Here’s what happened after that:
A TSA agent told me to step to the side and stay put. He then proceeded to shout out loudly enough for all the other travelers and TSA agents to hear, “OPT OUT! OPT OUT!” This is no doubt designed to attract attention (or perhaps humiliation) to those who choose to opt out of the naked body scanner. I saw no purpose for this verbal alert because the same TSA agent who was yelling this ultimately was the one who patted me down anyway.
For the pat down, first I was required to walk through the regular metal detector. From there, I was asked if I wanted to be patted down in a private room, or if I didn’t mind just being patted down in full view of everyone else. Not being a shy person in the first place, I told the agent I didn’t need a private room.
He then explained to me that he was going to pat down my entire body, including my crotch and my buttocks, but that he would use the back of his hands to pat down the crotch and buttocks areas. This is probably designed to make the pat-down seem less “personal” and more detached. That way, air passengers can’t complain of being felt up by TSA agents who might get carried away with the pat-down procedure. He asked if it hurt for me to be touched anywhere, and I told him no, at which point he proceeded with the pat down.
It was a well-scripted pat-down, covering all the areas of my body, including a mild crotch sweep (it wasn’t especially invasive or anything, as doctors will do far worse during a physical exam). He swept my arms, legs, hips, back of the neck, ankles and everywhere else. To the TSA’s credit, this guy was fast, efficient and only used a light touch that was in no way disturbing. But it did take an extra five minutes or so compared to walking through the naked body scanner.
Speaking of the naked body scanenrs, as I was having my crotch swept by the back of the hand of this TSA agent, I was observing other air travelers subjecting themselves to the naked body scanners. They were told to walk into the body scanner staging area and then hold their arms in the air in a pose as if they were under arrest. They were told to freeze in this position for several seconds (perhaps 10 seconds) during which they were being blasted with ionizing radiation that we all know contributes to cancer.
The TSA, of course, will tell you that these machines can’t possibly contribute to cancer. But they said the same thing about mammograms, and we now know that mammograms are so harmful to women’s health that they actually harm ten women for everyone one woman they help. So I’m not exactly taking the U.S. government at its word that naked body scanner radiation is “harmless.”
As these air travelers were being scanned, their naked body images were appearing on a screen somewhere, of course. Some TSA agent was examining the naked body shape and contours of all these people, and even though we were told by the TSA that the image viewing machines cannot store images, we have since learned that the machines actually do have the capability to store those images. In addition, rogue TSA employees could simply use their cell phones to take snapshots of what they see on the screen. There are no doubt rules against such behavior, but it’s bound to happen sooner or later.
Meanwhile, my own security screening was proceeding fully clothed. I don’t want to broadcast my naked butt cheeks on the TSA’s graphic monitors, thank you very much!
Very few people opt out of the naked body scanners
The most fascinating part about this entire process was not the verbal broadcast of my opt out status, nor having my crotch swept by the latex-covered back hand of some anonymous TSA agent, but rather the curious fact that I was the only one opting out. Although I must have watched at least a hundred people go through this particular security checkpoint, there wasn’t a single other person who opted out of the naked body scan.
They all just lined up like cattle to have their bodies scanned with ionizing radiation.
To me, that’s just fascinating. That when people are given a choice to opt out of being irradiated, they will choose to just go along with the naked body scan rather than risk standing out by requesting to opt out.
You see, I’m not convinced that the TSA’s naked body scanners enhance air travel security at all. Previous security tests conducted by the FAA show quite clearly that the greatest threat to airplane safety isn’t from the passengers but from ground crews, where bombs and other materials can be quite easily smuggled onto planes.
But even though naked body scanners may not enhance air travel security, they do accomplish something far more intriguing: The successful completion of an experiment in human behavior. If you were to pose the question “Will people line up like cattle to be electronically undressed in front of government security officers?” The answer is now unequivocally YES!
Most people, it turns out, will simply do whatever they’re told by government authorities, even if it means giving up their privacy or their freedoms. Almost anything can be sold to the public under the guise of “fighting terrorism” these days, including subjecting your body to what is essentially a low-radiation CT scan at the airport!
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I should be required to subject myself to ionizing radiation as a condition of air travel security. Of course, the more technically minded readers among you might counter by saying that high-altitude travel is, all by itself, an event that subjects you to low levels of ionizing radiation (which is true). But that’s all the more reason to not add the body’s radiation burden any more than necessary. Americans already get far too much radiation from CT scans and other medical imaging tests (not to mention mammograms). Do we really need to dose peoples’ bodies with yet more radiation every time they board an airplane?
Trusted traveler program?
I don’t know why the TSA never pursued its “trusted traveler” program. I actually suggested this years ago, and there was word that the TSA was working on something similar. The way it worked was very different from the current system. Under the current system, every person entering an airport security line is assumed to be a terrorist, and it is only through the various security screenings that you are eventually deemed to be innocent. This is a “guilty until proven innocent” approach to air security, and it’s the system in place all across America (and around the world) today.
Under a trusted traveler program, people who pass rigorous background screening procedures, criminal history checks and other similar tests would be assumed innocent unless suspected of being guilty. They might carry “trusted traveler” cards linked to a federal database so that their status could be verified as they pass through a security checkpoint. They might even have their fingerprint scanned at that checkpoint in order to biometrically verify their identity.
For whatever reason, the TSA is no longer pursuing any such trusted traveler program (at least not to my knowledge). Perhaps the agency just figures it can trust no one. Hence the need to have everybody line up in front of the naked body scanner machines and raise their arms in a humiliating “I’m being arrested” pose.
It’s actually just like the scene from the movie called The Fifth Element starring Bruce Willis. Remember the scene where the cops are searching the apartment block and they use an X-ray scanner to see through the walls? As they search the apartment building, they announce that all residents must face the wall and place their hands inside the yellow circles on the wall. This scene eerily resembles what the TSA makes U.S. travelers do right now.
And virtually no one protests. That’s the really amazing part about this.
Seasonal flu shots offered at the airport, too
After completing my security pat-down, by the way, I entered the terminal where I walked by a kiosk offering a seasonal flu shot. There was a big sign claiming that the flu shot would prevent you from catching the flu, and a nurse of some sort stood right behind the kiosk, ready to inject you with a vaccine for just $35.
First the naked body scanners, and then the flu shot propaganda. It reminded me that the U.S. government really is trying to push people into self-destructive behaviors that will ultimately benefit the sick-care industry. After all, the more cancer and Alzheimer’s disease people develop (from radiation and vaccines, of course), the more business gets generated for Big Pharma.
I know enough about health and freedom to avoid these little disease bombs, but most Americans don’t know enough to resist the propaganda. They just allow themselves to be irradiated, injected and poisoned, and they think it’s all okay because the government tells them it’s good for them.
It’s odd that people trust the government when the government doesn’t trust them at all. If the government treats you like a criminal, a terrorist, a lab rat and a vaccine depository, doesn’t that only prove they don’t honor you as a sovereign individual?
And that sends a powerful message confirming that the U.S. government has forgotten it is supposed to serve the People, not rule over them.
Just wait and watch how this gets even worse. Today, you can opt out of the TSA’s naked body scanners, but after a year or two — once the sheeple get comfortable with giving up all their freedoms — these scans will become mandatory. That’s the day I give up air travel for good.
Gee, I sure will miss having my crotch swept by the latex-covered back hand of some anonymous TSA agent who’s wasting taxpayer money by treating me like a terrorist.
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