Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Israel, the TSA and "Touching My Junk"

In light of all the chat about the new TSA policies, I've been thinking about my parents.

Next week, they are going to get on a plane in Michigan and fly to Minneapolis. I have this uneasy feeling that they are going have to get searched rather agressively by some TSA person. The thought of some guy trying to do a full-body pat-down of my elderly parents make me feel uncomfortable.

The other side of that is that last year, the so-called Christmas bomber was trying to detonate a bomb on a plane as it readied to land in Detroit. Metro Airport is only about an hour north by car to where my parents live in Flint, so I tend to wonder if planes make a big circle over Flint as the prepare to land at Metro, and if so, what would have happened had this plane actually blew up raining fragments down at people below.

In this day and age we live with twin fears: one of terrorists who might seize a plane, again and use it as a weapon, and the second fear is that in light of fear number one the government might over-reach in trying to protect people. Most people either support side one wholly or side two wholly; few are concerned with how we balance both concerns.

I tend to fall in the middle here. I really, really don't want the government feeling me up, even if it is in the name of safety. And yet, even though it might not be a great possibility, I want to make sure that airplane can be secure from terrorism. My frustration at times is that some are so concerned about terror that they think anything goes, and there are some so concerned about civil liberties that they tend to not care about security.

The problem here is that we really have not thought about how to best meet both objectives and frankly very few seem to care about meeting those objectives.

Kevin Drum shares what Israel does when it comes to airport security and I think it could be done here with some modifications. It's better than relying on invasive technology or touching my nether regions.

We can talk about government crossing the line when it comes to civil liberties, but we can't do nothing or pretend the problem doesn't exist. We have to find ways to make sure that terrorists don't use plane as weapons and make sure we uphold our rights as a democratic society. That requires some actual thinking on the issue, not just snarky blog posts.

No comments: