Body Scanners

Last night, coming out of O’Hare I had my first in person look at the new Body Scanner.   To set the stage, the TSA area that I went through has about 10 checkpoints.  Two were staffed and open, and one had a body scanner.  It is the only scanner in this group of checkpoints.

The procedure takes about 15 sec for an individual to step into the gateway, turn and place their feet appropriately, raise their hands into the surrender position and wait.   The individual is then moved off to another waiting are for 10 – 20 seconds while (presumably) someone in a little booth examines the image.

Balance this against the 3 seconds that it takes someone to walk through a magnetometer.

Please don’t get me wrong, airline security is important but, I think that we are going about this the wrong way.  Decreasing efficiencies in the movement and management of crowds is going to impact an industry that is already operating on thin margins, in a very complex business environment.

I think the answer here is to open up the airports again, in the same way the train stations are.  Put trained, uniformed, armed security making random patrols through the airports and supplement them with highly trained profilers wandering the airport.  Leave the air marshall program in place.  Maintain the ramp restrictions, and checked baggage screening.

Body scanners are going to cause more heartburn than good.  We need to find better method than we have today.

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