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Texas Wants to Ban TSA Patdowns and Full-Body Scanner

Texas Wants to Ban Groping as a Prerequisite For Air Travel

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?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
snarkypants snarkypants 6 years
so, IF these measures are actually working, i think they should keep them both. the people who complain about both the machines and the pat downs will complain about anything. i have zero problem with the machines. i really don't understand what the fuss is about. i couldn't possibly care less about the "radiation". what won't give you cancer these days? it's like the people who b!tch that it's too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer.
xxstardust xxstardust 6 years
The GAO report is as of March 2010, btw.
xxstardust xxstardust 6 years
Kimmie, the question really becomes "ARE these measures keeping us any safer?" The Government Accountability office released a report stating that despite spending $200mil a year on TSA SPOT (Screening of Passengers by Observational Techniques) officials in 161, they have never apprehended a terrorist. They've arrested drug smugglers and illegal immigrants, but not a single terrorist. Are they worth the intrusion and cost, if they aren't any more effective than the private companies which used to manage airport security?
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 6 years
I'm with you, Annie. I always skip the new machines and opt for a patdown. Oddly, at Amsterdam Schipol last month, I opted out and they were like, "OK, sounds good" and just had me walk through the metal detector — no patdown required. It was nice.
kimmieb124 kimmieb124 6 years
I don't have a job that requires travel, so when I'm on an airplane it's for pleasure. Since flying is an option for me, I will say that the headache of airport security has deterred me from wanting to fly. Nevertheless, I understand the reason why such security measures are necessary. If a law were to pass banning these security measures, I would like to know what will be put in place instead to keep us safe.
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