Airport Protest: Charlottesville Man Strips to Shorts

By: Chris Stover Email
By: Chris Stover Email

December 31, 2010

Charlottesville native Aaron Tobey says he's had enough of those revealing airport body scanners.

"This is not out of character for Aaron," his dad, Robert Tobey, said. "Aaron is a man of conviction."

Before flying out of Richmond's airport Thursday, Tobey was arrested for disorderly conduct amid a peaceful protest. His complaint was that the all-seeing body scanners take away his Fourth Amendment rights.

"We've had talks about his concern about how you have to give up your civil liberties more and more in this country in return for a false feeling of safety," Robert Tobey said.

Tobey had his protest planned out before leaving for the airport. Instead of letting the machines see through his clothes, he does the work for them and strips. With a reference to unlawful search and seizure written across his bare chest, Tobey tries to pass through security wearing nothing but running shorts.

"He was prepared," his dad said.

The 21-year-old Western Albemarle High School graduate and architecture student at the University of Cincinnati is at the top of his class. His dad knew of his half-naked intentions and continues to throw support behind his son.

"I admire my son's convictions," Robert Tobey said. "I admire that he is a young person of conviction and he's willing to stand up to those convictions and accept what the consequences are."

Tobey didn't resist arrest. After an interview with FBI agents, he went on his way to Wisconsin to be with friends for the new year.

"He does not do things in an irrational manner," Robert Tobey said. "He thinks things through before he does them."

Robert Tobey smiles as he thinks about his son's actions.

"I'm quite proud of him," he said.

Aaron Tobey is scheduled to be arraigned on the disorderly conduct charge in Henrico County Court on Jan. 10.

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