Tuesday, April 30, 2013

. . . Freedom to Choose to be Patted Down?

In the Land of the Free
Freedom is a word that has significant value to those who do not possess it, though it seems that it has taken on a distinct lack of emotional value for those who are so used to possessing it as a right that the only time they can be bothered to think about it - and what it means to them - is when some minor inconvenience like clearing TSA checkpoints at the airport causes them to feel as if their possession of that valuable right has somehow been threatened or denied.

Far from being a genuine denial of freedom, I suspect that those largely ineffective and often pointless rules the TSA is charged with enforcing are, for lack of an easier and more convenient defining gesture, the best that the government can manage while appearing as if they are doing something to prevent another event like 9/11 from happening again.
Laughter is the best lubricant!
If disallowing passengers possession of a pair of nail clippers or a nail file, scissors, knitting needles, or a miniature souvenir Red Sox wooden mini-bat  - or for that matter carrying more than an ounce of any liquid out of fear that the liquid might constitute part of a binary explosive - if these blanket denials will prevent the plane from being forcibly diverted from its programmed route (or worse) well then it has to be said: That is OK by me!

Considering that we live in a society in which many not only willingly tolerate the often insulting antics of celebrities like Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton as they hold up lines at boarding gates, shopping malls, and restaurants, or occupy jail cells that should be housing a genuine criminal - tolerate to the extent that members of our society actually pay real money to subscribe to magazines, TV shows, and web sites whose main reason for existing is to cover those insane antics in great detail, well. . .

That being so, it really is rather difficult to generate a legitimate measure of outrage over the inconveniences that we suffer in the name of security.

The fact that we, as a culture and society, appear to be willing to write off those odd actions and reactions as just the sort of behavior that one must expect and accept from the rich and famous, why then the anger and concern that the public shows when their elected representatives in Congress and the Senate act out in equally insane ways simply confuses us.

It seems like there is some sort of double-standard in play here.  

After all, these elected representatives are simply allowing the combination of their personal fear and skewed sense of reality to lead them into approving and even calling for "security protocols and policies" that appear to make as much sense as Charlies Tiger Blood diet, well...

Let me put it this way: If a TSA agent feeling you up at an airport security checkpoint is a necessary step in assuring the safe flight of the plane you will be a passenger on, then grope away!  Winning!

If you think about it even just a little, the only sensible conclusion you can draw is that being groped or having your naughty bits prodded or rubbed by a stranger with a badge and a gun is a small price to pay in order to avoid stepping into the porno-vision security scanners now ubiquitous at those checkpoints - and really, who knows where those images of you in see-through clothing really do end up?

It has been alleged that by simply inverting a TSA airport security scanner image using the image program Photoshop, the scammed images convert modesty into to a measure of realistic tint and detail that is exactly what the TSA and the government said it couldn't reveal. 
According to a story on the website The Drudge Report as well as other claims made both online and in print, the normal scanner output that resembles the sort of images you are used to seeing in hospital X-Ray film (such as the one in the above image left) can, with a simple filter and the click of a mouse button, also be viewed in glowing fleshy detail (such as the one in the above image right).  

The image above has been widely used to allegedly prove this, and to disprove it; it has been called a smoking gun, and it has also been called a putrid scam.  But if you think about it even for a moment, in this case truth simply does not matter.

Once an image like this gets wide play online, whether it is real or fabricated, the end result is simple to predict and it seems that trends in choosing between being porno-scanned and being groped lean heavily in favor of the latter rather than the former to the point that rumor has it that some TSA Checkpoints are not allowing the traveler a choice.  

Able bodied travelers are being directed into the scanners, while the infirm, disabled, and travelers who pitch a fuss sufficient to cause the TSA agents to give up are being sent through the grope lines.

Where is the Fun in That?

It occurs to us that unless you happen to number among the rich and famous, or you are a member of that minority of the human race considered to be genuinely handsome/attractive/too sexy for your cat, chances are pretty high that the official gropers at TSA do not actually enjoy their jobs as much as we would like to believe that they do when we make them grope us...

It is too bad that the TSA chose not to hire me as a paid consultant, because I could have cleared all of this fuss up for them in under 15-minutes, and that includes the time it took to fabricate the  illustration embedded below that serves as a proof-in-concept sample!

An easy solution to getting groped that will keep everyone happy: restrict pat-downs to the genetically superior clones of (from left to right) Alastair Mackenzie, Angela Lansbury (circa 1956), Charlize Theron (from pretty much any year, mmmm), and David Tennant, offering grope-ees their selection of grope-ers that really are too sexy for my cat, what you think about that?
TSA missed a golden opportunity to head-off traveler frustration by failing to implement my new  policy effectively restricting agents who fill the role as the designated feeler-uppers of female travelers to only those who have the good looks and charming personality of Alastair Mackenzie (Monarch of the Glen) and David Tennant (Dr. Who). 

For the official feeler-uppers of male passengers only agents with the attractive qualities of  Charlize Theron (Sweet November) or the lovable and mysterious Angela Lansbury (as the slightly creepy but oh-so-sexy Princess Gwendolyn from 1956's The Court Jester)...

There you go!  Mischief Managed!

TSA, that'll be a dollar-two-ninety-eight please. 

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