The Next Step For Travel Safety Is Body Scanners/Pat Downs For Mass Transit
Getting on a bus? Hopping a train? Taking the subway? Riding a ferry?
You may have to get your body scanned first, per Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano:
The next step in tightened security could be on U.S. public transportation, trains and boats.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says terrorists will continue to look for U.S. vulnerabilities, making tighter security standards necessary.
“[Terrorists] are going to continue to probe the system and try to find a way through,” Napolitano said in an interview that aired Monday night on “Charlie Rose.”
“I think the tighter we get on aviation, we have to also be thinking now about going on to mass transit or to trains or maritime. So, what do we need to be doing to strengthen our protections there?”
By the way, the use of these scanners are already being considered at court houses around the country. The cost of the scanners? $150,000 each.
So far poll numbers among air travelers have been strong for the TSA’s new security measures. How long, though, would the public remain supportive if our daily commute consisted of a body scan/pat down or three?
I’ve argued that we do not allow domestic law enforcement the sort of power to search our “persons” and “effects” (as the 4th amendment puts it), so why would we allow the TSA a greater degree of latitude? The obvious answer for that is that Americans value air travel security to a degree that has them justifying the intrusive screening tactics.
Our mass transit (not to mention sporting events, concerts, shopping malls, etc.) are all completely vulnerable to a terror attack. Napolitano suggests that we need to tighten up security in these other areas. But do we want to live our lives in a nation where we are eternally searched and scanned by the government? At what point does the 4th amendment begin to matter?
If we want to be safe, we need to forget this idea that we can stop terrorism at the micro level. If the terrorists want to hit us they’ll hit us no matter what screening practices we have in place. Heck, they could just target the screening lines if they really wanted to be disruptive.
If we want to fight terrorism we must fight it on the macro scale. We must put boots on the ground where the terrorism originates. We must break up their communications and their financing. We shouldn’t turn our society into a police state.
Meanwhile, it what seems like topical news, in Great Britain they’ve begun rectum scans. How long until that’s a part of your TSA experience as well?Tags: 4th amendment, airport security, janet napolitano, tsa