Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Flying is a privilege ...

Everyone seems to be up in arms over the new security regulations at our nation's airports.

Really, I think their arms are supposed to be straight out, aren't they?

I know that air travel can be frustrating. And the security rules that surround that travel only compounds that frustration.

I've felt silly on a number of occasions taking my shoes off flying out of JFK International. Thank goodness I thought ahead and wore good socks those days. Holey socks would be really embarrassing when your surrounded by the traveling elite.

But I've never complained about it. And neither should anyone else.

I'm all for civil liberties. I think random locker searches in our nation's high schools are a violation of the fourth amendment. And random traffic checkpoints are, too. Kids have to go to high school. And ground travel in nearly impossible to avoid. But your constitutional rights end at my front door. Or the property line for any private airport.

You don't have to fly anywhere. Ever. John Madden travels all over the country every year. And he never flies. Believe me, it's possible.

So if you choose to get onto an airplane from Buffalo to fly to sunny California - or even gloomy Cleveland – you have to play by the rules governing that airport. And the rules currently state that you may be randomly patted down or asked to go through a full-body scanner.

Those are the rules. Simple. Don't want to play by those rules? Then drive.

I have serious reservations about the “randomness” of those pat-down and scans, but I'm not interested in discussing profiling today.

I've heard people complain about the pat downs: “I don't want to get felt up in the airport.” I hate to tell you this, but odds are, no one wants to feel you up in the airport, either. Get over yourself.

I've heard people complain about the body scans: “You basically look naked.” Yes, you basically look naked. If you're gray and have no facial features when you're naked. Not to mention the fact that the person looking at you naked is locked in a windowless room and can't compare the naked gray image to the person walking through the scanner.

Let's not forget that this is for our own safety. Usually when government says something is for your own safety, what they really mean is they're playing Big Brother, telling you what to do to protect yourself. In this instance, they're trying to protect you from dangerous people. Or maybe protect innocent people from you – if you happen to be one of those dangerous people who wants to do others harm.

Some have suggested that tomorrow (the busiest travel day of the year) everyone opt out of the scanners and go through the pat-downs (you get to choose). This will, of course, will gum up the system and slow down the process. Which, of course, will only delay your flight. A better example of cutting off your nose to spite your face I have never seen.

I agree that the Transportation Security Agency should have no immunity and if someone “touches your junk,” they should be arrested.

But if they're just doing their job, you should simply be happy that you have the privilege (yes, I said privilege) of air travel.

Yes, another thing to be happy for this year.