TSA wants you to feel safer – even if you’re not

I don’t like to write about the TSA controversy two weeks in a row, but the furor isn’t dying down. If anything, it’s only gotten greater as there have been stories of breast cancer┬ásurvivors┬ábeing asked to show their breast prosthetics, scans being leaked, and the TSA’s refusal to modify their screening procedures.

I have already come to terms with the fact that when I fly next, the agents will have to grope me. As a man, I guess it doesn’t have the same stigma. I have never been sexually assaulted; I don’t know the feeling of being leered at; I don’t have a disfiguring disease that makes me self-conscious – so I will give away the right that bars unreasonable search and seizure, not because I want to, but because it’s the best of two evils.

But let’s be clear – what the TSA is attempting to do is substitute technology for a lack of intelligence (in all senses of the word). Their agents are overworked, underpaid, and trained to follow written rules to find terrorists (as opposed to teaching them how to spot a terrorist). How about spending some of the hundreds of millions that we are spending on these machines, towards better pay and better training?

But all of this will make some people feel better about travelling, and I think that’s the real point, because the appearance of doing something is often better than doing something.