TSA Airport Patdown Backlash

The new TSA security pat-downs have been receiving quite the backlash from both the political right and left for its invasive, too close for comfort approach to handling flying passengers. Both that is the only option a passenger has if he or she doesn’t want to go through the even more invasive full body scans, which many Muslims are complaining about for religious modesty’s sake. Even flight attendants don’t want to go through the process themselves and are trying to get out of it.

TSA issued its own travel message, explaining travelers’ rights during the pat-down.

President Obama has said he is “empathetic” about the airport screenings and understands the frustration, however, they are necessary to ensure everyone’s security.

I find this all very interesting because before it was generally Muslim and Middle-Eastern looking individuals who bore the brunt of more scrutiny when traveling and most of the country responded with “well, it’s for our safety from terrorists, so just deal with it.” Now, everyone is concerned about being touched and passionately voicing out about their personal rights and dislike for the procedures all over the news media, despite the fact that it’s supposed to be in the American people’s best interest.

Reaction to the new patdowns have ranged from anger and frustration to humor and disgust.

  • One man, a bladder cancer survivor that wears a urostomy bag, went through the TSA pat-down and was left covered in urine.
  • Saturday Night Live did a light-hearted parody featuring Keenan Thompson, Bill Hader and Bobby Moynihan as the TSA agents who are more than ready to do their job.
  • A man named Brian J. Sodergre, is organizing a National “Opt Out” Day , on Wednesday, November 23, 2010. The website says people have a right to opt-out of the body scanners.

” All you have to do is say “I opt out” when they tell you to go through one of the machines.  You will then be given an “enhanced” pat down.  This is a right given to you by the TSA. There is no intent or desire to delay passengers en route to friends and family over Thanksgiving.”

The day aims for “ordinary citizens stand up for their rights, stand up for liberty, and protest the federal government’s desire to virtually strip us naked or submit to an “enhanced pat down” that touches people’s breasts and genitals in an aggressive manner.  You should never have to explain to your children, “Remember that no stranger can touch or see your private area, unless it’s a government employee, then it’s OK.”

Will the variety of backlash reactions result in the elimination of the TSA policy or perhaps a change?

I will be traveling this Thanksgiving and will let you all know how it goes for a hijab wearing Muslim (which should be an interesting experience.)

Let’s hope it’s not as bad as everyone says.

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