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Travel Warning – Invasion of the Body Scanners

So, what could be more fun than a girls trip?  Just me and my daughter hopping a plane for a weekend with family and old friends.  Girl friends and their daughters sight seeing, talking, laughing, and telling stories of long ago.  We’ve left the boys at home before and flown together, so we were just going through the motions like it was all old hat: check in, check bag, boarding pass and drivers license, shoes off, jacket off, belt off, stuff in bins, etc.  I didn’t think twice about letting her walk through the metal detector ahead of me.  I finished sliding the bags and bins through the X-Ray scanner and then walked through myself.  And that’s when I saw her standing in a Plexiglas structure.  At the same time I heard ‘bag check’ and I thought “Great, they are wanding and bag checking a pre-teen girl.  They can’t catch known terrorists, but they select a young girl…..”  And then she was done.  There was no wand.  That’s when I realized she had just been body scanned.  I asked, just to make sure, and I was right.  I moved around so I could see the image of the next person in the scanner, but no image was on the screen.  Apparently they are sent to a remote location for viewing.  I didn’t want to upset my daughter who had no idea what had just happened, so we moved on.  I felt like she had been subjected to a strip search.  I felt like I had allowed my child to be molested.  I have no idea where those images went and who viewed them.  At best it is creepy.

So, a word of warning to all parents.  Walk through the scanner first, and let them know right away that you don’t want your child scanned.  Aside from the ‘creepy factor’, there are also health concerns.  TSA of course claims that the images cannot be copied and are immediately deleted.  And, the screening officers are not allowed to take cameras into the viewing room.  Oh, that makes me feel so good about the whole thing, really.  And what about cell phones with cameras, are they banned too?  Apparently it is legal to refuse the scan.  Gee, that is big of them.  I’m still mad about it, and I doubt I’ll be getting over it any time soon.  So save yourself some mental stress, and please don’t let your daughters and sons walk through the metal detector before you do.

Maybe, just maybe, they could concentrate on catching the bad guys and leave the rest of us alone.

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