Friday, November 19, 2010

As many of you prepare to get your travel on…

Thank the gods for Friday!

And ‘tis the Friday before a holiday week for Americans…too cool!

Shall we?

A bitch has been following the growing discontent among folks who travel by plane over the TSA’s new intimate pat down body rubs and those body-scan machines.  I’ve read about concerns over what the scanners display and I’ve watched news segments featuring irate frequent flyers expressing their outrage over the pat downs.

I agree that the pat downs are intrusive and this new system may be more theatre than prevention…but I’m also fascinated by the texture of the outrage.

Several travelers expressed their frustration over how the system makes them feel like they are guilty until proven otherwise…that it is administered by the TSA in an insulting aggressive authoritative manner…that it makes them anxious when they’ve done nothing wrong…and that it is doing all that shit and is likely more theatre than prevention.

And yet…

Well, that’s kind of what it feels like to be pulled over for driving while black…or stalked through a store for shopping while brown.

That’s what it feels like to be asked to produce papers to prove you’re “legal”.

That’s what so many people scoff at as they dismiss the outrage of others and respond with “well, if you haven’t done anything wrong then you shouldn’t be upset…get over it!”

Now some will say that I’m comparing apples to pineapples…maybe I am, but something about this mass outrage that has freakishly united the traveling nation make my Afro throb.

‘Tis one of the reasons I thought it would be a good idea for Arizona’s paper law to be universally applied so that everyone stopped by a police officer would be required to produce papers.

What others experience is all too easy to tolerate.

What your own ass has to go through is a whole different matter altogether.

And that may also be why I’m able to ponder this from a distance - my ass won’t be flying for the holidays and thus won’t have to fret over whether someone is about to touch my lady parts.



J said...

You know, all of this drama over the pat downs vs. the "walk thru MRI" is annoying the hell out of me. People want to feel safe while flying but not actually BE safe? Safety in the air is demanded until it becomes and inconvenience?

Last year, while traveling through Heathrow and Schipol airports, I was put through and witnessed tighter military and airport security (flying in and out of foreign countries) than I have ever gone through in the US.

I wear an insulin pump for type 1 diabetes. I have to carry medical supplies with me because of that. They cannot be x-rayed. In the long lines at Heathrow security checkpoints, I was scanned and my insulin pump taken off of my body and scanned in the electronic bomb sniffer dog for C4 and other explosives. My insulin supplies gone through piece by piece....all while the British Military are tromping around the airport with automatic rifles at the ready (same in Amsterdam).

I did not complain about all of this security. In fact, I felt a whole lot better about getting onto the plane to cross the Atlantic.

Yet, flyers in the US are inconvenienced just a tad and all hell breaks loose? Try flying into or out of Israel on El Al Airlines. THAT is security!

Shark-Fu said...

Good that you mention El Al, because they apply their security measure to every passenger and they get folks through, on average, in 30 minutes.

Anonymous said...

"feeling safe" means different things for different people.

J said...

Perhaps Mossad should be in charge of the TSA? ;)

John said...

Julie, does El Al - an excellent example - use this technology?


It's one thing to be inconvenienced for safety; quite another to be inconvenienced (or worse) for security theater designed to placate without protecting.

Elusis said...

Right on, as usual.

I blogged something similar at my LJ a couple of nights ago:

Then I was asked to re-blog it for California NOW, which gave me a chance to expand and clarify a bit:

I guess it's now made it onto Bruce Schneier's blog, Shakesville, and Boing Boing (where the comments instantly gave me brain cancer due to over-use of the word "cynical" and several condescending, sexist remarks right out of the gate.)

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