Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Friendly Skies?

Is anyone else finding this all incredibly hard to believe? I'm referring to the new TSA airport security screening procedures.

So, from what I can gather, they have recently installed x-ray based "Backscatter" screening equipment in many airports around the country that will display an image of your naked body to someone somewhere (and give you a dose of radiation at the same time). If you refuse to be x-rayed at the airport, then they will subject you to a new pat down technique that many have likened to groping (although to be fair, a friend who flew in the last couple of weeks and was subjected to the new pat down said it was no big deal and nothing like being groped, but she's a mom of 3, not a 16 year old girl with body issues or a sexual assault victim).

I've been thinking that we were going about airport security all wrong ever since the airports reopened after 9/11. We seem to be looking for the thing the terrorist just tried instead of truly trying to prevent the next new thing. But this has now officially gone into the realm of truly crazy. Not only do these new "security measures" seem to be unconstitutional, they just don't make sense! Why are we spending so much money and time trying to make sure grandma doesn't bring more than her allotment of liquids onto the plane?

From this article written back in August of 2006, we have a 1 in 6,500 chance of dying in an auto accident and only a 1 in 400,000 chance of dying in an airplane accident on an annual basis. Even if terrorist were successful in taking down a plane every week, your chance of dying in such an event is only 1 in 135,000.

Then there is the issue of screening pilots. One of the major pilots unions has refused, but I gather TSA isn't very happy about that. But really, why would we be scanning the person flying the airplane for a box cutter or explosives? Wouldn't the pilot, if he or she were determined to take the plane down just take it down? Drug screening I can totally get behind but backscatter or pat downs, just doesn't make any sense.

I do believe that the only ones winning in this game are the terrorists! They do indeed have most of the country terrorized. It is all just so irrational!