I recently took a short trip to Florida and ran smack dab into the body scanner issue at our little, ole airport. Now, I am not sure what basis is used to establish the need for these things, but Fort Wayne is no Chicago, New York, LA, or any other huge city- although we are now the 71st largest city in the United States.
I had made up my mind quite some time ago – when I first learned of the invasion of the body scanner – that if I flew, I would not go through it. I got my chance to refuse the scan this past month. After I removed my shoes and put them along with my tote in a plastic bin, I told the security officer I didn’t want the body scan and would submit to the full body pat down instead.
You would have thought I had shot someone. It totally threw her off. She asked if I really understood them, assured me that there was no harm, and asked me at least twice why didn’t I want one. After a brief “I know what they are, what they show, and I don’t want one” instead of my desire to lecture on invasion of privacy and constitutional issues, she finally yelled out “opt-out female.”
Ah, but the next part was really good. I was informed that the full body pat down would be done in front of everyone – the security personnel and other passengers going through. I looked at her and said okay – perhaps it was a tactic to intimidate me, but it didn’t work. She did the full body pat-down in front of men and women alike. So much for any modicum of privacy.
I made it through and sat down to put my shoes back on and headed on my way. The rest of my flight to Florida was uneventful with the exception of a few bumps. I enjoyed my three days immensely, and, I knew for my return trip it wouldn’t be an issue because Tampa-St. Pete doesn’t have a scanner – yet.
However, when I went to check in at the Tampa-St. Pete airport, the clerk pulled up my info for boarding, took my driver’s license, and disappeared into the back for about 10 minutes. I actually started thinking I was not going to be allowed on the return flight. He finally returned, assigned my seating, and handed my license back with no indication as to why he took it into the back room. I will bet you that my name is now on a list somewhere for not going through the body scan.
I am ten times – maybe a 100 times more offended by invasion of privacy issues occurring than an insurance company being told it cannot discriminate against me because of a pre-existing condition. Yet, the Republicans continue to moan and cry about our march toward socialism all the while ignoring our privacy rights that have slowly fallen by the wayside since 9/11.
I believe that the liberties we are giving up to obtain security – just like Benjamin Franklin – entitle us to neither. I read where 98% of people go through the scanner – only 2% opt-out. Apparently, the increased invasion of privacy at the Fort Wayne airport appears to have gone pretty much unnoticed.