After the September 11, 2001 attacks, some people asked, “What freedoms must we give up, in order to be protected?” If we had courage worthy of those who founded our nation, each of us would die, rather than surrender any portion of our liberty.
Under recent Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules, TSA employees intimately scrutinize the bodies of air travelers via radiation imaging equipment. Those who object to the body scan are offered the alternative of a highly intrusive physical examination (groin check) by TSA workers.
It is particularly sad for me to hear men assert that it is “necessary” for the women in their lives to be ogled and fondled by TSA. Why are some people willing to surrender privacy and dignity of the body?
Imagine for a moment an implausible scenario where terrorists destroy a 400 passenger airliner each week for an entire year. About 21,000 lives would be lost, certainly a terrible toll. In 2009, 33,963 died in the United States due to automobile crashes. Death by automobile is no less painful than death by air-crash. Society seeks to improve auto safety, but wisely avoids draconian measures.
The TSA rules terribly degrade our traditional values, for a threat objectively smaller than that posed by automobiles. Why is death by terrorist more feared than death by motorist?
Our society holds drivers responsible for automobile crashes. Politicians are seldom held to account for a particular wreck, unless he or she was directly involved in it. With respect to terrorists, politicians are reluctant to oppose any action or plan that purports to improve security. Politicians fear electoral punishment if a terrorist incident occurs. Politicians fear that their opponent will paint them as soft on terrorism for opposing a security initiative. Symbolism drives them, not fidelity to traditional values or to what actually works.
So when you are scanned or groped at the airport, remember that fearful politicians are the ones who benefit from your discomfort.
Reference: US Department of Transportation for 2009 auto deaths, as reported in thecarconnection.com