By now you’ve heard the outcry over #tsa body scanners and their new “enhanced” pat down procedures. Timing may be coincidental. Body scanners have been popping up in airports around the country for awhile. I’ve been through a body scanner myself at General Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee. It was quick and painless, though I did wonder what happened to the image after I made my way to the gate. Be nice if I could get a copy, or have some kind of “enhanced” driver’s license or passport that, when scanned, would show the image so I could proceed through security that much quicker. Make the image good for 5 years or 5,000 miles and then require a re-scanning. Oh wait. That makes sense.
Following the furor as the Thanksgiving travel time approaches, it occurred to me that the biggest threat to airline profitability may be the #tsa, and not terrorism, which is what we’re supposedly being protected against. Terrorism that is, not the #tsa.
To me, the “enhanced” pat downs are ridiculous. #tsa claims it’s in response to the Christmas Day Underwear Bomber, but neglects to point out that he boarded a plane OUTSIDE the United States. The next claim is that the new procedures are in response to packages disguised as bombs being put on airplanes. #tsa still hasn’t clarified how patting down individuals stops the flow of packages on any type of aircraft. Unless #tsa has a different definition of “package” but let’s not even go there.
I get the concerns over the body scanners. Storing of images, which #tsa initially denied but oops, turns out they store them. Issues of radiation, which seems kind of ridiculous when you think about all the radiation we’re exposed to in the course of a normal, non-travel day. As with any new technology, there are risks, and those risks may not be fully understood until well after the new technology is introduced. If the radiation is that big of an issue, then we should all get discounts on health care, or a refund from the body scan companies for the cost of our annual physical. It’s not like that data can’t be tracked, and it’s not like comparisons can’t be made. There’s something to be said for combining all these disparate pieces of data about us floating around. Us citizens might as well share in the profits of health care and body scanning machines, no?
Then again, we can demonstrate the common sense #tsa and most of government seems to lack.
Empty your pockets completely. Remove your belt. Remove your shoes. Walk on through.
If you really want to get to the heart of the matter, contact the companies that build the body scanning machines, contact your health care provider and be the squeaky wheel. Why can’t you get money back for passing through a body scanner? Why can’t the health care provider lower your deductible if you pass through a body scanner every year? Car insurance companies lower your rate each year if you don’t file a claim. Why can’t health care providers lower your deductible if you pass through a body scanner each year?
It’s clear these security measures aren’t going away, so let’s find a way to benefit. There are other players involved here. So instead of directing so much wrath at the #tsa, which granted deserves some. It does not deserve all, though. If you really want to make a statement, then call up the body scanning companies, call up your health care provider and if they continue to ignore you, then use different methods of transportation. Airlines will feel the pinch first, to be sure.
They are all companies more interested in the bottom line than in your well being, except maybe the #tsa, so the best way to get any to listen is to hit the pocket book. When that pocket book starts to feel thin, they perk up and start paying attention.
By that time, however, we may have all moved to train travel. If I were Amtrak, I’d start advertising the benefits of train travel over airline travel, and play up the hassles of #tsa and airport security measures, not to mention the cost benefits. Amtrak: a little break for family time and the family wallet.