Okay, so maybe not yet, but I wanted to get your attention. This is a call to arms. Or letters as it were…
So here goes…
Tomorrow afternoon, I’ve got a planned flight back east to visit my family for the Thanksgiving Holiday – as a lot of people do. And over the last few days, I’ve been reading articles & blogs, seeing video, and reading tweets about the horrors of the new security regulations at airports around the country. I’m appalled at the Transportation Security Administration and their lack of accountability for some of the more heinous infractions.
In one day I’ve seen articles about the partial strip search of a 7-year-old boy, a woman who was made to remove her prosthetic breasts in full view of everyone in the terminal, a man with a prosthetic leg was made to drop his pants in the terminal (rather than just lifting his pant leg up) and a passenger who uses a urostomy bag was left covered in his own urine due to a TSA agent’s overzealous application of the “rules.” I read an article this morning that they were even going to go so far as to try to have passengers who opt out of the full body scans arrested and fined up to $10,000 in some areas (YEAH, THAT’S YOU MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT).
People over the last few days are getting more and more pissed off, myself included and because I’m headed to the airport in a little over 12 hours, I’m wondering what I will do. What I want to do is tell TSA to fuck off and that they are in severe need of a rethinking of their entire policy and practices. However, the promise of seeing my family and my new nephew may make me think differently.
As adamant as they have been to this point, I found an article this evening that makes me think that all our collective screaming about this is working. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/vp/40301974#40301974
They’ve finally gotten the message – or at least they’re starting to. And the new Transportation Committee Chairman seems to want to fix the problem. Hilary Clinton’s chiming in on the subject didn’t hurt.
I don’t want security to be compromised by a ton of people “Opting Out” on Wednesday. But I do want people to get the message across.
So here is my suggestion.
WRITE LETTERS. TWEET. BLOG.
If you have a bad experience or even a slightly uncomfortable experience at the security lines this holiday season, no matter how small the incident may seem, it counts. SO TELL EVERYONE YOU CAN THINK OF. Send letters to TSA, to your local news network, to the airports, to your Congress-people and Senators. But be LOUD about it. Let TSA know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the system is flawed and that they’ve gone too far. Making amputees remove their prosthetics is not acceptable. Especially when the “private” area they offer is a small partitioned area that is in plain sight of everyone and is made of clear plexiglass. The last time I checked, being in full plain view of everyone is not the definition of private.
Then send them a copy.
I’ve been to Israel. Many times. I have never experienced a more pleasant experience in an airport. They have the best security protocols on the planet in a country that is also one of the biggest targets on the planet. Why aren’t we doing it like them? Take a page from the experts.
And for the love of whatever God you worship, someone please explain to the TSA agents themselves that just because they are given a badge and an ugly blue uniform, it does NOT EVER give them the right to treat passengers like cattle. TSA agents complain that they’re being persecuted for following the rules, but by the same standard, we as passengers are more likely to be pleasant to them if they would stop treating every passenger like a criminal. You want our respect, be respectful. And use common sense. Was it really necessary to make that 7-year-old boy take off his shirt and grope his pants? If a passenger tries to tell you that they have a medical issue that needs special attention, listen to them. And if you do require a passenger to remove a prosthetic limb, don’t make them drop their pants in public.
Happy Holidays and Safe Travels.