Friday, November 19, 2010

Thoughts on Airport Security (Not Okay Part I)

There’s been a lot of debate in my house this week over flying and the TSA. We’ve never had any sort of problems with security in the past, however today things are getting stricter and invasive. Though I firmly believe in the need for security, I don’t believe that these reactionary measures are really going to help. I think that if you build a better security system, you just make smarter more creative criminals. And for the record, the last two terrorist threats to airplanes (underwear bomber and ink cartridges) did not originate in the US, the flights came from other countries. I am a fan of the profiling process that the Israeli airports use. Americans need to stop being so scared of the word profiling, if everyone has to go through the process equally, profiling is not a big bad demon. Maybe if they invented a new phrase for it, people wouldn’t freak out at the thought. How about “conversational screening”, or “the friendly talk checkpoint”, maybe “traveler survey station”.

The TSA says that people don’t mind the enhanced body scans, because they are submitting to them without a problem. I say that the TSA doesn’t know the difference between submitting to something and being okay with it. I am NOT in any way shape or form okay with these scans, I’m also NOT OKAY with the invasive pat down that borders on sexual battery and skirts the 4th Amendment. Even though I am not okay with having this done, I’m even more against the government restricting where I can and can’t go. If I want to travel, if I want to get back to Disney in a quick and economical way, I need to fly. I will submit to a scan so that I can fly, however, it will be uncomfortably. And if for any reason I have to be patted down so throughly, I’m positive that there will be tears involved. There is nothing okay with that.

My husband is vehemently against this new screening process, and being the rabble rouser he is, would be more than happy to cause a scene at the airport over it. Thus ruining whatever vacation I was about to go on. If he’s lucky, I might think about bailing him out when I got home. However here’s the thing, as much as he is enraged over the stories coming out of airports over the past couple weeks, he suffers from an anxiety disorder, and getting through an airport to begin with isn’t easy for him. My youngest daughter, who also suffers from severe anxiety, cried going through the regular metal detector when we went to Orlando in October. Security checkpoints can be scary for kids, and unfortunately the under trained, under paid, gruff TSA agents just don’t care. Katie pushed through her fears and made it through the check point through, I was very proud of her. I can only imagine what kind of damage it could do to Katie if she must be submitted to a full invasive security pat down.

The consequences to the mental health of Americans coming from this are huge. Aside from people with anxiety issues, I have concern for survivors of all sorts of traumatic events and painful medical conditions. There could be a whole new therapy field opening up just to help people get through security checkpoints by the TSA. Short term Xanex scripts will go through the roof. These TSA methods open up all businesses that require their employees to fly to hostile work environment lawsuits. If travel drops as a result, it will leave the already unstable airline industry reeling at the loss of income, and by extension could destabilize the hospitality industry.

How on earth is any of this okay? Quite simply, it’s not.


  1. You'd be proud of me. Even though I would be perfectly willing to show up to the air port wearing a sock ala Red Hot Chili Peppers, I wrote a reasoned and polite email/letter to both of our current non-lame-duck Congress critters.

    Stop laughing now. I was actually polite and reasonable.

    I didn't even call the TSA agents a bunch of knuckle-dragging sex offenders.

  2. I am absolutely appalled by the stories that I've been hearing about the enhanced pat-down techniques and the fact that the images from the scanners have been saved on hard drives. I know that there are going to be hearings in Congress and I hope that the regulations are changed. Because assaulting someone or invading their privacy are just not necessary to keep the country safe.