Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Toucha toucha toucha touch me.....

Rant time....

The first week of December I will go in to an office, I will disrobe, I will have a complete stranger take each of my breasts in turn in her hand and place them on a machine which will then smash it flat as can be and x-ray it. My privates will be touched, my body will be scanned and they will keep the pictures in a computer file that could be breached at any point by mysterious hackers out there that only live to find blurry pictures of people's privates to put online. And I will subject myself to this as I do every year because I would rather take every precaution to keep myself safe than not. I have no history of breast cancer, I have no family history of breast cancer, but I still have the test, just because it's better to be safe than sorry. Do you see where I am going with this yet?

I am not sure if it's because when Brent and I got married he was a Nuclear Engineer so the word radiation doesn't freak me out...or if it's because I am a massage therapist so the thought of touching someone or someone touching me doesn't make me want to run for the hills but I have to say all of the people squawking about the new airport security measures are boggling my brain.

I will tell you upfront that I have had the enhanced screening pat down before. In my former job I traveled a lot. Four different times I was pulled for the extra searches. Once for the quick check through the bags, once for the full unpack look at all of your things, once for the enhanced pat down and once for a positive explosive residue test. So when I talk about the enhanced screening I am not talking about what ifs I am talking from the experience of having it done.

Okay, so all of the upfront warnings are in place. Now I have to ask (cover your ears because this is going to be a cusser blog) What the fuck is wrong with you people? Are you seriously so squeamish that someone is going to see a blurry picture of your private parts that you can't walk through a scanner? And then when given the ability to opt out you also don't want someone to touch you either? Sure you know you aren't a terrorist but do I? I saw someone on the news today talk about how they should just do extra profiling...Okay, so what terrorist suspect do you want them to base their profile on? Ahmed al-Haznawi (9/11 Hijacker) or Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (Underwear Bomber) or Timothy McVeigh? Okay it was not a plane but blowing up a building sure counts as a terrorist in my book.

Google those three and tell me how to profile against them based on looks alone. Only men should be screened? Oh no, wait, there are women suicide bombers out there as well. So what do you want done? Last Christmas when the Underwear Bomber struck (and failed, thank goodness) people were in an uproar! How could he have gotten explosives on just by hiding them in his jock?? Outrageous! Something MUST be done...except don't look at my privates and for goodness sake don't touch them! But SOMETHING must be done!

I have heard arguments about the dose of radiation you get from the scanner. Did you know it's 1/1000 the amount you get from a dental x-ray? I don't know about you but I get x-rays once a year in my dental office. And how often do you fly? And right now my iPhone is six inches from my hand where it normally is unless it's actually in my hand, or pressed against my head. And you think I am going to complain about a low dose of radiation from a scanner that could save my life? Oh the critics scream, but the risk is so minute that you will be on a plane with a bomber it's not worth it! It's not worth it? Really? So we should just do away with security screenings all together then? Don't be silly.

Okay, fine, radiation makes you squeamish. (Don't go outside, the sun is shining) So you have the ability to opt out. Now you get the enhanced pat down. Which makes sense don't you think? If you opt out of the breathalyzer when you are pulled over under suspicion of DUI you get a blood test, right? Do you think this is unfair as well or do you realize that there is a good shot that if someone doesn't want screened or tested there might be a reason why? Now I have read a lot about the "perverts" in TSA touching "your junk". Darling, it's called junk for a reason, they don't want to touch it any more than the bartender you were flirting with last night. But just like she had to smile and nod at your stupid jokes, they have to pat you down, it's their job.

As I said earlier, I have had the enhanced pat down. The woman from TSA was just as uncomfortable doing it as I was having it done. But we both survived the harrowing minute it took to do it. It's a pat down, not a cavity search. Over the clothes pressing their hand against your body to make sure all that is there is clothes. There is no groping, grabbing, fondling, or any of the other terms being bandied about. Again, I know, I've had it done. The woman from TSA apologized for any embarrassment I might have, I smiled at her and said I understood it was her job and we both made it out just fine. I know, shocking right? If the worst thing that ever happens to you in life is a moment of embarrassment while you get an enhanced pat down in the airport then you have lived a blessed life indeed.

When Christopher flew home last weekend I had people asking me if I was concerned he might be scanned or subjected to the enhanced pat downs. I'm not concerned about it in the least. I know the chances are very small that there will be a terrorist on his flight but I am so much more grateful that things are being done to make that remote possibility even more remote that a few seconds of embarrassment for him is fine with me. Real threats, no matter how small the chance are much more important to me than the overblown fake concerns the blogosphere is ranting about.

I was talking to my mother last week about the screenings and what she thought. Seems as though I got my perspective on the issue from her. She said, "I am 78 years old. If someone wants to look at a picture of me naked, well I already warned them, I am 78 years old!" Then she followed it up with, "I have had cancer, this is nothing."

And she is right. Scan or pat down, this is nothing. Get over it.

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