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Orlando's theme parks can't afford for parents to decide not to fly

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Published: November 15, 2010 at 10:45 AM

The Orlando theme parks go together with the airline industry like a hot day and a frozen Butterbeer. Airlines flies millions of visitors into Central Florida each year, delivering a huge percentage of the visitors to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld. As the heart of the travel business, a healthy airline industry helps ensure a healthy theme park industry.

So anything that threatens people's willingness to fly endangers the Orlando parks. That's why I'm watching closing the growing outrage over the U.S. federal government's new screening procedures for airline passengers.

My kids find it hard to believe, but not all that long ago it was possible to fly anonymously. When I was in college, I flew from Indianapolis to Orlando using my friend's father's ticket. No one checked any identification. We had paper tickets, and if you presented the ticket, you got to fly. The only time you saw anyone checking travelers' ID was in the movies when the bad German or Soviet border guard was trying to catch the hero (who, inevitably, was traveling with fake papers.)

Obviously, that's changed in today's environment. Not only do you have to show ID to get on a plane today, but under this year's new security procedures, the name on your ID must match exactly the name on your flight reservation. I can't recall ever being able to get on a plane without going through a metal detector, but for the past several years you've had to take off your shoes to be X-rayed before boarding and can't carry onto the plane more than a tiny amount of liquid from outside the secure area, either.

But that's not been enough, in the view of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. Starting last month, the TSA mandated the use of new high-resolution "backscatter" imaging machines at all major U.S. airports for randomly selected passengers. You can refuse to go through the machines (which produce what looks like a naked image of your body), but if you do, you will be subject to a new, much more invasive pat-down, which travelers and security experts have compared to the pat-downs that new prisoners are subject to when they are checked into jail.

The new pat-down procedures don't stop with an agent feeling your arms and legs, as before. They also require TSA personnel to place their hands inside your waistband and also to touch your groin area, to check for hidden contraband.

What's driving some parents over the edge is that fact that children are also subject to the new screenings. Obviously, many parents object to having to choose between a TSA agent taking what amounts to a naked picture of their child or having the agent placing his or her hands on what most kids have been taught are their "private areas" that no stranger ever is allowed to touch.

Complains are pouring in (link displays TSA scanner images that may be NSFW), and some parents have declared that they won't fly again until the new procedures are rescinded.

Airlines aren't happy with the new procedures, and pilot and flight attendants (who are also subject to the screening) are livid. They're concerned about the health effects of the cumulative doses of radiation that they'd be exposed to going through the new screening machines on a daily basis. And they're not thrilled with the alternative of being felt up by TSA personnel daily, either.

So what will happen? As I see it, travelers have three choices:

1. You can accept the new procedures, and keep flying.

2. You can reject the procedures, and stop flying.

3. You can protest the decision to take this approach toward security, and call or e-mail your elected representatives to demand that they rewrite the law to order the TSA to change its screening tactics - if not for adult passengers at least toward children. (Of course, if change doesn't happen, then you're left deciding between choices 1 and 2.)

That decision is your call, of course, but I know that they theme park industry is really hoping that their fans who live outside a reasonable driving distance of their favorite theme parks don't choose option 2. Disney, Universal and SeaWorld can't afford for the nation's parents to decide that, in order to protect their children from what would otherwise be called abuse, they won't be flying anymore. Which is why I wouldn't be surprised to the see the industry's lobbyists start contacting those elected representatives, too.

Readers' Opinions

From 69.142.109.157 on November 15, 2010 at 10:58 AM
Well first of all, I think that parents are over reacting. As a parent myself, I am pleased that the airlines is taking strict steps in security so that my family and I are flying safe.

Would you rather be slightly inconvenienced to assure a safe flight, or would you rather not have great security and wonder who or what is on that same flight with you?

Mom from NJ

From Robert Niles on November 15, 2010 at 11:30 AM
Personally, I don't think that these needle-in-a-haystack random screenings help make flights safer at all. And I find it frustrating that while our current courts seems so intent on expanding rights for corporations, they have no interest in protecting Fourth Amendment rights for individuals. (Yes, I believe that civil rights are important. I don't want to live in a police state.)

I'd prefer that the TSA instead spend its money on good, old-fashioned detective work, the work that has foiled multiple potential attacks, including the recent cargo bomb attempt from Yemen. The TSA's taking this approach simply because it's the easy way to show that it's doing "something." It's a lazy way out, and I don't want the TSA *ever* taking the easy way out on ensuring security.

No, my kids aren't flying again in the U.S. until the rules change. But that's not really a big deal for us because, as frequent site readers likely know, we're really into roadtrips. :^)

From Derek Potter on November 15, 2010 at 12:26 PM
So it appears the terrorists are winning...because the government is taking away the rights of its citizens for the sake of fear. I'm all about safety and preventing a bomber on a plane, but not at the cost violating the privacy and rights of citizens. There are other ways to make planes safer than by frisking and x-raying children and harassing honest law-abiding citizens. I don't buy for a second that these searches are random and not selective. Anyone who does is naive I highly urge readers to go with option 3 and complain very loudly to your representatives. I suspect that if enough people do that, then things will change. This issue is very related to the theme park industry, but the scope of it is a whole lot bigger. I'll leave with a quote from Benjamin Franklin.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

From Brian Emery on November 15, 2010 at 12:26 PM
It takes too long to drive so unless you can transport us like on star track, many folks will be stuck flying… I will not forgo my 8 days every May because of a little pat down. Heck some might even enjoy it..

Yes a random pat down will not deter anyone from trying whatever… Our US officials always have good intentions but lack common sense…

From Anthony Murphy on November 15, 2010 at 12:31 PM
I too think it is being blown way out of proportion as well since how could we have stopped the "underwear bomber" at the airport (never mind the warnings, paperwork, etc). I am curious if there is another way. I mean, I too think its a little weird, but I have no idea what the alternative is.

Still, I think your story has some legs (no pun intended)because I have noticed that Orlando International Airport tends to be very strict on going though security. They are sticklers for the liquids and what you carry on (my mother lost her nail clippers, something she didn't even know was in the luggage on the way back). I have never seen longer lines than at Orlando. So the point is, chances are the Orlando airport will be all over this!

From 68.103.4.130 on November 15, 2010 at 12:34 PM
The two new techniques are a huge invasion of privacy! I have no choice but to fly in January, but if TSA keeps using these techniques, it will definitely prevent me and my family from flying May 2011 and November 2011.
From Martha Moyers on November 15, 2010 at 1:19 PM
Over-reacting? You have a choice of having your children's naked bodies on an X-Ray machine, the health impact and long-term consequences of which are unknown, or having their privates groped and fondled by a TSA goon? If having you and your kids private body parts groped and scanned doesn't wake us up to the loss of our freedoms, what will? You have heard of the 4th Amendment, right? And it's not even the case that this outrage will make us safer. No, treating the entire US flying public, including nuns, old ladies in wheelchairs, and little kids, as guilty until proven innocent, does nothing to protect us from terrorists. The few, very few cases were discovered by police work, or the perps stopped by their fellow passengers. The head of security for Israel's airline says these Nude-o-scan machines are useless. What they do is interview people, especially those who fit the profile of a possible terrorist. Oh, yeah, we can't profile, can we? That would be "politically incorrect." I did so want to take my family to Disney World someday soon but I will not subject myself or them to the group of losers and perverts known as TSA. The TSA should be abolished and airport security turned over the the airlines, who have a vested interest in not having their passengers blown up. What's next, body cavity searches?
From Brian Emery on November 15, 2010 at 1:53 PM
Martha you are wrong because if you choose to fly and these are the things you are agreeing to by flying.. You can choose not to fly and no one will grope you.. You can simply say no by not flying or taking alternative means to vacation…

The difference is that nobody is forcing you to fly.. Freedom of choice…

And let’s be real do you think these TSA folks want to do this? Do you think they are enjoying it? Do you think they will go home and try and remember 1 of 5,000 folks that passed through their x-ray machine – Times 5 days a week…. It’s just a pat down…. No one will be touching kids inappropriately with you right there….

From Terry O'Neal on November 15, 2010 at 2:07 PM
I think it is interesting that Martha states that she wasn't overreacting, then presents a false dichotomy of having to choose between getting groped by a pervert or getting yourself subjected to things we don't know the after effects of. Perfect example of the overreaction.

I don't like being touched at all, or exposed to anything potentially harmful, so I won't fly, but it's not a bunch of criminals at work here. They're not just doing it for the sake of doing it. The shoe bomber got on a plane, the underwear bomber got on a plane, and the people in charge never want it to happen again. They made a choice to error on the side of safety, not comfort.

From 84.56.89.145 on November 15, 2010 at 3:23 PM
Interesting statistic:

After September 11 many people switched from plane to car travel. The resulting additiona lethal accidents (planes are a lot saver) already killed more people than the terror attack itsself.


That however will not make the oil price or the environmental damage asoicated with air travel any lower. Maybe theme park operators are well advised to just shift away from Orlando, build big parks much closer to the population centers. They could start right now as long as the recession still holds construction prices and interest rates down.

From M. Ryan Traylor on November 15, 2010 at 3:42 PM
But TSA's "theater" hasn't stopped a threat from occurring. And theater is exactly what it is. It gives the performance of safety.

One can say that it is the duty of passengers to subject themselves to these screenings, but, let's look at other screenings.

DUI checkpoints. They occur all over Los Angeles on a weekly basis. Drivers on the road are subjected to passing through. They can take another route, but if they divert too close the checkpoint, police will follow and pull them over. Going through the checkpoint, the basic level is a wave through. Officers may shine a light in your face, say good evening and move along. Others are pulled aside, given breathalyzers, walk the line, etc etc. But NOT EVERY DRIVER!

Requiring every airline passenger to submit to body scan or extensive pat down is ridiculous. AND the body scans don't see under skin. Anything being "muled" in, won't be noticed.

Personally, I'm looking forward to my flights this holiday season and the possible groping. As awkward as it will be for me, I'm sure it will be for them. But just because I'm going to giggle at the ludicrousness of the situation doesn't mean it's right.

My biggest problem with the TSA is this: coherency. TSA is a federal program, yet different airports seem to operate under different rules. There are the basics. But sometimes, walking through metal detector with belt and/or jacket is okay.

Here's a specific example. A couple of years ago I flew from LAX, to IAH, to RIC and back to LAX. In Houston, I received a small jar of Egyptian mustard as a gift. This jar was under 3 oz. I carried it on from IAH to RIC. When returning to LAX from RIC, TSA stated that I couldn't carry that item onboard the plane. Their answer, it was a paste. However, I continued to argue the 3 oz rule. My feeling, although I attempted to get them to say this, but they never would, was the arabic language written on the jar made them feel unsafe.

TSA has to realize that you can't change the rules as it will confuse passengers. Name recognition is key here. Everyone knows exactly what type of experience they will have at a Six Flags, Cedar Fair, Disney, or Universal Park.

From James Rao on November 15, 2010 at 4:47 PM
I echo the sentiments of several other posters whose writing is much more eloquent than mine: the more our government tightens the clamps on our freedom, the greater the victory of those who seek to advance political/religious agendas through cowardly attacks on otherwise innocent victims.

Flying has been an abomination for years - now even more so. Bring on the Family Truckster, my family is cruising down a Holiday Road!

From Anthony Murphy on November 15, 2010 at 5:04 PM
BTW, this does not keep me from wanting to fly in the future!
From Robert Niles on November 15, 2010 at 6:14 PM
The head of the TSA's getting called in front of Congress to testify on Wednesday. So messages to Congressional offices on Tuesday (pro or con) will have the attention of the office staff, more than would be usual for any given topic.
From Mark Hollamon on November 15, 2010 at 6:16 PM
When you give up freedom for security you end up getting neither.
From Derek Potter on November 15, 2010 at 8:26 PM
The argument that designates flying a "choice" or "privilege" is missing the point. Flying is a method of transportation, just like driving in a car, taking a train, or walking. I shouldn't have to be subject to a virtual strip search in order to get to the place I'm going just because people didn't do their job 10 years ago. Also, I bet we don't see these kinds of searches on people who are boarding private planes and jets, which are just as dangerous in the air as airliners. These searches are nothing more than a lazy reliance on technology in lieu of actually doing it the right way. They trample on people's rights for the sake of their convenience and use fear to justify it.

Solution...do some real work. Use all of that intelligence to find the real bad guys instead of picking on 4 year old girls and little old ladies. If you are worried about security on the plane, train and arm the pilots. You trust them with the plane, why not with a gun as well. Of course it also might be a good idea to pay pilots more than a Taco Bell manager makes too.

From Fred Roy on November 15, 2010 at 8:51 PM
Has everyone forgotten how to drive? I live in the Detroit area and have been driving to Orlando since 1972. On the first trip we took we stopped at the rest area between Disney World and Orlando. Surprisingly when we left the restroom there were 5 cars parked next to each other with Michigan license plates. Now you hardly ever see out of state plates. We drive to just north of Atlanta the first day and are at Universal Studios by 11 AM the next day. Don't give me any crap about being tired. I'm sixty and I'm not.
From Brandon Mendoza on November 15, 2010 at 9:32 PM
I don't have children, so I can't comment on that aspect until I have kids... but as an adult, I have no problem as I know I have nothing to hide. I check the rules and regulations of what I can and can't bring on a flight, so I have no problem being checked. And I know that not everyone gets checked. But I'd rather be groped than to be scanned. Those scanners are too new and I know I'm in the minority, but I don't have as much problem with "personal space". But I think it's not as big of a problem for men... I can see it being a problem with women considering the way society is when the amount of male perverts there are around.
From Carrie Hood on November 15, 2010 at 10:12 PM
As I lack kids I wouldn't know but frankly I don't think I'd want mine subjected to that kind of thing. Besides, my kids should have to do it the same way I did. Stuck in the car, bored as hell and being yelled at every ten minutes!

Frankly, I haven't been on an Airplane since 2002 and have no plans to fly anyplace. I have four wheels and a hundred thousand miles that pretty much speaks to my husband and my-selves opinion of "Getting there is half the adventure of a vacation". Cause really, you never know what your going to see or the new random places you just might find.
Now on the subject of "It's to long": Stop whining, if my 67 year old father can do the 17 hour drive from Orlando to PA himself without sleep and we've always arrived safely.. need I say more?

About the only thing that would get me on an airplane at this point is overseas and frankly you couldn't pay me to get near an American carrier for that. So until I can't get someplace by my own four wheels or someplace that those nice people with the really big boats don't go.. I'll just drive!

From Andy Stevens on November 16, 2010 at 1:28 AM
I don't particularly mind security, generally if everyone forms an orderly queue, we'll all get through it. It is invasive, but if we want to fly we've not an awful lot of choice.
What's curbing my desire to fly to Florida from the UK this coming year. Price. Virgin fares are sky high and I don't have the option of driving.
From David Sutter on November 16, 2010 at 6:51 AM
Wow! What a mixed bag of thoughts. All very vaiid. But I just went thru OIAs new scan. And no big deal really. It was all very professionally. My bag wnt on the belt and I walked in hands up scanned and bag in hand left for the monorail to my gate. I look at it this way I travel maybe once twice a year by plane. And your in and out in a lot less time then youd think. I agree children should not need to be body sanned ..the walk thru detector should do. But as a full grown adult. Well like they say you wanta fly. then you gotta follow there rules. And flying is not a requirement for a vacation. ROberts correct use your car. So you and the little ones only get three days at the "happiest place on earth" instead of a full week. But who knows you just may find that little gem tucked away enroute. And discover America. There are great places to visit. Some take a day some a few hours. But its a nice break. And make for a more leasurly vacation. When My son was small we would drive to Orlando from Jersey. stop and visit Williamburg, Go vist Padro at SOuth of the Boarder and he learned to enoy theses as much as his 3 days at DIsney WOrld, or one of the other major parks in Fl.
From HANNAH CALLER on November 16, 2010 at 7:39 AM
I think some people need to think about this security "issue" it's not some pervert getting kicks out of a naked photo of you or your child it's a professional doing their job to make sure thousands of people don't get killed by some terrorist nut, the scan is viewed once then deleted,its only if you don't agree to this that you get a more envasive pat down, it is not a removal of your freedom it's a way to keep you safe, the underwear bomber could have killed a plane full of people, had he been subject to one of these scans he wouldn't have even been able to bored the plane and as a few people have said..... You could always drive! I still intend to fly and these this new system actually makes me feel safer!
From 140.32.16.101 on November 16, 2010 at 7:56 AM
I understand that many people are upset by this new system but you have to understand, it's in the best interest of the populace.

Robert, you stated that picking a random person every once in a while isn't going to do anything. It actually does. People that actually wanna commit harm on US Soil are watching our public transportation systems to see if they can maybe not get caught bringing a bomb on board via on their body. If they are staking out at the airports watching our system and they see random people being taken out for random screenings, they might scratch their plan because of the fear of getting caught.

Yes, you can argue that your personal rights are being taken away but I think people would rather have everyone experience the inconvenience than let the enemy have a chance at causing mayhem.

From HANNAH CALLER on November 16, 2010 at 8:02 AM
Andy, the main reason Virgin flights are becoming more expensive is mainly down to the government the tax you pay on a flight is decided by them, Richard Branson is not happy about this either, the tax hike that's just come in is based on your destinations capital city,(for example it's now more expensive to fly to the Caribbean than it is to fly to LA) also the cost of fuelling the aircraft has increased over the years, given a choice Richard Branson would not increase the prices of the flights so much!
From Tyler Stover on November 16, 2010 at 8:12 AM
Sadly I feel these infringements of our rights and liberties are here to stay. The American people have become addicted to feel-good security measures. It isn't just the airlines. We can't be bothered to learn how to drive our cars, so we just insist the automakers load them down with three tons of airbags, "blind spot" monitors, traction and stability control, tire pressure monitors, etc. Americans love having something tangible they can point to and say "because of this I'm totally safe."

Every change to screening procedures the TSA makes is simply a reaction to yesterday's failed plot, closing the barn door after the horse almost got out. The problem is, until we're only allowed to fly knocked out by hyper-sleep, bound, naked, with cavity searches before hand, there is absolutely no way to shut off all methods of attack for terrorists. And every time we surrender our freedoms for our "safety" they accomplish exactly what it is the set out to do. The body count is merely the means the main objective - fear, slavery, humiliation.

I am aware of my rights. I know I will never be completely safe. I live life aware of my surroundings and the risks, but never yield the experience of living to fear. Until the TSA feels the same way, I will not be flying unless there is absolutely no other option.

From Martha Moyers on November 16, 2010 at 10:05 AM
"Those who would trade liberty for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin. There's risk in life, people. You are far more likely to be killed in a car accident, eaten by sharks or stung to death by bees than blown up by terrorists in a plane. We cannot be totally secure and it's not worth trashing the 4th Amendment to do so. However, these TSA measures, according to security experts, are just "security theatre" and don't really even do anything to make us safer. If we really wanted to secure air travel, we would take a page from the Israelis. They say these machines are worthless and they profile and interview passengers directly. They haven't had a terrorist incident on planes in years, and lots of Islamic nutjobs hate Israel more than they hate us. It would nice if the TSA would act professionally while they are taking naked pictures of your teenage daughter or fondling your son's genitals but too many of them are rude and insolent. And it has been forgotten that even after 9/11, airports have the capacity if they wish, to dismiss the TSA and take over security on their own. I say let pilots carry weapons, most of them are ex-military anyway, and profile those in high risk groups (single Muslim males from Africa or the Middle East). Leave the nuns and little kids and old ladies in wheelchairs alone! When was the last time a 3 year old kid tried to blow up a plane??? And how many terrorists has the TSA caught--none!! The shoe bomber and the underwear bomber were stopped by passengers. And why do they search kids but do nothing about the ground crews and not search cargo planes? They are always responding to the LAST threat.
From M. Ryan Traylor on November 16, 2010 at 10:38 AM
As Robert stated, detective work is what is needed. I feel that TSA is trained to do certain actions and not think outside the box.

Many of the comments here stating that people can just drive are a bit odd. But then I remembered that it's ThemePark Insider and we are mainly talking about vacations. But even with vacations, some people want to maximize their time since they may not have the luxury of two weeks off from work.

Also, think about people who travel for business rather than pleasure, and the pilots and flights attendants. Pilots and flight attendants are subjecting to this every time they report to work. Seems a bit extreme to me.

I will continue to fly and push the edge of fighting back against the invasive checks.

Here are two more experiences I've had.

First, at LAX, I noticed a backpack resting behind a column near the queue for the ticket check. As we waited in line for about 10-15 minutes, no one ever picked up that bag. When we approached the TSA Agent who would look at our boarding pass and IDs, we mentioned that this bag was sitting over there. His response, "don't worry, you'll be safer upstairs."

Thanks for not shutting down the airport? If he knew what the item was, why not just say something.

The other one was a lockdown. Waiting in line at the metal detector, bags are on the belt, shoes off, etc, we hear "LOCKDOWN". Everything comes to a stop. Passengers look around at each other and are ordered by TSA to stay in line. Five minutes later the area is unlocked.

We make it through the metal detector, have our bags, and are about 10' from the checkpoint when "LOCKDOWN". This time, agents swarm in front us, directing passengers to remain where they are and sit down. I casually asked one agent what was happening. The response, "Sir, please have a seat."

So, I'm sitting and think, hey news travels fast in LA, so I check my phone for any news updates. TSA Agent comes over and states that I need to put my phone away. I stop using the phone and engage in conversation. My questions to the agent where in the range of "What's happening? Will our flights be affected? Is this a drill?" and all the responses were synonymous with "Please remain seated."

From James Rao on November 16, 2010 at 12:52 PM
These new measures, if approved, will continue to keep honest people honest. Nothing more.
From 81.98.190.178 on November 16, 2010 at 12:58 PM
I feel that scanners should be for EVERYONE on every trip, i would much prefer me or my child being scanned than flown into the side of a building... im not silly enough to think that this is enough to stop terroist acts as we see with the printer cartridges, ther is always another way.. this time it didn't work and fingers crossed it never happens again but i would prefer a scanning than be responsible for kicking up a fuss now, getting the rules changed back to not being scanned then having a plane come down because someone managed to get something on board ! every one who complains now has the power helping the terroists, giving them an easier life ! as a world we should stand up and let every check possible being done to prevent this or any other attack being able to happen,Not making it harder for the people on our side to do there JOB !

As for the parks around the world including Orlando i think if this is going to stop people flying, imagine what a plane coming down in the middle of seaworld would do for tourism ! i think that might damage travel a little bit more !

I LOOK FORWARD TO THESE SCANS BEING AS STANDARD AS SCANNING MY SUITCASE OR TAKING MY SHOES OFF !

From Robert Niles on November 16, 2010 at 1:14 PM
Are you looking forward to having nude pictures of you and your children posted to the Internet, too. 'Cause that's already happened to some travelers.

How about the cavity search? Are you okay with a TSA rep placing a finger inside your child? Because that's coming, too.

A terrorist doesn't need to blow up anything to win, at this point. Neither the shoe bomber nor the underwear bomber succeeded, remember. The strategy that this point might very well be to try something that prompts the TSA to introduce a new, more invasive screening. That way, people throughout the West remain inconvenienced and fearful and the terrorists appear more powerful.

At some point, we've got to decide: are we a free country, or not? If we want to abandon freedom in favor of perceived security, then let's own that decision and quit declaring that we are a free country. It's the hypocrisy of people crying "Freedom" who support police-state tactics that drives me nuts.

I believe that travel is a liberating, enlightening and rewarding act. And while I want law enforcement to use its investigative powers to prevent crime and apprehend criminals, I don't want law enforcement to infringe on the rights of the innocent. Travel is not a privilege. It is and ought to be a right.

From Brian Emery on November 16, 2010 at 3:09 PM
A body cavity search… hahaha – Don’t go “nuts” here Bobby… Getting a little carried away here now…

It’s just a new scanner and a Pat down…. No civil liberties are at stake… None.. Get over it….

Most kids won’t complain, but the over protective parents will…. What do you have to hide?

It’s simply – Don’t Fly… Take the Acella..

From 68.33.228.53 on November 16, 2010 at 6:39 PM
Too often, we take things for granted, and this is no different. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but flying is a privilege, not a right.

The Supreme Court has stated numerous times that driving is also a privilege and not a right.

When you choose to take advantage of this privilege, you agree to obey by the rules required by the privilege:

You agree to take a driver's test
You agree to follow the speed limit
You agree to wear your seatbelt and not use your cell phone while driving (in some states)
You agree to ____ security measures in an airport

Whatever it is, you must remember that these are privileges and not rights.

From Tyler Stover on November 16, 2010 at 8:42 PM
Brian Emery, I happen to have a copy of the Constitution of the United States, and I will quote you the relevant section:

Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

This is a government mandated search, and given that it involves such intimate touching and/or imaging that creates an image of the person practically nude, and it has already been demonstrated that these images are being stored, government claims to the contrary, I would argue these are unreasonable searches for the populace at large. Now if there is true cause to suspect a certain individual, backed up by evidence and a warrant, then I'd say this would be a reasonable search. However, as a routine search of persons suspected of no crime it is invasive and dehumanizing. And it won't in any way stop a determined terrorist. They'll just use a different method, prompting the government to take away yet another right.

From Derek Potter on November 17, 2010 at 7:11 AM
Definition of privilege...
"a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor."

Flying isn't a privilege, it's a right. The free market principle dictates that it is. The planes are owned by private sector companies who charge money to take people somewhere, and they will sell a ticket to anyone. Its like a giant taxi that goes a long way quickly. You don't have to obtain a license to be a passenger in a plane, nor do you have to pass any kind of test to obtain "permission" to be on one. The only thing that excludes some people is the price, but that doesn't mean they can't get the money to fly. If the airlines were dictating who could get on their planes based on some kind of membership or club of some kind, then it would be a privilege. The airlines could do their own security, but that would add to their bottom line and raise ticket prices. These measures do very little to make a plane safer, and they come at the cost of our basic rights. It's unacceptable.

Just put it this way, there would be trouble if I had to witness my 4 year old daughter being frisked and touched by some random stranger (did anyone see that link that's disappearing quickly from the internet?) who happens to have a tin badge and zero cause for search. Any parent worth their salt would be incensed.

From Martha Moyers on November 17, 2010 at 7:43 AM
"Experts in medicine, biochemistry, and biophysics warn that one type of machine, backscatter X-ray, concentrates in the skin rather than diffusing through the body as medical radiation does; therefore, the dose you receive is shockingly high -- far higher than the government admits. Dr. Jeff Zervas, a surgeon in Montevideo, Minnesota, told me, "As far as living tissue is concerned, the less exposure to ionizing radiation, the better. Zero is best." Dr. Zervas also worried about the TSA's legendary incompetence: "What happens, for example, if some clown leaves the machine on, and a passenger's standing in the field? And who calibrates these things? I wouldn't trust a bureaucrat or anyone else without a stake in its safety to do it properly."

In our discussion about the 4th Amendment, etc. we have not dealt with the health risk from the scanners. The government claims they are safe but many experts disagree: Dr. David Caskey, a cardiologist who was also teaching at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans "In the medical industry we try as hard as possible to avoid even the smallest dose of radiation. Here you will be subjected to a rather significant amount. The result can and will be an increase in cataract formation, thyroid cancer, bone marrow suppression, etc." He was especially concerned for female passengers. "Even low level radiation can adversely affect a woman's ovaries. There's the potential for later birth defects. That risk increases if the woman is pregnant in the first trimester when she would likely be unaware of the pregnancy."

Millimeter waves may be even worse. No one knows their exact effects on human flesh, but one study concludes that they "unzip double-stranded DNA, creating bubbles in the double strand that could significantly interfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication. ... a new generation of cameras are set to appear that not only record [millimeter] waves but also bombard us with them..."

so it looks like there will be possibly more deaths from cancer from these scanners than there would be from terrorists, assuming that these procedures would really stop terrorists, which has not proved to be the case.

Even if you don't mind you wife and kids having naked images made of them or having their private parts groped, you might want to think twice about subjecting growing children to these machines. There is some evidence that they are especially harmful to those who have suffered from skin cancer or are at high risk of doing so. I for one do not want my DNA "unzipped".

From Brian Emery on November 17, 2010 at 9:27 AM
Where in the constitution does it say “You have the right to fly”… It’s a choice and a privilege… You have several choices in travel…. So chose not to fly… If you choose to fly, then you are subject to all federal standards and guidelines… Therefore you are choosing to be searched and maybe if randomly selected a pat down…

Ask any kid if they will take a small pat down to go to Orlando? Most will find it amusing and fun… No One is looking into your orifices…Lighten up Francis and take the train..!

From M. Ryan Traylor on November 17, 2010 at 11:09 AM
Yeah, but I don't need a pat down to get into my car.
From 97.121.135.224 on November 17, 2010 at 1:37 PM
Brian, you are absolutely right. Any type of public or private transit is a privilege, not a right. For instance, I see nothing wrong with asking certain passengers to ride in the back of the bus. It is not their right to ride the bus at all, so they should be glad to submit to any regulation or policy.
From Martha Moyers on November 17, 2010 at 1:43 PM
Amusing and fun?????? Seriously????? Did you see the video of the little 3 year old kid screaming as a TSA person touches her all over? Don't we teach our children not to let people touch their private parts? If someone touched a kid the way TSA agents do and that person didn't have a tin badge and a uniform, they'd be arrested for child molestation. And the scanner photos are child pornography by law. I for one do not want myself or my grandchild groped and touched. Even the most fervent apologists for the national security state don't say it would be "amusing and fun". And judging by the hearings in Congress and the nationwide outrage about this whole issue, a lot of people are not willing to be "we the sheeple". It's not about security, it never was, it's about control and seeing how much dignity and freedom we will give up. I think maybe the frogs might have woken up and are starting to jump out of the boiling pot. And the Constitution doesn't have to mention all our rights in detail. The 4th Amendment covers this situation well, as do the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. The government's powers are strictly enumerated and all powers not specifically delegated to it are reserved to the states, respectively, and to the people. The government does not grant us rights, we have rights, including freedom of association (travel) which are inalienable and come to us from the Creator and these rights cannot be granted by government, only defended. Nor can they legitimately be taken away. Enjoy being a serf, but as for me, I will stand free and tall and not let these bastards push me around!!!
From 152.132.9.130 on November 17, 2010 at 1:43 PM
Either let me live in freedom or die in the fight for it. I will not give up my liberty for a false sense of security. Anyone who really believes that the TSA's measures are effective at catching intelligent terrorists should click the following link:
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/11/the-things-he-carried/7057/1/

As the sister of and daughter of veterans, I know that our military has sacrificed so that we could keep our freedoms. Why then is the government trying to take them away little by little? Those who say people are overreacting, don't see the big picture. Is it better to live free with some risk; or live in "safety" with no freedom?

From Martha Moyers on November 17, 2010 at 2:03 PM
Time to add a little humor to this discussion:

Jay Leno: "It was bad enough when the TSA agents would go through your underwear in your luggage. Now they’re going through your underwear while you’re wearing it.

Now, to make it worse, the airlines are charging a $15 molestation fee."

Conan: "People are concerned that the new airport security scanners could lead to pictures of their genitals ending up on the Internet. Apparently no one has told them that without pictures of genitals, there would be no Internet."

Ideas for T-shirts: "There could be shirts like:

"I'm with this (TSA) pedophile! (arrow pointing left)"
"Strip if you love the TSA!"
"Erotic frisking... $50... anal fisting.. $200... TSA Strip Search... just the price of your freedom!"

From Robert Niles on November 17, 2010 at 6:58 PM
Here's what I would like to see:

1) To protect the privacy of innocent passengers who go through the scanner, Congress should pass a law mandating that the TSA immediately delete any scanner image of anyone who "passes" and is not detained for additional screening. A policy statement isn't enough. We need criminal penalties for keeping these images around, in memory or cache, so that they might be released.

2) To address the radiation exposure issue, create a verified ID program, with biometrics, for pilots and others who work past the secure zone, so that they don't have to be scanned every time through.

3) Congress should pass a law mandating that the TSA cannot places hands inside the clothing nor touch the clothed genitals of any passenger under age 18. Scanner, metal detectors and traditional pat-downs are the only acceptable screens for minors.

4) I tried to confirm this, but couldn't get a definite answer. But if it is not yet the case, the TSA should not employ anyone who has a violent or sex-related offense on his or her record. If the TSA hasn't checked for that among screeners, it should be required to check existing personnel and dismiss anyone who doesn't pass.

5) Congress also should outlaw TSA cavity searches without probable cause. They're not doing those now, and I want to ensure that they don't even contemplate starting.

6) If you want to decline all screening, you can turn around and leave the airport without penalty.

If these safeguards were in place, I'd feel more comfortable flying, and would allow my children to go through the checkpoints. And I think it would satisfy more would-be flyers as well.

From Martha Moyers on November 18, 2010 at 8:27 AM
I agree with Robert, this would be minimally acceptable. However, I see in the news today that Orlando Sanford International Airport is opting out of TSA for their own security measures. I would prefer that we search for terrorists, not explosive materials, which are almost impossible to find, by profiling and interviewing like they do in Israel (and people get through security there in 25 minutes or so, usually) but because of political correctness, the government does not have the balls to take up the Israeli model. The State of New Jersey has introduced a bill to halt some of the worst abuses in New Jersey airports, California is planning to prosecute any TSA personnel who violate California law, and a bill has been introduced in Congress. So this has gone viral and is not just a few libertarians making a fuss. However I found out there is an Amtrack train which goes from Lorton Virginia to central Florida which carries your car along on the train and until the government ruins train travel, I am will be taking the train on any visits to Florida. That or take 2 days to drive. Just much less hassle.
From Derek Potter on November 18, 2010 at 2:48 PM
New legislation from Ron Paul has been introduced. It basically removes immunity from the TSA and their employees from being arrested or sued for violating local and state law. Very short and to the point

HR 6416, the American Traveler Dignity Act:

No law of the United States shall be construed to confer any immunity for a federal employee or agency or any individual or entity that receives federal funds, who subjects an individual to any physical contact (including contact with any clothing the individual is wearing), X-rays, or millimeter waves, or aids in the creation of or views a representation of any part of a individual's body covered by clothing as a condition for such individual to be in an airport or to fly in an aircraft. The preceding sentence shall apply even if the individual or the individual's parent, guardian, or any other individual gives consent.


In English, it says that TSA and their employees are not protected by the federal government from violating law and privacy, are bound to the same laws as we are, and can be held responsible for unlawfully touching, unauthorized "photos", and bodily harm as a result of going through the body scanner. Officials can be criminally charged with regard to local and state law, and/or sued by the individual they violated.

From 76.114.208.117 on November 19, 2010 at 7:52 AM
We stopped flying with the kids after our first WDW trip. Due to security procedure, (which I respect), my 3 year old had a book as a comfort item to transition from airport to plane, which security took to check for contraband. We told him it was a gift from Mickey for being a good boy at WDW. He could not handle having it checked, because the security staff said, "I just want to check this out." He knew it was his book, not a library book, (which gets checked out) and he lost it.
Was he the first kid to lose it in the Orlando airport? No. Did it suck? Yes.
We had an infant, as well, and had done everything we could to prepare the kids for the trip, including sharing pictures of airport security and social stories for flight.
We decided it was not the airport's fault, not our kid's fault for being wired the way he was, and not really our fault, because we did our HW. We just decided to weave 13 hours of driving into our vacation plans from now on.
If it is more restrictive now, I'm glad we have an alternative routine in place.
I think people who expect kids to travel by plane to come to see them need to remember how much harder travel is on little ones, especially with the restrictions on fluids.
While I am on the box, business travelers who are shocked by tourists flying into MCO might consider another airport. Parents need to be thoughtful, but one man was so rude to this mom on the plane I offered him my ear plugs, because it was his whining that was getting under my skin.
From 69.171.163.142 on November 19, 2010 at 9:35 AM
The terrorists have won. we have lost all of our freedoms. Big Brother is becoming reality. 1984 was only off by 26 years. I'll get off the soap box now.

Here is the truth of it all. I stopped flying a few years ago because the cost. My family of 4 can travel the day and a half to WDW and cost us a third of the cost to fly. Which gives us extra money to spend at the parks.

These new security protocols have completely turned me off from flying commercially now. I will still go to WDW but will not fly. I am not a person that believes these new practices make us any more safe. Just like I am not impressed with the bag checks when you go into the parks. All it amounts to is a delay for the customer with no benefit. If someone wants to do something they will accomplish it.

The question is what would Walt think of this? Since he was a strong believer in the American ways and freedoms.

From Robert L on November 19, 2010 at 1:06 PM
Law enforcement can not pat you down without probable cause, but the TSA seems to think they are immune to that very protection we are afforded. I would like to see lawsuits brought against the TSA for every person subjected to the full body scan or the intrusive patdown techniques now being employed. We are all assumed being terrorists and have to be scanned or patted down to prove our innocence. Seems backwards to me. The shoe bomber and the underware bomber boarded aircraft outside the United States, correct? And bomb equipped packages were intercepted on the way from Yemen to the U.S. So why isn't the FAA and the Congress putting more pressure on foreign governments and airports to stop the threats where they have been originating? Profiling may be the best tool law enforcement has to find and limit threats, but being politically correct seems to trump common sense, and we all suffer for it.

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