I would like to wish all my loyal American readers, wherever they are in the world, a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving in the USA is one of the busiest periods for travelling in the year. Therefore this story from the USA is rather appropriate.
In Europe, over the past few years, we have become accustomed to increased security checks at airports eg; shoes and belts have to be removed, passengers have to walk through metal detectors, pat downs are common place, body scanners are now being installed etc.
These security checks are as a result of the perceived increase in threat level from various terrorist groups, and the increased security requirements imposed on Europe by the US authorities.
I was therefore somewhat surprised to read that in the US, only recently have pat downs and body scanners been introduced and that a vocal minority of the travelling public there are rebelling against these on the grounds that they represent a threat to individual civil liberties.
John Tyner, a software engineer from California, has become something of an internet "hero" when he recorded his run-in with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at San Diego airport on his mobile phone.
The new security pat-down procedure, introduced on November 1, has caused an uproar; the alternative, walking through a body scanner, is not trusted by people in the USA on both health and modesty grounds.
Mr Tyner refused to submit to the body search, and told security officials in San Diego "If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested".
Apparently there is now a range of T shirts with that motto emblazoned on them, and a movement has formed declaring 24 November to be "National Opt-Out Day" (urging passengers to refuse to be searched).
I can, to a degree, sympathise with the idea behind this; innocent until proven guilty ought to be the maxim, yet we are all seemingly treated as potential terrorists. The delays to travel brought about by the increased security checks is also a major hindrance to the "enjoyment" of flying.
However, I do wonder if these same people who are complaining would be quite so vocal if a bomber manages to get through and blow up a plane?
There needs to be a balance struck between sensible precautions (eg profiling etc), and excessively intrusive time wasting searches.
We, in Europe, have rolled over and meekly accepted all the security "upgrades" (eg body scanners, no liquids, show removal etc) without so much as a whimper. This passive obedience particularly sticks in the gullet, when one reads that the country that has insisted on Europe introducing these measures can't introduce them in its own borders without an almighty fuss from the travelling public there.
European and US travellers may well have some lessons that they could learn from each other, with a view to persuading the authorities to make the security checks more focused and less intrusive for the ordinary non terrorist passenger.
Do remember this, the terrorists win if they force us to live in a state of fear and siege.
On this rather "heavy" note I wish you all a peaceful, happy and rewarding Thanksgiving.
Visit The Orifice of Government Commerce and buy a collector's item.
Visit The Joy of Lard and indulge your lard fantasies.
Show your contempt for Nanny by buying a T shirt or thong from Nanny's Store.
Visit Oh So Swedish Swedish arts and handicrafts