Pat Me Down, Bro!

The anger continues to build over what you have to go through at the airports this holiday season. Thus far in the growing public debate over enhanced airport security screening techniques, the people against leave-no-secrets body imaging X-Rays and "invasive" pat-downs have taken center stage.

Have you seen the semi-celebrity John Tyner, who objected to a revealing X-Ray screening and then told a TSA security agent, 'If you 'touch my junk, I'll have you arrested' video - hilarious:

The funny thing is that he didn't want to go through the body scanner and he opted for the security check, and didn't like that. Dude, you can't get a halfway security check - I think he definitely deserved not to fly.

A recent CBS News poll indicates 4 out of 5 Americans are in favor of the new screenings.

But, one Florida airport has decided to opt out of these security measures, amid concerns over radiation from scanners, civil lawsuits over pat-downs, and general ineptitude on the part of TSA airport personnel. Orlando Sanford International Airport has announced that it will opt out of the TSA's screening program.

How, you may wonder, can an airport get away with this? Suffice it to say the law is on their side. The Aviation and Transportation Security Act, created after 9/11, contains an opt-out clause. Under it, any U.S. airport is free to hire its own private contracting firm to conduct screenings so long as it used Federal screeners for a period of two years.

Listen, I'm all for these "invasive" pat downs. Although, no one I've loved has been on a hijacked plane, I'm all about the security of innocent people. I don't understand why people don't think these security measures aren't necessary.

For example, if something happens during the holiday season, Americans will be so quick to blame the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for not doing enough or not doing their job effectively. These security measures are exactly what we need. Please, touch my groin or grab my butt if it helps save my life before I
board a plane. Did people forget that we had a terrorist that had a bomb
in his groin? No body parts are safe.

I can see why some Americans think, in their hearts, that the airport security is just a big show - form over substance.  And, they're becoming impatient with strategies they feel are just there to placate political demands rather the genuine security threats. I get that, but, for some reason, this isn't true. I feel this genuinely is about the safety of innocent people.

The difficult truth is that the threat to commercial aviation continues, and perhaps has grown, since 9/11. Screw the privacy issue, here's a message to the hot male TSA screener, feel free to pat me down, and, if you like, touch my junk a little. I'm all about flying safely. But, I have to warn you, I may charge a baggage handling fee - ha!

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  • ..At the checkout counter...

    Excuse me sir, I notice you've purchased a candy bar with peanuts. Do you have your "Nuggetty underwritten test signature card (NUTS Card)"? No? Ok then sir, before we finish your transaction you'll need to follow me over here while we do an allergy test on you. What? you'd rather not? Thats fine sir, then we'll just fine you 10,000 and consider whether or not we're going to put you in jail, please wait here. Oh, ok, so you are willing to take the test? Alright, lets get started. No, you're not going to be allowed to buy that candy now because you indicated you'd rather not perform the test. Yes you still have to take the test or accept the fine and jail time now, even though we're not going to sell you that candy, oh, and we've already charged your credit card for the candy too.

    Sounds a bit nuts doesn't it? Well at least it's a more realistic danger than a "terrorist" on a flight. You run a much greater danger from a peanut allergy or even chocking on a peanut from a candy bar than you do of being involved in any credible incident on a flight.

    The travisty here is that while the TSA is busy harassing innocent people with this security theater nothing is really being done to make flying any safer (not that it's not already one of the safest methods of transportation in existance) Spend some time here http://www.schneier.com/ and take a look at soemone with a proven security record (Bruce was one of the crytpographers who submitted a system to replace the aging system teh goverment uses to keep "top secret" top secret.

  • My problem is losing agency over my own body in order to fly. I have to give permission to STRANGERS who are not my husband, or my doctor, to view me naked in public, or to touch me inappropriately in public. Do I have a right to fly without being blown up? Yes. Does that mean I should sacrifice my right to not have a stranger view me naked, or touch me in ways I don't wish for strangers to touch me in order to do this? Other countries manage it, without sexually abusing flyers. I think we do live in the greatest country in the world, and I think we CAN do better, and we SHOULD do better.

    This has been *very* hard on people who have been sexually abused in the past. They didn't give permission for someone to abuse them, they had their agency over their own body taken from them by force. Some have had a very long road to get to a place where they felt like they were in charge of their own bodies again. Now they're told that in order to fly home for a funeral, or to go somewhere for work, they need to give up that feeling of control over their own bodies, or they just need to go find some other form of transportation. It takes five days to get from Tampa to LA via train/bus. That's really not feasible if grandma died today and she's being laid to rest two days from now, or if work needs you somewhere ASAP. We should just re-traumatize sexual assault victims all over again for the sake of their jobs, or family functions, I suppose.

    My personal objection has to do with my medical situation. HIPAA regulations mean that my boss, or close family members don't need to know my medical situation, but now I'm going to disclose these things to someone I don't even know? Someone who does not have a medical education to understand what they're seeing on the cancer-causing "naked scanner" so that I will STILL have to get physically naked... IN PUBLIC, and explain what that port is on my side, so that they can see the incision scars and know I didn't RECENTLY have something implanted into me that can blow up a plane... Or I get the full pat-down. And they ask me what that thing is on my side (or hurt it or damage it--it's very sensitive), and I still have to explain myself and show it to them.

    What's the big deal? According to HIPAA, the law acknowledges that my medical issues are my own business. They are between me and my doctor alone. I don't recall signing HIPAA release forms for TSA. And I probably wouldn't. These are not medical professionals, and from all of the abuse stories I've been hearing--they're not professionals. They're hourly employees who have been trained to do a job, but don't have the professional background knowledge necessary to work autonomously. There've been numerous stories of TSA employees abusing their power and not following their own procedures, to the detriment of people with medical conditions, or just plain traumatizing people.

    This is America. It's a great place with many wonderful freedoms. But we need to protect those freedoms. We need to find a way to make flying safe and secure, and still protect basic rights, such as a person's rights over their own body, and the rights of parents with small children.

  • They are damned if they do and damned if they don't. It's fine to say that the chances are slim that a threat will happen; at least until it happens to us or someone we know. While I don't want someone touching me or invading my space if it helps to catch someone dangerous then I'm for it. BUT the people doing these checks have to be trained, and not just in the physical inspections but in communication and making people comfortable with what they are doing.

  • TSA - Thanks for Saving my A**
    :-)
    http://www.cafepress.com/tsarocks

  • Everyone is fine with profiling blacks and Muslims, or sending poor kids off to fight and die and kill people in other countries, all in the name of security, as long as we can feel safe in our pursuit of burning fossil fuels to fly off somewhere at 500 miles an hour. But when privileged white people have to face some inconvenience, then everyone screams about their rights being violated.

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