Over on the Google newsite, I noted the juxtaposition of two stories. One involved a report that the Taliban attacked both an airport and a foreign military base in Afghanistan. The other was a backlack against the new body scanners in use in some airports in the United States and invasive patdowns.
Afghanistan OnLine ( http://www.afghan-web.com/woman/ ) admits to the burning down of girls' schools and RAWA ( http://www.rawa.org/women.php )reports that the most recent burning down of a girls' school took place this past Monday. Things are not good in Afghanistan, not at all.
Meanwhile, back in the United States, some folks are afraid of radiation leakage from the body scanners that a few airports are currently using. ( http://edition.cnn.com/2010/TRAVEL/11/12/travel.screening/?hpt=Sbin ). And a few folks are calling patdowns invasive and humiliating
( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/12/AR2010111206580.html ). The issue cuts a bit deeper than todays' news stories cover.
At this year's Autreat, there was a presentation about airport security. The full-body scanner that folks are having fits over may actually be beneficial to people who are sensitive to touch who don't use wheelchairs or have prostheses. ( http://autisticcats.blogspot.com/2010/07/autreat-2010-presentations.html ). Another blogger talks about the experience that a female amputee went through ( http://www.thebredafallacy.com/2010/06/on-being-modular-iii.html ). Peggy-- the woman amputee-- took down her initial blogpost about her experience but has left up a post explaining the fallout she experienced from trolls ( http://amputeemommy.blogspot.com/2010/06/lost-message.html ). Peggy's story attracted a bit of attention from the T.S.A. I hope that she will continue to be a catalyst for change. ( http://www.wate.com/global/story.asp?s=12700154 ). It is noted that she was not allowed to reassure her four year old son as he sat next to her crying because someone yelled at him for holding her hand! One worker insisted that Peggy give him both her prothesis and the cloth that covers it-- which must be kept sanitary-- rather than wanding the artificial limb. ( http://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=325 )
There are some able-bodied Americans who don't care for body scanners and others who refuse to fly. It remains the concerns of folks with disabilities that I find most compelling as a woman with brain damage. We the disabled among you cannot be lumped into one population. The concerns of amputees about airport security procedures and possible ameliorative measures are different from those of folks on the autistic spectrum.
So yes, there are problems, severe problems with national security. I maintain that our train stations remain severely lacking in security measures. If I were a terrorist, American train stations would be on my target list. I went halfway across the country on trains. At no time did anyone express the slightest concern over what I may have been carrying in my baggage or on my person. Security wasn't lax on the trains. It was non-existent. And in these times, that is as scarey as the knowledge that any one of us can be detained for an undefined period of time because of the National Patriot Act.
I am obligated to point out that in the United States, we get to choose how we wish to travel. There is no one telling me that I have to take the airplane or the train or that I am restricted to the female only bus, no one dictating that I must be accompanied in public by a male relative, no one demanding that I see the world through a burqa. And there are a bunch of loved ones who now wish that our airport security was tighter on September 11th.