November 15, 2010

488 words 3 mins read

Travel and the TSA

Earlier today, ABC News reported on a man who raised a concern about how his TSA patdown might go, specifically: “If you touch my junk, I’m going to have you arrested”.

Not surprisingly, he didn’t get past security, but this brings up a bigger point. Are these patdowns and security measures getting a bit “overenthusiastic”?

Airline Pilots seem to be the most vocal about these patdowns, perhaps because it seems a little bit silly that they have to go through them since they are the ones flying the planes. Makes you wonder if this is the kind of thing you might overhear at security: “I’m sorry, I can’t let you take this pocket knife on board, you could use it to hijack the plane that you yourself will be flying.”

We live in a wonderful age. If I get sick, I can go down to the corner store and get medication to resolve the problem. If I’m really sick, I have to go to the doctor first, but most of the time, I can get what I need over the counter. When I’m hungry, I can go to that same store and get some food. When I’m thirsty, there is water and/or other safe liquids nearby. This is not true all around the world and I am thankful that I live in a place where it is true.

We have the basic necessities down. What we haven’t quite gotten down is a way to make travel safer. The crux of the problem is basically this: if someone really gets it into their mind that they want to kill you and is willing to both do and sacrifice anything to accomplish this, there isn’t much you can do about it.

Unfortunately, the TSA is tasked with the seemingly impossible task of protecting us from each other while on a plane/in an airport here in the USA. There is no technological cure (the full body scanners were supposed to help, but many feel they are an invasion of privacy, plus they have trouble finding powders) available as of yet. This means that the in order for the TSA to fulfill their mandate, we will have to submit to some overenthusiastic patdowns. At this point, I don’t see any other option.

That being said, I’m not looking forward to being groped publicly by some guy I just met when I do my next batch of air travel.

Lastly, Jon and I were discussing this and he brought up an interesting point:

We used to tell children to not let anyone touch their bathing suit area other than mommy, daddy, and the doctor

Now we have to add “TSA Agent” to that list

sad state of affairs

DISCLAIMER: This should be obvious to our regular readers, but neither Jon nor I now, nor have we ever worked for the TSA (additionally I am unaware of any of my friends/family working for them).