Sunday, November 28, 2010
Hyperbolic Rhetoric about the TSA screening procedures.
I must say, the rhetoric I heard the previous week on talk radio and television news programs did not come even close to my experience at the airports. On Saturday, flying out of DFW they had a body scanner, but I saw no one walk through it. I saw no one getting a pat down at all, let alone getting "groped." Security seemed to be pretty much business as usual. Shoes off, jacket off, pockets empty, laptop out of bag, through the metal detector, and on with my business. No problem.
Leaving from Atlanta Hartsfield airport was pretty much the same experience. The only difference was that I saw one guy have to go through the scanner. And why was that? Here is the conversation between this mid-forties business man and the TSA agent as best as I can remember it.
TSA Agent: Sir, are your pockets empty?
TSA Agent: Sir, I can see something in your back pocket.
Man: Oh, you mean my wallet? (man takes out wallet)
TSA Agent: Sir, your pockets must be empty. Please place your wallet in this bin. Now, are your pockets empty?
TSA Agent: Sir, what is that in your front pocket?
Man: (Takes out something I could not see), Oh, this?
TSA Agent: Sir, you pockets need to be EMPTY. Sir, please step into the body scanner.
That was the only person I saw getting either scanned or patted down, and that was because he was being an uncooperative doofball. So, in all, the rhetoric leading up to my two flights was incredibly inflated and hyperbolic to the extreme.
I do not know about all of the issues concerning these new TSA screening procedures. I am sure there are legitimate concerns on both sides. But one thing is sure: in order to have a civil and productive conversation about this topic, the hyperbolic rhetoric must be dialed down. As long as one side is merely yelling "pervert" at the TSA agents, constructive conversation will never be the result. So, lets put a damper on the inflated rhetoric and start having a real conversation. I mean really, do you think the TSA agents are getting a kick out of patting down sensitive areas. Do you really think the TSA agent who looks at numerous metalic-looking naked images on a computer screen is really using these images fodder for sexual perversion? No, these are just hard working Americans trying to do the best job they can to keep passengers and planes safe. Are the scans and pat downs the best solution to our security problems? I don't know, but I know that inflamed rhetoric that distorts the truth will not help the situation.