Monday, November 22, 2010

Pat Down and Catch Up

Edited to add TSA slogan parody stickers from my father.(see end of original post)

Oh what a crazy time of year. Thanksgiving is next week, and Hanukkah is the week after Thanksgiving. Can you say I am insane? I am, and I admit it. It is all aboard the crazy train, or crazy plane in my case.

The only way to escape the Central Ohio grey, get some rest, and enjoy being a married couple without kids, is to leave home. I did it. I snuck out of town with Jeff. I was in Florida with my husband, who was slaving away with work. With the fast paced "holiday season" ahead, it seemed logical to take advantage of this opportunity. I am glad I did. It is getting easier to fly the coop now that the kids are in school practically full time.

It is easier to fly the coop, but it is not easier to fly the "friendly" skies. The new TSA guidelines are as bogus as ever. I am unhappy to report that the regulations and new technology are still being interpreted differently in each terminal, with no consistency. Some things never change. In one airport I am asked to remove my jacket, in others I am not. In Columbus, I could go through the scanner with my cashmere cardigan sweater tied around my shoulders, but in Fort Lauderdale that was a no-no. Same agency, different rules. How about some consistency?

I think the full body scanners are necessary. I do not feel they are an invasion of privacy, unless the images are posted on the Internet with your name and contact information. With as much crap as I spew on this blog, do you really think I would give a rats' ass if my full frontal x-ray was leaked? Awww hell, I posted about vajazzling for crissakes.

I willingly walked through the TSA machine, placed my hands in a triangle above my head, smiled and hoped my crystal vajazzled lady parts did not set off the buzzers. I am pleased to report that a crystal embellished coochie does not call for additional screening. Whew, I dodged that proverbial bullet. Good to know, good to go.

Wouldn't it be genius for TSA and the Health Care Reform folks to co-brand the security check points, and offer MRI's and Mammogram screenings for an additional fee? Two birds, one stone? People could multi-task their way to a final destination. Talk about a huge time saver. As a nation we could detect tumors and time bombs in one quick pass through the open MRI.

As for the physical pat down, I am sure over time it will evolve. For now, there is a gloved TSA employee who checks your body for any signs of weapons or monkey business. It is a routine procedure and if you were molested as a child, or are adverse to being touched, I am sure this is an issue- FOR YOU. For most of the general public, I would ask this: Do you want to be patted down or do you just want to be a pain in the ass and make what you think is a valid point? Get over yourself, and get patted, get on the friggin plane and fly. If you prefer not to subject your body to a routine screening, drive yourself to your destination, but do not cause delays to those of us who just want to get home and hug our kids.

I have yet to hear any of the Homeland Security team say, we are doing the bare minimum it takes to provide a sense of security. C'mon guys, just let them do their jobs, and let the terrorists and threats to our safety realize that they can't spook us into turning on our own agencies. I would like to think that we are smarter than that, but then I am flooded with stories of Thanksgiving travelers willingly causing delays to make a stupid point. If you want to take a stand against terrorism do it on your own time, if you want to jam the airports and increase the irritation level of everyone, stay home.

I am sure the extremist groups are watching our news media exploit this story to no end. I am confident they are laughing their asses off at our stupidity. If the goal of Americans is to piss each other off, look like fools and object to our own security measures, then the terrorists win. It makes us losers.

The bottom line is that TSA has a job to do, and in the grand scheme of things, they will experiment with trial and error in ways to get the job done. Hopefully, all the trials and all the errors will keep America safer. That is the common goal.

There will be irregularities in the system just like there are now. There will be TSA personnel that are not implementing procedures correctly, there will be passengers who are not cooperative- it will be a work in progress. Will it keep us safer? That is the real question here. I believe that any acts of terrorism are planned to challenge any of our policies and there will always be loopholes.

Will all this insanity keep me from flying the coop in the future? No it will not. I need to get out of town for my own sanity. Taking a break from my own normal is what keeps me going. I will not let four kids age five and under break my spirit and I most certainly will not allow complete strangers to control me.

I am doing my own version of damage control now, and I will post all the latest and greatest after I love on my kids, snuggle my pooches, go through the mail, get to the grocery store, write some thank you notes, and unpack my luggage.

It is almost Thanksgiving- so thank you for reading my rant.


loren said...

That's pretty much how I feel about the whole thing... plus I haven't heard any alternatives. Would these people prefer if we all could get on planes with NO security checks?

If they don't want to be patted down or subjected to security measures, they can do what Madden did and take a car or bus, LOL.

Rachel said...

I agree also. I want to feel safe when I board a plane... if that means getting patted down... then by all means pat away!!

KarenM in NC said...

I fly a lot (husband works for an airline) and I've always felt my greatest security lies within my fellow air travelers. I make it a point to say hi to my seatmates when getting settled and be somewhat aware of what they're doing.

These new scanners and pat-downs reveal nothing about what may be stashed in body cavities! Should we have cavity searches next??!

I will not use the back scatter x-ray machine because I lack confidence that it is (or will continue to be so) calibrated properly. Also, I don't know if operators have the ability to increase the radiation in order to get a better picture. Heck, medical facilities have been investigated for problems with their machines (do a search on the NYT for extensive reporting on this) and if they can't seem to keep up with it, I have my doubts with the TSA.

But, I absolutely agree with you Helene in that it's not going to stop me from traveling!

KarenM in NC

Aaryn said...

i think this whole thing is absurd. why don't they look to nations that have been successful with security aka


Lauren said...

I am not an OMG'r, but.. freedom pat? OMG. :) Love. It.

Sabrina said...

You vajazzled? Seriously!? My baby is due in early Jan and I was considering Vajazzling to keep my doctor on her toes ;-)

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