How'd You Feel About Flying with scanners, pat-downs and searches?

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John Hopkins

Flying with scanners, pat-downs and searches…What do you think?

» Written by // November 29, 2010 // ,


Are the threats of today’s travel starkly different from those that existed 20, 30, or 50 years ago? Do we live in a new world?

I think the answer is an unequivocal…yes.

I still remember my first airline flight as an adult. It was 40 years ago. We checked baggage and I walked to the terminal with my girlfriend. No searches. No boarding pass required to get to the gate. No bomb residue tests at the gate.

The good ol’ days. Bye-bye to those days forever I am afraid. I do not like it, but, it is what it is.

Today is the day of shoe bombers, car bombers, and box cutters. The threat has landed on American soil and we have lost our innocence.

So, this lover of the constitution; this guy who believes we must guard our freedoms doggedly; has caved. Being searched and having my bags searched is an inconvenience and an invasion. Having myself searched is an outrage. Being put through a full-body scanner is, well, annoying and, I suppose, somewhat worrisome.

Sorry to all my constitution loving friends, I think the current regulations are necessary in the interest of the safest possible traveling. I do not have to love it to understand the need for it.

Did the framers of the constitution see this happening? In some respects they probably imagined the concept, although not the specifics.

So, it is with mixed feelings that I read about Robert Dean’s attempt at a temporary injunction, filed in the US District Court for Eastern Arkansas, against the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Mr. Dean seeks to suspend the TSA’s use of full-body “pat-down” searches and “back-scatter full-body imaging systems.” Mr. Dean correctly, in my opinion, asserts that both efforts violate our Fourth Amendment rights under the constitution.

I think the question is: Are we willing to accept these new procedures in this instance, but resist similar efforts in other instances? The real fear, I suggest, is not these specific procedures, but the government gaining a “foothold” in asserting other controls, which violate the constitution. I think allowing this invasion is clearly a slippery slope, but what are the alternatives?

What do you think?

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