Flying has been a hassle for a while now, what with full planes, delays and crowded airports.  To make matters worse the Transportation SecurityAdministraiton (TSA) has made their mission personal.  Really personal.

If  a flyer refuses to pass through the body scanners they are subject to the full-body pat down that has many people up in arms.

Despite what some may believe less than five percent of flyers are getting pat downs.  The national media is partly to blame for inflaming the issue.  A viewer could conclude that everyone who passes through a security gate at an American airport will have their personal space violated by a TSA employee.  That’s not the case.

The Transportation Security Administration’s director John S. Pistole has said the agency welcomes feedback and comments on the screening procedures.  “We will work to make them as minimally invasive as possible while still providing the security  that the American people want and deserve,” he said.

If there is a problem here it is that the TSA has not done a good job of telling the American people (and the media) exactly what is supposed to happen at the security gates.  Many people were nervous and outraged about what they were hearing.  As the nation faced its busiest flying day of the year this week Americans headed to the airports thinking their bodies would be patted down and, in their minds, violated.  It should have been announced often that those who refused body scans were going to get pat downs.

Americans are already anxious enough these days, they certainly didn’t need this to arise just as they were thinking of taking a break from the economy and other issues to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families.

In his statement Pistole also said, “We cannot forget that less than one year ago a suicide bomber with explosives in his underwear tried to bring down a plane over Detroit. The terrorists allegedly behind the thwarted cargo attempt last month are out there bragging about how they will strike again.”  Indeed, we can’t.

Polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans support the use of full body X-ray machines at airports.  Americans want their government to keep them safe and if that means less than five percent of flyers get a pat down, that’s a small price to pay for security, as long as it is done with courtesy and professionalism.

—LAZ