Heard the growing protest over deployment of backscatter scanners at airport security? Heard of National Opt-Out Day on Wednesday November 24, otherwise known as the day before Thanksgiving, otherwise known as the busiest air travel day of the year, on which protesters urge air travelers to opt-out of passing through scanners and submit to lengthier physical pat-downs? I am not traveling that day–other than two trips to the airport to pick up sons arriving from Miami and Chicago–but if I were, I would volunteer to be first in line to pass through the scanner. Ever since an orthopedic surgeon installed two hunks of metal in my right hip airport metal detectors ring like the Daily Double when I walk through. A TSA employee shouts “male assist,” I’m shunted aside to the Box of Shame and I stand arms outstretched, palms up, while another TSA employee runs his hands over my arms, sides, stomach, bag, legs, and (using the back of his hand on the latter) crotch and runs his fingers inside my turned-down waistband. I’ve been through more than a dozen pat-downs. They are time-consuming, physically intrusive, and annoying. At Logan Airport last spring I used a scanner, which in seconds revealed I’m packing not a weapon but this . I was waved through, no pat-down, like everyone else.
As one who has experienced both a faceless TSA employee in another room looking at my unidentified naked image on a screen and a TSA employee staring me in the face and running his hands all over my body, I’ll take the scanner every time.