Friday, November 19, 2010

Screening Precious Human Bodies

I have three thoughts about what looks to be the most interesting...and in some ways very of the moment...That a fellow refused to go through the new scanners at the airport, told a screener,  "If you touch my junk I'll have you arrested"  (while filming the whole thing on his phone...hummmm....).

My first thought is that I'm sorry that men have taken to calling their sexual organs "junk".   How self-demeaning that is?  If it's just junk, why be so pissy about it being touched?   Think, guys! Your bodies are sacred.  That's the point of all this upset.

My second thought is this.  Has anyone who objects to someone in a room far away scan the unclothed outline of their body for 20 seconds before discarding the picture come up with a better idea for how to manage safety in a world in which people put bombs in their underpants?  If they have, I'm all ears.  I think that the TSA has done a great job thinking out the necesseties of this kind of scanning and making it as unhurtful as possible.  Albuquerque has had these scanners for a couple of years now...we were a test site.  Believe me, folks, they are quite benign.   And I'm willing to trust that they are safe, (as much radiation as 3 minutes at 30,000 feet they say...not even pilots can object to another three minutes.) until I hear something a little less hysterical than I've been hearing about safety.

So...actually, I don't have much sympathy for people who refuse to go through these scanners and then get upset about the indignities of the pat down.

But I believe that there are some people who, because they have knee replacements and such, have to go through the pat down every time.  And that pat-down does sound pretty invasive to me.  Not quite as invasive as what a doctor does, of course, but would take the pleasure out of flying for me if I had to do it every time.

So here's my idea for a compromise.

Let's we Americans grow up, buck up, adjust to the new realities, and thank TSA for making this new kind of  scanning safe, painless, and dignified.  In return, let's demand that those who for reasons they can't help, like medical hardware,  have an alternative to an invasive, uncomfortable procedure every time they fly.

Of course, we could decide that it's ok with us if underwear bombs go off in airplanes every once in a while, because safety procedures are just too onerous.   It probably wouldn't happen very often, and the carnage would be less than the number of highway deaths in the nation for that month in any case.  Whatcha say?