Grandma’s got a bomb

2
Dec
2010

I have been back in New York for a couple of days now and inundated with work (thankfully), but I did have a bit of an odd TSA adventure on my way back. I had to walk through one of those new body scanners, so I did. But then when I came out, they told me the image was blurry and they would have to give me the “enhanced” pat-down. The agent helpfully explained everything to me and at no point did I worry about my “junk” being fondled. It did take an awfully long time though, and I kept pointing over to Josh (who for some reason did not have to go through the machine or pat down) and telling them that he was a far more dangerous criminal than I could possibly be. But alas, this fell on deaf ears. The whole thing was a little inconvenient, and I was a little bugged that I had to do both the machine AND the pat-down because of their bad technology. But that was nothing compared to what I saw behind me. They made a little old lady in a wheelchair stand up and get into the machine. When they saw that she was too unsteady to raise her frail arms over her head in the machine, they led her out of it (almost causing her to fall) and back into her chair for an enhanced pat-down. The massaged every part of her and it was embarrassing to watch, so we turned away. But pretty much everyone was horrified. I mean, really…was this frail granny at all likely to be hiding a bomb in her fundament? Maybe a little profiling isn’t such a bad idea after all. Then again, the reason she got the pat down, the reason I got the pat down, and the reason Josh didn’t is supposedly random, and therefore more democratic. Theoretically, we all want to be treated equally and truly random scans such as this enforce fair and democratic ideals. That said, the reality is this is security theater and the aesthetics of security more than it is actually making us safer.