Other than myself hating the new TSA scanning and pat downs, I didn't know who really hated the new screening process. The last two days, I set out to find out. Initially I wrote a blog post that likely was too angry and totally irrational and I wasn't ready to speak up about why I was truly against this. As a frequent flyer (more than 10 flights per year), I am worried about my next flight. My last flight, about a month ago, was out of Dulles International Airport. The last DC area airport that doesn't use the body scanners. I'll be honest, as a recovering molestation and rape victim who suffered as a child, this hits me on so many levels. When I saw the nearly viral video of the pink clad toddler girl screaming "stop touching me", I was swallowing my vomit and sobbing.
The news has this idea that most Americans are fine with the changes. BUT... Most Americans don't fly every year. Most Americans aren't faced with this in the next month or two. Only a small percentage of Thanksgiving travel (less than 10%) is via airplane. Over 90% of Thanksgiving travel is by automobile. I tried out my point of view (that this really does go too far) on a comment board of a news article. I got slammed by several people who said this is necessary for security! Really? Is it? Because the shoe bomber and underwear bomber were missed by the TSA, who already have the technology and clearance to swab your hands for explosive residue. Which might have stopped one or both from boarding. Frequent fliers know that they are safer in the air than driving, terrorist threats or not. However, most frequent fliers I'm reading about or know personally seem to hate this with a passion.
You know what's really eerie about this? Two extremist points of view POLAR OPPOSITE of each other agree that this new screening has literally gone too far. Ann Coulter (who's name I shudder at) and the ACLU (who brings bile to my mouth) agree this screening is going too far and violating regular, law abiding citizens rights. And I agree completely. I don't want to show my body even for 3 seconds. It makes me sick. I don't want to show my son's body either. The alternative, the groin and breast grope would likely send me into a panic attack. In advance of a planned trip during Christmas I cancelled my flight and rented a car. But my work travel is a different animal. I'm hoping and praying that this will change because I've got Orlando, Chicago, and a few other destinations it will be hard to drive to coming up very fast after the New Year. And I love my job and the work I am doing.
I don't think telling people who oppose this "just don't fly" or "you give up your rights when you purchase your ticket" really helps the issue. First of all, some people have to fly for work reasons or when a family member is gravely ill. Second of all, telling people not to fly will only damage the airline economy and raise already skyrocketing ticker prices (and fees). Third of all, (and most importantly) the TSA is a federal agency and NO ONE should ever have to "give up their rights" when they purchase anything. If this doesn't violate the 4 amendment, it certainly toes that line. This system still doesn't detect ALL powder based or plastic C-4 explosives and it simply forces people to endure humiliation for the appearance of safety. This is America, we're still free and our rights apply in an airport, a train station, at concerts, and everywhere. What more are people going to give up in the name of "safety"? What happens when they bring these scanners into other places because the terrorists start going for other targets?
We could have stopped the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber if we did a simple background check. Is that profiling? Nope. Simply determine whether people can purchase tickets based on their risk factors (like having open warrants, possible Al Quaeda ties, or a one way flight with no luggage...) and stop the sale right then and there. The metal detectors, x-rays, and swabs for residue will work fine if we're stopping the red flags before they even approach the TSA.
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