Headline of the Day: TSA Edition

Via Art Carden at Forbes:  Full Frontal Nudity Doesn’t Make Us Safer: Abolish the TSA.

The more I hear and read about the options being presented to air travelers:  allow a full body scan that shows all the intimate details of one’s anatomy or allowing a stranger in a a uniform to grope my nether regions, the angrier it makes me, to be honest.  Thankfully I usually only fly maybe once or twice a year.  Quite frankly it is all enough to make me rethink whether flying at all is worth it.

FILED UNDER: Terrorism, US Politics,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    “Quite frankly it is all enough to make me rethink whether flying at all is worth it.”

    It’s about time!

  2. Linda says:

    The TSA is going to ruin the airline industry. If my option is to have a porno pic scan or to be groped by some TSA yokel, I’ll decline on both, thank you very much. My last 3 trips, I drove, because it was cheaper for me (by a couple of hundred dollars, each). And I would have been flying Southwest. Plus, I would have had the additional expense of a car rental at my destination, Until they do away with the invasive TSA searches, no thanks, I’ll still drive.

  3. reid says:

    Security screening is certainly a hassle, so I’m sympathetic, but that article was pretty ridiculous. Bipartisan means appealing to fiscal conservatives AND privacy advocates? Let the free market decide security? Genital groping and 3-year olds being patted down? It’s just a bunch of shallow, feel-good arguments of the “the system has a few problems so let’s toss it all out, har har” variety. Dumb.

  4. Andrew M. says:

    I’ve personally always wanted to be in porn. Here’s my chance.

    On a serious note, while I personally don’t believe the TSA should even exist, I am absolutely in agreement with the security measures they have implemented. The minarchist in me says that airline security should be left up to the individual airlines to provide. With that said, I personally would never choose to fly with any airline that chose a lax security policy (lax meaning anything less than the current, mildly annoying, procedures we deal with now). Let’s face it ladies and gentlemen, for the innumerable number of people out there with a political agenda and a propensity for violence to attain it, a passenger airline is the autographed Babe Ruth home-run ball of holy grails of Rosetta stones of missing links. Around the world, RIGHT NOW, hundreds of people are trying to figure out how to blow an airplane out of the sky to scare the rest of us into taking the bus.

    The bottom line is this: The TSA IS making you safer, though I don’t think it is it’s place to do so. Get rid of it. Make security the responsibility of the Airline companies. If you don’t want a full body scan or to be groped, fly Southwestern.

  5. Linda says:

    Andrew, explain how the TSA kept us safe from the underwear bomber? He didn’t get on a plane in the US, his father called the Embassy to report his son was off his rocker, he had no passport, no ID, no luggage, and paid cash for a one way ticket. The scanners wouldn’t have detected his bomb. Just look at the pictures of what the scans show.

    Explain how TSA kept us safe from the cargo plane mail bombs? The flights originated in Yemen, and cargo doesn’t get screened.

    Explain how the TSA is going to keep us safe when some whack-job hides explosives in a body cavity? Scanners and groping pat downs can’t detect that. So should they conduct cavity searches, as well? Do you want some minimum wage flunky, with a high school education, sticking fingers in your body cavities?

    Terrorists know cargo isn’t scanned, and the cargo plane incident has been seen as a dry run. And now that TSA/DHS has said “no toners from Yemen”, don’t you think they’ll find something else to use? They’ve also said “no cargo from Yemen”, so don’t you think they’ll find another point of origin?

    Government is reactive, not proactive. And they’re ineffective in their reactions.

  6. Neil Hudelson says:

    About a month ago I had to travel to D.C. From my place in Indiana its a 10 to 11 hour drive, or a very brief flight.

    I chose to drive. On the way there I completely blew a tire. Then my engine overheated. Got there after 14 hours. On the way back I hit a deer while going 80 mph on I-70. Totalled my car, and meant I had to stay in Columbus for the night.

    With all this hindsight, I still am glad I chose to drive over fly.

  7. Judith L. says:

    I’m a 60+ female who wears a long leg brace (steel and aluminum) and uses a cane, but at airports I order a wheelchair. The last time I flew, I put my stuff (shoes and purse) on the conveyor belt and then was rolled off to the side, where I had to wait a few minutes. Then two women took me into a private windowless room nearby and wanded my brace from top to bottom. (This is definitely an improvement over a couple of years ago, when I was “inspected” in full view of hundreds of other people.) This required rolling my slacks up to my hip. Since a plastic piece extends under my foot, they had to pull my leg up and look at the plastic to make sure I didn’t have some kind of device stuck in there. My torso, arms and feet were also wanded. I had to lean forward, head on knees, while they wanded my back from my neck down to my bum. Then I was wheeled back to the conveyor belt area, where my purse and other belongings were retrieved for me. Everyone was very courteous and professional, no question about that. And they are often apologetic, because at some level it’s ridiculous, but it really isn’t ridiculous when you really think about it. I could be very angry at this kind of treatment, but what would be the point?

  8. Dee says:

    You guys are funny thinking a massive profit oriented company owned by billionaires is goiing to make their airline safe. You are under the illusion that actually providing a quality, safe product is the most profitable way to run an airline. Bwaaahahahah!

    When has the profit motive ever improved safety?