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Like lambs to the slaughter....

by northstar at 02:29 PM on May 22, 2002

Back home again, and I must say, be it ever so humble….

I learned a few things on my trip, some good, some not so good, and some downright maddening. Let’s start with the maddening. Why is it that security screeners now have the right to do everything short of a strip search before clearing you to fly? I probably came close to getting arrested in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport yesterday. Apparently I wasn’t blindly cooperating like the rest of the sheep who were there with me. I was only moderately put out until the screener began going through my wallet, looking at my credit cards, and looking at my money.

When he told me to turn around and asked me if I minded if he touched my back, my response was “You’re going to anyway, right??” Really, what did it matter if I objected? In order for me to be allowed on an airplane, I had to agree to be poked, prodded, and just about everything outside of an actual strip search. I can’t recall ever feeling so violated and invaded as I did then.

Meanwhile, as my voice is rising, my poor wife, who by this time had already cleared security, is looking at me with a frightened expression on her face. There she was, watching her husband snap, and wondering if we’d even be allowed to board our plane. Well, I was rude, and I was obnoxious, but I wasn’t dangerous. All I wanted was an explanation of why I had to endure being humiliated and violated. Of course, all of the security people looked at me like cows at passing trains, and it was clear I would be getting no answer.

I might- MIGHT- have been able to get through my little nightmare with a minimum of psychic distress had it not been for a young girl there at the same time. She looked at me with must have been a world-record level of naïveté , and said, “This is what keeps people from hurting us.” Ah, the sweet ignorance and cow-like stupidity of youth. After I got over the urge to separate her head (she wasn’t using it anyway) from her shoulders, I decided that having a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent would be pointless.

When are we going to realize that all of the added security does little, if anything, to increase the safety of the flying public? All the process does is increase the violation of personal privacy and maximize inconvenience. Security checks are about creating the perception of security, so people will come back and fly. The reality of security is that little, and probably none, of what happened on 9.11 would have been prevented by the current security checks. We are at every bit as much risk now as we were then, but now we FEEL safer. Of course, to feel safe, we now have to be willing to sacrifice our personal liberties. Apparently, most of us are willing to do so without so much as a second thought. God, what sheep we are….

comments (2)

You are right, it isn't about security, but about percieved security. If there were these systems in place on 9/11, or there were armed soldiers stalking the airports like they do most European cities, it wouldn't have physically stopped what happened. It might, however, have pyschologically stopped them. I bet the chance of someone getting through security now is probably equal to that of a year ago, but it doesn't FEEL that way. This all comes down to me being perfectly willing to get searched. In fact, I actually enjoy it.

by mg at May 22, 2002 2:50 PM

I agree with both of you: i.e., it is an illusion, yet it does work to some degree.
What peeves me is that more & more people are saying "okay" to racial profiling in these security measures. If you get searched, I want to get searched even though I am a harmless-looking little chick. Some guy I work with actually had the balls the other day to support this profiling AND draw a parallel to the WWII Japanese-American "internment" camps, saying that they protected the Japanese!! Yeah, well why weren't they VOLUNTARY then? Oooh, that just gets my underwear all in a bunch!
I am a fence-sitter about this issue; I don't want people to stop flying & destroy the economy (namely the airline my mom works for)... so let them have their "security" if it keeps them buying.

by Linz at May 22, 2002 4:47 PM

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