In the news recently much is being made of the new TSA regulations and the intrusiveness of their pat-downs. I didn't realize just how thorough TSA was being until last week when Lexi and I flew to Las Vegas to enjoy a long weekend out of town.
As a wheelchair user I'm always forced to forgo the metal detectors and undergo a one-on-one examination. In the past this is actually been a perk as we go directly to the front of the line and the security personnel do a quick 1-2 minute check over me and my chair. However, this time it was much different. The TSA agent started from the collar on my shirt and worked his way all the way down to the tips of my toes.
I'm not going to lie part way through this pat down I began to feel uncomfortable and quickly got annoyed. What used to be a quick 1-2 minute check have now turned into 10 minutes plus. Everyone I had zipped past in the security line had long since gone past me and headed towards their departure gates. By the end of this pat down I was borderline angry.
After the initial emotion wore off I began to contemplate my feelings on the situation. I think part of the reason I became quickly annoyed was because I know I'm not a terrorist. How could they think I am? The more I thought about it the more I began to see it from another perspective. If there were someone about to get on the plane with me that I thought looked a bit suspect, I would want them patted down extremely well... I don't care how uncomfortable they are. When we are talking about national security and airline transportation safety can we be too careful?
While the pat-downs may feel intrusive, and even borderline violating, I would rather know that we are going to be safe in our travels. The government is being encouraged to back off of these regulations but they are damned if they do and damned if they don't. On one hand they will have to listen to complaints about violating people's personal space. On the other hand if they relaxed these regulations and someone brings harm; who is everyone going to blame?
I think a few uncomfortable minutes is highly worth safety and security!