

    April 19, 2012 at 3:07 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. lreene

    It is so sad to see the type of comments made by "collagekid" and "yalesouth". True products of a Nanny Society. It is NOT the government's job to protect you, or anyone else. It is YOUR own job.

    For those that don't feel safe flying without all the security theater, STAY ON THE GROUND and let the rest of us fly in peace. We'd all be safer, and the skies would be safer.

    April 19, 2012 at 3:44 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thinker23

      The vast majority of us do not feel secure. If you do not like security checks HIRE A PRIVATE JET FOR YOURSELF.

      April 19, 2012 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. Holly Moley

    Please don't do this unless you have a half way decent bod please

    April 19, 2012 at 4:23 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Thinker23

    I would suggest anyone having problems with the TSA security checks to offer BETTER ways to prevent potential terrorists from attempting to murder scores of people. BETTER means MORE effective, MORE reliable, LESS intrusive and LESS costly. As long as you're unable to offer BETTER methods for the TSA to do its job it means that the methods the TSA is using are the BEST methods you know. It makes no sense to complain that the BEST is not good enough.

    April 19, 2012 at 5:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brian

      You want a better method? Okay, what we had in place on 9/10/2001. If box cutters were banned, they would have been caught then. You want even better? How 'bout what we had on 1/1/1968. Metal detectors and no more. 4th amendment protects my rights against unreasonable search and seizure. If that scares you, then you walk. I'll fly. I'm not afraid, nor are other Americans. We didn't get where we are by hiding in a corner being afraid to move.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. James Jones

    I would strip search anyway if they told me to .... I have nothing to hide
    In fact all persons over the age of 18 should have to.... that way I could
    see all the soccer moms and housewives who are ashamed of their
    nudity ;)

    April 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Albert Pratt

    Don't Like my comments CNN?

    April 25, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse | Reply
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