Coping with new TSA security measures

The recent, invasive search procedures made by the Transportation Security Administration in our nation’s airports have citizens outraged. The new body scanners and body cavity searches have even inspired some to show up to the airport in bikinis or strip down to their underwear.

Whereas many people are annoyed and uncomfortable with the new procedures, I find them a necessary and excellent way to help increase security in our airports. Americans should embrace these new security measures instead of balking at them.

In October 2010, the TSA announced that they would be implementing new pat-downs in airports along with the use of new body scanners that would show, in extreme detail, the features of a naked body to check if that person was attempting to smuggle any weapons onto a plane.

Since the announcement and implementation of these new security measures, there have been numerous adverse reactions from travelers who were so appalled and humiliated from these pat-downs that they cried at checkpoints.

While I agree with the idea of more thorough searches, I disagree with the fact that the TSA disguises these blatant cavity searches as pat-downs.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a ‘‘pat-down’’ is a “search for items concealed about a person, made by patting the clothing.”

What the TSA is doing is far more invasive than a simple pat-down. I think travelers would be far less upset and shocked at security check points if the TSA called the body searches for what they really are.

Signs and announcements of the impending cavity searches would be helpful as well.

Americans are being taken by surprise when they are yanked out of line and groped to ensure that they have no hidden weapons. They are not aware of what is about to take place and therefore react quite defensively. The bottom line is that people are scared when they have to be searched by someone they don’t know, regardless if the officer enacting the search is of the same sex. The least the TSA can do is help make passengers more comfortable with the impending events before they occur.

When going through these pat-downs at airports, Americans need to keep in mind that the officers conducting the search feel just as uncomfortable as the passengers being searched, but it is their job.

The biggest difference the TSA can make is to make sure that passengers know that these searches may or may not happen to them.

We need to be more understanding of these searches. After the 2001 terrorist attacks, the country would be appalled if we didn’t have a group of people working to make sure no one else could bring dangerous items onto our nation’s airplanes. The body scanners and invasive cavity searches may be extreme, but for right now they are the most effective option.

I’m not saying the system is flawless. It is a work in progress that requires immediate improvement. But it also requires patience and some level of understanding from passengers.