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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

...Then Take The Train

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     "Don't touch my junk."

     A man who put up a TSA stink at a major airport this week coined that new catchphrase and also triggered a national stink about the alleged intrusiveness of new security measures implemented as the busiest travel days of the year approach.

    Full body scanners are now in place at Milwaukee's Mitchell Internationall, with the Journal/Sentinel telling us that most travelers seemed more concerned about whether or not they'd be on time for their flights rather than getting unnecessarily groped or probed.

     I'm always impressed by our Midwestern common sense.

     Those who don't want the revealing scans go through very thorough body pat-downs, like the one the passenger who coined the infamous phrase at the top of the blog objected to.   Those are your travel options.

      There are others, including cars and trains.

      Maybe these overly sensitive folks are too concerned about their "junk" to pick up a paper, watch a TV network news show or scope the Internet for something other than the latest scoops from TMZ, but there are people out there who are very intent on dropping planes full of Americans from the skies.    One guy had a bomb in his shoe, and another such plot was foiled just a year ago this coming Christmas in Detroit.   You no longer can carry big bottles of liquids in your carry-ons anymore, thanks to these ongoing threats.    The more we do to block such attacks, the more creative the bad guys seem to get.

       If being safe means seeing my "junk" or juggling my goodies to make sure I don't have plastic explosives stuffed in a delicate region, I say welcome in.    Be sure to wear gloves.  

       It amazes me that a society that has no problem divulging every intimate detail about it's life on Facebook or Twitter suddenly turns Thanksgiving Pilgrim at the boarding gate.  

      That said, there's another question that most of us have yet to ask: are the new TSA techniques truly the state of the art way to block terror threats?  What do other countries do, and which country has the most effective way of making it's passengers safe?

      I put that question to an ABC news terror expert this week on Wisconsin's Morning News, knowing full well that the answer to the last question is, "Israel".    Terrorists frequently targeted that nation's passenger jets in the 60's, prompting the government to develop superior screening techniques.   When is the last time you heard of an incident involving an Israeli jetliner?

       The  expert told us that Israeli airport screening is a long process that starts well before the passenger gets close to boarding gate, one that includes plenty of personal, eye-to-eye contact and thorough questioning.   A Yahoo.com story includes the word "profiling".   That's a red-flag in the U-S, and it's why grandmothers and seven year old children stateside get treated the same as the most dangerous jihadist.   TSA doesn't profile.  As it's techniques become more invasive, one wonders if its an option that'll be discussed again.

       And, rather than worrying about our personal packages, we should maybe be asking more questions about the junk in the hold of each plane--the screening of the cargo that we share airspace with on each passenger flight.  Domestic flights aren't a concern, but USA Today recently pointed out that the cargo we ride with on international passenger flights doesn't get nearly the scrutiny.

       Air travel used to be a luxury, but now it's a necessity.   It's fast, affordable and convenient.   But a plane full of innocents is also a winged hunk of low-hanging fruit for a conscience-challenged terrorist who is only interested in big body counts.

       I'm for anything that makes us safer, and if that means someone sees my body's silhouette on a screen or if some poor TSA worker-bee needs to stuff a hand in my nether regions, so be it.    For those who have a problem, might I suggest some other potentially distasteful-yet-effective techniques, including the use of Israeli-Esq profiling.   What they're doing works, civil rights be damned.    Those who don't want to be seen or groped my have to get their heads around profiling as an alternative.

       That, or perhaps we could interest you in an Amtrak schedule or a AAA Triptik.

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