Thursday, February 10, 2011

Much Ado About My Junk

The "Don't Touch My Junk" guy became a kind of folk hero last November, something like an unstable and rude flight attendant at Jet Blue did a few months earlier.

We've people objecting to new airport search procedures and pat downs, even as the TSA is scrambling for innovations to safeguard privacy.  I had talked about over-sensitivity to profiling in my August 10, 2009 post as well.  Two weeks ago Jesse Ventura sued the TSA over his pat-downs.  The comments below that report overwhelming support Ventura and cheer him on.  While two-thirds of Americans support full body scans it is still disturbing that a third don't, and that half object to enhanced pat downs.

Terrorism and crime are serious threats, and Americans should decide if they want to focus on safety or be distracted by trivia.  What about concerns about invasion of privacy?  To me none of these measures are particularly intrusive, especially if the operations are performed by someone of the same gender.  We have our sports and gym locker rooms where we walk around naked in full view of others, that's a lot more "revealing" than these airport searches.

Perhaps it's cultural, but I never even gave a second thought to these pat downs that have occurred for a long time in India at airports and now at the Delhi Metro stations, and even some malls and hotels.  In fact I'm thankful that they do this quickly and keep us safe.

It took me a lot longer to get used to the aforesaid locker rooms when I first came to the US.  As well as the "open" stalls in public restrooms where the WCs are enclosed only with half panels so you can see a lot of the lower extremities of the users and fully hear them.  That's not the case in public toilets I've seen in Asia or even in Europe.

So I suppose perceptions vary and things are relative.  I imagine myself regarding  Americans objecting to such "unreasonable" searches almost the way these people would think of Middle Eastern women being made to dress in head to toe burqas.