We’d like to welcome to South Florida all the tourists that have been fed up the last two years by not being comfortable away from their home base. Actually, it’s the 2nd safest place to be, with the first being your living room.
The hardest part was flying here. Enjoy the weekend. Oh by the way, more people were groped at the airport last week than at all the senior proms this year. This is a watershed statistic and one that will cause political patronage for airport jobs to head into the ‘R’ rated category. What’s going to stop a TSA shoe fetishist from drooling over your Manolo Blahniks?
A failed shoe bomber made us take off our shoes. An underwear bomber has made them grope us. What’s next? Will an intestinal smuggler require us to bend over, touch our toes and say “Thank you sir, may I have another?”
The Miami Airport TSA screeners have always done pat-downs and some random kissing, but it seems they recently became more aggressive after Café Cubano concessions were opened next to the gates. Is there a link between this Cuban speed and enhanced pat downs? You decide!
So I guess this piece will be part of the growing public backlash against the new techniques of aggressive pat downs at airports. Lord knows there’s really nothing else to complain about these days.
The new security scanners perform full body, basically CT scans of all passengers. If you choose to opt out of the backscatter X-Ray scanner, you’re groped by a TSA employee. I say groped but they’re called ‘enhanced pat-downs’ by TSA personnel. That’s a legal term and they’ve got to cover their butt at the same time they’re uncovering yours.
Despite official information about no cameras or cell phones in the room where some TSA yahoo is scanning you in your birthday suit, that doesn’t make it easier. Did anyone really set their phone to airplane mode during takeoff and landing? These are the same people who told us to ‘Duck and cover’. At least on a crowded commuter train you don’t know who just ‘patted you down’ but I’m only saying that if the TSA employees were to wear white coats with stethoscopes and say things like ‘turn your head and cough’ while groping you, passengers might feel better about the process. You could play a mind game and think the line to go through security is like waiting in the doctor’s office. The airport could stack old magazines, strategically place a few ferns and have a small sliding window where an attendant could say, “Come in, the agent will see you now”.
Then you could say, “You know I’ve had a pain in my right side since Tuesday, could you just check that for me?” psychologically, it would feel better.
Instead of these invasive procedures we could take a page from the Israeli system of questioning passengers to determine if there is a risk. Passengers will be asked about where they are coming from, the reason for their trip and whether they have packed their bags themselves or allowed a terrorist to pack it for them.
And do the machines store scans? They say no, but I found out that my home copy printer has a hard drive which has every scan and copy recorded on it so don’t throw it out. Having tight security these days is good, but don’t throw the passenger out with the bathwater.