Here we are, two years since the TSA’s body scanners have been introduced at airports across the country—those ones that depict you as a faceless naked blob—and people are still blabbing on about them as some vast conspiracy against personal privacy. There’s even plans afoot for an “opt-out” movement to coincide with the Thanksgiving travel rush as a form of protest by causing inconvenience to millions of travelers. For all you planning to give the rest of us more headaches at this exhausting travel time, let me just say, please put your energies elsewhere.
I hear your arguments that the machines are ineffective against terrorists, cost a lot of money—yada, yada—but the same could be said for pretty much everything the TSA does. Want to see kick-ass airport security in action? Go to Israel where the most secure airports in the world use highly trained human agents to spot suspicious activity rather than broadly implemented scanner tech. But that’s a systemic issue. Bottom line, yeah TSA can be inept, but so are your toothless attempts to jam everybody else up on a nightmare travel day. It’s akin to Tea Party crackpots petitioning to secede from the union after Obama won reelection. If you want to fix the system, try proposing practical solutions rather than throwing up roadblocks to people just trying to get through the day.
To do my part to keep T-day travel smooth, here’s my top three reasons why I’m totally indifferent to the TSA body scanners:
1. Nobody Cares About My Junk
You’d have to use some serious imagination to find anything attractive about those “naked” x-rays. But you know what? For me personally, I say meh regardless…I’m not some flasher who gets off on public displays, but I’m also also not some self-absorbed prude who thinks anyone cares what my entirely boring naked body looks like. Plus, do you really prefer to get groped by some government agent? I don’t. The scanner is a mild inconvenience at best. The physical pat downs are far more invasive and unpleasant.
2. It’s Faster
You know what usually happened when I went through the old metal detectors? The TSA would have them cranked to 11, and then some incidental piece of metal—say a button on my jeans—would make it beep and I’d end up waiting in another line to be patted down and wanded. You know what happens every time I go through a scanner? I stand in the machine for like 2 seconds and then I walk away. Enough said.
3. It’s Not Giving Me Cancer
To listen to all the conspiracy theorists, I shouldn’t walk through scanners, use a cell phone (or even put it in my pocket), let my children get vaccines, or even eat damn near anything at my local grocery store. The FDA says the risk of fatal cancer from backscatter machines is 1 in 400 million. That’s insanely small. Not to mention that most major airports are now being upgraded to millimeter-wave scanners, which are even faster than the backscatter x-rays, emit only radio frequencies and don’t even produce the “naked” image that got all the puritans up in arms in the first place.