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Old February 5th, 2013, 01:52 PM
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Question Is Airport Security Killing Us?

The following was posted by PBS travel guru on Facebook on 2/4/13. Needless to say, it has generated quite a bit of feedback. What are your thoughts?

Is Airport Security Killing Us?



by Rick Steves on Monday, February 4, 2013 at 3:07pm ·

I’ve been through a lot of airports lately, and I have to say, when people joke about TSA meaning “thousands standing around,” it has a ring of truth. In November, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that we spend about $8 billion a year on scanning machines, all that time-consuming checking, and employing those people who stand between us and our departure gate. And that cost doesn’t even consider the valuable time wasted by travelers who need to allot extra time to cover surprise delays at airport security.

Sure, we need to spend some money and time on security. But does anyone in government have the nerve to raise their hand and ask, “Could we lighten up here a bit?” or even “Aren’t we going a bit overboard there?” Bloomberg Businessweek reports that entire years go by (such as 2011) when TSA doesn't spot a single terrorist trying to board an airplane. And then there's s this staggering statistic: "In fact, extremist Islamic terrorism resulted in just 200 to 400 annual deaths worldwide, outside the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq — the same number...that occur in bathtubs in the US each year."

Following 9/11, there was, understandably, a push to strengthen our airport security measures. But these efforts may be costing us even more lives. According to Cornell University researchers cited in Bloomberg Businessweek, after 9/11, frightened travelers switching from flights to drives resulted in over 200 more traffic fatalities every month. In the long term, due to security hassles, about 5 percent fewer people fly than used to, resulting in even more road fatalities. In other words, far more people have died on the road as an indirect result of 9/11 than actually died on 9/11.

Maybe it's time to come to grips with the risk of terrorism and finally put it in a rational perspective. Many will say, “If TSA and all the security saves just one life, it will be worth it.” The way I see it, wasting money wastes lives. Intimidating people into driving instead of flying wastes lives. A nation can reach a point where its passion for showboat security designed to make people feel safe actually kills them. Security is good, but a cost-benefit awareness is simply smart. What do you think?
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Old February 5th, 2013, 07:10 PM
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I recently heard they are getting rid of the full body scans and going with something else. I believe these machines were fairly new and now to just scrap them....They are talking a lot of money and now not to use them....I prefer not to have to go through them, but still??
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Old February 6th, 2013, 07:56 AM
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I think the new scanners draw an outline rather than the nearly nude image of the current new scanners
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Old February 6th, 2013, 09:13 AM
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One of my neighbors ,a 75 year old woman just returned home from a visit to Boston .She said that in both directions she was told she did not have to remove her shoes due to her age and she was not scanned.
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Old February 6th, 2013, 09:55 AM
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I have a pacemaker and travel with a CPAP, computer, liquid and inject-able medications. Does the security bother me. No. I can get everything out and in the bins without holding up the line.

I do like the scanners. With a scanner, those of us with a pacemaker, do not need to be frisked. It sure saves time on both the traveler and the TSA worker. I could care less if they can see an image of my body. I like to give people a good laugh.

Steves probably wrote this article because he forgot to take his "Rick Steves travel pocket knife" out of his "Rick Steves carry on bag" and put it in his "Rick Steves world traveler suitcase." He through a fit and was subject to a deep cavity search.

BTW: Laker's friend is correct. People 75 and older no longer need to remove their shoes.

Take care,
Mike
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Old February 7th, 2013, 06:45 AM
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Yes, the TSA is a major negative when flying.

But there is a solution that has served me very well.
I refuse to fly in the USA.

Most of the other countries are the same way they have always been, careful - but not crazy.
As a bonus, the non-US Airlines are also much better.
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Old February 7th, 2013, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Chafkin1 View Post
Yes, the TSA is a major negative when flying.

But there is a solution that has served me very well.
I refuse to fly in the USA.

Most of the other countries are the same way they have always been, careful - but not crazy.
As a bonus, the non-US Airlines are also much better.
I probably don't fly as much as you do but it is five or six times a year. I have found the most rude and slowest airport security to be in Europe and Asia. England, Spain, Poland and Hong Kong are the ones that come to mind. In England I sat for twenty minutes waiting for someone to "pat me down" and when they showed up they weren't happy. In Poland it took three security people to verify that my pacemaker card was legitimate. The explanation was that I looked "too healthy" to have a pacemaker. In Hong Kong, a place that is usually quite civil, the security personnel were just rude.

It can be circumstance but I will take U.S. security over foreign. Also, they make you jump through as many or more hoops to get on the aircraft than in the U.S.

Take care,
Mike
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