I haven’t really been following the news lately so when all of these TSA/security check/body scanner/pat-down stories cropped up in my Twitter feed over the last couple of days, I figured something was up for everyone to get so riled up. I initially thought that maybe the masses are coming to the aid of those of us who constantly get checked at the airport. Then I realized that the screenings have been implemented for everyone – you can either choose to go through the scanner or get a pat-down.
Here’s where I admit something that may or may not make me a terrible person – I had the reaction of “Ha! Now you [this is when I point at common folk] know what’s it like!”
I figured that now everyone would know the plight of the unlucky few, how it feels to be standing there, arms out, standing awkwardly trying not to giggle as the overenthusiastic security agent slides her hands over the surface of your ticklish self as you lament that donut you had for breakfast while explaining to the security lady that you are totally planning to drop a few pounds and work out your abs. All this while trying to bite back inappropriate remarks that could be the difference from being able to continue on to your flight or, if said, would reward you with a trip to the back room where you have to answer to a rather large security guard named “Tiny”.
But then, once I actually read through what the security enhancements entail, I was a bit, um, flabbergasted. Seriously, you’re going to touch people where? I couldn’t understand how it could possibly be okay for complete strangers to be allowed to grope everyone. Well, those who opt out of the scanner at least.
In all honesty, I don’t quite know how I feel about the scanner. There seems to be a lot of stuff on the interweb about the radiation levels from “Dude, don’t worry” to “OMIGOD we’re going to DIE!!”. Also, I can’t quite figure out if scanner images will be nothing more that white, blurry, blobs or if some stuff can actually be made out to the point of it being inappropriate. I think I have to do a lot more reading before I make a judgment about the safety/lewdness of scanners. Having said that, if you don’t want to get an x-ray, that should be up to you.
However, getting back to the grope-down, I’m in complete awe to the level that TSA is going to take it. Do they actually think that people will stand for this and allow themselves to be humiliated every time they want to go on a flight? It’s unbelievable.
Judging from the uproar due to these new security measures, this matter is far from settled though. It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out and whether it actually succeeds in making us all feel safer or if we all end up trying to do whatever is we can to get out of flying.
Further reading: CNN has an article about myths and facts from TSA’s fact sheet.