When I consider the things I am most afraid of, death is among the top-ranked items. I think it is safe to say it ranks high for many of us. We don’t want to die too young, we don’t want to die too violently and we most definitely don’t want to die in an unjust or easily preventable manner.
Because of this fear of death, and the precious nature of life itself, I am confused by the recent backlash against the Transportation Security Administration. As mentioned above, death is among the most common of American fears; however, in a recent online polling, one of the fears that Americans sporadically rate higher than death is flying.
It is for good reason. We have been attacked and threatened numerous times via our airways. In my opinion, we need to use whatever means necessary to make sure the American people feel confident about flying again.
The TSA is a part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It develops guidelines, regulations and tactics designed to increase security in American transportation.
Since 2007, the TSA has been using Advanced Imaging Technology, commonly referred to as “body-scanners” to survey flyers as they pass through security checkpoints in airports. These scanners work like mild X-ray machines but in a more anonymous manner.
Those selected for additional security screening in airports stand in these AIT machines. The outlined body of the person being scanned is then presented to a TSA official, who can then verify if there are concealed weapons or forbidden items on the person. At any time, a person can refuse a body-scan and choose to be escorted into a private room for one-on-one screening conducted by a TSA official of the same sex.
A wide range of concerns have been raised by American travelers about these body-scans. Some feel the scans are violating their privacy while also saying the one-on-one screenings are too invasive. Others are scared the machines (that are in accordance with national health standards) are not healthy.
Most of these concerns seem trivial to me. How does letting a TSA security official see the outline of your body compare to another 9/11? We need to come together as Americans and take one for the team. The bottom line is, whether they are uncomfortable or not, the body-scanners are working. They are making air travel safer and more efficient. According to the TSA website, within the last week alone, two “artfully concealed prohibited items” and 12 firearms were uncovered thanks to AIT. It only takes one passenger with a prohibited item, a firearm or bad intentions to devastate thousands of Americans.
There is one legitimate concern about TSA procedures in my eyes, and that is the fact that it may violate the rights given to us by our founding fathers in the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. But, I also believe there is justification to this concern. The Constitution was written to grow and adapt with the times. I’m not sure Thomas Jefferson ever imagined the United States as having such hateful enemies as al-Qaida.
So, the question in my mind remains: Is two minutes of feeling uncomfortable really worth the lives of innocent Americans? We have spent way too much time trying to be politically correct and not enough time protecting our country and its citizens.