As I mentioned before I left, I’m not a huge fan of going through the motions at TSA checkpoints. I’ve seen checkpoints pre- and post-9/11, and they’ve never made me feel all that safe. If anything, they only create more stress. My observations of their conduct have given me the impression they’re not truly there for my safety either. This is above and beyond talk of privacy violations.
I was body scanned at Port Columbus Int’l on my way out to the coast. This was the more updated version, as it was now “only an outline.” Apparently TSA realized what a bad idea the original body scanners were. If I’m not mistaken, pictures were posted to the internet even after TSA denied it would happen. I suppose they didn’t understand the human nature of their employees.
After removing my belt, pocket contents, and shoes for the x-ray machine, I was ordered to line up near the scanner with two other people. No more than a few seconds later, the TSA “technician” yelled at us to get back. Considering the screening process is already very stressful, I could not contain a sigh as I walked back to my original position. This caught the ire of the short blonde with control issues who gave directives to us in the first place. With a passive-aggressive flair much savored here in Ohio, she let the two passengers in front of me go through a metal detector. She then looked at me and pointed at the scanner, as if I was such a naughty boy for sighing. Too bad she never got much of a reaction out of me.
You see, I was going to go through that scanning machine whether she let those passengers go or not. I don’t look innocuous enough. Her actions would only have an impact, if I had any chance of going through a lesser invasive and less time consuming process. That just wasn’t going to happen.
The way I see it is I prevented two of my fellow countrymen from performing more humiliating exams in front of these little dictators. In vocalizing my disappointment through a completely protected First Amendment way, I gave Blondie McEgotrip a contrast on who was going the extra mile to make her job more pleasant. Without that contrast, she wouldn’t have thought anything about it. I’m actually very happy about this, because I made something positive out of her little negative attitude.
As stated above, I’ve never received the impression from the Federal government or TSA that all of these measures were for my safety. Of course, that’s what they tell you, but it doesn’t feel genuine. Instead, every time I’m there I get the distinct impression I’m guilty until proven innocent. Also, it feels like the interest lay in avoiding embarrassment in Washington and protecting the assets of corporate airlines. After all, if they truly cared about a citizen’s safety, they wouldn’t use violent pacification as a foreign policy. That seems to fuel quite a bit of aggression against us.
During these trips, I’m reminded of a random conversation I had with a traveler outside of Logan Int’l airport. She had a motto: TSA Fearever. That has stuck in my head ever since.
I haven’t flown since 2002. I am not afraid of flying. Not at all. I just vacationed on my motorcycle in all those passing years. It’s kind of addictive. It’s parked now. I’m flying to San Francisco in July or August. Yay…can’t wait. Maybe I’ll take the train though.
Funny you should say “vacationed on my motorcycle.” There was a bar in Portsmouth that encouraged drinking and reading. While doing just that, I struck up a conversation with a guy who was going to take the state routes on a motorcycle down to Alabama where he’d visit family for a few weeks. For lodging, he had a light tent to set up in the parks. How he’s going to deal with forest rangers, I don’t know, but he said very positive things about that mode of travel.
Personally, I’d love to see a strong healthy network of commuter trains in the US (Manifest Destiny for the locomotive) but it seems we’re content to let the infrastructure decay. Also, forbid if we were forced to sit next to an undesirable!
You’re right — the TSA has nothing to do with security. It’s not about security. It’s never been about security. It’s about control. It’s about compliance. It’s about compelling obedience from an already sheeplike population. And it’s succeeding just dandy.
I invite you to join us over at TSA News Blog (dot com), where we keep tabs on the relentless abuses of the TSA.
[…] chair in the sky.” Why, yes, Louis. We should all throw a party every time a flight happens. Never mind the less than great TSA treatment, or dwindling perks (i.e. paying $25 for the first piece of checked luggage), or the outrageous […]