The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Opinion-Keep eye on security measures

Illustration by Nate Woeber
Illustration by Nate Woeber

Security equipment at airports across the nation now includes X-ray technology that amounts to an electronic strip search. These high-powered machines see through clothing and bring every area of the body into sharp focus.

Refuse an X-ray at the airport, and travelers will get a pat-down by a Transportation Security Administration worker that would be considered a sexual assault in some other setting.

TSA guards were recently given free rein to lay their hands on travelers in a fashion being described as groping. In short, the TSA’s hands-on approach is out of hand.

A bladder cancer survivor recently had his own urine spilled on him after TSA workers manhandled his urostomy bag. A longtime flight attendant was told to remove her prosthetic breast so TSA workers could examine it.

If all of this seems invasive enough, brace yourself. It might get worse.

The Department of Homeland Security is already taking its terrorist-detecting, X-ray technology to the streets. X-ray machines similar to those used in airports are being deployed to check for explosives during random traffic stops. The U.S. first used this technology in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Homeland Security’s website features a video about proposed security screening practices for large public gatherings. Before attending a football game, for example, people would enter a trailer and get hooked up to equipment similar to a lie detector. They would also be verbally interrogated. 

Attempting to eliminate every potential risk associated with flying in an airplane, driving down the street or attending a crowded football game is a noble cause, even as our nation faces its worst economic and unemployment crisis since the Great Depression.

This is not meant to undermine the need for thorough security at the airport and elsewhere. The potential for a terrorist attack — no matter its source —must be taken seriously.

At what point, however, do security measures become an Orwellian prison for the very freedoms they purport to protect?

All citizens would be wise to get informed and keep a watchful eye on future developments concerning security X-rays, pat-downs and interrogations being conducted without probable cause.

If we no longer value our basic rights — including the right to ask questions and express opinions — then perhaps we should throw the Constitution in the trash can and invite the government to strip search and manhandle every facet of our lives.

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