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BASICALLY I’ll JUST GIVE YOU THE HIGHLIGHT REEL below, or better yet, just skip directly to Jason Edward Harrington’s confessional over at Politico.
Most of the absurdities Harrington describes, like viewing bodies “of overweight people, their every fold and dimple on full awful display,” aren’t all that surprising:
I confiscated jars of homemade apple butter on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security. I was even required to confiscate nail clippers from airline pilots—the implied logic being that pilots could use the nail clippers to hijack the very planes they were flying.
Nor is the fact that the original scanners were total failures:
Officers discovered that the machines were good at detecting just about everything besides cleverly hidden explosives and guns. The only thing more absurd than how poorly the full-body scanners performed was the incredible amount of time the machines wasted for everyone.
And perhaps it’s not surprising to learn how soul-crushing it was to be on the other side of the security line either:
Once, in 2008, I had to confiscate a bottle of alcohol from a group of Marines coming home from Afghanistan. It was celebration champagne intended for one of the men in the group—a young, decorated soldier. He was in a wheelchair, both legs lost to an I.E.D., and it fell to me to tell this kid who would never walk again that his homecoming champagne had to be taken away in the name of national security.
But what really resonated with me was Harrington’s fears about speaking out, and then overcoming those fears to start his blog, to take on a mission to reveal the whole airport security “show” for the theater that it was.
This is why I have faith in people, never in institutions.
Be polite in those TSA lines; remember that people in those uniforms are just that, people. But by all means opt out of the radiation. You’re a person too.