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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 11/23/2010

Opt out of the airport security hysteria

By Jonathan Capehart

The national debate over the full-body scanners has gotten ridiculous. The planned opt-out day on Wednesday is taking understandable concerns to an irrational extreme. The debate has become so emotional (again, understandably so) that key facts are being completely ignored. Facts that I want to highlight right now in case you're heading to the airport, perhaps fearful that Officer Handsy is determined to get fresh with you.

There are 450 airports in the United States. Only 69 of them have the approximately 400 advanced imaging security scanners (backscatter or millimeter wave) now in service. The beehive that is JFK has eight backscatter machines. Los Angeles International Airport has 19. Washington's Reagan National has only one. In short, because airports have multiple security checkpoints, it is highly likely that you'll just end up going through the regular magnetometer you're used to. Feeling better yet?

If you happen upon one of the full-body scanners (as I did), here's what happens. A Transportation Security Administration officer in a room away from the security checkpoint reviews the images. If nothing is amiss or if no alarms go off, you're on your way.

According to the TSA, less than 3 percent of travelers actually undergo the enhanced pat-down. And it only occurs under two conditions. If there is an alarm or if a report comes back from the secured room that you require an additional screening, you are subject to the pat-down. But before that, the TSA officer will work with you to resolve the initial alarm before you get a pat-down. Let's say you forgot your keys in your pocket, the officer might say, "Sir, do you have anything in your pocket?" Find your keys, pat-down averted.

Now, if you refuse to go through the backscatter or millimeter wave machines, you are subject to the pat-down. I'm all for that. No one should be let on a plane without undergoing some form of security check. But it's important to note that the TSA will even allow you to have that additional screening done in private and to have someone of your choosing present for it. And if you still have a problem with that, might I suggest you look to another form of transportation.

While, yes, it's all so inconvenient and embarrassing, let's not forget why we must endure these indignities in the first place. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow up a plane over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009 with a bomb hidden in his underwear. Richard Reid tried to blow up the aircraft he was on with a bomb hidden in his shoe on Dec. 22, 2001. Thankfully, they both failed. But I don't want to be on the flight of the one who succeeds. Make all the jokes you want about the up-close-and-personal nature of security screenings. If they keep the skies safe, I'm all for them.

By Jonathan Capehart  | November 23, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

Though, you have some good points - I think people are right to question the competency of airport security strategists.

The problem is that they are all reactionary security measures. We're always fighting the last war.

We don't get shoes taken off until after Richard Reid.

We don't get full pat-downs until after the Detroit guy.

If TSA shows some clue they know what is going on and can articulate why they are doing something (in advance of someone almost pulling off the next 9/11) - the public might be more receptive to it.

Constantly act ignorant and fight the last battle (as TSA has done) - you look incompetent.

That said, you are right, one can always drive home for the holidays.

You know the deal. Don't act surprised when you show up to the airport.

Posted by: CF11555 | November 23, 2010 12:51 AM | Report abuse

You seem to be just one more proponent who refuses to acknowledge the elephant in the room... namely that these scanners and extreme pat-downs will not protect against the body cavity bomb, implant bomb, or even the sanitary napkin bomb... there is no way every sanitary napkin is going to be scrutinized.

This being the case, you are very marginally safer at best. The question then is this... is it worth a significant roll-back in civil liberties for a very marginal increase in safety? I believe the answer to that is "NO"... civil liberties should not be traded away for very little if any real utility.

Posted by: mb56 | November 23, 2010 1:13 AM | Report abuse

You seem to be just one more proponent who refuses to acknowledge the elephant in the room... namely that these scanners and extreme pat-downs will not protect against the body cavity bomb, implant bomb, or even the sanitary napkin bomb... there is no way every sanitary napkin is going to be scrutinized.

This being the case, you are very marginally safer at best. The question then is this... is it worth a significant roll-back in civil liberties for a very marginal increase in safety? I believe the answer to that is "NO"... civil liberties should not be traded away for very little if any real utility.

Posted by: mb56 | November 23, 2010 1:14 AM | Report abuse

I wonder why airports don't use more trained dogs , combined with random full inspections may work just fine.

Posted by: MMellet | November 23, 2010 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Say TSA thought everyone should strip naked so they could be 100% sure flights were safe. Would you do it? If not, why would you submit to a body scan that essentially takes a naked picture of you to show to someone. And they could be using the millions of dollars invested in these machines to find Bin Ladin. Finally, neither Abdulmutallab nor Reid flew out of a U.S. airport. More screening in the states would not have helped catch them, and it will not help in the future.

Posted by: megablob | November 23, 2010 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Keep the skies safe? They were extremely safe before the TSA decided to cancel the Bill of Rights. TWO non-fatal incidents in 9 years out of TENS OF MILLIONS of flights hardly seems like justification for this fascist shakedown. You're far more likely to be killed by fireworks, a spider bite, or tsunami than you are to blown up by a terrorist. Maybe the government should spend those billions of TSA dollars to regulate firecrackers, kill bugs, and pay for early tidal wave warning systems. It would make about as much sense as this current hysteria and we'd at least get to keep our dignity.

Posted by: Noble9 | November 23, 2010 1:32 AM | Report abuse

This irrational fear of terrorism has gotten completely out of hand. The risk from dying in a terrorist attack in this country is currently estimated at around 1 in 10 million... the risk of choking to death for an adult is around 1 in 100,000. Therefore, you're 100 times more likely to die from that ham sandwich you're eating than a terrorist attack.

Would you sign over your civil liberties to be "safe" from that ham sandwich? I thought not.... so why are we doing so for a risk that is 1/100th of that?

Posted by: mb56 | November 23, 2010 2:00 AM | Report abuse

Security theater has become theater of the absurd. Anybody with an IQ above room temperature can figure out how to get explosives past one of those scanners. There are two ways to improve security. One the public won't bend over for, the other the airlines won't pay for. So here we are, waiting for the next bomber, getting scanned like good little citizens.

Posted by: fzdybel | November 23, 2010 2:43 AM | Report abuse

I for one, have mixed feelings about aiport screening. While I completely agree that we are no safer now than we were prior to 9/11 (and one could argue that the federalization of screening actually reduced our security - put that is a digression), it is true that the screening is a completely reactive measure based on occurences in the past and not anticipation of what might occur in the future. AQ and other organizations are constantly probing to find the weak points in our defenses. Events of the past month serve to highlight that the probes are ongoing and I can only assume that they are finding some weaknesses that they have either yet to exploit or have been discovered without the media fanfare we usually see.
My point is that the security checkpoints are and will continue to be a facet of our travelling lives. The screening methodologies need to be more random and varied on a day to day and location basis in order to improve the odds that something wil be found. In addition, new technologies will continue to be developed to offset the improvements that the terrorists continue to make - dogs would not have found the underwear bomber since the explosive cannot be smelled by them.
Civil libretarians have a choice in this matter - don't fly. Flying is not a right and therefore, if you choose to use this form of transportation, you choose to submit to those procedures that are designed to protect the many from the few.

Posted by: gmurphmi | November 23, 2010 2:58 AM | Report abuse

argh, I just wish one person who believes that if the underwear bomber walked into an airport today the chance that he would be caught is higher. All he managed to do, despite the best of intentions, was set his leg on fire. What makes people feel that if the shoe bomber had taken his shoes off and put them through the scanner these TSA people would have noticed anything amiss?

Posted by: Dremit97 | November 23, 2010 3:20 AM | Report abuse

I believe something like 2 million people go through TSA checks every day - 3% of that is 60,000 people A DAY.

It is never hysteria to stand up for our rights. Men and women have given their lives in war for the name of freedom, to protest these very rights. We should not be so quick to give them away. Otherwise they died in vein.

Posted by: violet13 | November 23, 2010 4:14 AM | Report abuse

You know what Jonathan? For a man who has probably spent most of his adult life being called "hysterical" for standing up for equal rights for gays, I am really surprised you would want to suppress anyone's expression of their rights.
Interesting.
I don't necessarily agree with protests, but what other way do people have to get attention? I am sure you supported the DADT protests at the white house....and nobody threatened them with molesting their children if they did not comply.
This is one of those draw the line in the sand moments for most of us: we WILL NOT ALLOW A STRANGER TO TOUCH OUR CHILDREN THAT WAY. My children do not look like, act like or in any way resemble a terrorist.

Posted by: dcjayhawk2 | November 23, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

It is not hysterical to refuse to be treated like a criminal for engaging in lawful activity such as flying in civil aviation. It is hysterical to insist on sexually assaulting passengers because grandma might be hiding a bomb under her breasts.

Posted by: lemondog | November 23, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Greetings,

Many of these same arguments were made in support of wiretapping phones without proper authorizations. Importantly, the underwear bomber as the example of why we have implemented these procedures; boarded a plane OUTSIDE the United States and would not have gone through this process. Additionally, as you have indicated, he could have entered through the many airports which do not have this process in place. The end result is we have an intrusive process which will not provided the desired security and will just upset/inconvenience law abiding passengers.

How much of our liberty do we want to give up in the guise of being more secure?

V/R
Neal Henderson

Posted by: tightfive | November 23, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

If we can't stop contraband from getting into the tightly controlled environments of prisons, then how on earth are we supposed to stop them from getting onto airplanes?

Posted by: mchv | November 23, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Say TSA thought everyone should strip naked so they could be 100% sure flights were safe. Would you do it? If not, why would you submit to a body scan that essentially takes a naked picture of you to show to someone.
-----------------------
There are big differences between those options, one being that the scan is much faster.

Posted by: KenNat | November 23, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

To lemondog and other similar complaints. 1. You are not being treated like a criminal. These things are being done to help keep the flights safe. They are being done to find criminals. 2. The pat down or scanner is not sexual assault. What you tell yourself will affect how you feel. Do you take off your clothes in a dressing room at the department store? 3. Of course we will always be fighting the next war. Criminals and terrorists are always trying to beat the new system. They improve and adapt their techniques, so we have to adapt also. We can only be so safe-not totally safe. If you do not like the security drills, drive or take a train. Period. It is your choice. You do not have the right to have your fears or insecurities keep me from being as safe as possible.

Posted by: mg11231 | November 23, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

And how long before people like you make it mandatory that our roads are managed like the TSA? For us people who "do not like the security drills." When we do decided to "drive or take a train" and are AGAIN subjected to your fascist security theater? Freedom-loving people are rapidly losing patience with people like you. I'm an adult. I understand that i will NEVER be 100% safe. You and your government cannot protect me from everything and everyone. I take these risks every day. Buses and trains will be the next to employ this massive reactionary garbage which makes me feel safe AGAINST THE LAST FAILED TERRORIST ATTEMPT!

What happens when some jihadi blows himself up in a crowded restaurant? Or movie theater? More radiation machines for us I suppose while people like you beat your chests crowing proudly that you have nothing to hide and what a good little Sheep-Merican you are.

Posted by: Please_Fix_VAs_Roads | November 23, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Well, if you are all for being safe, would you agree that stripping passengers naked and locking them in the cargo hold is an even safer means of security?

I mean, no box cutter worry, no take over worry, and no worry that the scanner missed something. So why not?

Where is the line?

Next year, after the terrorists start using body cavity bombs, and the TSA kindly asks you to bend and spread, I'm betting you'll be the only one doing so with a smile.

Posted by: spynnal | November 23, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Well, if you are all for being safe, would you agree that stripping passengers naked and locking them in the cargo hold is an even safer means of security?

I mean, no box cutter worry, no take over worry, and no worry that the scanner missed something. So why not?

Where is the line?

Next year, after the terrorists start using body cavity bombs, and the TSA kindly asks you to bend and spread, I'm betting you'll be the only one doing so with a smile.

Posted by: spynnal | November 23, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

IT'S HAMMER TIME, PEOPLE! Wednesday (or whenever you fly) you need to either sing or play on your boombox the M.C. Hammer anthem for those who are about to be patted down: U CAN'T TOUCH THIS! Get your fellow waiting-in-line passengers to do a little Hammer Dance (parachute pants optional) and you will have made the security line wait fun instead of a chore.

Posted by: roblimo | November 23, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

First of all, your premise/justification for the 'enhanced' screening is misplaced. The two individuals/incidents cited as evidence of the need, boarded their flights outside the United States. The air travel treat is coming from outside the country, not inside it.

The normal level os screening prior to the introduction of the expensive (read unneeded, wasted taxpayer expenditure)full-body scanners and affronting pat downs had successfully prevented any U.S. originating threat to air travel. These procedures are unnecessary to protect the traveling public and a tremendous waste of government funds and travelers time. They offer no more than a pretense of safety and security.

The most likely threat from a U.S. boarder is becoming unruly and creating a scene. It is highly unlikely that anyone boarding a U.S. originating flight would be able to successfully threaten it or the safety of the passengers and crew. The enhanced screening needs to be focused on the baggage compartments, not the passengers. That is where the latest threats are focused.

Posted by: old_sarge | November 23, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand this either-or approach to the situation. Are there only two options available to us - get felt up or get blown up? Terrorism is a threat, that's obvious - but it's just as obvious that the measures taken to secure air travelers against that threat is offensive to many. Is our only response to the complaints of the offended to tell them to sit down and shut up?

Posted by: seabelly1 | November 23, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

We need to get over our political correctness and realize that we're not after almost all the kinds of people passing through security at American airports. I live in the South, I can look at everybody passing through airport security and eliminate as terrorist threats at least 80% of the people I see, from businessmen to backwoods types. Japanese corporate dudes, all the rest.
When you get to characters with names like "Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab" it gets obvious he doesn't warrant an automatic exclusion as Billy Bob from Booger Holler Arkansas does.
Let Billy Bob through the old way, and give the extensive screening to Mr. Abdulmutallab.

Posted by: getjiggly2 | November 23, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Mr Capehart; all,

first, let me tell everyone that i was ON a 7AM Delta Airlines flight from SAT to BWI "that awful morning" & i was TERRIFIED!
(anyone who was ON a flight that morning & was NOT frightened is a CRAZY, brain-DEAD and/or a FOOL!)
therefore, i support the good folks of TSA in trying to keep us all safe.

may i suggest that MUCH of the current "hysteria" about the scanners is that NOBODY has really tried to allay the fears of the general public about those particuliar machines? = can anyone here tell me WHY that the Surgeon General of the USA has NOT gone on national network/cable TV & told us all WHAT/IF the risk of being "imaged" is/is not "a problem"?
(i don't KNOW what the risks, if any, are & i'd bet that none of you KNOW either.)

fwiw, i spent nearly 3 decades in the US Army (much of the time as an "investigating officer" for several of the various "commands") & i, too, wonder WHY we are NOT using dogs to screen passengers.
(we had, at one place that i was stationed, an apricot-colored Minature Poodle & two Beagles that caught a LOT of "bearers of contaband" & detected numerous IED. - the "biggest problem" that we had with the dogs was that MANY people wanted to stop & PET/PLAY WITH them. = both children & many adults just seemed to NOT be able to keep their hands off our dogs!)

NOTE: for those of you who fear (probably correctly) the future use of "body cavity bombs", may i suggest that a dog that can find an ounce or less of marijuana/cocaine/heroin/meth, inside a glass jar & IN a fuel tank on a jeep, will NOT be "deceived by" a "body cavity item".
(NO, i'm NOT kidding. our beagles were THAT effective at finding contraband/explosives.)
ALSO, for those of you who don't want to be "sniffed by" a dog: TAKE A BUS!

just my opinion.

yours, TN46
USA, Retired

Posted by: texasnative46 | November 23, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

"Thankfully, they both failed."

They failed because they couldn't get a detonator past a metal detector. no need for the pat downs or scans. metal detectors and bomb dogs are all you need. If the dog signals, you have a reason -- let's call it, i don't know, probable cause, to conduct a pat down.

but you can't buy $100,000+ machines at taxpayer expense from the politically connected that way, which is what this is about.

The notion that it's either submit to these procedures or die is laughable. And if Bush were still president, the papers would be going nuts with police state headlines.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | November 23, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

There must always be a balance between civil liberties and security. That balance must not be "security at all costs." Given the questionable protection gained from these devices, as terrorists are constantly innovating, people are finally deciding that a life does have a value, and it is not infinite.

People are engaging in hysteria because calm civil discourse only works when both parties are willing to talk. Homeland Security and TSA are notorious for, "this is the thing you will to today, because we say there's a new threat. We won't tell you what the threat is, who is doing it, when it will happen, or whether or not it has been foiled, because that sort of information would compromise homeland security."

When you set up your government agency that way, the only way for the people to speak is to act hysterical. Speaking of hysterical, isn't flying still more than an order of magnitude safer than driving, by hour or by mile?

As the security great Bruce Schneier has said, of the billions flowing into security, nothing has made us safer save two advances. The first is armored cockpit doors. The second is passengers who will no longer sit back and passively let the terrorist take control of the situation. Do remember that it wasn't airline security that caught the underwear bomber, it was an American Football Grade Dogpile that dove on top of the terrorist.

Posted by: CmdrRH | November 23, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Say TSA thought everyone should strip naked so they could be 100% sure flights were safe. Would you do it? If not, why would you submit to a body scan that essentially takes a naked picture of you to show to someone.
-----------------------
There are big differences between those options, one being that the scan is much faster.
-----------------------
That's the problem. The scan is just a fast strip search. The TSA has decided it can't stop terrorists without doing strip searches, and it is using the scans to do just that. Say instead of a scan you could go into a private room with a bag on your head and strip naked so that someone could look at you. Would you do that? What if it could be done very quickly.

Posted by: megablob | November 23, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

TSA and Dept of Homeland security have over blown and over-reacted to the threat. I am amazed the Obama administration has gone so over the top and off the cliff on this "terrorist may smuggle a bomb on a plane" issue.
1. Every bomb attempt has come from an International Flight, never a domestic flight.
2. Every bomb attempt has been done by a lone flying Muslim.
3. Even if one succeeds (once) a year. We let 50 - 767 jets worth of men, women and children die every year on the nation’s roads from drunk drivers that could easily be prevented with an ignition interlock on all cars that are now required of convicted drunk drivers in some states.
So in the name of privacy and personal rights, if about 12 Thousand people can be slaughtered every year by a drunk terrorist then we can easily suffer 250 a year from a Muslim terrorist.

Posted by: FWDude | November 23, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

NoVAHockey,

WELL SAID! ====> "it's about" making a BUNCH of $$$$$$$$$, at the taxpayers expense, for a FEW elitists, who are "politically connected" & nothing more than that, i fear.

yours, TN46

Posted by: texasnative46 | November 23, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

It is very frustrating to be stroked and stimulated for a few seconds by an air safety inspector. If the groping was extended for at least 5 minutes there would be less complaints.

Posted by: morristhewise | November 23, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

As one who can’t walk and has to be manually searched every time I fly, let me point out a few things:

1. A manual search is unreasonable in the absence of probable cause that I personally pose a threat or have committed a crime. This is a Constitutionally guaranteed right.

2. Mr. Capehart wants us to believe a private manual search is available. Only on paper it is. If one requests the manual search be done in private, as I have in the past, it means that a TSA rep will have to be removed from regular duty at security checkpoint to accommodate the request. This can take over an hour during peak travel times during which time one has no access to personal effects, effectively eliminating it as an option.

3. No one’s been caught with dangerous material as a result of a manual search. Mr. Capehart would have you believe it’s necessary for our security, but the facts don’t support him on this.

4. Since Mr. Capehart went through the scanner, he didn’t actually experience a manual search. Until he has done this, he is in no position to suggest I find an alternative form of transportation because I object to it and am not offered a less invasive option. The arrogance of this perspective is stunning, especially from one who is on record as standing up for one's civil rights.

Posted by: MsJS | November 23, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Wimps like you Capehart are why we have so many violations of our personal rights. I grew up in Florida and flew on planes as a kid while Cubans were high jacking planes left and right. The security measures then were incomparable to now. Our parents, and us, knew the risks, but flew anyway. The idea of NOT flying, and giving into the terrorist never was mentioned. But neither were we subjected to Body scans and groping. Profile, profile, profile, and leave us everyday Americans alone. The political correctness has gotten absurd. And BTW I am a democrat.

Posted by: bantyrooster | November 23, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

We need to make the government understand that it is they who answer to us, not the other way around. This is a democracy, not a dictatorship, no matter what Dubya may have thought.

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | November 23, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Al Qaeda is delighted by these new scanners.

Once again, they've gotten us to waste billions of dollars and sacrifice our values without deterring them in the slightest (since the scanners do not detect either the body cavity devices or plastic bags of bomb-making liquids they have lately been using.)

So explain to us again how the scanners are useful for anything other than lining Michael Chertoff's pockets?

Posted by: Itzajob | November 23, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

This can not be repeated enough:

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." ~Benjamin Franklin

Posted by: baisleac | November 23, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"According to the TSA, less than 3 percent of travelers actually undergo the enhanced pat-down. And it only occurs under two conditions. If there is an alarm or if a report comes back from the secured room that you require an additional screening, you are subject to the pat-down. But before that, the TSA officer will work with you to resolve the initial alarm before you get a pat-down. Let's say you forgot your keys in your pocket, the officer might say, "Sir, do you have anything in your pocket?" Find your keys, pat-down averted.

Now, if you refuse to go through the backscatter or millimeter wave machines, you are subject to the pat-down. I'm all for that..."


The apparent write in POTUS 2012 Sheriff Joe Arpaio said that his department never acts like the TSA.

Apparently, they require probable cause to touch and search anyone as a USA citizen or illegal here.

Why?
It is unConstitutional to do so and act like 'Hitler's World' here.

Closing the borders and looking at all hidden or missing paperwork is the right thing to do.
Starting with the Oval offices and moving on from there means we stop the insanity.

Posted by: dottydo | November 23, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"If they keep the skies safe, I'm all for them."

Perhaps then we should just travel in the nude & demand that the TSA conduct body cavity searches. That would make us safer - and if that keeps the skies safe, you're all for it - right?

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 23, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

First you can't compare someone that wants to hijack a plane and fly it to Cuba, with someone that wants to blow the aircraft up with it's passengers, or fly an airplane it into a building. Planes hijacked to Cuba were hijacked to send a political statement, today's terrorist doesn't want to make a statement, they just want to kill as many Americans a possible. LETS be honest and put yourself in one of the seats of a Passenger in one of the doomed 9/11 flights, you have a working cell phone and in contact with family. While the aircraft is heading towards the Twin Towers, just above New York city skyscrapers, you can see the reflection of the airplane your are in from the windows just below you, give your loved ones and the rest of us your best argument for less intrusive security measures that allowed the box cutters that were used to take control of the flight crew and the aircraft. Tell us what a great feeling it is to fly the friendly sky's. From many of the comments made many prefer to go back to that same old standard, Fast, Quick, and hassle free boarding, good luck, hope you like to gamble, I love to gamble, but not with my loved ones or my life.

Posted by: southernrican | November 23, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Everyone at airports should just repeat to themselves: "It is very important that the Jews control the Holy Land cop-out instead of the Muslims." Possibly have a sign at airports stating such, as Israel is the root of the entire problem -- and that's according to bin Laden.

I realize we've been killing thousand of innocent Muslim civilians since 9/11, actually thinking we're making those people like us more; that we actually targeted civilians, not Saddam Hussein, in economic sanctions against Iraq from 1990 to 2003; but, still the root of the problem is Israel's violent, selfish unfairness against Muslims.

The Goldenrule Name (the-goldenrule.name)

Posted by: mail22 | November 23, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Everyone at airports should just repeat to themselves: "It is very important that the Jews control the Holy Land cop-out instead of the Muslims." Possibly have a sign at airports stating such, as Israel is the root of the entire problem -- and that's according to bin Laden.

I realize we've been killing thousand of innocent Muslim civilians since 9/11, actually thinking we're making those people like us more; that we actually targeted civilians, not Saddam Hussein, in economic sanctions against Iraq from 1990 to 2003; but, still the root of the problem is Israel's violent, selfish unfairness against Muslims.

The Goldenrule Name (the-goldenrule.name)

Posted by: mail22 | November 23, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

mail22,

arrogantly STUPID, fact-FREE, bigoted, NONSENSE, twice repeated, (like that foolishness that you posted above) does NOT become, by magic, intelligent discourse.
- you might want to think on that.

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | November 23, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

The government/TSA is going about this all wrong. Many groups of people should be cleared before ever getting to the airport.

1) Active military personnel. AND, they should be allowed to carry weapons aboard. This, in and of itself, would be a deterent to would-be terriorist.

2) Anyone who has been cleared for top secret information by our government.

3) Members of Congress. We may not trust them, but I doubt any one of them would blow up a plane.

4) Frequent flyers with x number of years on record and x number of miles. (Not being a frequent flyer, I do not know what is a reasonable number of years and miles.)


5) Anyone who is willing to submit to a security clearance examination and pay for it.

6) Children under age X, traveling with parents(s) who are in one of the above catagories.

There may be other categories I have not thought of.

These people would have in the airlines' computers an indication that they were "cleared" and this would print out on their ticket/boarding pass. The TSA official would look at the ticket/boarding pass, see "cleared," check his computer, check the passenger's picture id, and divert him away from the security checkpoint.

This would leave non-frequent flyers, people who do not have security clearance, and passengers flying on a foreign passport who would be subjected to the security check. These people should be throughly screened by TWS. And, by eliminating all of the above groups, more time could be spent on these more likely bombers.

Is this just too logical for our government to comprehend?

Posted by: bettijo1 | November 23, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

It's funny what happens to people when they 'perceive' that their mortality is threatened... usually spawned by propaganda being repeated over and over.

-- You are 17,600 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack

-- You are 12,571 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack

-- You are 11,000 times more likely to die in an airplane accident than from a terrorist plot involving an airplane

-- You are 1048 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack

--You are 404 times more likely to die in a fall than from a terrorist attack

-- You are 87 times more likely to drown than die in a terrorist attack

-- You are 13 times more likely to die in a railway accident than from a terrorist attack

--You are 12 times more likely to die from accidental suffocation in bed than from a terrorist attack

--You are 9 times more likely to choke to death on your own vomit than die in a terrorist attack

--You are 8 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist

--You are 8 times more likely to die from accidental electrocution than from a terrorist attack

-- You are 6 times more likely to die from hot weather than from a terrorist attack

The following ratios were compiled using data from 2004 National Safety Council Estimates, a report based on data from The National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Posted by: tippy_canoe | November 23, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Please stop with the shoe bomber and the crotch bomber. Neither originated in a US airport so that eliminates that! The crotch bomber's father tried to warn the US embassy but they were too stupid to get it. The reason for Opt Out is that we,the people have that right and we should exercise that right before that too is taken away. If the flying public is so worried about security,how about all that cargo that goes un-checked right underneath you. Why isn't TSA checking that! As to the radiation,if the writer of this column is an expert in Radiology then where did he get his degree? Our nephew is(radiologist) with a degree and has expressed concern about the passangers and the TSA personel. Last,do the TSA crotch grabbers change gloves between feels? Great hygene!

Posted by: PhilPaunxitauney | November 23, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

I could not help laughtng by the comments of an ex-military officer. I wonder if he experienced combat like I did in Nam? Most officers that I had contact with had all the answers but when the action started,they usually disappeared. As to explosives,he is correct that there are dogs capable of snifing them but there is a limit to the time they work the line so there must be a lot of them. I wonder if the TSA "brains"ever considered that no terrorist would knowingly go to the checkpoint waiting to be inspected. They would wait to be in the most crowded area and then"Boom". How many would that take out in a crowded airport. I lost a comrade in Nam when a little kid came up to us and wanted to shine our shoes and when my friend put his foot on the shoeshine box,he was blown away. This whole thing is nothing new,just closer to home! I just don't fly anymore!!

Posted by: PhilPaunxitauney | November 23, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

"Make all the jokes you want about the up-close-and-personal nature of security screenings. If they keep the skies safe, I'm all for them."

Make all the jokes you want about giving police the right to search any car anywhere; but driving is a privilege and not a right; and if it keep me out of one accident I'm willing to give up my Constitutional rights too.

"And if you still have a problem with that, might I suggest you look to another form of transportation. "

this still stands, right? I mean I can tell people that their rights are invalid when driving, and if they don't like it they can walk.

Or is driving not a privilege? Can you explain why the government can't violate my 4th Amendment rights unless you think it's a really good idea; then my Constitutional rights are no longer valid?

Posted by: gekkobear1 | November 24, 2010 2:27 AM | Report abuse

This is a frightfully irresponsible column which entirely ignores the central problem of the new body-scanners: the dismissal of the privacy of the passengers to control the sight of their bodies. It is not simply 'embarrassing' that security guards should peep through the clothing of the passengers, but a complete disregard of the integrity and dignity of the passengers to control the sight of the most private aspects of their bodies. To deny or trivialize this concern demonstrates gross negligence and complicity with the illicit, indecent, and tyrannical practices of the TSA and the airports.

Posted by: iamthepope | November 24, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

It's absurd that domestic airline passengers have to go through this intrusive and unwarranted process. If the government had been doing its job and communicating properly the underwear bomber should have never been allowed near an airport let alone allowed on a flight to the US. Now we all get to "assume the position" so that a few people can get rich off these scanners.

Posted by: kadeeu | November 24, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Since it’s still not against the law, let’s try to think this thing through; like where and how did it begin and what can be done to change what is becoming a grimy situation that may only be the prelude to random strip searches and full body scans in the malls. Clearly the freedom and liberties we once enjoyed and, unfortunately took for granted are being downsized. Now many are obviously upset about the airport procedures. This situation didn’t just happen out of the clear blue sky. WE HAVE OUR ARMIES IN MUSLIM LANDS. Damage done and the potential damage by our opponents won't be limited to downing planes. The huge expense of airport safety, the indignities now suffered by Americans not to mention feeling up kids is only the start of the price to be paid if we don't get our armies out of Muslim lands. Two guys and a rifle tied up the Eastern sea board with random shooting of whatever was in front of them. Imagine a few hundred of these teams from coast to coast. That Israel can't prevent attacks within its comparatively small borders with a highly refined security organization and heightened public levels of public awareness, should tell us something. Some ask how many bombs have been detected at our airports; no answers are available. Terror attacks in this country will remain a possibility and change in form as we are not fighting the Viet Cong, who at least had the decency to stay home. The only way to stop the diminishment of freedom attendant to the terror war, (downsizing of freedom being one of Osama’s goals) is to declare victory, pull out of Muslim lands, wait a few years and then our corporations can do business with today's terrorists as we now do with yesterdays', the Viet Cong. Perhaps we'll resuscitate strategic alliances with today's terrorists like we are doing with yesterday’s terrorists, the North Vietnamese. Free no log-in editorial cartoons
htttp://www.sintpeterii.com

Posted by: saintpeterii | November 24, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

PhilPaunxitauney; all,

four comments:

1. i'd bet that i have as much "time in country" as you do.
("Can you say AMERICAL & 18th MP Bde, children? SURE you CAN!")
2. fwiw, i was enlisted for 6 years of my years of service.
(i was once a 95B30, who "works for a living".)
3. UNLIKE most of the "armchair experts" here on "PP" (who have never heard the sound of gunfire), at least the 2 of us are NOT members of the "stay safe at home" group, who were "too upper class", "just too busy", "too important", "too valuable" and/or just plain TOO CHICKEN to serve in the forces.
and
4. WELCOME HOME, my brother-in-arms.

yours, TN46
USA, Retired

Posted by: texasnative46 | November 24, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

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