Has Airport Security Gone Too Far? Essay

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Has Airport Security Gone Too Far?
In the wake of 9/11, the once “simple things in life” required not much thought at all now they have been transformed into complicated procedures only brought about in a time of war. Traveling by air has been a very rewarding experience for most but courtesy of terrorism, it has mutated into a list of banned items, random luggage searches, and armed soldiers ominously toting M-16 rifles.

One must wonder if airport security, with the addition of machines that scan shoes for bombs and random luggage searches, has gone too far. It is not necessary to check the orthopedic shoes of an eighty-year old woman whereas it might be extremely important to check every orifice of a young, Muslim male. For fear of being sued for racial profiling, many airports have decided to treat everyone as equals. This method may be great when choosing applicants to fill a position of employment, but when used at an airport to decide who may pose a potential threat to the safety of others another method should be employed. While it is wrong to blatantly call a man dressed in traditional Eastern garb complete with turban a terrorist, it’s just as politically incorrect to treat everyone as such.
In Europe a trusted traveler’s card is used to determine who to search and who to disregard. With its origins traced as far back as 1999 in Afghanistan and surrounding countries, the trusted traveler’s card is used like a mix between a credit card and an ID card. Frequent fliers who voluntarily give information about themselves and undergo a police background check are granted these cards and are able to waive the intense security and head to their gates. A trusted traveler’s card would be a definite godsend to parents who fly with small children and don’t want to be bothered with the hassle of being told by a disgruntled airport employee to empty their child’s diaper bag, for fear that it may house a handgun or grenade.

With “The War On Terrorism” in full swing, Airport officials should take a look at the intense footage shown on C-SPAN and CNN and decide that now more than ever it’s time to work smarter, not harder. What several call racial profiling, Airport Officials in other countries call being careful. “Treating an elderly woman the same as a young Muslim male is the same as the Police looking for a tall teenaged criminal, but randomly searching a short, middle-aged woman.” says Bill Thompson of an international Airport in London. For fear of being sued, Airports across the country refuse to buckle down and simply use an alternative method of weeding out potential terrorists. Performing background checks on non-American citizens who purchase tickets in cash and are from middle-eastern countries could put many at ease. There is nothing wrong with asking someone who, what, when, where, and why they are in America, but aren’t a citizen. Racial profiling is wrong when people of a specific race are stopped and questioned when they pose no threat, but simply asking questions and taking precautions is the job of customs and security and should not be taken lightly.

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