December 27, 2009

[June 2003] "Another Reason to Never Fly Anywhere Ever Again"

[An item from my back pages of more than six years ago. Slowly, the world is catching up with me. And I hate it.]

"It does basically make you look fat and naked, but you see all this stuff." - Susan Hallowell (above), Director of TSA's Security Laboratory.

More than just a pat-down, the new airport body scan goes the final step in making flying one of the most dubious experiences of our age. In New airport scans could expose travelers we learn that we will soon be expected to expose ourselves to strangers if we wish to enjoy all the pleasures of air travel.

Susan Hallowell (above) took one for the Transportion Security team as she allowed herself to be scanned and the image to be published world wide.

"She stepped into a metal booth that bounced X-rays off her skin to produce a black-and-white image that revealed enough to produce a world-class blush.

"Her dark skirt and blazer disappeared on the monitor, where she showed up naked -- except for the gun and bomb she had hid under her outfit."

Ah, yes, those guns and bombs we all strap on when heading out to the airport.

Susan allowed that it also made her look "fat and naked, but you see all this stuff." Looking fat and naked is going to be a big hit with Americans, you can be sure.

I don't know about you, but looking at Susan, I also note she looks bald, with some sort of strange blemish on her shoulder and a body that won't be winning any Miss Teenage America pagents soon.

Of course, we won't be doing any real, sensible profiling anytime soon. No. We will all be expected to just have our bodies revealed to all. And recorded too. There's no way this gizmo is going to be put into airports without a recording device attached.

My only prayer is that, if this final insult is installed it will, by itself, put an end to American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and all other airlines operating in the United States when everyone in the country decides to just stay out of the naked skies.

Things have gotten more "revealing" since 2003. Here's what the current generation of "Homeland Security" is getting ready to reveal about you. Want to be that these images are not kept in some database for amusement and future reference just in case the US government wants to crack down on, say, fat people?



Posted by Vanderleun at December 27, 2009 12:43 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

We are regarded as potential criminals and terrorists who've just not been caught yet.

Crazy thing is how many accept this mindset and accept utterly appalling stuff like this. The news will be running airport interviews with noble citizenry who awknowledge it is all inconvenient but we will be safer this way. At least until a terrorist gets creative again and the cycle repeats itself.

It has to be ultimately destructive of the social bonds when we are willing to accept being branded as suspicious and accept it for others as well.

I wonder what sort of radiation those machines give off. Can't be healthy for humans.

Posted by: Jaye at December 27, 2009 1:48 PM

My first thought was what Jaye mentioned, that the radiation will be dreadful for anybody who travels a lot. I remember back when there were alarms about how bad frequent flights might be for the fetuses of pregnant stewardesses (something to do with radiation at that altitude?) but this would be far worse. The impact on growing kids? Pregnant women? Frequent young business travellers who have not yet started their families...

Posted by: retriever at December 27, 2009 2:10 PM

This is the aptly named Terra-Hertz radiation device; T-rays, not X-rays.

Posted by: Brett_McS at December 27, 2009 2:15 PM

I have a metal knee, 4 metal pins in my upper right arm, and two in my right ankle, plus permanent internal staples in an abdominal incision. That should prove to be fun.

I once set off the metal detector at the National Archives in DC. Alarms loud enough to wake the dead went off, and in less than a blink of the eye, I was looking at a huge gun pointed directly between my eyes. I did the best thing I knew to do, burst into uncontrollable tears, so that before it was all over, 2 very good looking security types were patting me on the back and comforting me in my "moment of trauma." I was sobbing and mumbling incoherently something about all I was wanting to do was check a microfilmed passenger list from the 1800s ::gasp:: ::sob::

Gerard: How's that $7 Walmart jacket holding up?

Posted by: Sara (Pal2Pal) at December 27, 2009 3:10 PM

The jacket is actually getting better and better. Saw one a lot like it made by Eddie Bauer yesterday. On sale at $119.00 marked down from $149.00.

Posted by: vanderleun at December 27, 2009 4:19 PM

It seems pretty simple to me, anybody hailing from a muslim country, or one with a significant muslim presence, should not be allowed to board a plane entering our country.

If you want to stop muslim terrorists attacks, stop allowing muslims entrance to our land. Pull up the welcome mat and expel every non-citizen muslim walking within our borders and curb immigration from those third world armpits that worship Mohamed.

The UK has lost their collective mind, shut their ass down too. They'll get a clue if we get serious about our own safety.

I am so done being PC on this issue.

Posted by: Daphne at December 27, 2009 4:22 PM

The truth of the matter is, this is all a plot by a secret railroad cabal to destroy the airline industry and drive people back into traveling by train. Next will be a failed attempt to destroy an airliner by some schlub peeing into an explosive. as a result lavatories will be removed from passenger planes and passengers will be forced to urinate into bottles at their seat. Those needing to poop will be shit out of luck.

Posted by: Alan at December 27, 2009 4:39 PM

Well, the picture of the fat gentleman with the guns was so revealing I feel like I owe him a "Dear John" letter.

They cannot be serious in thinking the American citizenry would go along with this.

I'm with Daphne, scan the Muslims. They don't like it, they don't get in to the US or travel within the US via an airplane.

How's this for profiling, 98% of all terrorist acts are done by muslims.

And I'm really sick of rolling down my pant waist, being patted down, being wanded, and generally held suspect. Especially when I was with my two young daughters.

Posted by: mare at December 27, 2009 5:37 PM

I just don't fly anymore. In fact, I've flown - twice - since 9/11. None of my letters, e-mails or phone calls seem to have made any particular impact on my congresspeople, so I have to resort to the only thing I have left, really - witholding money and approval from the system - going Galt as it were, on the airline transport system. And you can be sure I am not alone.

Posted by: Black Shoe at December 27, 2009 8:36 PM

Unfortunately, I live in a predominantly Muslim country, and I have to fly for business fairly frequently. Not back to the States very often, but in the region. From piss-ant airports that can barely handle a 737, and whose "security staff" wouldn't have the slightest idea of how to even turn on a T-Ray machine, much less use it. I am so screwed.

Posted by: waltj at December 28, 2009 6:22 AM

If you Google image search her name, you can see what she looks like clad.

I will not comment further.

Posted by: WWWebb at December 28, 2009 9:43 AM

Here's what will happen:

These scanners will be installed, but -- after much protest from CAIR, Muslims will be exempted from being scanned because this violates their religion's rigid dictates on personal modesty.

Posted by: Don Rodrigo at December 28, 2009 9:57 AM

I remember writing an e-mail to a friend shortly after 9/11, in which I predicted that rather than singling out Muslims for special scrutiny, the government would end up treating all Americans as potential terrorists. Heaven forbid we should practice discrimination, even when it's the only sane thing to do. I hate being prescient like that.

I don't fly either, but it has nothing to do with terrorism or the TSA. It's because of the anti-smoking regulations. You think I'm going to be cooped up in an aluminum tube for several hours without being able to smoke? Not bloody likely. I'd probably end up being arrested. I'd rather take a friggin' Greyhound bus. At least they have to stop for gas now and then.

Posted by: rickl at December 28, 2009 5:17 PM

They have those all over my hometown airport.

I always make sure I have a nice erection before I go through.

Fuck with me, I fuck with you....

Posted by: Gray at December 28, 2009 11:39 PM

I do not have a problem with scanning for potential explosives and weapons. I just have a problem with the people who are doing the scanning. It isn't like they are in the medical field and are trained to do this. Wouldn't be surprised if some of the scans end up on You-Tube.

Posted by: Cilla Mitchell, Galveston, Texas at December 29, 2009 5:39 AM

It is not so much the "naked" thing that gets me but if the current bomber had a powder put on his leg and later tried to ignite it, how will that show up on this new x-ray machine. I still dont see how this makes us any safer!

Posted by: Bob L. at December 29, 2009 1:28 PM

Here's where I am.

I have to fly several times this winter. Out of Detroit.

I'd like to do the following:

Standing in line during check-in.

1. Take off my coat and shoes. Put them in the plastic tub.

2. Followed by my belt.

3. Followed by my jewelry.

4. Followed by my trousers,

5. Followed by my blouse.

I don't think I could strip naked, but by God - if my fellow-travelers were giving me enough encouragement, by applause or matching me item by item -

I think I could.

How could they arrest me for public indecency? Hell! They're the ones stripping me naked with this technology.

Posted by: Cathy at December 29, 2009 4:38 PM