TSA values safety over privacy

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By Cloie Swain / Staff Writer

By Cloie Swain / Staff Writer

If there is anything Americans as a whole value as much as the National Rifle Association values the Second Amendment guarantee to let people arm themselves with AK-47’s, it is the right to privacy.


A reasonable and rational response to someone getting up in your personal space bubble is, anger and outcry.


This struggle was personified with John “Don’t touch my junk” Tyner versus the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) video that ran circuits around nightly newscasts and Internet sites, setting off a fury towards the airline safety agency.


Over the Thanksgiving holiday travelers spoke of refusing to go through full body scanners and then causing backups in airports around the nation in protest to the full body pat downs, including areas which are better left alone by strangers.


Though highly reported, the hype turned out to be just that, and the expected delays in airport security lines across the nation never appeared.


But this whole debacle brings up an important issue: When the security and lives of hundreds of passengers and crew are at stake, does the individual’s rights trump the rights of the collective group’s safety?


Many would, somewhat rightfully, say yes. The private aspect of a person is a dearly held thing.


In the world of online photos being permanent internet fixtures, video cameras that sway back and forth always watching, and paranoia becoming the new black, privacy is a luxury.


The Patriot Act is a testament to the abuse that the Bush regime administered to United States citizens privacy.


And with all of this personal space invasion, it is doubtful that really anyone would volunteer for a search like the ones performed by the TSA. It is instinct to cover up, not to go exposing yourself.


As with every good debate though, the flip side is just as strong.


Getting on an airplane is one of the scarier things someone can do.


You would be hard pressed to find someone who does not know of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in which commercial airplanes were used to perpetrate the worst attack on American citizens since the Pearl Harbor bombings.


So diligence is expected where security of airliners is concerned.


How far to go with said diligence is where the issue arises.


The shoe bomber used, go figure, his shoes to attempt to blow up a plane in December of 2001.


A flight delay and possible foot sweat are responsible for the fuse being too damp to light, and thanks to the now supermax prison incarcerated felon, people are now required to remove footwear prior to boarding.


Common sense is responsible for not yelling “bomb” on a plane. Same line of logic as not yelling “fire” in a crowded auditorium.


Basic thinking and understanding of human nature and the willingness to panic are responsible for many of the measures in place to keep travelers safe.


So is it really that difficult to imagine extreme caution being exercised in preparation for boarding a vehicle that can wreck virtually unimaginable havoc and cause thousands of deaths?


Is it too ridiculous to be a little uncomfortable for a few moments in the service of keeping everyone on your flight safe?


The answer is, as always, a complicated one.


People won’t like it, but that is easy to accept. Everyone is a critic, especially when the debate is so highly charged.


This is a classic case of short sided, out of control mob mentality morphing with the Internet effect.


Something that could have been a blip on the nations radar turned into something that is over-hyped and just generally treated like a sporting event.


The TSA pat-downs and body scans are invasive, yes.


They really should figure out a way to better serve the public.


But until that happens, we all need to grin and bear it.


Because anyone would rather be uncomfortable than dead.


And if you find someone who is so adamant about their privacy they’ll refuse to go through the line, that is why rental cars exist. No pat down required.

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