In the book “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” author Hunter S. Thompson talks about going through airport security down in Texas. On the plane, Hunter looks in his satchel and discovers an assortment of pot, cocaine, LSD and illegal prescription pills. He’s worried about going through airport security, especially in Texas. The last thing that he wants to do is wind up in a Texas prison for drug possession.
So what does he do? He decides to take everything that’s in the bag. So you can imagine he’s pretty ripped by the time he goes through customs. He’s really sweating, really paranoid, but he makes it through OK. As he’s walking away from the checkpoint, he notices a couple of pills sitting on top of one of his tennis shoes.
And Hunter’s little adventure was back in the sixties. Imagine how paranoid he would have been if he had went through an airport checkpoint today, in the age of suspected terrorists everywhere.
Recently the TSA has increased airport security. Now you can either go through a scanner and get exposed to radiation, or get felt up by one of the security personnel. A lot of people are upset about both possibilities and some are even forgoing flying this holiday season and driving instead.
According to CNN: “John Pistole, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) chief, may not be feeling particularly thankful this week. With the holiday-travel crunch looming, outrage over his agency’s stringent new airport-screening procedures is nearing a boil.”
There have been threats by passengers to protest the new regulations while they are waiting in line, creating quite a delay that would make holiday travel even worse than it already is. It even caused “Saturday Night Live” to do a skit saying that a lot of people will start flying just for the thrill of the intimate pat down.
Some frequent flyer’s question how much extra radiation they are being exposed to, while others say they feel like they have committed a crime and are being patted down. Some even question the integrity of the TSA personnel who review the blurry film of naked passengers that the camera produces.
There have been horror stories as well. One passenger who had survived breast cancer was asked to remove her prosthetic bra and a person wearing a bag to collect her urine because of bladder cancer, had the bag broken when the TSA agent felt too aggressively.
But despite the horror stories and the protests, polls show that 81% of the American people support the scans. It just goes to show how afraid we really are.