Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Airport Security: Where's the line?

We live in a country where people can and will protest any and everything.  If you are flying anywhere this Holiday season, please give yourself PLENTY of time.  People are PISSED about the TSA's new procedures on pat downs and screening.   Now, when you go through security, you may be asked to step into a screener that takes an x-rayed "picture" of you.  However, this has become highly controversial and many people are "opting out" and going for the every-so-personal pat down, which is, ironically, just as controversial as the x-ray screening.

I thought we had come to terms with the fact that we can't bring liquids of any kind on a plane including the deadly, lotion, cologne, shampoo or soda.  We learned to avoid this by simply putting those items in our checked baggage...then they tripled the rate of our checked bags....BASTARDS!!!   I thought we were okay with getting undressed, removing all belts, watches, chewing gum foil wrappers, shoes, coats, jackets, even sweat shirts that could be worn as a jacket.  We gave a pass to the "random" checks AFTER walking nearly naked through a medal detector, the need to show up at the airport 3 hours earlier than usual and we didn't mind profiling if it was used to detain someone with a "funny" sounding name or a towel around their head.  Before, ALL of that was fine.  It was generally accepted that it was ALL in the name of National Security and the War on Terror.  An opinion writer in the New York Times from 2007, expresses how baffled he was that the American Public was so tolerant of being "humiliated":
In the end, I’m not sure which is more troubling, the inanity of the existing regulations, or the average American’s acceptance of them and willingness to be humiliated. These wasteful and tedious protocols have solidified into what appears to be indefinite policy, with little or no opposition. There ought to be a tide of protest rising up against this mania. Where is it? At its loudest, the voice of the traveling public is one of grumbled resignation. The op-ed pages are silent, the pundits have nothing meaningful to say.  - NYT Opinion Pages December 28, 2007

Why were we so tolerant back then... but not so much now?  If you've been watching the news or listening to the radio AT ALL, you would've heard the latest "issue" with airport security.  Apparently, NOW it is just simply too intrusive.  Sure, there were grumbles here and there... but I've NEVER seen the TSA Chief (John Pistole) on television this much! 

So, my mind began to wonder...I must admit... my first thoughts (right or wrong) were that now that there is an African American Administration, there is just a general need to bitch and complain about everything to make life hell for the President.  But that wasn't fair... Was it?  My next thought was that the Republican spin machine was/is AMAZING!!!  Not only did they make it so you didn't care that you were poked and prodded and stripped down as you went through airport security, they made it so that you felt it was your patriotic duty to do so!  Now that my friends is PR for your ass!

Then I thought the outrage must be due to the scanners... but after a little digging, I learned it wasn't the scanners...even with fake pictures, Americans support scanners for security 2 to 1. So that wasn't it either. The outrage is actually due to the new pat down techniques.  Have you heard about these? It's the pat down were the public draws the line.  You can take an x-ray picture, but don't "touch my junk!"

So where IS the line?
If a terrorist hides a bomb under "Tea Bag" and blows up a plane or bomb, THEN would it be okay for more aggressive pat downs?
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