By Kelvin Wade
Airline security has been a big focus ever since 9/11. Much of it has been for show. Now, they’re going too far.
Last month, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy group, filed suit against the Department of Homeland Security to stop them from using full body scanners at 19 airports. The scanners can see through clothing.
When I first heard of the full body scanners, it gave me pause but it doesn’t seem like something that will slow the line down too much. And if someone gets a brief smile out of what they see when I walk my ample arse through it, knock themselves out. I’m on my way to my destination.
However, the Transportation Security Administration has started testing “enhanced patdowns” at two of the nation’s busiest airports. The new procedures are a departure from the old back of the hand patdowns. The new procedure is an aggressive palms-first slide down over the body with, as one passenger told USA Today, “probing and pushing” in the genital area.
So you’re telling me that in order to fly to your family reunion, you’ve got to let a TSA agent get to second base? This is a bridge too far. Never mind that TSA assures passengers that it will be a same sex patdown (I can see homophobes becoming apoplectic).
Just how soon until instead of just putting your laptop and shoes in that plastic tub at the airport, you’ll just have to put all your clothes in there and line up nude? Of course that wouldn’t be good enough either because someone could always have something hidden in a body cavity. Prisoners are experts at it. Will passengers get the full San Quentin treatment in order to fly?
“Hands above your head. Hands out in front of you. Wiggle your fingers. Reach down and lift…”
Are we really going to be fondling breasts and genitals trying to determine if what they’re feeling are actual body parts or explosives? Will those people unfortunate enough to be called out of line and physically probed then have to disrobe completely? What if its not you? What if it’s your wife, mother or brother? And who is going to be checking the teenagers and children, because terrorists are not above using them?
We could make driving safer by making the driving test harder. We can require that cell phone batteries be removed from cell phones inside vehicles. We can require drivers and passengers to wear helmets and flame retardant jumpsuits and drop the maximum speed limit to 25 miles per hour. We can have those limits strictly enforced with $1,000 speeding tickets. It would make our roads much safer but at what cost?
We try to make driving as safe as possible without regulating it to the point where its ridiculous.
Our focus needs to be on identifying and nabbing the bad guys before they ever make it to the airport. We should be enhancing our no-fly lists instead of enhancing patdowns. We have full body scanners in use at 19 airports that can see through clothing. There’s no doubt this program will be expanded.
But at some point, we have to realize that in a free society, there are risks to everything. At some point, they’ve got to let us just fly.