When both sides in a negotiation refuse to budge, the impasse is usually detrimental to both parties.
With that in mind, perhaps I can be of assistance in mediating the exploding conflict involving body-imaging scanners and pat-downs at some of the nation’s airports.
On one side, we have the government that, despite its reluctance to employ profiling with these measures, is standing its ground. On the other, we have groups such as We Won’t Fly.com, advocating that travelers not fly because the scanners are “strip searches;” if they do, however, they are encouraged to opt out of the “porno-scanners” and “raise holy hell.”
And I thought this was going to be a difficult negotiation.
There’s a very simple solution: do everything to accommodate the We Won’t Fly people. True, that’s not an effective negotiating strategy most of the time, but in this instance, it works perfectly.
Travelers in America will be somewhat safer, and the We Won’t Fly gang can take the bus to London. I hear Greyhound has some great deals this time of year.
The outcry over these security tactics is, as with most things reported in today’s media, vastly overblown. Sure, there are the loudmouths who stage protests, video themselves in pre-planned confrontations with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners, and post fallacies on their Facebook pages, but they are a small minority.
Truth is, most Americans don’t have a problem with the full-body imaging scanners at all, nor do they object to a rigorous pat-down should one opt out of the screening process. It is an unfortunate but necessary precaution in a post 9/11 world. That’s the reality, it’s not going to change — and it shouldn’t.
Some critics argue that those not opposing the procedures are like sheep, simply rolling over to the almighty government’s demands. They miss the point entirely.
No one is holding a gun to their head. They don’t have to step onto that plane. Period. If they don’t like the way things are being done to thwart terrorist attacks, they can find alternatives. Flying on commercial aircraft is not a right, but a privilege. And while the airlines are private companies, they rightfully fall under government security regulations.
Why should the other 300 passengers on a plane have their security —READ: their lives — compromised because a few individuals are upset that a scan reader sees a computer-generated outline of a person’s body? A screener, by the way, who sits in a windowless office and cannot view the person being scanned.
That in mind, a few points need clarification:
1) Does anyone really believe a screener in a remote location, who can’t see the person being scanned, is really getting his jollies by looking at what amounts to black-and-white humanoid images all day? What’s next? The “Hottest Airport Scanner Images of 2011” wall calendar?
2) America is fast becoming one of the most obese countries in the world. So to bolster Point # 1, how much physical stimulation are screeners getting when they are continuously performing pat-downs on the likes of Passenger Pat…. who at 385 pounds, could easily play defensive lineman in the NFL, showers twice a month, and whose gender is unknown? Hey, to each his own, but that takes the cake. Literally.
3) Those images, by the way, are ….
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Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com
Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”
Freind, whose column appears nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a guest commentator on Philadelphia-area talk radio shows, and makes numerous other television and radio appearances, most notably on FOX. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com