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by Ron Cruger
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The joys of flying - in 2023
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2015 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
Way back in the year 2009 a young terrorist attempted to bomb a jetliner bound for Detroit,
Michigan. The attempt failed, probably because the terrorist wasn’t adequately trained by his Al Qaeda leaders. So, the erstwhile
terrorist wound up sitting in his coach seat suffering from a pummeling he received from a brave American traveler and a severely
burned lap area from the unexploded chemicals he had sewn into his underwear.
All of this
may sound like an old Laurel and Hardy movie, but it really happened back in Christmas, 2009.
Since that foiled attempt at mass murder fifteen years ago a lot has been done to make air travel safer for Americans.
In the year following the “Fruit of the Loom Bomber’s” attempt at mass murder the U.S. government pushed for the installation of full
body scans at all airports. It took three years, but in 2013 all major airports in the United States were outfitted with the full
body scanning machines humorously called, “The Stripper.”
It didn’t take long for airport
safety personnel to gather in the viewing room, usually located in a secluded section of the airport. Trained body scan technicians
sat in the darkened viewing rooms checking on the images of men and women standing in the scanner’s area, electronically naked, with
their arms pointing towards the ceiling. The small viewing rooms had become highly popular with the safety staff. The room, built
for an official viewer and one or two others would now usually contain six, seven or eight airport safety personnel, each delighted
to watch the scanning machine electronically strip the unsuspecting traveler of his or her clothing, leaving them buck naked. The
scanning technician could have charged admission to the show, which featured the nude bodies of thousands of air travelers. Popular
video tapes were being shown on YouTube, FaceBook and the newly inaugurated “Airport Strip Shows” application on iPhones.
Still finding some loopholes and weaknesses in the airport’s security systems the Transportation Security Administration inaugurated
further measures to help insure the safety of air travelers.
In 2015 the TSA began hands
on inspection of all baggage, greatly increasing the time travelers had to report to the airport. Notice was given that anyone holding
boarding tickets must report to the airport four hours ahead of departure.
In 2016 the
TSA had noticed that some results of the full body scans were fouled due to the scanning being done while the traveler was standing
upright. It was decided that the detection of firearms, sharp, poisonous, possibly explosive materials would be found more effectively
if the traveler was scanned as they lay down, horizontally.
Beginning in March of 2019
new scanning machines were installed in all major U.S. airports. All travelers, on all flights, had to undergo baggage inspection,
individual body patting down inspection, upright scanning machine inspection and the newly added horizontal scanning which was accomplished
while each person inspected was laying flat on the newly installed “personal conveyor belt.” Each person, following the baggage inspection,
the body patting, the upright scanning machine now had to walk, to the “personal conveyor belt,” where their body was scanned from
head to toe as it passed under the bulky “X-69” scanner.
As each body, laying flat on its
back, was scanned it was also subjected to a fine spray of disinfectant, which kills cholera, diphtheria bacteria in addition to containing
a mild body deodorant.
Penultimately, the “X-69” scanner’s conveyor belt deposits each
traveler at a “soft landing” area (feet first). Following the fifteen foot ride on the scanner’s cushioned conveyor belt, a Transportation
Security Administration “Courtesy Aide” helps each person off the conveyor belt as they administer a clandestine and subtle secondary
frisking for weapons.
At the gate entrance a final upright complete body scanning is performed
without the knowledge of the traveler. The result of this final full body scanning is observed in a separate darkened screening room
adjacent to the boarding area. The final screening room is usually filled with airport and airline personnel enjoying the sights of
not only passengers but pilots, cabin stewardesses and stewards appearing without their clothing on the viewing screens.
In a small office in the headquarters of the Transportation Security Administration in Washington D.C., a short, heavy set, balding
man with a drooping grey mustache sat with his two feet crossed and resting on his desk. Across from his desk sat another member of
the TSA, a younger man, listening to his boss.
“What do you think about having each passenger
wear a bathing suit while on the plane. You know, bikinis, two pieces. That way we could see if they were carrying anything dangerous.
Guns, knives, bombs. What do you think?”
The younger man squirmed in his chair, stared
at the older man and replied, “Oh, I don’t know. I think we’re doing enough.”