I’m not a “frequent flyer” by any means. Generally, between a few continuing education events, a conference or two, and a mission trip, I may get on an airplane eight times a year at most. And while that is enough to become familiar with the routine, and know how to avoid delaying the security line, it is probably not enough to be exposed to much dangerous radiation from scanners, I haven’t developed the same opinion about hand checks as it seems some people now hold.
I have to get the pat down when I go through security because I wear an implanted defibrillator and the signal from the scanner could alter its settings. It always takes a few extra minutes because I have to get out of line and wait for a screener to come. They accompany you to the pat down area, usually just to the side of the security line, so you can keep an eye on your carry on stuff, and then proceed to check for anything you might have strapped to your body. I avoid wearing bulky clothing, don’t carry much on board the plane, wear slip-on shoes and try to wear pants that don’t require a belt.
Every TSA agent who has performed a pat down on me has informed me of what he is going to do, lets me know that he will be using the back of his hand in sensitive areas, and has been completely courteous. I don’t mind. I would much rather go through the security check, and have the pat down, knowing that the same procedures are in place for everyone else who is boarding, than to get on a plane that explodes in mid-air because someone wasn’t checked adequately. These are the times in which we live.
I’m amazed at how people want to make this political. They don’t like the current administration and its politics, so they gripe about this. But keep in mind, what is being implemented now was planned and approved during the previous administration. So if you’ve got a problem with current proceedures and equipment, blame Bush. Scanners and pat downs were the plans of his national security advisor. And I’ve heard radio commentators insinuate that, while average, everyday, red-blooded Americans are enduring security checks, Muslims are slipping through scot-free. That’s a laugher. The fact is, over the past few years, I’ve seen fewer and fewer Muslims, especially those identified by their dress, who are willing to endure what they must endure in order to fly. What I’ve seen at airports, particularly in Houston, Chicago and Washington, D.C. is that anyone woman wearing traditional Muslim dress, and anyone accompanying her, is subjected to much closer scrutiny than other passengers.
On one occasion, passing through Reagan National Airport in Washington, I was asked to step into a side room and remove an item of clothing so that I could be further screened. I was wearing an ace bandage around my lower left leg. The agents were courteous, two were required to be in the room, and they had to fill out a report, which I had to sign. If that’s standard procedure, and it seemed to be, I don’t have a problem with it. If a private search by two agents is required to keep air travel safe, then I’d be in favor of increased municipal taxes to fund the construction of the rooms at the airport where this would take place.
Get real people. Stop complaining.