Wednesday, January 06, 2010

invasion of the body scanners....

Like the rest of the world, I was left with horrifying "what ifs" in my head after the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day, and was very relieved that it ended the way it did.  Since then, the intense knee jerk reaction to the event by politicians and the media has been very bizarre indeed.  Baffling too.  I'm just glad I'm not travelling these days to the United States.  It's not worth the hassle nor the anxiety.

We've seen the stories of the long line ups at the airports.  New carry on bans have kicked in, leaving everyone completely confused as to what you can or cannot take on board. My heart goes out to the frequent flyers whose successful work weeks are dependent on the swift arrival, departure and connections process....  God help them! 

Pat downs and frisking is the order of the day.  Hysteria has permeated the planet.  One guy on a suicide mission has altered travel as we knew it. One guy, whose Islamic terrorist ambitions were documented prior to the incident has rattled the nerves of the world!  We're now about to be invaded by body scanners. Canada just announced the purchase of 44 new scanners to be used in the 8 biggest airports in the country.  Does anyone else see this new approach to combating Islamic terrorism as absurd?  It's ABSURD!

Have we not just added yet another layer of security on top of a security system that needs to be fixed?  If the communication of information had been working properly, wouldn't we have picked up on this guy and not let him on a plane?  I mean, his own father called the authorities to let them know his son was on a mission to kill.   Shouldn't we be FIXING that problem rather than adding more to it?  We have the technology to ensure the authorities have the information.  I completely agree with identifying certain countries as high risk.  Profiling already happens informally.  Why not formalize it?  Why should EVERYONE be put through the same intense scrutiny?

I can't help but think Bin Laden and his buddies are in some cave giggling their faces off.  Chaos and fear was triggered in our collective emotional sensitivities and we've reacted by playing right into their hands.   We are now being invaded by the body scanners.  Is this the equivalent of street proofing?  Both provide a false sense of security. There is no guarantee that x-raying every single traveller will stop all other terrorist attempts.  What happens when THIS fails?  Do we strip down to our unbuffed buffs? Nude flying?  Starkers Airlines? 

Hey, maybe thats what we should do.  Maybe its time to embrace our lovely wrinkly banged up bodies by stripping down and flying in the buff.  Pack away your clothes and accessories.  Put away your self conscious worries.  No need to spend all that money on body scanners.  Flaunt your flesh!

Crazy!  This world has gone absolutely bonkers.  Where does the insanity stop?  How DO WE stop it?


Anonymous said...

We let go of our intense need / fear for political correctness and we do what we have to do to keep ourselves safe. That includes flat out "profiling", which I think is not profiling at all, but just simple common sense. Political correctness is the enemy within, and it breeds fear and loathing and the terrorists are counting on it continuing. It has to stop. I've been pulled aside, my baby's blanket searched, her diaper bag emptied, and I've seen 18-40 yr old men walk through with little to no scrutiny. Yeah, that makes sense.

Twain12 said...

i hear ya ...crazy world

The House on Big Island said...

Although I do agree, completely, with your comments, here is another idea.

How about hiring and training really, really capable people to carry out highly skilled work at the airports?

Israel has done this and... given the fact that they are in a very high risk situation - it would seem that they have "got it right"!

Trained security officers know how to ask the right questions, interpret body language and comments, read the eyes and the physiological responses - it is obvious that this makes sense.

Perhaps, for example, it might have been alarming to know that the Nigerian bomber on Delta / NW had no return ticket! It might have raised a red flag or two for a trained, security professional. Just one of many "tells" that might have been caught.

There will always be some risk but this seems to me to be an intelligent response to a growing problem.

...this has weighed heavily on me since 2001 and although I have cut way back on trans-Atlantic travel, for this very reason, I must admit that it still creates much anxiety when I go.

The House on Big Island said...

Muskie - on a lighter note - I could not resist sharing this with you - I just received it this morning from my Dad...



A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in the possession of a ruler, a protractor, a compass, a slide-rule, and a calculator. At a morning press conference, the Attorney General said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-Gebra movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.

"Al-Gebra is a problem for us", the Attorney General said. "They derive solutions by means of extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in search of absolute values." They use secret code names like `X` and `Y` and refer to themselves as `unknowns`, but we have determined that they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country.

As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, "There are 3 sides to every triangle".

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Obama said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, he would have given us more fingers and toes." White House aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the President, which probably will lead to a Nobel Prize in Mathematics for him.

Mark said...

Yep, I think nude flying is the order of the day. Bottom line if someone wants to do damage bad enough, they will find a way. There is always a way.

Anonymous said...

The U.S. is moving towards an Israeli style security. How fast it will happen depends on who is in office.

I agree with The House on Big Island.

But then again...naked flying would be one way to overcome our body issues. ;-) heeheehee.

awareness said...

Jen... none of it makes sense.

Twain... where does the crazyness end?

Daisy... I completely agree. Fix the problem exactly the way you describe. It's what I was thinking as well. I too have become a more anxious traveler and have no interest right now in visiting the States via air.
I LOVE the math story. :)

Mark. I agree. Maybe they should make everyone strip down to their skivvies and then make everyone wear hospital gowns. That way we would have to touch flesh against flesh. The seats are a tad small and close to one another.

Jen... Overcome our bodies issues and gross out the terrorists!

Gilly said...

Perfectly innocent and normal Muslim men and women are, rightly, concerned that the body scanners will show the female body in what is essentially nudity. This, of course, is totally against their religion and culture.

Do we have the right to insist that Muslim people who happen to want to fly somewhere be so insulted?

Surely prevention, ie actually acting on intelligence, using common sense, and doing jobs properly is the way forward.

Lack of communication sdeems to be the basis of all our problems, personal, relational, public, international, you name it!

BlazngScarlet said...

It's a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad world!
Unfortunately, the craziness will only get worse.

Crossing the border these days has become increasingly frustrating.
I have no problems entering Canada.
Hell, they welcome me!
But coming back into my own country?
I have been searched, detained and asked every question you can imagine.

I wonder if they'll put me through a body scanner at the border crossing too?

Anonymous said...

It is insane. My sister lives in the States and was traveling over the Christmas break. Would you believe she had to remove her underwire bra before she could board the flight? That is madness. Paranoia is the order of the day, I'm afraid, yet that terrorist still gets on the freakin' plane. Something's gotta give. And soon.

Canuckguy said...

I wonder if the body scanners can detect explosives stuffed betwix one's buttocks. If not, what is the point?

I last flew in April 2006. I was developing a fear of flying even before 9/11. I am going to stay grounded. I guess that means the 'terrorists have won'.

Canuckguy said...

BTW, perhaps the next move of the terrorists will be to have women to undergo breast implants, really big implants, enough to blow a jet out of the sky.

Can scanners detect that? Even a thorough stripped down pat down will not detect that.

awareness said...

Hey Canuck guy... welcome back. So, you're not receptive to the next phase of terrorist security...nude flying??
I have always been a jittery air traveller. I've never been comfortable. However, like you since 9-11, I am terrified. I have flown though... took ativan. It helps.

The other morning I woke up and thought........ no airport is secure. What's the chance of those whacked out Islamists to plan suicide missions, targetting several airports at the same time? It's beyond my comprehension!
Breast implants may be another plan. Who knows.... I hate thinking like them, but its the only way to second guess their next step.
Travel will never ever ever be the same again.