The concessions we make, as Americans, when going through our airports has gotten a little ridiculous. I was fine taking off my jacket. I was fine even taking off my shoes. But I'm not fine taking off my underwear, or letting TSA agents see my naked body through an x-ray scanner. Many, many people, however, don't feel the same way, and will put up with all the infringements on our rights the TSA forces upon us because it's the quickest way through security and dammit we want to fly. Many people even feel safer exposing their bodies in the scanners because they believe if a terrorist were to try passing through the security measures the TSA would catch them.
Here's why that last part isn't true:
This article tells of an Iranian-American man carrying a loaded pistol through an x-ray and onto a plane. This article shows how the metal detector and TSA pat down aren't enough to keep bombs from planes. This article tells how airports catch testers when they're tipped off about a covert test. What this all boils down to is 20 security failures out of 22 tests in Newark, 50 failures out of 70 tests in Los Angeles and 45 failures out of 75 attempts in Chicago. That means that if each of those failures were a terrorist wanting to blow up a plane there would be hundreds dead. That means our security measures just aren't cutting it.
So, if security isn't doing much in the way of protecting Americans while flying, why should I submit to the ineffective and degrading procedures? I can't bring my face lotion on a plane. I have to buy special toothpaste in small packages before I fly. I have to choose between having a stranger see me naked or another stranger touch private and sensitive parts of my body in order to fly. Some Americans say that's what it costs to be free. But I sure as hell don't feel free.
But here's something that makes me have hope: Ron Paul introduced the American Traveler Dignity Act. In it, he suggests that Americans need not give up our rights or our dignity in order to fly. The act intends that:
"airport security screeners are not immune from any US law regarding physical contact with another person, making images of another person, or causing physical harm through the use of radiation-emitting machinery on another person. It means they are subject to the same laws as the rest of us."Paul further suggests we allow the airlines themselves the opportunity to provide their own security. After all, they have arguably a bigger investment in keeping Americans alive and safe on their planes because if they were slacking they would lose business, while the government can say, "oops, sorry" and not really lose anything but a moment of silence if we have another terrorist attack. Bottom line is Americans shouldn't have to give up their rights for the right to travel by airplane.