Friday, November 19, 2010
Holiday Travel Brings Up TSA Screening Practices
The new passenger screening procedures by the Transportation Security Administration seem to be rather intrusive. The new body scanners show everything you have, and, if you refuse that, you can expect to be felt up by a TSA employee with their new frisking technique. All is being done in the name of safety and security, and there are plenty of people that support the TSA’s position.
There are, however, many that aren’t ok with this. Personally, I would rather not be exposed to the world in a body scanner nor given the business by a TSA employee, but, as someone that flies every once in a while, it really doesn’t affect me all that often.
So, what makes this a political issue? The Libertarian Party of Indiana has taken a stance against the TSA’s screening procedures at Indianapolis International Airport. I guess Ed Coleman now knows how to vote if this comes up in front of him on the City-County Council. Libertarians have little in the way of muscle to push any agenda through any legislative body, but it is consistent with the platform of their party. I salute them for taking a stand.
It’s a tricky position for the two parties in control of Washington. It could also signify the first Tea Party vs. Republican Party showdown. You see, many opposing the TSA’s methods of screening passengers are saying that it clearly violates the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution for unreasonable search and seizure. Many of the ones yelling and screaming are Tea Partiers.
They have a point. Exposing my naughty bits when there’s no reason to think I’m a terrorist may be unreasonable. In this day and age, though, it seems that the TSA is thinking that everyone that buys a plane ticket might just be a terrorist. I’m not so sure that’s the right way to do it, either. The purchasing of a plane ticket should not be an invitation for a sexual assault (which some people are calling the TSA’s techniques, now).
There’s another side to this, though.
Let’s say Congress follows through and takes a hard look at what the TSA is doing. Let’s say that, for example, they force the TSA to lighten their techniques and do away with the body scanners and aggressive pat downs. You cannot get upset and say that the government has gone soft on preventing terrorism if the awful happens. I think you understand what I mean without going into too much detail. It’s a Catch-22 for the government. Keep up the hard line techniques and get complaints or let down the guard and be at more of a risk.
So, for now, if you don’t want to be searched in the way the TSA will likely search you, rent a car and drive. If you plan to fly, be ready to take off your belt, your shoes, and empty those pockets. Be sure to leave your water bottles behind (I almost got busted in the Tampa Airport for having one of those) and certainly keep your seats and tray tables in the upright and locked position on landing.