What’s Affecting You: TSA Airport Screenings

November 18th, 2010

Has the TSA gone too far?It’s mid-November, and the holiday season is in full swing. People are preparing for large meals with extended family, purchasing thoughtful gifts and traveling across the globe. These activities all have their downsides, but one is grabbing national attention.

We all want to feel safe when we fly. People are willing to remove shoes, change how they pack and submit to an intense screening process before boarding a plane. It’s all done in the name of safety. But has airport security gone too far?

Airport Screenings And Pat-downs
Picture this. You set off a metal detector at an airport and are asked to step aside. You’re given two choices. Submit to an X-Ray screening or a full-body pat-down. Which would you choose?

Keep in mind the X-Ray machine sees everything. It can actually peer right through your clothing and provide a surprisingly graphic image. Not much is left to the imagination. Don’t want the screening? Then you must submit to an extremely thorough pat-down. They look … and touch everywhere. These pat-downs have been described as “sexual assaults.”

Videos of the pat-downs are quickly becoming notorious. One shows a 3-year-old crying while being subjected to a physical search. Another features John Tyner screaming “Don’t touch my junk!” and walking away. John wasn’t allowed to fly, but is quickly becoming a folk hero. People are outraged at what they are seeing.

How Much Is Too Much?
These new airport screening procedures were recently approved by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). They were originally established for flights to and from 14 countries, but are expected to become the standard for domestic flights. If this happens, then everyone who flies must submit to the screenings. Senior citizens, children, everyone.

Full body scans are designed to show everything. They’ve been compared to nude photos. To make matters worse, the TSA had announced that these images would be deleted immediately. They weren’t. Many have surfaced online.

Your Safety
Objections to the new airport screening procedures have emerged. They are an invasion of privacy. People feel they are being groped inappropriately. Such thorough screenings require more time spent at the airport, which could negatively impact airlines providing short flights. Not to mention the concern over what radiation from these uber-powerful X-Rays might do to people.

On the other hand, it’s all being done for our own safety. We live in a post 911 world. No one wants another catastrophe. In 2009 we heard about the infamous “underwear bomber.” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was arrested for attempting to destroy a plane using plastic explosives that were hidden in his underwear. Thankfully, his attempt failed. But a full-body scan could have thwarted his plan immediately.

Is It Worth It?
People will spend years debating whether or not the screening procedures are worth it. They may be invasive, but isn’t it worthwhile if they prevent even one terrorist attack? Will people stop flying, or at least avoid short flights? Are we giving up too many freedoms in the name of safety? There are so many questions.

What do you think? Have the TSA airport screenings gone too far? Or does the extra level of security make it all acceptable? Leave us a comment to share your thoughts, and thank you for reading the PeopleFinders People Search blog.

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