"Opting Out" with the TSAJul 26, 2012 by Ugh
In perusing the TSA's "Traveling with Kids" website (complete with fun little videos, which are out of date since it shoes a mother taking her infant's shoes off) it says Parents carrying infants or children cannot be screened by the imaging technology. In addition, parents accompanying children may opt out of being screened by imaging technology to prevent them from being separated from their family. Okay, so, then what? If I'm carrying my 11 month old and we're selected for the AIT, can I opt out but do they then also pat down the infant? It doesn't say, I assume that yes, they will be patting him down. Hopefully for them he will be recently changed (unlikely).
It also says: Any passenger capable of assuming and staying in the required position for 5 seconds is eligible for AIT screening. Okay. But what is the "required position?" Again it doesn't say. I clicked around on the information about AIT and found that... passengers will be asked to stand in a position. Helpful! There are some pictures, which at least give me some clue, but are there other positions (something like this, perhaps)? But... I have no idea if my 3 year old can stand in that position for five seconds (my guess is no, but will admit to not having asked him and I am not planning on it). He can probably walk through the metal detector, as they note Children who can walk without assistance should walk through the metal detector separately from their parent or guardian. But I may pick him up anyway.
I appreciate that the TSA puts all of this information out there, however incomplete and incomprehensible.* But, what a giant freaking waste of time. The number of terrorists is extremely small. The number of terrorists that (a) have access to children, (b) have access to explosives that could slip through a metal detector but would be caught by AIT, (c) are willing to secret those explosives on a child under the age of, say, 13, (because who knows what the kid might say?), and (d) willing to then blow up the explosives with the child on board (or leave the child behind in the airport), has got to be pretty close to a null set (especially considering all the other obstacles).
So my modest proposal is that: children age 12 and under will only be required to go through the metal detector (shoes on!). They will get multiple chances if they "alarm" (as the website puts it) to remove items with the assistance of their parents and only after that fails will they be subject to the modified pat down. Their parents too, if there was an easy way to tell. Heck, dump the AIT and shoe removal altogether. I mean, when was the last time the TSA found explosives on anyone via the AIT or in their shoes? Never? I see they find guns on a regular basis** (at least, according to them); but actual explosives (as opposed to training devices and the like)? Doesn't appear so.
*I have some sympathy for the TSA in terms of the idiots I assume they have to deal with on a daily basis, which must have led to the following statement, which is the third bullet on the web page under "General Screening Information." To wit: Passengers cannot leave babies in an infant carrier and attempt to put it through the X-ray machine. Words fail.
**Apparently, the right to bear arms does not extend to airline flights, funny that.
Jul 26, 2012, 06:41:06 nous wrote:
Required position = turn to side with feet apart and raise both hands just above the head.
As far as finding guns, from the fora I hang out on I'm given to understand that a lot of people who concealed carry on a daily basis often forget that they are wearing their gun and a few have confessed to remembering only moments before a screening or having to talk to a screener to take the weapon back out to a car.
Those knives, though? Those are some cheap, sketchy looking knives. No way any of those are someone's daily utility knives.
Jul 26, 2012, 08:12:12 ccdg wrote:
The last time I went through security (July 7), they had all of the kids under, say, 5 go through the old xray with one parent. The other adults had to go through the scanner. I thought that would be a good plan if it was actually a policy, not a local choise.
Jul 26, 2012, 08:16:37 ccdg wrote:
On the other hand I know someone very well who's mother had them carry drugs, money and weapons into prisons at the age of ten so if her purse was searched they wouldn't find anything. She got searched every time but no one ever searched the kid, over several years.