Saturday, December 22, 2007

They don't know I'm not a terrorist

With these last three weeks excepted, I fly once a week now for work. Which means that twice a week I find myself dealing with the joy that is airport security. And unlike what seems like a majority of Americans, I don't mind it.

Now don't get me wrong - it is inconvenient. I did wind up having to change airlines one week at the last minute, which garnered me the dreaded "SSSSSSSS" on my ticket, meaning that I received extra special treatment at the security line. I also travel with a lot of electronics, meaning my bag gets extra scanning on a regular basis.

My personal favorite was the cooling pad I use for my laptop bothering the security folks. It took 5 TSA employees to look at the X-ray picture of my bag until they finally did a bag check, swabbing every last item. Because my last name is Harrison, the fan set off the bomb residue detector, meaning I got a pat-down as an added bonus.

The entire time, I was very friendly, talking with the TSA folks, and asking what I should do next time since I knew I'd be back again the following week. (Take the cooling pad out, BTW, is the correct answer.) I always give myself plenty of time, so I had no added stress at the moment.

I understand the folks at TSA are simply trying to do their job. They need to confirm that I am not a terrorist. Now, I know I'm not a terrorist, and everyone who knows me knows I'm not a terrorist. But they don't know that. They need to confirm for themselves that I'm not a terrorist.

What I don't understand is people who haven't figured this out on their own. I often hear people complain about TSA folks spending time with kids and "old ladies", pulling them aside for extra screening. The question is often asked, "Can't you tell they're not a terrorist?" Actually, no, I can't, and neither can the security personnel.

Let's remember that the second worst terrorist attack on US soil was perpetrated by a couple of middle-aged white guys. There is no definition of what a terrorist looks like. After all, up until a couple years ago, Islamic terrorists were always men - but that has long since changed, as boys and girls, men and women, have all blown themselves up in the name of jihad. The simple fact is if we stop scanning little old ladies, or people in pilot's uniforms, or anyone else who "doesn't look like a terrorist", the terrorists will then start enlisting people that fall under those categories. Everyone must be treated as a terrorist until we can confirm they're not.

The next time you find yourself getting "wanded", just remember the fine TSA person is simply trying to confirm that you are not a terrorist.

1 comment:

Melifiscentgirl said...

Jersey, you make a good point how they need to screen everyone.

In the medical field they have to treat everyone that comes in with the same regard as though they had Aids, because we don't really know if they have it or not. Sometimes the patient doesn't even know!

But the reason this is done is because the person treating the patient has their own life is on the line. They could make a mistake if they *assume* someone who doesn't look like they have Aids doesn't have Aids and expose themselves to it inadvertently when they are wrong. (you'd actually be suprised how they expose themselves with this assumption because they are lazy, but back to the point)

Lives are on the line when dealing with terrorism, right? I think it's kind of the same idea when the medical field established the OSHA regulations for "Sterilization and Infection control procedures". I would never be lazy if I could prevent myself from being exposed to something.

I would rather the TSA people not be lazy either.