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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Holiday Travel Alert: Being Digitally Undressed

Somebody just took a picture of me… bare naked… and the government told them to! It’s happening here, it’s happening now, and it’s called the Full Body Scan, the TSA’s latest security attempt in the war against terrorism. How in the world this is going to help anybody deter detonation, I don’t know, but at least there will be plenty of jobs available for sex offenders and perverts.

Gee, does it sound like I’m upset?

We just flew through one of these things:  husband, wife, four kids. The two dogs refused.

Wait a minute:  kids exposed to extra x-rays? Is that smart? Do they look dangerous? Now, I know that there are some jihadists that actually strap explosives to their little ones on purpose, all the better to get them to heaven sooner, but most of us don’t think like that. As a matter of fact, some of us wonder if pedophiles or pervs will be buying pics of our digitally-undressed kids from their friends in the Transportation Safety Administration. (Believe me, I have no illusions that anyone would want a photo of me in the altogether.)

We were running late for a flight, and rather than sit in the airport for a few hours, they told us to run and hop onboard an an earlier one. Hence, we asked no questions when encountering the new scanner that’s de rigeur in about 80 airports nationwide. This is the year that President Obama decided to roll out the machines costing us around $1 billion. Except that Moslems don’t use them. It’s against their modesty laws to be scanned.

This is not well known, but anyone can object to the electronic strip-search. And when that happens, you are subjected to a full, groping, body pat-down. Having been to my fair share of strange locales worldwide, I can say, I’ve been through the full gamut in many countries, long before America ever knew that security could be an issue.

But the Moslems don’t accept the alternative of the pat-down, either. Different Islamic rights groups coach the women wearing a hijab head-covering, that they only need to submit to being touched around the head or neck by a female employee, and sometimes, they can even refuse that. Okay, what doesn’t sound right here?

Meanwhile, other than depict each passenger’s body and private parts in glowing detail (Google it, if you don’t believe me:  what they “blur” on TV is not telling even half the story), the Full Body Scan machines do not detect suspicious chemicals. Plus, while we get the second degree, cargo packages are going through unscanned with nary a second glance.

The UK has already banned the machines for use on kids under 18-something about the effects of radiation, and the potential for kiddie porn, I would imagine. Italy stopped using the machines in September, judging them to be slow and ineffective after six months of use. And here’s the US, a day late and a dollar short, swinging into high gear, snapping pornographic, 3-D images of men, women, and children.

About one in three persons in America fly in any given year, yet polls show that “the majority of Americans” are in favor of the machines. Hmm… maybe they’re uninformed like I was, thinking that the scan shows a blurred outline of somebody’s blubbery body. Or, there’s some skewed polling going on, with the majority laughing their heads off at the thought of the minority being electronically undressed by back-room thugs manning the machines. Airline pilots and flight attendants have been instructed by their unions to avoid the Full Body Scan x-rays, citing the invasion of their privacy, as well as medical reports linking increased radiation to higher possible rates of cancer.

Are our human rights being encroached upon? Is it really necessary to remove my clothes, against my will, to keep America safe? I believe it’s time to contact the TSA, Congress, and Homeland Security and let them know that if we wanted to be porn stars, we don’t need their help. Here’s one site to get started: http://www.contactingthecongress.org/.

Grass-roots activists are getting the word out. Numbers have chosen the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, November 24th, one of the biggest travel days of the year, as National Opt-Out Day, the day to “just say NO” to Full Body Scans. They feel that this massive revolt will cause such airline delays as to definitely make the point that American passengers will not settle for this intrusion and invasion into personal privacy.

Well, I’m not waiting for turkey day to make my stand:  I’m doing my pre-emptive letter writing this week. We can make every day National Opt-Out Day, but only when we’re willing to speak out on an issue of personal freedom and rights even if it doesn’t apply specifically to us.

I have lived in a country where bags are searched when entering the shopping mall, movie theater, post office, school or office building. There are checkpoints on highways where soldiers scan passing cars, not with machines, but with eyes trained to profile anyone who might need to be profiled. Nothing wrong with security, I could write a book on it. But somebody’s got to stop those peeping-Tom TSAers the sooner, the better.

Send an e-mail this week and let them know what you think.

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