There has been a lot of discussion lately regarding airport security measures as implemented by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The thing basically breaks down like this; TSA is putting full body scanners in airports across the nation and making airline passengers go through the very uncomfortable process having a government worker peer underneath of their clothes with x-ray machines. A lot of people are uncomfortable being screened in this way. And by uncomfortable I mean irate. And by irate I mean infuriated.
There is legitimate concern about this being overly invasive, potentially humiliating, and unconstitutional based on the 4th Amendment. So TSA has a backup plan. If you don’t want to go through the pornoscanner, you can submit to a grope-down in which they may grab your genitals and/or your boobs if you got ’em. Some have speculated that these grope-downs, or as one Senator calls them “love pats”, are purposefully made to be so invasive that people will opt for the scanners instead. So basically they make one poison pill super duper poisonous so that you’ll opt for the lesser poison. Nice work, TSA.
People are infuriated and rightly so. But what to do about it? How can we get this scaled back so that people don’t have to be bodily invaded by scanners or gropes? I have the answer and it’s fairly simple. All we have to do is add airport level TSA screening to all public transportation in or out of Washington, DC and at the entrance to all federal buildings with no exemptions for federal workers.
How will this fix the TSA problem at the airports? Well, my theory works like this: Tens of thousands of people commute into DC for work every day. They ride trains (Amtrak, VRE, MARC, etc) the Metro (subway), busses, taxi cabs, etc. Many thousands of these people are federal employees heading for work at various Executive agencies, Congress, etc. If all those federal bureaucrats and all the lobbyists, lawyers, and other federal hangers-on had to submit to airport level security screenings every day for their commute there would be hell to pay! The already nightmarish commute into work would be utter hell in every possible way. The gridlock getting into the city would be unlike anything anyone has ever seen. The bureaucrats would have the screening measures modified faster than Bill Clinton can say “I didn’t have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky”
And, really, why not? Any terrorist could blow up a VRE train over the Potomac any day of the week. Any terrorist could blow up a Metro train as it passes beneath a federal building in DC at any time. Any terrorist could blow up any number of trains any given day, killing thousands of people and completely shutting down DC. They could do it at any time and there is absolutely no security whatsoever to prevent them from doing it.
So, if transit security is so dang important why shouldn’t federal workers boarding trains have to go through every bit as much security as you go through when you get on that flight to visit Granny over Thanksgiving next week? Make the same rules apply to all public transportation, not just airlines, and you’ll suddenly see some major changes.