It is ridiculous to equate pat-downs to groping or sexual assault.
I did not equate the two. I'm asking a valid question about the reactions of people who have been sexually assaulted ... Melissa above states that she is a survivor of rape and that these new procedures make her especially uncomfortable considering her past.
I wouldn't suggest having no screening what I am sick and tired of is the endless string of knee jerk reactions to the latest supposed security threat that get more and more intrusive. As I stated already by focusing on the general population you are taking a lot of time and resources away from focusing on that extremely tiny number of people who would actually do harm. There are many other things we should be doing at our airports that would make us both safer and less annoyed and get us to where we are going quicker.
Air travel is exceedingly safe and is not the hassle some make it out to be. If air travel is not the hassle some make it out to be than you must be one lucky flier.
Reply to Benjamin: If I don't want to be touched, I have that right. If I don't want to be photographed nude, I have that right. I shouldn't have my rights to my own damned body infringed by anyone, for any reason. As Becca points out about the sexual assault thing - speaking as someone who has been sexually abused, undergoing these invasive procedures would harm my mental/emotional well-being. Are you telling me I am being full of shit to feel the way I do about this? Are you telling me that you think everyone should feel as nonchalantly about it as you do?
It is exaggeration to claim that pat-downs are invasive and that the photographs are just like nude pictures. I've traveled through many countries where pat-downs are 100% before boarding the plane, and nobody thinks they are being molested.
I am not justifying the scanning as the best method to prevent dangerous materials from being brought into the cabin, I am just trying to point out the wild exaggerations in this thread.
The point of these new pat downs is precisely to make you embarrassed and uncomfortable enough to submit to the machines next time. The TSA gropers are specifically trained to touch your genitals. Your experience in being patted down in other countries is not relevant here.
Unfortunately not anything that i've found of much interest. But if policies are changing and altering we need statistics backing them. Since 9/11 have we put out any "new" numbers based on terrorist prevention? I think these measure just amplify the fear unfortunately.... but we'll see.
I don't personally take offense to being felt up for security purposes, and it won't feel in the least bit like any kind of sexual incident for me. I'd still prefer the scanner because I'm not worried about the radiation risk [see another link here] or a few so-called invasions of my privacy.
However, my right to impose such invasions of privacy on other Americans is far outweighed by the spirit of our constitution, so I'm among the 20% of Americans who think the invasion of privacy is inappropriate. Even more importantly, there's the slippery slope factor (or "precedence" in jurisprudence) that makes the next draconian measure easier to impose with immunity .
In fact every time one of these fear-based reactions is implemented, I'm thinking "damn, another point for Al Qaeda". Keeping fear alive, right? Yeah, I too would rather take my chances of the plane blowing up. Let's work on longer term countermeasures, even including energy strategies that include less dependence on oil. (The "Ground Zero Mosque" is another, shameful example of how we have enabled those evil doers to subvert principles that America has stood for and has been known for in the world.)
Meanwhile, despite this quarter's scoring of Al Qaeda (et al) 1, America (et al) 0, I give America a point for a sense of humor. Just passing this on because I think this American humor is "historic" in a way. There are links to the video that have stopped working because of NBC copyright enforcement. I don't know how long Hulu plans to keep it available, but at least they have rights to it. 1-1/2 minutes:
What I don't understand is why the US isn't using the scanners that I believe are in use in the Netherlands ... it scans you whole body in the same way the US machines do but doesn't take an essentially naked picture it shows an image of a stick figure and anything the scanner picks up flashes as a yellow box over the area the object is found. I'm not worried about radiation or whatever I'm worried about my privacy and I am a particularly private person I would have no objections to the type of scanners I just described. Below is al ink that talks about them.
I think that blogger is as guilty of cherry-picking as the stories about passenger anecdotes he cites. He makes a useful point though, to quote John Stewart "When we amplify everything, we hear nothing". If we scream about the tangential stuff, the core of the matter is lost.
There's an article about how Israel seems to have much more secure, and extremely quick, airports. I'll see if I can find it...the basically they screen people at 2 or 3 points as they enter the airport, mostly by looking them in the eye and asking a couple questions.
Secondly: While I really, really want to agree with the fourth amendment argument; I'm not sure about it. It comes down to whether flying is a right. You could always choose to take the train or drive to your destination, which is an opt out of the whole thing.
Thirdly: Gaytor's right about body cavities for one. For two, they let us bring fully charged batteries on the plane. Are they aware of the potential energy stored in a 9 cell lithium ion battery in a laptop and what catastrophic failure looks like? If you intentionally generated an internal short, I'm sure it would be exciting to say the least. Moreover, some things simply aren't dense enough to show on the scanners... like some explosives. These things are the product of lobby money leading to expensive equipment purchases that are unneeded.
Finally: Just because they use a technological means to take a nude photo of you doesn't make it not a nude photo. In my eyes, that makes any scan of a child no different than any nude photo of a child. Would you let a stranger take a nude photo of your kids, or touch their genitals for some other reason than a medical one?