MTYT: Airport security

By Gary McNair - bio|email

How many Pilgrims would have gone through the full-body scan or endured a pat-down search just to come to America?  A lot has changed in the world of transportation in 390 years.

A flight attendant and breast cancer survivor shared her story with our sister station in Charlotte last week about her invasive pat-down at the Charlotte airport.  She was asked to remove her prosthetic breast in the process.  There appear to be numerous examples like this where the TSA goes a little too far in checking passengers before flights.

And not many disagree with what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said over the weekend when she stated that she doesn't think anyone wants to go through a security pat-down.

But here's the thing.  I don't think TSA is doing this as some sort of perverted action aimed at harassing people.  The goal here is to protect lives.  If this were Thanksgiving week 2001 instead of nine years later, we wouldn't even be having this debate.

We need to remember that terrorists hijacked and crashed four of our planes on 9-11 and nearly 3,000 people died.  And there have been other attempts since then.  The bad guys adapt.  And we need to as well.  This is a work in progress and I believe we can fine-tune the process and get it right.  A lot of lives are depending on it.

That's my turn.  Now it's your turn.  To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at

Emailed comments from viewers:

Mr. McNair; we all want to feel safe while flying but all of this is mostly security theater.  TSA is now a bureaucracy of more than 65K people who do nothing but react to perceived threats.  Since 9/11 all the attempts have originated OUTSIDE of the US.  The elephant in the room is the hesitancy to profile.  To the best of my knowledge no grandmothers, 9 year olds, nuns, or other non-Muslims in the US have attempted to bring weapons or explosives aboard a flight.  My wife has had both knees replaced so you can use your imagination as to what will happen the next time we fly out of ILM.  There are no full body scanners but the enhanced pat downs are in effect.  The TSA is shocked, shocked, the flying public is pushing back on this issue.  Little by little we are giving up individual freedoms and the terrorists win every time we do.


In response to the commentary of 11/23 concerning Airport Security, I believe that a mark was missed. My concern is that the wrong people have been targeted through ineptness and incompetence. Our country was founded on freedoms and liberties that we believe to be non negotiable. Ben Franklin put it best by saying, "Anyone who would give up some or part of their liberty for safety, deserves neither liberty or safety." We are a people who survive by adapting and overcoming, the Government has never put into practice one system that ever made things better than if they had left people to their own devices.

As you put in your commentary had this been going on Thanksgiving weekend of 2001 would this even be a conversation? No it wouldn't, the mood of the country at that time was we were hurting but we were not in the mood to be trifled with Just ask Richard Reed who got the snot kicked out of him by fellow passengers over the Atlantic. The only thing He had to fear was would they open the cabin door and throw his cowardly butt out.

390 years ago people came to this new country because they were so disgusted with the way things were in Europe, their homeland that they thought it would be better to get in a leaky boat the size of the Henrietta on the cape fear river, and sail to an unknown land where they might live or they might die, but they had the fortitude to face that day, and did so without reservation.

I recently flew through Atlanta Hartsfield Airport, went through the scanner and was still patted down I did not protest, I knew the TSA was doing their job, but instead of turning a sharp tongue to the gentleman doing his job I turned and thanked him, saying " I know this is a thankless job but I will tell you I appreciate what you are doing." did that go against anything I believed in ? No. Was I thankful, maybe, at least I knew I wasn't carrying anything dangerous on board.

The problem seems to me to be not so much government run amok as it is political correctness gone to far. We are not paying attention to history, people say that is profiling, I say it is trending. We refer back to 9/11 as the day the terrorists attacked, I beg to differ, we have been fighting this particular sect for more than 200 years, this war goes back to Thomas Jefferson handing them their first American defeat in the Barbary wars, these were Islamic radicals (pirates) holding American shipping vessels hostage off of the African Coast, ( Sound familiar Alabama MAERSK?) This has just elevated to the point of they no longer believe that there is a stopping point unless all of the USA bow down to Islam. So with our countermeasures the radicals have won. We now bow down to incrementally give away pieces of our freedoms piece by tiny piece. We have lost a lot of freedom in this country due to our not standing up to the invading hoard, We have bowed our knee to foreign Governments and religions, and yet we ignore the trending in the name of political correctness. Muslim men protest the touching of their wives, yet it was a young Islamic mother who hated the great Satan so much that she was willing to feed her baby explosives in its formula to turn her baby into a living bomb harming life and limb. Another Islamic radical who's own father called the intelligence community to say " My son is on the no fly list and is on a plane, and is going to do something stupid."

This war has been going on for over 200 years and is going to continue to escalate but it is not domestic cells that are posing the biggest threat. It is the foreign influence sending people and packages into this country from known hotspot that want to harm us.

So in conclusion I must answer the questions that you posed:

Thanksgiving 2001 would we have safety conversations? No most people at that time would have slapped a terrorist and were very wary of their surroundings.

Would the Pilgrims concern themselves with the safety issue? No, and they didn't they came here knowing full well that they were walking into a hostile land with no protection from the crown, and the nearest help would be nearly 6 months away if it would come at all.

Should we be willing to forego some of our liberties/freedoms for safety? No we should not let complacency replace wariness, that's what got us to this point, depending on others for our protection.

Copyright 2010 WECT. All rights reserved.