Jewish Journal

Give TSA A Chance

by Dr. Michael Berenbaum

November 24, 2010 | 4:41 am

I fly some 200,000 miles a year on airlines throughout the world. My work takes me to many cities, large and small, and many different countries so I have a great personal interest in two conflicting needs at the airport: security and speed.

As one who often flies several times a week the difference between checking in one hour in advance or two hours in advance can add up. It can cost me an entire workday a week. I hate waiting in lines and like George Clooney in Up in the Air appreciate and take advantage of the many courtesies that airlines make available to their frequent fliers from special lines, to use of airport lounges, to upgrades and even to companion flights. On vacation I prefer those places I can drive to for flying in anything but fun,

I was subject to a body scan at Chicago’s O’Hare airport last week and found nothing objectionable to the process. Contrary to the reports of other people’s experience I was asked to empty my pockets and stand with my two arms raised while the machine took my picture, twenty seconds later I was told that I could go. There was nothing invasive about it, nothing inappropriate. And if wherever the observer was he/she had a clear look at my body, I had no knowledge of it, no awareness of it and it was as unobtrusive as possible. The reviewer did not know my name, did not know what flight I was taking and had no idea of how to contact me afterwards even if he or she to want to take advantage of the private bodily information they viewed. I was one of several hundred people going through the lines , so there is anonymity in numbers as well.

I suspect that almost all travelers will agree with me and all should agree that airplane security is an essential national and international interest. So let us give TSA a chance and not get hysterical. I thank TSA for protecting my personal security each time I go through the security lines. The job is pressured, the tasks are repetitive and frankly boring and the people in line are tense about whether they will make their flight or even about flying in general.

There are enough problems in the modern world about intrusions into our privacy, This is not one of them, Say thank you and smile and enjoy safe flying,

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A blog by Dr. Michael Berenbaum.

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