ENC 1101 mw 5:00-6:15
Dr. Jose Macia
April 27, 2011
The days of walking through the metal detector without taking our shoes off and having Listerine inside our carryon are over. To prevent another horrible attack from ever happening airport security is now a compilation of pad-downs by TSA agents and body scanners which can see right through one’s clothes. Both methods have their ups and downs, but are necessary indeed as they form the basis on which the future of airport security will be founded. This research paper strives to point out the implementation of technology in airports during pat-downs and body scanning by identifying the competence or inefficiency of either method as TSA agents work towards attaining a terrorist free future.
Pat-downs refer to physical frisking or searching of the passengers outer clothes through use hands. The airport security agents run their hands all over the passenger’s body emphasizing on vital areas where weapons can easily be concealed. Pat-downs are usually carried out by agents of the same sex as the passengers because they entail patting or body parts to reveal weapons. Though pat-downs are usually restricted to uncovering weapons only, most passengers find them obtrusive especially because of the intent that is to identify weapons under the clothes (SnallaBolaget, 1).
Effectiveness Pat-downs are quite effective as the airport security agent is in a better position to pick out any foreign object attached to the passenger’s body. This is made even more efficient by the fact that the security agent can extend the pat-down to ones hair which poses a very big threat in terms of acting as weapon hideouts. Pat-downs are also effective in identifying potential passengers carrying weapons as they will tend to flinch as the security agents approaches the hideout thus their gestures insinuate probable danger (Whitehead, 5). The pat-down is effective in terms of time consumption as the security agent can be able to identify whether the bulge in the back pocket is a piece of cloth or a hand grenade. This is because by touching the bulge the airport security agent gains a direct message rather than the use of other equipment which will sense an object but can not figure out what it is unless it is removed from the pocket (SnallaBolaget, 1).
Problems and complaints Various complaints have been lodged against pat-downs with many protestors calling the entire session a ’15 minute’s awkward embarrassment’. This is because the airport security agent carrying out the pat-down has an obligation to touch each and every body part. Sometimes the pats can be repeated especially if danger is suspected regardless of the body part. This is considered evasive and a violation of ones privacy without paying respect to the age of the passenger (Savage, 8). A number of male passengers have indicated that the entire pat-downs where their groins are frisked are not only humiliating but also awkward. This is attributed to the fact that not many people are comfortable at having another person touching them all over in the quest of searching for weapons. At times passengers are expected to especially if they have darned bulky clothes such as padded jackets which may interfere with the hands capability to feel what lies underneath (Whitehead, 5). Most Americans have raised complaints against the pat-downs due to racial profiling whereby they are placed in the same category with races popularly known to conceal weapons in their clothes. The outrage is attributed to the fact that everyone is subjected to the same treatment while the airport security agents are fully aware which race should be exclusively patted down. The outrage is further on worsened by video recordings of a young boy who was halfway stripped and subjected to pat-downs by more than one airport security agents (SnallaBolaget, 1).
Body scanners Body…