Security or just plain nuts?

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It’s more than a shame that our relatively convenient and user-friendly Glacier Park International Airport will soon buckle under to another level of “security” imposed on it by the Federal Bureau of Citizen Harassment, otherwise known as the Transportation Security Administration.

Sometime this month, the airport security area will be renovated partly to make room for Advanced Imaging Technology “body scanner” machines. While passengers will have a choice between using the scanners or going through security the “old-fashioned way,” combined with random patdowns, it’s just another expensive, cumbersome inconvenience added to a process that already makes flying an unpleasant experience for most people.

The TSA currently has about 600 of the machines at 140 airports across the country, at a cost of about $200,000 each for a grand total of at least $120 million. Are we really getting our money’s worth?

There haven’t been any headlines regarding the TSA thwarting would-be terrorists in airport terminals, and GPIA has a perfect security record as far as we’re aware. But there have been hundreds of headlines regarding TSA incidents, usually involving patdowns of senior citizens, children or disabled people.

There was the cancer survivor who was asked to remove a prosthetic breast, the woman who was asked to go through a body scanner several times for the amusement of screeners, the child who was forced to remove leg braces, and the passengers who have been ordered to strip down to their underwear.

A Google search for “TSA incidents” coughs up 1.6 million results. Although it’s not an accurate accounting of actual incidents, it is a collective reflection of the public’s disdain for being treated like potentially explosive cattle.

Yes, there is a need for diligent security. But we just think the TSA, with its $8 billion annual budget, has gone too far in infringing on citizens with a highly questionable cost vs. benefits ledger.

When do we say, enough is enough?

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