New Rules Lead To A New Backlash

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It’s gettin’ ugly out there: more air travellers are protesting the TSA’s security measures at airports, which now are more restrictive than anytime before, including the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

Over the weekend, a grass-roots movement was born, urging fliers to protest on the busiest travel day of the year, next Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. The ‘organizers’ are calling it National Opt-out Day.  I’m not sure they’re allowed to use the word “National,” but anyway….

A large majority –80%, by some counts– of air passengers go through standard metal detectors. But passengers also are being directed to the newer Advanced Imaging Technology  detectors. Known to their detractors as a virtual strip search, the new detectors use low-level radiation to see under your clothes.  All this, you already know.

Air travellers can ‘opt-out’ of the detectors, and instead get the new pat-down, which is much more intimate (if that’s the right word) than the old one. Some see it as a choice between being shown naked, and being groped.

The newly formed opt-out crowd wants fliers to demand pat-downs next Wednesday, with the goal of slowing long security lines even more.  Hmmmm: passive resistance, an effective form of protest since Gandhi, and  Selma.

I’ve never had any serious run-ins with the typically humorless TSA folks. At bigger airports, I have wondered why it appears some are just hanging around at checkpoints, with no real duty. Once,  I spotted a guy who took my carry-on behind a screen, not just flipping through the pages of a car magazine I had, but reading an article. He seemed embarrassed I saw him through a crack in the partition. Once a woman told me my clear plastic shaving kit looked ‘excessive.’ I asked what she meant, and she said “Looks excessive.”  It was an odd moment, without any real resolution.

After next Wednesday, such irritations may seem trivial, as Uncle Sam and private citizens build toward a showdown.  Shall we mention the obvious? There are ways for men and women to conceal whatever they want to conceal on their bodies, that are undetectable to the new scanners and pat-downs. I am hesitant to bring this up, because cavity searches are not my idea of the way to start a trip.

Comments (6)
  1. James says:

    These machines have nothing to do with security, this is merely a show of force from the tsa. These machines are not cheap, and they are going to make a phew lobbyists and law makers very rich.
    Napolitano herself may even be on the corporate payroll from Rapiscan Systems.
    This is a BETA test folks. If they can FORCE us to use these 4th ammendment destroying machines in the airports, they will then start installing them in our courthouses and possibly even find their way into our public schools.
    This is called biometric scanning, and it is ILLEGAL under the U.S. Constitution.
    There are a number of less invasive, as well as more effective ways of screening passengers, bomb and chemical sniffing dogs are far more effective, cost less, and do not radiate us!
    Once again we are allowing ourselves to be taken advantage of by our government while they collect millions from their buddy’s in the corporate lobby.

  2. Gator Dad says:

    Let’s pretend for a minute that the new machines and/or pat-downs are necessary. A big leap of faith. What happens to your carry on bags while you are being irradiated or searched? There are already problems with bags being taken or opened at airports with just the carry on X-ray and walk-through metal detectors.

    Also, just how well trained are these screeners that are doing the pat-downs? I used to be a police officer and I can tell you it’s tough enough finding needles, knives, etc. on handcuffed suspects. From what I’ve seen, many of the TSA folks are just not able to provide the level of professionalism that we’d like to have [there are exceptions, of course]. Maybe we should require that everyone fly “commando” so they won’t hide any stuff in their skivvies!

    Another example of the federal bureaucrats building empires. Perhaps this is an opportunity to see more of the country by auto or train???

  3. SCSOCAL says:

    The terrorists must be laughing at us by now. Everytime they do something,
    we respond, Israel has a great process and it is not doing the things we do!
    Maybe there is a lesson here. Our methods are getting more ridiculous and
    I won’t travel anymore until this screening process is changed. The airlines
    will be hurt by this type of screening and the pilots will be subjected to a lot
    more radiation which I don’t like. My son is a pilot for American Airlines.

  4. Linda Cervantes says:

    Voluntarily expose my naked body to some random stranger? Uh, no. Voluntarily opt for some random stranger to molest me instread? Uh, no.
    And, what is this supposed to accomplish again?

  5. Dave Combs says:

    This really hits home for me. I have a medical device and cannot go through the Metal detectors at the Airports. It has been difficult at times but the TSA has never been Invasive and always very polite. I thank them and apologize to them every time and I am very happy they are willing to do this for me. I know they do not enjoy this, can you quit thinking of yourselves and realize that they are only doing their jobs and how uncomfortable it is for them. If you don’t like it WALK! This is pithetic are you kidding me? Don’t flatter yourselves you are not that pretty!

    1. Linda Cervantes says:

      Why do people feel the need to insult others just to make a point. Couldn’t you have expressed your opinion without the insult? Nice.
      Obviously we all are not going to agree on this topic.

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