Indecent Liberties At The Airport

I knew, beforehand, that I wouldn’t like it.  What I didn’t know is just exactly how much I wouldn’t like it.

Without question, the airlines have perfectly triangulated the optimum solution between price and discomfort.  For some, that discomfort might even rise to the level of torture even, especially if you’re talking about being pinned into a space so small that it’s impossible to open a smallish laptop computer for the duration of a transoceanic flight.  On that score, they might be more successful offering coffins and a sleeping pill.

But, that’s not what I’m talking about here. No, what was so upsetting to me was the new security procedures.  Yes, this is, assuredly, old hat to many travelers by now.  By all appearances, most have shrugged off the personal intrusion that are full body scans and so-called “pat downs”.  Men, women, children, are blithely lining up and doing “whatever you have to do” to travel by air today. 

When this first got started, a majority of travellers opposed these new security measures by 61%, according to a Zogby poll.  Implausibly, a CBSNews poll of the same question, indicated that 81% approved the use of the new full-body scanners.  I guess that it really matters just how your phrase the question on how happy you are to have strangers inspecting your (or your child’s) body.  Right.

You have to wonder, though, just why the TSA (presumably with Homeland Security’s blessing) goes to such extreme measures to squash dissent on the issue.  Say the wrong thing and, at the very least, you will be singled out for grossly humiliating “special treatment”.  That’s assuming, of course, that they don’t cancel your travel plans, confiscate your property, arrest you, and/or fine you for expressing your discomfort with the procedure.

What the hell is happening to us?  Those of you who have merely acquiesced and decided “what can you do about it anyway?”, who the hell are you?  And, more to the point, who the hell are you to decide, by way of opinion polling or quiet submission, what the rest of us ought to be comfortable with?

My own response was a revelation.  I was, perhaps more than most, already philosophically opposed to the process.  So, what was the surprise?  I didn’t risk arrest and stage any kind of protest.  But, as I was selected for the body scan and subsequent “pat-down”, I was surprised to discover that a massive rage was building.  This was far worse than I had expected.  This was not merely an intrusion of my privacy.  This was an intrusion of my privacy combined with the very real threat of force.  And what would you call that?

Harry Tuttle


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