Ever since full-body scans became the norm at most US airports last Fall, I've opted for the extensive pat down instead. The thought of someone seeing under my clothes doesn't bother me as much as the potential radiation risks amplified by regular exposure to the scanners. And while the pat down is intrusive and slightly embarrassing, especially when they go inside the top of your pants, I guess I feel relieved that I have an option to avoid the scanner.
The Texas House of Representatives doesn't think we should have to pick between two intrusive evils. Last month it approved a bill that would ban any pat down that "touches the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of another person including through the clothing, or touches the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person." There's also a parallel bill that would ban scanners that allow people to be seen naked. The bill has stalled in the state senate after federal officials threatened to shut down any flights out of Texas due to security concerns.
Today the Republican sponsor of the bill David Simpson defended it in the New York Times. Find out what he said when you keep reading.
Simpson said it's a constitutional matter, explaining:
"The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizure of our person, not just our houses and effects and papers. Right now, searches are proceeding under the object of preventing terrorist activities. But we’ve got to draw a line. You’ve got to have reasonable cause to touch people’s private parts. There was a parallel bill banning these full-body scanners that allow people to see you naked. Both are violations of our dignity and impede law-abiding citizens' access to travel."
He continued that dogs, metal detectors, and targeted questioning can help officials identify people who may present a threat, and then those people can be subjected to further searches with cause, instead of treating everyone like criminals. And there have been many horror stories, including how one woman's maxi pad turned her into a suspected underwear bomber, or a woman who had her breast exposed during a pat down.
Have you accepted the scans or pat downs as a way of life, or do you want elected leaders to do something to stop it?