Posted February 19, 2009 by Nicki Krawczyk
I’m not a superhero. (Yet.) But I know that with great power comes great responsibility. Superman never bored a hole into his boss’ head with his heat vision, even though he definitely could have and everyone wants to do that every once in a while.
Also, being a champion of “Truth, Justice, and the American Way,” Superman would never stoop to using his X-ray vision powers for checking out the undergarments (or less!) of dreamy chicks. Superman, I trust not to try to scan my skivvies. But as for those purveyors of “Truth, Security, and the American Way” (that’s what TSA stands for, doesn’t it?), I’m not sure every one of them can live up to the same standards as the Man of Steel.
I bring this up because the Tulsa Airport has begun sending passengers through low radiation x-ray body scanners instead of the standard metal detectors. From what I can tell, this will come with two quantifiable results: 1) they’ll be able to quickly and easily see if people are carrying firearms or explosives. 2) they’ll get quite a clear look at the outlines of, ahem, all of you. (Such a clear look, in fact, that some manufacturers of these type of machines were surprised. Oh hello!)
I’ll be the first to say that I’m more than happy to offset the joy of the current spate of cheap vacations with the headache of a little added security. Indeed, after my friend got through an airport security check point with a baggie of whey protein powder, my confidence in the TSA is rather shaken. I’d be very happy to see them step up their game.
However, I’m not entirely comfortable with a group of strangers seeing me, essentially, in the buff. (I feel like that should remain a pretty select group.) In Tulsa, those who don’t want to go through the scanners can go through the standard metal detector—followed up with a pat-down. Frankly, I think that because the metal detectors seem to work fine on their own for the rest of the country, the addition of the “pat-down” is a blatant dissuasion technique. People who fear for their privacy and might otherwise avoid the scanner probably aren’t going to prefer a stranger laying hands on them, you know?
Lucky for the TSA, I have a solution: There’s got to be some way that these machines can be programmed to recognize foreign objects in a scan. In that scenario, the images of the scan could be saved, but wouldn’t be shown to security agents unless the machine alerted them to something suspicious. Brilliant? I know.
True, this type of machine may be more expensive than the ones they’re testing now. However, I, for one, would be happy to have a buck or two added to the cost of my airfare to keep the intimate outlines of my silhouette from being revealed to anyone who happens to don a security uniform. That is, until George Clooney joins the team.
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