The Corner

Re Re Re Etc. TSA & Nude Scanning

Mark: I didn’t intend to set off a firestorm, nor to mount a defense of the TSA generally. I just wanted to say that banning the nude scanners was a mistake. But here’s the thing: The jihadists, about whom you so eloquently and frequently warn, do still want to use our airlines for terrorism. Hence, we need security checks, and they need to be effective.  

The nude scanners, it seems to me, are just the ticket to remedy those intrusions of privacy and insults to dignity against which people so often and angrily complain. They are fast, so the lines move quickly. They are thorough. If someone has something that requires further inquiry, e.g., the pump, it can and should be done in a private room and with courtesy. But surely you would agree that having a device secreted in one’s pants should require further investigation. Finally, they eliminate almost all of the groping of children and old ladies against which people so righteously complain. 

I like Aussie airports too. But Australian airliners fly far fewer people than ours do. I looked it up. There are about fifteen times times as many US air passengers annually–specifically, 707,426,165 in 2010–versus only 45,268,487 Australian. Also, security has to worry about protecting far fewer flights Down Under than here. If the Aussies had our level of traffic, security might not be so pleasant.  

The old genteel days of walking to the gate and onto the plane died with Castro’s hijackings. Better security through modern technology is one approach to providing safety and reducing indignity. The nude scanners seem to fit that bill. Now they will be gone but the complaints will continue.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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