Hey, TSA; Honor Basic Human Dignity

by: James Babb and George Donnelly

We Won’t Fly urges air travelers to say “I opt out” of TSA abuse on Nov. 24. Travelers should opt out of full-body scanners not only to protect their health and privacy, but to protest the Transportation Security Administration’s demeaning new security theater. We can ensure passenger safety without making nude images of our children or groping our grandmas. For this, TSA Administrator John Pistole accuses us of being “irresponsible.”

The TSA and the Homeland Security Department, however, are the irresponsible parties. They have deployed untested technology that biochemist Michael Love says “statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from.”

They did not properly educate the flying public about their new intrusive security regimen. Passengers thrust into these new procedures report cases of trauma, including flashbacks for rape victims and feelings of humiliation. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, a political appointee, irresponsibly misled the nation in a USA TODAY Forum piece Monday, saying the scanners were safe and the genital probings were discrete. They are neither.

Homeland Security has suckered Americans into a false sense of security with scanners of dubious value. It remains to be seen whether they even detect the threat presented by last December’s underwear bomber.

Rafi Sela, a leading Israeli airport security expert, recently told the Canadian government: “I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747.” Is that the security you were expecting, America?

National Opt Out Day is of vital importance to the nation, despite the risk of flight delays. The traveling public urgently requires education on these new intrusive TSA procedures, education that the TSA has neglected.

Individuals need to be warned of the radiation dangers. Parents need to be aware of the emotional trauma their children may be subjected to from TSA “bad touches.”

Air travelers are clamoring for someone to stand up and demand that their basic human dignity be honored. As parents, we have a sacred responsibility to our children to keep air travel safe, trauma-free and respectful of individual liberty. The only irresponsible action would be for us to continue doing nothing at all.

James Babb and George Donnelly, who live in the Philadelphia area, are co-founders of the grass-roots group We Won’t Fly.
This letter was also carried by USA Today