Apr 242011
 
Authors: Lydia Jorden

Much debate surrounds the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the way they strive to ensure the safety of airline passengers.

Recently, a 6-year-old was pulled aside for further inspection while going through security. The parents of the child were angry, accusing the TSA of inappropriately touching their child.

After viewing the video online, the only thing one can accuse the TSA agent of doing is their job. Of course, it seems unreasonable to pull a 6-year-old aside, but equal treatment of all passengers is a necessity.

No individual should be treated differently than anyone else when the security of individuals’ lives are on the line.

Those of us who have flown understand the tiresome process of waiting in line for security, taking off our shoes and belts as we pray we are not randomly selected for further examination. I always tend to notice that the random selection includes either elderly people who can hardly walk or infants — two individuals, both of which are completely incapable of inducing physical harm and are clearly no danger to society when acting independently.

Regardless of how unreasonable it sounds to pull aside an elderly person or a 6-year-old, it is necessary.

A core value of the TSA is to set the standard for excellence in security. Whether they set this standard by preventing a dangerous situation –– or by simply acting as a deterrent to dangerous situations –– the TSA agents need to do so by following outlined procedures.

However, some believe the protocol is intrusive and an invasion of privacy.

But the TSA actually works to create a less intrusive environment.

One guideline the TSA imposed as a way of maintaining privacy is to allow an individual who has been selected for additional screening to participate in the screening in a separate room away from the traveling public. Additionally, the individual under inspection may request a TSA agent of the same gender to perform the pat-down.

The TSA is clearly working towards making travelers feel more comfortable even when they have to follow specific procedures.

I understand that in some cases TSA officers may be stronger and rougher than others, but abolishing the TSA screening policies will result in a security disaster. The absence of the TSA would result in more problems than the complaints received now.

Just this past week at the Joplin Regional Airport in Missouri, the TSA officer discovered a knife deceitfully hidden and taped inside the cover of a DVD player.

In December of 2010 the TSA caught a traveler at Miami International Airport who was trying to go through security with a loaded gun.

Last year, 14 guns were confiscated at the Fort Lauderdale airport while 12 were confiscated at the Miami airport. If you multiply these confiscations by every major airport, it is clear that the TSA find weapons and keep many passengers safe.

Sharp, intelligent minds exist in the world today and it is not far fetched to think that a terrorist is considering using a child, or any other unexpected individual, to carry out a plan.

The security of all passengers is lowered if the TSA changes their regulations to exclude children or changed the protocol for examination of children. If an individual who is planning to complete an attack sees a gap in the TSA regulations, that individual may exploit the loophole to complete their assault.

We cannot underestimate the ruthlessness and cruelty of our enemies.

Lydia Jorden is a sophomore business major. Her column runs Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be reached at letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 2:11 pm

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