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OPINION: Airport Body Scanners. What is all the fuss about?

What is all the fuss about body scanners at airports?  We travel a lot.  And because of that, I’m all about being as safe as possible on an airplane.  Do people realize that flying on an airline is not a “right”?  It’s not like the founding fathers said “All citizens shall have the right to fly in an airplane”.  If you don’t like the scanners or feel your privacy is being violated, then…….DON’T FLY.  It’s that simple.  It’s not like there aren’t other modes of transportation available.  Car, bus, truck, hitchhike, private aircraft, etc.  No one is forcing you to fly.  Is it convenient?  Sure.  Lots of things are convenient, but that doesn’t mean you have some entitlement that should make it easy for you.  Why?  Because there are other options.

One of our home airports, Denver International (DIA), has a few of the new “booth style” body scanners.   We’ve also been through  the “wall-type” scanners, like the ones at Boston Logan.  The only complaint we have is that it adds another 2-3 minutes to the screening process.  So you say you’re concerned about “privacy” issues.  Personally, I’m far more concerned about my safety than a bit of privacy.  The TSA has taken the right measures to be minimally invasive.  Faces are blurred on X-Ray images.  The person reading the machines are remote from the screening area.  The image is discarded after clearance.  If you’ve been in an airport security line lately, do you really think that the person reviewing those scans has time to sit there and ogle over your scan?  Uh, no.  The way some people are dressed at the airport, you don’t need to review an x-ray screen to know what’s underneath.

What’s more amazing is the people who refuse to go through the body scanner and choose a “pat down” instead.  Do they really think a “pat down” is going to be less invasive?  All they’re trying to do is make a scene and cause havoc.  Flying is a privelege, not a right.  Just like driving a car is a privelege.  The state can revoke your license at any time.  Should, god forbid, an explosive make its way on to a plane and there’s a catastrophe, these same people will be wondering why we didn’t do more.  They’ll be the first to complain that the government needs to take action.  Is airline security perfect or what is should be?  No.  Can we be much smarter about how we screen people?  Yes.  The US could do a far better job at profiling fliers and reducing intrusion on those that are extremely low risk.  No question.  But, air travel continues.  And until we get smarter at screening, this is what we have.  Embrace it.  Continue fighting for change.  But stop complaining about it.  Or better yet, rent a Winnebago and see the sites this great land has to offer.

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