The talk of the town and the nation has been the enhanced security measures being taken by the Transportation Security Administration. If you’re dusting off the moss or haven’t traveled in a while, you may be in for a surprise with airport security changes that require a full body scan and being subjected to a touchy-feel experience courtesy of people wearing latex gloves but minus doctoral degrees. In fact, more than a few travelers already have.
– Early last week, one traveler punched a TSA agent over the pat-down procedure.
– A bladder cancer survivor had his colostomy bag explode as a result of the heavy-handed screening process, a literal and figurative mess which left him walking through the terminal covered in urine. I used to work with a lady with a piss bag. I wish this happened to her.
– A father ripped off his 10-year-old son’s shirt due to frustration when his son was patted down by TSA agents.
– There’s mounting White House pressure on the agency to get things under control, including Hillary Clinton saying she wouldn’t fcuk with the security checkpoint.
– With the holiday travel season set to kickoff this week, travelers are pissed at the idea of long delays & being felt up before boarding a plane. Rumors are circulating of a protest on Wednesday, which is sure to bog down already congested checkpoints, inspire epic meltdowns and making the situation worse than it already is.
Reportedly, there are only approximately 20% of airports using the scanners (full list here) and, lo and behold, Nashville International made the distinctive list. In October, I was in for a nice surprise when I arrived for a red-eye flight and the full body scanners were being used. A month prior, BNA didn’t have the scanners in place and no news furor was swarming as it is now, so I arrived mentally unprepared for the experience. The best way to describe it is awkward.
I’m far from a conspiracy theorist and don’t play into the whole “I have rights!” outrage that most harbor. I very well understand that post-911, the air travel rules changed and passengers may be subjected to anal cavity searches before hoping on a Delta flight. However, I felt completely compromised, defenseless and naked with clothes on as I stood spreadeagle while being X-rayed. To top it off, I was wanded and received a lightweight, complimentary pat-down before being patted on the ass by one of the blue shirt guy’s and then told to “have a nice flight.” Yeah, where the hell are Stabler & Benson from Law & Order: SVU when I need to report an assault?
Is there a trade-off? Of course. I didn’t have to worry about the terrorist in seat 13C, or so we’re led to believe. Yet, I’m one of those people who hates the whole disrobing policy travelers already endure. For the past two years, I’ve gone through the fast-track line because I’ve learned how to dress and pack for the security checkpoint…under silent protest, of course. Now, the sage advice my dad gave about wearing clean underwear in case of an accident now applies to air travel. Don’t fret if you’re worried about the TSA invading your privates, always enterprising American inventors have already hopped on the chance to turn a buck by creating scanner-blocking underoos, complete with fig leaves for your privates. Either plan on leaving your dignity at home if you plan to fly or gas up the SUV for a long drive.
Anyways, SNL scored again with this spot-on spoof of the TSA’s new rules and that’s why I initially started this post before going on a ramble. If you’d like a more serious, detailed read regarding the scans, rights of refusal and the ilk, might I suggest Gizmodo’s “Why the TSA Practices Could Result In Public Rebellion or a Terrorist Attack.”