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I wrote recently that I considered TSA’s new enhanced body pats and the new Advanced Imaging Technology full body scanners over the top. I still think so, but I cannot support National Opt-Out Day, tomorrow November 24, primarily because I think it’s pointed in the wrong direction.

Full body scanners and the naked x-ray images they produce are, in my estimation, invasive and an unnecessary security measure. They’re unnecessary in that there are other ways, several of them, that TSA can employ to accomplish legitimate security checks. My point is: we’ve settled. Better technological tools are available to us.

But in the meantime, if I have to choose between going through a scanner I consider a virtual strip search or being patted down, which is to say groped, by some agent, which is to say some male person, I’ll opt for the scanner. I won’t opt-out of a scanner for a physical procedure I consider an even greater personal affront.

That’s what I mean by the wrong direction. National Opt-Out Day would make more sense to me if it called for opting out of enhanced pat downs. But then again, I resonate with people’s outrage about scanners too.

Still, I would not recommend people opt-out tomorrow or any other day from going through a scanner. Being seen by a stranger is better in my book than being touched by one.

Several things bother me about all this, including:

--the way TSA and the Department of Homeland Security have basically said, “This is it. Take it or be labeled uncooperative, not be allowed to fly, and be fined,”

--the lack of communication before this was leveled on the American public,

--the other options that have been set aside,

--the complete lack of moral or ethical discussion about these systems,

--the failure of TSA and Homeland Security to convince us this sort of Draconian measure will actually deter terrorism.

Again, in discussing these things I’m not contending there’s no terrorist threat nor am I attacking individual TSA agents who’re doing their job as they're told to do them.

I’m questioning TSA and Homeland Security’s policies and procedures. In a free society that once prided itself in its innovative spirit, both the policies and the procedures need reworked.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

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