The whole country is in an uproar over the TSA scanning and whether or not the choice between a peep show and the fondling of our genitalia is constitutionally appropriate.
An Internet movement called National Opt Out Day has designated Wednesday -- November 24, one of the biggest travel days of the year -- the day to tell TSA agents asking you to go in the full body scanner "I opt out." Actualy, the ideal would be not to travel at all, but if you do travel, refuse to agree to be scanned.
And while some here believe the decision to opt out means you're an idiot, it's more empowering than simply allowing these invasive and crude measures to continue.
Those simple words mean you will be subject to the "enhanced pat down" or, as the folks at Saturday Night Live said, "That's when the real fun begins ..."
If by fun they mean having your (and your loved ones') breasts and genitals groped by the gloved hand of an angry and harried TSA worker. Just the way to start Thanksgiving weekend off, right! Right?
If you have to fly -- and hopefully you don't -- opt out. Hold up the lines and make the TSA work for their money. Let them know we are serious. It will not make you an idiot. Here are some reasons to "opt out."
Protest: Sure, it's going to annoy a lot of people (and you will hear it, I'm sure), but it's the only way the TSA is going to listen. Thus far, they haven't heard the 600+ complaints the American Civil Liberties Union has received or the hundreds of articles written here and in other major publications throughout the country. They claim Israel's security measures would not work in the US because of the time it takes to get through the line (and because hiring qualified workers is more difficult), so show the TSA we mean business and that extra time in the lines isn't an excuse to strip (pun intended) us of our Fourth Amendment rights.
Health: The TSA says the airport scanners are safe, but they also said that they can't save the photos. And while it's true that the saved photos didn't come from airports, how hard is it for an underpaid, under-appreciated TSA worker to snap a photo of a woman with big boobs on his iPhone? Not hard enough, in my mind. If that seems paranoid, so be it. There have been too many stories about cops and shared photos for me to trust the same TSA workers who yell at me and my family every time we fly.
In April 2010, four members of the University of California faculty relayed to Dr. John P. Holdren, President Obama's Science and Technology czar, their concerns about the serious health risks posed to travelers by the whole body back scatter X-ray scanners. Dr. Sedat is a Professor Emeritus in Biochemistry and Biophysics, with expertise in imaging; Dr. Marc Sherman is an internationally well known and respected cancer expert; and Drs. David Agard and Robert Stroud are X-ray crystallographers and imaging experts.
Educate people: No matter how "idiotic" you find Opt Out Day, the reality is the people who support the new measures are wearing blinders. Think this makes us safer? Think again. The terrorists will find their own way to get through this while we are raising our hands above our heads, allowing strange people to touch our vaginas and pretending like it makes us safer. Think, people! In the race to idiocy, I will choose the people who think for themselves and who act out of rational thought, not fear, any day.
Support: Although polls suggest that most people support the new measures, those polls are misleading. According to The New York Times:
The ABC News poll also suggests that opposition to the measures is higher among those who fly regularly.
Just a thought: Maybe we should weigh their opinions heavier than those who fly a handful of times a year. My father, for instance, flies at least four times a week and he is opposed to this. I trust his thoughts more than someone who flies six times a year.
They will hear us: The protest may be obnoxious and it may take time away from busy travelers, but our voices will be heard. According to the The New York Times:
I would be surprised if the new procedures survived much past the New Year without significant modification.
And that is why protest matters.
For some, tomorrow will be an inconvenience, but for others, having their genitals fondled and their rights violated is the bigger inconvenience. If you are against the scans and the fondling, then opt out.
If you aren't, be sure to have extra time at the airport. Hopefully you will need it.
Do you think Opt Out Day is good?
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