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A Mother’s Take on Airport Security

I just returned from another business trip, I  travel enough for work that I know some of the TSA agents better than my friends.  I feel bad for many of them; it’s a hard, stressful job.  If they screw up, bad things can happen.  If they don’t screw up, bad things can still happen and they will be scrutinized and blamed.  With all the recent press about pat downs and body scans, I became irritated.  I question the effectiveness of some of these measures, but I appreciate that there is a group of people trying to keep us safe within the constraints of our justice system.  I am going to spare you my diatribe on why we can’t fight terrorists when we play by different rules…  I would rather be a little inconvenienced and live to bitch about it than be a victim.  So let me provide a mother’s reality check on airport security:

  • A pat down is nothing to me.  I have kids pawing at me all day.  I have had strangers watch me give birth.  I have had lactation consultants man handle my lady lumps. You want to pat me down? Knock yourself out.  I am sorry if you get peanut butter on your hands, my kids accosted me before I left for the airport.
  • Body scanners are the least of my worries.  I dodge Nerf bullets, have my feet taken out by moving furniture and am exposed to entirely too many loud noises.  A little radiation sounds like a picnic.  My lack of sleep is a much bigger threat to my health.  As far as the modesty goes – see number one. And here’s a newsflash – my anatomy is the same as every other female.   And right now that anatomy is intact, without bullet holes or damage from bombs.
  • Don’t blame the agent.  Being jerky to a TSA agent is like being a jerk to a kid.  It’s not their fault.  TSA agents just follow orders.  Kids are just a product of their parents (which explains SO much about my children)!  Let’s follow the Golden Rule people!
  • An ounce of prevention… This is a common phrase to explain that being proactive is worth it.  If one extra kid lives from wearing a bike helmet, it was worth it.  If one extra terrorist is stopped by the scans and pat down, it was worth it.
  • Being half dressed is normal. Many people complain about stripping off belts, shoes and coats.  Mothers are having a good day if that is all they’re missing. 

A final suggestion: Let my kids run airport security.  Terrorists would take one look at my diabolical children and surrender!

What do you think about airport security?

Don't worry, it's a Nerf gun...

  1. G Craig Vachon
    December 3, 2010 at 6:53 am

    Many of the folks that are upset about airport screening don’t fly much, IMHO. I am with you. Grope if you must [a little to the left please] – but pls keep us safe. With two million miles on United, I am much more offended by the poor attitudes/disdain by many of the aged/disgruntled flight attendants.

    • December 5, 2010 at 1:55 pm

      Agreed Craig! I can tolerate just about anything if you do it nicely. 😉

  2. December 3, 2010 at 6:59 am

    I’m with you. So many people complain about it, but I GUARANTEE you that they wouldn’t complain if the guy in front of the was stopped with a loaded gun in his bag or explosives taped to his balls. It just gives complainers something to complain about. You can’t complain if you are in a million little pieces sailing over the country!

    • December 5, 2010 at 1:57 pm

      Jamie – you always crack me up! And you’re right!

  3. December 3, 2010 at 7:12 am

    Ha! This is excellent!

  4. December 3, 2010 at 7:49 am

    What fascinates me is that people are in an uproar about being “seen” naked or by a little more invasive touch, not the possible health impact. There is very little said about the effect of these machines on the body. From what I have researched, there has been little testing on the safety of these machines on our bodies & how they are impacting us! I read one report that said the radiation from the scanners is the same as 50 chest xrays all at once! Here is an interesting article if you are interested in the lack of testing & approval from the medical field.


    • December 5, 2010 at 1:58 pm

      Caroline – the scanners may be dangerous, but I have yet to be scanned and I fly all the time. I still think it’s safer than terroists or my kids. 😉

  5. December 3, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Mostly I want to know what profile a pasty-faced 35-year-old-woman with a six-year old and fifteen extra pounds fits, exactly?

    When I lived in Europe, I was singled out for enhanced search EVERY TIME.

    Cause yeah. I am gonna bring down a 747 with Happy Meal toys.

    • December 5, 2010 at 1:59 pm

      Lori – They not afraid of you, they think your six-year old is a smuggler. 😉

  6. December 3, 2010 at 9:41 am

    You said it all, and I completely agree, being mad at TSA agent is so not fair for them. They just doing their job. I think people make this too big of a deal that it really is. At the end, it’s all for our safety.

    • December 5, 2010 at 2:00 pm

      Yeah, at least find the manager! 😉

  7. December 3, 2010 at 9:56 am

    I’m with you!

  8. December 3, 2010 at 9:58 am

    HI Paige, Hilarios post – I just love it and totally agree. I rather me and my children be safe any day for a little inconvenience. And it is so true about a pat down – my children bust open the door (and pick the lock!) on the bathroom when I am trying to escape for a little privacy. When you are a mom with little children – it’s all out there for everyone to see and who cares!!!

    • December 5, 2010 at 2:01 pm

      Jennifer, my kids have opened the stall in public restrooms, a scanner seems discrete! 😉

  9. December 3, 2010 at 10:25 am

    I don’t know, I fly quite often and I have mixed feelings.

    I, like you, don’t blame the TSA agents. It’s just their job.

    But when they say this is for the sake of national security, I say bollocks. I think it’s for the appearance of national security. You can get on Amtrak without being searched. Amtrak will soon let people with permits carry concealed weapons. Amtrak goes right through Penn Station in NYC and Union Station in DC.

    Also, the NYC subway and DC Metro has almost no security. Sure, there are cops here or there, but anyone can walk on with anything.

    These are huge gaps in security, just begging for something bad to happen. If the government really cared about security (instead of putting on a show), the wouldn’t be so reactive (taking off shoes, banning toner cartridges). They’d be proactive (searching unsecured cargo, profiling on the subway system, not letting guns be allowed on Amtrak.) And when I say profiling, I know we can’t RACIALLY profile, but we can certainly ask people where they are going, and take not of their behavior.

    Just my two cents. I live in Washington, DC, if it makes a difference.

    I’m not saying what they’re doing is wrong because it violates me (though I’m not thrilled about radiation or groping), I’m saying it’s wrong because it’s just for show. Lobbying firms lobbied so hard to get those machines in there.

    Secondly, far more people die from secondhand smoke, food poisoning, murder, car accidents, lightning, etc, every single year than they do from terrorist attacks. When it’s put into perspective, I’m not all that worried about PEOPLE on the plane. After 9/11, I’m fairly certain passengers would beat down anyone that tried something funny. I’m more worried about unsecured cargo, and the fact that we don’t have bomb sniffing dogs on Metro.

    Just my two cents.

    • December 5, 2010 at 2:06 pm

      Witty wife! You so perfectly captured the part of I glossed over when I said don’t get me started on my diatribe. I absolutely agree they are missing the boat on being proactive! I also think there are times when our rights to privacy protects criminals. You look at airports like Amsterdam and realize how incomplete our process is. Intelligence will protect us more than the groping!

      • December 10, 2010 at 8:51 am

        Thanks! I just had to say it! People gloss over the fact that we’re way more at risk for other types of death. Let’s be proactive about airport security; not reactive!

  10. December 3, 2010 at 11:02 am

    I never traveled in my life, but if one day I do, I wouldn’t mind the security check. I’d rather them check so that we can be safe from the bad people. And like you said, the doctors have seen and touched me down there during childbirth and the lactation consultant squeezed my breast too. Security checks can’t be worse than that so what the heck. Better be safe than sorry!

    • December 5, 2010 at 2:02 pm

      Melissa – when you do just follow the business travelrs, we can get through secuirt half-drunk in our sleep. 😉

  11. December 4, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    What a smart way to look at the TSA! I wish you’d wrote this before I traveled last month. Funny stuff.

    • December 5, 2010 at 2:03 pm

      Thanks Rene. I wonder if TSA would be even nicer to me if I carried this around. 😉

  12. December 7, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I LOVE this so much. I said so many of the same things, although not as eloquently and humorously, during the recent flap. I think after you’re naked around so many people during childbirth and the subsequent days (ok, months, if you’re like me and nursed everywhere and anywhere the kid demanded a nip) afterward that a little X-Ray nudity seems like nothing. Besides, much hotter people than me are flying. The pervs will skip right over my scans…

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