Just a few of my own thoughts (well, I suppose I'm not the only one with these thoughts) to close out the discussion on the TSA's aggressive security screenings…
Our own Midtown Miscreant rightly pointed out the other day that airport security screenings are not really that much worse than anything most ex-cons experience on a daily basis during their time in the big house.
His basic point, as with other proponents of the new measures, is that yeah it sucks to treat everyday, law-abiding citizens like the worst criminal in the world, but you have to do it for safety.
And this is part of the problem. MM, like decreasing majority of the American public, has bought into the scare tactics employed by bureaucrats and lobbyists who basically say "If you don't let us take naked pictures of you and grope you, you are going to be killed by terrorists."
In fact, many security experts have gone on record as saying none of these tactics would have foiled any of the terror plots that we've seen. Furthermore, the recent "tonor cartridge bomb" plot was discovered by other, less intrusive security measures.
Now don't get me wrong. I'd probably avoid the super backscatter scanning X-Rays they're using since I'm not crazy about having 1.21 gigawatts of radiation sent through my body (I like my chromosomes they way nature intended, thank you very much).
Of course, those of you more worried about modesty than radiation might not feel all that comfortable with a bunch of mall cop rejects checking out high-resolution scans of your nether regions. If you're one of those people, you might want to invest twenty bucks in some special X-ray shielded panties.
Personally, I enjoy a good groping by strangers as much as the next guy. And while I might consider having a sweaty, overweight guy with bad breath put his latex glove-covered hands down my pants at the airport a bonus, I can certainly see how some might find it objectionable, even invasive.
What concerns me more, however, is how we got to where we are.
It's like we've lost our minds here. We've been scared witless, and we're not thinking rationally. All the threats we've heard of — Shoe Bomber, Crotch Bomber, Tonor Bombers — are threats from abroad. Yet now we're clamping down on flights from Kansas City to Tallahassee? And that was only three or four cases out of hundreds of millions of flights.
So these measures, which are really just a kind of theater to make people feel like they're safer, have little real effect on a statistically insignificant problem.
I think a better approach is prudent and reasonable police work. The Israeli approach is probably pretty good. Use multiple checkpoints with security people actually trained in spotting real suspects — not frisking your 5-year-old niece.
Let's use our brains, citizens.
And there's one other germ of a thought that's been bouncing around in my brain lately. We, as a society, are expecting way too much out of our government.
Sure, the government likes it that way. The self-perpetuating bureaucracy loves the opportunity to assume more and more our responsibilities and is happy to accept more of our money and liberty in exchange for trying to keep us safe.
But the truth is, we have no reasonable right to expect to be 100 percent safe 100 percent of the time. A long, safe, healthy life is great. But for human beings, that's the exception, not the rule.
If I had lived 100 years ago, I'd probably have died before I reached my 38th birthday. Now I realize we live in the future and we've made advances in medicine and technology, but we're on a course toward asking our government to encase the world in Nerf for our own protection.
Anyway, there may be more on that line of thinking later.
tagged: TSA, travel, security, screening, airport, privacy, freedom, panties