My open letter to TSA
November 19, 2010
Most of you know that my family travels a lot. A Lot. Not just hubby and I, but kids too. We will have soon covered 5 continents in a year. Heck our little one-eyed dog has racked up a fair bit if air miles too. I usually roll with whatever is the panic protocol de jour. While I don’t always agree that they may be effective, they’ve not really been harmful before.
I am struggling with the current imaging and groping in place. I’m not sure the safety of the imaging, and that is not what concerns me. It’s the images themselves. My take, as a frequent traveller and someone that I believe possesses common sense follows.
- About those images, as long as TSA is government owned/ran the images might fall under the Freedom of Information umbrella. That makes images of me, my husband, our children, open to anyone smart enough to snoop. Don’t tell me the images are not saved. I’m not that gullible. How could they ever be used as evidence if not saved? Isn’t that the goal, stop something and prosecute? Yea.
- About the “enhanced pat downs,” really? Take a step back and think about what exactly you’re doing here? Are you using anything resembling logic here? If you think there’s logic at work here, I am scared at what you call logical.
- Put those together and explain to me how you are screening your employees to ensure you are not hiring sexual deviants that get off on this? A medical professional goes thru some extensive training before they start groping people. I am truly curious how many years of proper training your agents have before they are set loose on our anatomy and what special training they have about handling people of different ages. Do they practice groping on each other to learn what different varieties of normal anatomy might feel like?
- Let’s talk about protecting our kids from YOU (we’ll cover the traditional evil-doers in a minute). You have procedures in place that might keep kids 12 and under from your paid molesters and voyeurs. That’s a start. However, do I need to send you links and articles on the people that take advantage of teenagers? Who is protecting my teenage daughter (or son) from your misplaced intentions? For a minute we can assume your staff does not get off on grabbing my teenagers’ private bits, do you have an easily accessible private area so the creep in the next line doesn’t get off on watching you molest my children while I supervise you (and give you the worst hairy eyeball you’ve ever had)?
- You need to hire a handful of global security experts to teach you how to do what you are trying to do. You are not trying to protect us from the Billy Bob’s, so you can’t act like a redneck, like you are now. You will have no choice but to do some profiling (well, you already do that, but you’ll have to admit it and do it better). BUT, what does an evil-doer look like? Figure that out, profile THAT. It is not male or female, it is not Muslim or Christian, it is not old or young.
- You need to outsource more things, rules change when you are not the government. There is more of an opportunity to use common sense. Start with those stupid imaging machines and operators. Have a private firm do that and rules changes on access to the images. That is the first step at protecting my daughter (and me and husband and son I suppose) from pervs seeking a thrill and a peek using FOIA.
- Train whoever is left at identifying behaviors, not just at groping with the hope of finding something shoved in some random dude’s pants. Have your staff chat with travellers, small talk. Teach them to recognize abnormal reactions to simple questions about the weather and their vacations.
- Mix it up a bit more and don’t tell us what you’re doing. Figure out how to protect us without violating us, then shut up. When you’re on every nightly news explaining what you’re doing, you are simply giving the evil-doers a checklist of things to cover.
I totally understand that commercial air travel is not a constitutional right. I really, totally GET that. It’s not about rights. You look absolutely asinine with what you are doing and you make us (the US as a whole) look like idiots that are scrambling around without a clue. We the people have a clue, it’s you that are clueless.
I hate to do it, but I have to reference a cheesy overused quote from Wayne Gretzy. You need to go to where the puck (terrorist) is going, not where it has been.
TSA lists myths, facts about passenger security measures - CNN.com