Since I don’t like being angry and writing on the TSA always makes me angry, I am not going to spend a heck of a lot of time talking about what has been going on, but link to other sites that provide much more detail. There has been a lot going on with the TSA since their ban on printer cartridges a while back. Here are some of the highlights:
* Airports can opt-out of TSA: If an airport is fed up with what the TSA is doing, they can kick them to the curb and get private security. But not so fast cowboy, guess what? If you go with a private company, they have to follow all the same rules and are regulated by the TSA. Really, other than politically telling the TSA you are not happy, it won’t help passengers any.
* Pilots don’t need to be scanned or groped: After lots of protest from pilots and their unions, they no longer need to get body scans or enhanced pat downs. This just makes sense. Why should someone who has total access to the cockpit need to be scanned? If a pilot wants to do harm (hopefully that will never happen) they do not need any special devices to do so. I only ask that flight attendants and maybe someday passengers can get that same level of treatment.
* Do not hate on the screeners: Steven Frischling on his blog Flying with Fish takes a look at these enhanced patdowns from the screener’s perspective. He spoke with 17 of them and they had some pretty powerful things to say. Many are not happy about having to violate a person’s personal space nor the hurtful comments they receive daily. One of the quotes that stuck out to me: “I don’t know how much longer I can withstand this taunting. I go home and I cry. I am serving my country, I should not have to go home and cry after a day of honorably serving my country.”
* Photography of TSA security area IS LEGAL at most airports: Again from Frischling’s blog (he does a lot with the TSA), he talks about how he was recently detained at Hartford’s Bradley International Airport (BDL) by the TSA and a state trooper for committing a federal offense. Luckily Frischling had some TSA folks on speed dial and he was released, but what about those that do not have those sort of connections to the TSA? If you take photographs of the TSA security process, make sure you know your local rules and be polite and professional if you are questioned. However, definitely stand up for your rights, I wish I would have during my TSA encounter.
* The TSA is listening, but not caring: I have talked before about the “TalktoTSA” program, where they seem to take feedback, but not really care to reply. Now the TSA Administrator John S. Pistol has posted a video via YouTube to assure all of us that the TSA is ONLY caring about our safety and will continue their privacy invading body scans and “enhanced” pat downs. Mr. Pistol, you need to listen to the people you are supposedly put in charge to protect.
* We do not have the same parts: Many people argue we all have the same parts and why should it matter that we get scanned or groped? We we do not. I recently talked about a transgendered person having issues and more recently a man ended up urinating on himself, being humiliated by the TSA.
Argh. See, now I am angry. Did I miss anything? I just feel lucky I am not planning to travel at all during the holidays, but good luck to the rest of you that will be flying. If you need a little humor to add to this situation, check out this great TSA video from Saturday Night Live.Photo from FlyWithDignity.com