Tuesday, November 16, 2010

National Opt-Out Day

Apologies that this isn't a post regarding gaming or anything geek related. But it's an issue I've taken up and felt a need to release the thoughts spinning in my head. 

For those living in the U.S. the TSA has been adding more Advance Imaging Technology scanners into airports (roughly 450 around the country) and have changed the "pat-down" guidelines. The AIT machines are bascially full body scans where you can see butt cracks, genitals, bascially every curve and detail of your body short of hair follicles. If you're selected for a random screening, you have the choice to go through the machine or do the "pat-down." The machine is, understandably, faster. According to TSA, the machine will scan your body. There is a computer that projects the scanned images in another room, behind closed doors, where a TSA employee will view the image for any weapons you may be hiding. TSA also states that the images are erased once the TSA agent is done reviewing them.

The new "pat-down" is anything but. Instead of using the back of the hand, agents can now use their palms and fingers. They are allowed to rub along your inner-thigh all the way up to your genitals. As one agent said "until your hand can feel bone along the thigh." So for most people that would be right at your crotch. Even me and my 110ish pound frame, that's right at the privates. Agents are also now allowed to be more aggressive on chest groping, for both men and women. TSA says it's suppose to be between the chest and under the bust. However, some individuals have reported agents were groping them with intent.

Honestly, I'm disgusted at the new rules that have been put into place. I understand that the government is doing it for the general protection of citizens in this country. But let's be blunt. They are bascially letting themselves be bullied around by a small group of extremists/terrorists and allowing them to win. We should be fighting back and saying "No. We're not going to change our ways and we're not going to cave in." Instead, the government is making out every man, woman, and child of this country to be evil and allowing for every portion of our body to be visually and physically assaulted as if we are all criminals until proven innocent. That's not how to stand up against terrorism. And, needless to say, the new methods still haven't been preventing bombings and plane hijacks (though still safer to travel then by car!) If anything, it's encouraging people to become more crafty at how to circumvent the system. Good job government.

For those interested in learning more, I'd recommend visiting the National Opt-Out Day website. On November 24th, one of the busiest flying days of the entire year, this individual has suggested to everyone that is flying to Opt-Out of the AIT scan and the "pat-down". If you have to go through the "pat-down" make sure to request to have it done in public so that everyone can see just how invasive the procedure is. Don't allow for them to take you behind closed doors where you are at greater risk for more thorough "patting". Let the public see how horrible the "pat-down" is so more and more will stand up against it. And I urge everyone to get in touch with your state's senator and voice your concerns. Tomorrow there is a hearing for this issue in which many of the populous states will be attending including California, Texas, and Florida (3 of the top 4).

Personally, I don't like the idea of dropping $500 for a plane ticket to be visually, mentally, and potentially physically assaulted. Twice if you are going round-trip.  I know that this isn't the airlines faults. It's strictly the government regulating air travel. And because of this, I won't be afraid to boycott flying as much as it would hurt me to know that people from airlines might be losing their jobs over this. Passengers and employees of airlines are going to be hurt by these changes.

Make your opinion known! Get involved and send an e-mail, call, or write to your senator.


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