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.


Anonymous said...

Liberals will always side with the omnipotence of the govt even if it violates freedoms. The one third that don't agree with you are still searching for was to travel safely without being needlessly molested and pried. Locker rooms do not expose you to radiation or cattle prods.

I'm sure a terrorist will get you no matter how high the threshold is set. Maybe we should have pre-screening for frequent flyers who have taken a plane at least twice a year, or some standard like that.

Each side is getting smarter. Before, all terrorist were those traveling without a return ticket and paying cash. Well, authorities caught on but so did the terrorist. Soon the bad guys will find something else. But the authorities must resist from becoming so intrusive, the cure is worse than the disease.

BTW, the liberal guns are all silent with Obama invading Libya. Is anyone calling for the return of the Nobel prize? If GW Bush had done this he would have had a hundred shoes thrown at him.


Sandip Madan said...

The operative word in your first para is "needless" and people seem to have different perceptions of what fits this description. For the frequent and the ultra sensitive travelers there is already the "Clear" card expedited screening program for $179 per year, though it doesn't seem to be too popular.

I'm fine with limited intervention in Libya to avert a Bosnia type massacre (and some liberals are too), but yes, you can never please everyone.

Anonymous said...

You can do the right thing in the wrong way and it's wrong. He has entered into the Libyan fray violating the tenets of the Powell doctrine.

1. Only go when there's vital national interest. There are other bigger ones at stake like Bahrain and Yemen. Libyan oil is still flowing. If you're worried about massacres and humanitarian effort, Bahrain eclipses it.

2. Go with overwhelming strength. We are going with the French holding the keys to the ammunition dump. Soon the Brits and French will be gone and the US will be holding the bag.

3. Have exit strategy. I don't see any. Nor do I see consultation with Congress.

By the time this thing is over and his birth certificate found, he will be renamed "O-Bomber!". The left is totally hypocritical, and in five years, the US will find itself isolated. Europe will fall into the Russian orbit for the oil. Japan will rebuild under a Chinese Marshall plan. Arabs and the whole mid east will be ambivalent because we have played our chips wrong in the region.


Sandip Madan said...

"O-Bomber", huh? You crack me up, and I don't want to be cast as an Obama apologist. He could have done a lot better on health care and a larger, more effective federal stimulus in 2009. But on Libya I'm happy with the way it was handled to avert a Bosnia type Srebenica massacre, or Rwanda.

Humanitarian intervention should have a role especially with multilateral consensus and without risking our ground troops. We did something similar and well in Kosovo in Clinton's time. There were no easy answers but our Libya action may actually improve America's image abroad - time will tell. For what it's worth polls show more Americans approve of Obama's Libya action than oppose it.

Anyway, we've gone somewhat afield of the original topic of airport security... :-)