Be Still, My Traveling Heart

I was back in the security line at the Seattle airport last week.  An odd place for inspiration, but I’ll take what I can get.

Seattle now has full-body scanners.  This is the first time I’ve encountered them.  Here is my story:

Before the first checkpoint (ID and boarding pass), a recorded voice on the PA announced that if I didn’t want to go through the scanner, I could opt for the “enhanced pat-down.”  I’ve heard lots of complaints about this, and I have to say that I don’t understand them.  The way I see it, I get to choose between having someone take naked pictures of me or getting felt up by a stranger.  Decisions, decisions.  I always thought the fun part of travel was reaching your destination.  It turns out the journey really is its own reward.

Actually, I won the Daily Double.  I inadvertently left a few coins in my pocket when I went through the scanner, so I got the picture AND the pat-down.  About the latter, I can only say that I had no idea the words “Sir, we have to clear your right leg” could be so meaningful or that I would ever be tempted to use the words “conjugal” and “airport” in the same sentence.

The best part of the experience, however, was the TSA video that played over and over while we were snaking through the security line.  Here’s what the voice-over said (as always, please remember my rule – I never make this stuff up because I’m just not that good):

“This airport is now equipped with full-body scanners, which are designed to detect metallic and non-metallic objects that may be hidden beneath the passenger’s clothes.  We do everything possible to ensure your privacy.  The officer who helps you through the scanner never sees your image, and the officer who examines the image never sees you.  All images are completely and permanently deleted immediately after they are examined.   As a further step to insure your privacy, the images are blurred. . .”

That, my friends, is your tax dollars at work.

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1 Response to “Be Still, My Traveling Heart”


  1. 1 Steve Smolinsky April 23, 2011 at 5:35 am

    Ah, the experience of air travel just gets more and more titillating. Each time I have this exciting opportunity to have a total stranger grope me in public, I ask for a female agent only to be told that’s not allowed.

    I truly don’t understand this. A government agency enforcing homosexual activity in public…and in full view of those impressionable young minds awaiting their turn to be groped in a way that they are taught is illegal.

    Which causes me to think how typical this is. The set of government officials involved in education spending who knows how much to warn young children about inappropriate touching…and teaching them to immediately tell someone, such as a uniformed government official…about this, and then initiating a policy where uniformed government officials are encouraged to perform this same inappropriate touching in public.

    Perhaps these officials think that if pedophilia is done in public it’s an approved activity. Maybe that’s what has gotten all those priests in trouble…they should have been in front of the congregation rather than hiding in private when molesting their young congregants.


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