Full Body Scan

I spend a good bit of time on airplanes – far more than I’d like, really, but since my only child lives over 1000 miles away AND since I have a ton of money invested in a home in his neighborhood, I find myself winging my way back and forth across the country with steady frequency.

However that may soon come to a crashing halt.  After watching a news clip about the new TSA full body scanning procedures going into effect at an airport near you, this frequent flyer may just be grounded.

Here’s the thing.

This business of some stranger being able to scan my entire body with a radiographic device that allows them to see me right down to the skin ~ well, that’s just a complete invasion of my privacy and my civil rights as an American.  Oh sure, I can “opt out” (a phrase borrowed from bankers who use it to jack up the rates on your credit cards), which means those same strangers now get to “pat me down” in any way they see fit to determine that I’m not concealing explosives somewhere on my person.

I don’t think so.

And don’t give me the patriotic bit about the necessity of doing this to weed out terrorists.  I cannot believe that our government, with its sophisticated web of technology and security, cannot come up with a way to keep terrorists off of airplanes without violating the personal privacy of thousands of innocent, law abiding, tax paying citizens on a daily basis.  As Benjamin Franklin once said  “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

It takes a lot to rile me – to “get my Irish up” as my mother used to say – but this is an example of the kinds of egregious interference in my individual freedom that simply infuriates me.  It happens far too often in modern life – the government, the insurance companies, the banks, all filling our life with rules and restrictions supposedly designed for the  betterment of society but which simply end up punishing and diminishing the individual.

To borrow a famous phrase from an old film ~ “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

Truly, I think the American people need to rise up (dare I even say Tea Party style) and refuse en masse to participate in some of these policies.  If only every person could declare the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally the largest travel day of the year, a “no fly day” in protest – think what an impact that would make on the airline pocketbooks.

And we all know that nothing influences the government more than big business and the bottom line.

Certainly not the individual  rights of the American people.


12 thoughts on “Full Body Scan

  1. I underwent my first full body scan nearly two years ago when traveling through London. It caught me by surprise to be selected but it happened so quickly and naturally I wanted to get on my flight, so I resigned myself to the procedure and then quickly forgot about it. I don’t feel as angry about it as you do and would not want to take a stand by inflicting harm on the already struggling airlines (I am still an airliner at heart.) But you do make some good points and I agree that no amount of rules and regulations will ever give us the security that we desire and perhaps there should be more of an uproar over the intrusive nature of a lot of these rules.

  2. I am as furious as you about this. If it were necessary for security, that would be one thing. It is not. The refusal to engage in effective screening because of a reluctance to engage in “racial profiling” is ludicrous.

    It can’t be coincidence that Janet Napolitano is involved in both the border mess in Arizona and this TSA farce. The same administration that is suing Arizona for trying to keep their citizens safe and their borders secure now is involved in unconstitutional invasions of privacy at airports, all while professing their respect for citizens.

    It will be interesting to watch this unfold. Muslims and Sikhs have asked for exemptions for religious reasons. If nuns are patted down and three year olds subjected to improper body searches while women in hijab are granted exemptions, it should be clear to everyone that security is not the real issue.

    As for inflicting harm on the airlines –

  3. (Whoops! I lost the rest of my sentence….)

    As for inflicting harm on the airlines, I know several pilots and flight attendants who consider repeated xrays pretty darned harmful, and they’re steamed about it, too.

  4. I’m not even sure I’d call full body scans “Security.” There has to be a better way. I hear a lot of talk about Security, but generally don’t actually see it anywhere I go.

  5. Shoreacres – as a former flight attendant I would not be too happy about all these screenings either; however, there are many other radiation risks present just by spending so much time high in the atmosphere – it’s not the healthiest job in the world for many reasons. But I am with you about this desire for a one-fit-all solution because ‘proper’ profiling is too politically ‘incorrect’. Looking at the news I think the uproar has started.

  6. I’m of two minds about this. I agree — there MUST be a better way to take care of “anticipated terrorism” than to put everyone through this. And the radiation makes this multiple CT/MRI/Mammoed woman a little nervous.

    I think the pat downs bother me most of all. Frankly, in terms of the full body scan, I’m not exactly someone’s idea of the something to salivate over. I’m sort of fascinated about the idea of being able to see through, but if I was the TSA screener, I’m not sure I really would want to see everyone’s everything that’s walking through the scanner. Because it’s XRay, it feels far more less personal and invasive than the pat down.

    The pat down? Another thing all together. Send me through the scanner anyday — if I’m getting pat down, either Rick or the Gypsy cat is going to do the patting.

    I’d better be prepared, though. We fly from Detroit on December 7 and from Phoenix a week later. I suspect both will have the scanners…

  7. As much as I dislike the concept of body scanning, and even more loathe the idea of the “pat down,” I DESPISE the notion that the government of my “free” country would force one or the other of these demeaning, possibly dangerous procedures upon me. And have the power to fine me thousands of dollars if I refuse to participate in either one! When I walk into an airport, I’m now effectively walking into a police state. It breaks my heart that we’ve come to this. Because measures like these make us less and less American, and more like the terrorists every day.

  8. Becca ~

    If there is anything good about this situation, it may be that it will help people experience on an entirely different level how invasive our government has become.

    I’ve been increasingly angry for months – so much so that when I got a mysterious letter from the IRS about two months before the election, telling me I might be eligible for a tax refund, if only I would fill out these forms and answer this questionnaire, I tore it up and threw it away.

    As for health care… I have my mother to be responsible for, and if she is still living when Obamacare goes into effect (if it does) I’ll have to either sign up or pay the fine – unless Medicare meets the requirement. But if she’s not with me any longer, and I have another of these forced choices? Let’s just say I’ve spent some time wondering if they’d let me blog in prison 😉

  9. Looks like you really got the juices flowing on this one, Becca. Great topic and great conversation in the comments.

    I hardly ever fly. It’s been years, but I plan to fly more frequently in the near future because my son and his family have moved so far away. I guess this scanning business arrived just in time to give me even more anxiety about the flying experience.

    By the way, I love it when you get riled up. It’s good to get it out of your system, and it fosters conversation.

    • Ha! Thanks, Bella 🙂 My son brought up the topic last night at dinner ( I think he likes to see me get riled up too) and I was actually pounding my fist on the table in the restaurant! Sheesh.

      I’m sorry your son moved out of driving distance. At one time, I was a very nervous flyer. Now I don’t think any more about flying itself than getting in my car to go grocery shopping. If they put body scanners in the supermarket, though, I’m toast.

  10. To be honest , regardless whether these measures are needed and/or effective or unhealty,….I wouldn’t care at all. What’s the problem? that an officier truly sees me. Yep he/she would in all aspects for a few seconds and then the next body and then the next and then the next. I pity their job as I think it would be very annoying to see all these “peaches” and “wiennies” dangling by in great quantities all day on an x-ray screen. Yikes. So would they give me a second thought or second look at all when I walk by. I doubt it somehow but I’ll never know.
    To me, it’s really no difference than visiting a doctor who needs to check me. Yes it’s awkward yet you are quickly forgotten that they’ve seen you.

    And as someone else pointed out already: these scanners are getting installed in other countries as well, so it’s not only the Us government.

    If it would make the lines at security go any smoother or faster, i’d give a little cheer as a matter of fact.

    • Except that the TSA “officials” are not doctors whose business is treating and healing the human body, and who are held to standards of ethical practice and behavior in regard to their relationship with it.

      And unfortunately the line at the airport the other morning took twice as long as usual to get through.

      I’m sure other countries are installing these machines. Wherever they are, it just feels like an invasion of privacy to me.

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