Guest Author - Debora Dyess
Just how much are Americans willing to sacrifice in the name of safety?
Airline safety, along with many other parts of American life, changed after 9/11/2001. Trying to keep citizens safe, airlines world-wide put new safety measures in place, and they've been upgraded and changed since then.
Now, nine years later, we’re still at war and concerns have both changed and remained the same. With security at airports across the nation undergoing a second look, people are trying to decide how much security is too much.
The issue, according to CBS news revolves around full-body scans for passengers and flight attendants at 400 airports nationwide. The scans are graphic, showing what some consider far too much. Other people have concerns about getting doused by radiation every time they fly. And if a passenger refuses the x-ray scan for any reason, TSA personnel ‘pat you down’. These pat-downs check everywhere on a passenger’s body – and that means everywhere. Many think that goes too far.
Not everyone is offended by the strict security measures. Four out of five flying Americans feel like the measures appropriate. They prefer a little embarrassment or discomfort at the airport and the knowledge that all of the other passengers have been cleared as well. They believe security and safety are, and should be the most important consideration. They don’t believe the x-ray scans are more dangerous than the threat of another terrorist attack.
And, according to the FDA, they’re right. John Hopkins University agrees, as well, stating that one x-ray scan contains less radiation than two minutes of flying time.
Other countries routinely run full body scans on their passengers (including Americans who are traveling overseas) with no complaints. They, too, pat-down anyone who objects to the scan, or sets off alarms. The pat-downs are not as thorough, their officials say, and the American version of pat-downs would not be considered appropriate there. On average, 35% of every European country’s budget is spent on security. Dealing with terrorism for much longer than the United States, the Europeans have had the system in place and dealt with any concerns long ago.
The TSA believes new scanners will end a lot of the public’s concerns. The new machines will be less explicit, showing less of a person’s body to TSA monitors.
One issue remains: does required search at the airport violate the fourth amendment to the Constitution? We’re guaranteed protection against unreasonable search and seizures. Those wondering are on the rise. Complaints about pat-downs at airports have increased by ten times in the last month.
So, how much security is too much? What are Americans willing to give up to be safe in the sky? Those questions may finally be answered as people voice their thoughts and opinions.