Point of View: Drama or not, the pat-downs aren’t right

By Samreen Hooda

The current outrage in the U.S. over the new screening and pat-down procedures at airports was bound to throw up bumper stickers.

The irony of such a mess can’t keep critics or comics at bay.

The new TSA measures are somewhat ridiculous. Somehow patting down every passenger and running them through a full-body scanner will keep terrorists at bay.

To me it seemed more like a federal approval for sexual harassment. As one bumper sticker suggests: “We are now free to move around your underpants.”

Yet those in defense of these measures declare that these are necessary security precautions for the safety of all Americans.

It’s merely giving up a small dose of privacy to guarantee the safety and security of all.

Just think of it this way. They say, “It’s not a grope; it’s a freedom pat.” The price of freedom has definitely gone up.

I first came across these full-body scanners as I was leaving an airport in Michigan.

The line was moving slower than usual and people were walking through a strange portal, standing with their arms in the air and their feet shoulder width apart.

Individuals stood in the scanner for 20 seconds, nervously awaiting a decision that either allowed them to move on or succumb to further examination. I saw security officers on the other end of a computer screen, staring seriously at their monitors.

At this rate, they were handling more packages than the UPS.

It was almost my turn. I had two choices, but neither seemed like a grope discount. I did not want to walk through those X-ray vision tease machines.

Nor did I want to receive a pat-down from a burly female security inspector.

Bumper sticker slogan played aloud in my head: “We rub you the wrong way, so you can be on your way.”

I decided I’d take my chances with a freedom pat rather than walking through a scanner whose implications I was highly skeptical of. I thought I had chosen the lesser of two evils.

A lady officer came over and gave me a very thorough pat-down.

She found no evidence of any weapons of mass destruction on me after conducting a search even the CIA could not have trumped; she smiled, wishing me a good evening and a safe flight.

I couldn’t help thinking if she had done her job any better, she may have had to buy me dinner first.

I put on my shoes and coat, grabbed my hand carry and quickly scurried away, feeling more than a little violated and not at all safer.

Samreen Hooda is a senior journalism major from Dallas and a reporter for The Lariat.