November 23, 2010

Lovin', Touchin’, Squeezin’*

I have no plans to protest the new TSA “you make me weep, and wanna die” pat-downs or their “you’re tearing me apart” then reassembling me scanners tomorrow. (There’s some detailed coverage of the protest here). The only flying I plan on doing is around the kitchen getting things ready for Thursday, or around my keyboard on a pre-Black Friday shopping mission.  But I don’t believe the protests are a good thing, for a couple of reasons. 

The first reason is that it'll only make it harder for other people (many of whom don’t share the same view as the protesters) to get home to their families, which I think is a pretty rotten way to make a point.  It’s the American way, I suppose — some of our best points have been made on the backs of others.  But when we should be focused on counting our blessings and being generous to those less fortunate than us, making it harder for folks to do that seems pretty petty. 

I also think the protests are wrong.  Initially, when I first saw the scanner image of that mysterious naked man, I was appalled – no way was I going to put up with that!  And I’m not saying I’d like it if I were selected for the pat-down, and I feel sorry for the person who’s in the room when my back-scatter photo comes across the screen.  But the bottom line (pun intended) is I’ve come to accept that we have to do something, and this is what we have, so this is what we have to deal with.

Now, don’t get me wrong: most the actions we’ve taken regarding airplane security since 9/11 have been reactive, not proactive. 
  • Some jerk sneaks something explosive on a plane in a couple of plastic bottles; we limit the size and content of the bottles people can bring on board. 
  • Some idiot tries to set his shoes on fire; we take off our shoes at security.  
  • Some moron sticks a bomb in his Fruit of the Looms; we have our naked, wrinkled, inglorious images displayed somewhere in a dark room, hopefully filled with barf bags.
  • The next ‘bomb scare’ will bring about the next ‘security intrusion’ as sure as Thursday is Thanksgiving.
And these steps do feel like intrusions to the American flying public, that’s true.  But isn’t the biggest intrusion of all the slime balls trying to take down the planes?  I expected our government to intrude to protect me from them and frankly if the government did nothing, I’d be up in arms, as would just about everyone else.  

Should the TSA discipline folks who are a little aggressive (or suggestive) in their approach? Yes.  Should they make sure employees are fully trained on all of the options available to passengers? Of course. Should passengers fully understand their rights regarding the new procedures?  Yep. And, importantly, should smart folks be constantly thinking of ways to get ahead of the nuts out there, so we’re not always playing catch-up?  Absolutely! But should senior citizens, nuns, children and others be given an automatic pass? Absolutely not.

If for some reason you prefer not to participate in the new procedures, "it won't be long, yes, till you're alone"...and rather than messing up other people's plans, you could always drive. 
Na na na na na na, Na na na na na, Na na na na na na, Na na na na na
*Journey’s Loving Touching Squeezing lyrics are the property of the authors.