Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Case For Full-Body Scans

There's been a bit of talk lately about personal rights being infringed upon because of full-body scans and pat-downs at the airport. Frankly, if I can avoid a pat-down by going through the full-body scanner, more power to me, I say. If a TSA agent wants to get his or her jollies by looking at a digital image of my nude body, more power to them (although I somewhat pity the person who thinks that my flabby, pasty body would be much of a turn-on (no offense, Jonah!)). Whatever gets me through security the fastest.

Frankly, I've always thought that the safety precautions at the airport since 9/11 were far too reactionary and really have created more of a facade of safety than actual safety. Somebody uses a box cutter to facilitate an attack? Now practically every sharp implement is forbidden. Somebody brings a shoe bomb on a plane? Now everybody has to remove their shoes. Somebody brings harmful liquid on a plane? Now we have to put liquids in small containers in a see-through bag. But are we really safe or is it just an illusion? My thinking is if a terrorist wants to cause some damage, he or she will find a way to do it regardless of all these regulations (I love the sign at the Las Vegas airport that has a cartoon bomb with "x" over it (as if somebody who brings a bomb aboard does it absent-mindedly; "Oh, yeah. I forgot I had that bomb in my pocket! Good thing that sign reminded me.")) And the next time a terrorist does find a way to perpetuate an attack, a new regulation will be made based on whatever they did. He or she chokes a stewardess to death with his or her shoelaces? Laces and twine will be banned. Maybe belts, too. Or possibly the removable straps on your luggage. What if the terrorist fills his 3.4 oz. bottle of shampoo with some harmful liquid? We'll have to carry our shampoo in thimble-sized bottles and have to provide a sample of the shampoo so the TSA authorities will know it's what we say it is.

I'm half-joking (emphasis on half), of course, but my point is so many of these rules don't really make us any more or less safe; they just give us the illusion of safety, and that makes people feel safer. Not me. Frankly, I feel more inconvenienced than safe, but it is what it is, and if these regulations do lower the percentage of terrorist threats, then good for us.

I'm all for whatever gets me through security the fastest. I can tell I fly more often than some people. I put everything from my pockets in my carry-on long before I even get to the security checkpoint. I have my license and boarding pass out ready to go. My shoes and belt are off as soon as I get one of those trays to put them in. My liquids are regulation-sized and in their plastic baggie for all to see. Everything goes in that tray, and I go through that body scanner. Gander at my junk if you must; just get me through!

I see these poor people who don't fly very often, and I feel particularly sorry for older people who seem disoriented by the whole experience. While they're futzing with their shoes or being told they can't bring their knitting needles on board or wondering why they can't bring their jumbo container of conditioner, I'm long gone. So scan me if you must, TSA. Ogle my privates. I don't care one iota. Just get me through your ridiculous security obstacle course as quickly as possible. I've got a plane to catch!


Corey said...

(I love the sign at the Las Vegas airport that has a cartoon bomb with "x" over it (as if somebody who brings a bomb aboard does it absent-mindedly; "Oh, yeah. I forgot I had that bomb in my pocket! Good thing that sign reminded me."))

favorite part! ;) it made me laugh out loud at work, and my boss had to shoosh me! lol

Ren said...

Ah, but you CAN bring knitting needles on. Any time they're forbidden it's personal discretion of a particular TSA agent. I've brought through bamboo ones, metal ones, long ones, short ones, sets of 5 double pointed ones. I've done it at least 20 times since 9/11 and never had to surrender the needles.

It's all hilariously sad and a facade. How were the shoe bomber and underwear bomber stopped? By fellow passengers. What happened on 9/11 was a 1-trick pony. No one's going to let it happen again and the only reason it did on those flights was because fellow passengers probably assumed it was a hijacking mission, not a suicide one.

What's TSA supposed to do? I don't agree w/ the excessive security screenings doing much to protect people but if they don't do them, they'll be sued if something does happen. It's a Catch-22 for them.

Gay LDS Actor said...

Thanks, Corey. Glad I could make you laugh.

I stand corrected, Ren. It seems to me there was a time when you couldn't bring knitting needles on, but maybe they've relaxed that rule since I heard about it. Or maybe I'm just wrong. But that brings up another point: the inconsistency of the TSA regulations at various airports. Not all airports enforce the rules (or even practice the rules) in the same way, and that frustrates me, too.

I agree with you that it's a double-edged sword with the TSA either way. I'm glad we both agree that "[i]t's all hilariously sad and a facade," however.