Frisking dogs at airports

The American Federation of Government Employees—the union for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers across the country— has heard from its Transportation Security Officer members that while most passengers are understanding of the new TSA security procedures and recognize that TSOs are not the ones who created those procedures, there have been a few instances where passengers have become angry, belligerent and even physical with TSOs. In Indianapolis, for example, a TSO was punched by a passenger who didn’t like the new screening process.

This is a case on “not only in America”, as some security personnel in other countries are going to extreme lengths as well.  When going through security for a couple of domestic flights in Australia recently, I was chosen at random at Perth airport to be checked to see if I was carrying any bomb making equipment. My hand luggage had been screened and I had passed through the security gate with no problems whatsoever, but I was still chosen for a random search.

I don’t really mind random searches if it means that terrorists aren’t going to get onto the plane, but then again, I am an Australian citizen who was flying on a domestic flight, and the government, through its various departments, has a plethora of information about me, such as income and tax information, my medical history, criminal history (none), address and personal phone numbers, educational history, religion, email address (because I use it for any online dealings with government), social security status, etc.  The government probably knows more about me than friends and family, yet I am still treated as a suspected terrorist.

At least at Perth Airport, most people were allowed to keep their clothes on.

When going through Brisbane Airport an awful lot of people, including the elderly and infirm, were being made to remove shoes, belts and other items of clothing before proceeding through the metal detector machine.  Some people were struggling to comply whilst holding up trousers and shuffling along without shoes.  As for facilities to assist people, such as benches or foot stools to help those who cannot bend to the ground, they were virtually non-existent.

To top it all off, my daughter, who was travelling with me, travels with a guide dog, and her dog was duly frisked.  Come on! I understand that some humans may have terrorist inclinations – but dogs, especially those that work hard to assist people with disabilities, are hardly likely to have any political or religious convictions which would turn them into bomb-wielding terrorists!  Plus, where was the dog going to hide the bomb?  He doesn’t carry hand luggage, he’s just a dog, and he has no lumps or bumps about him which could possibly make anyone curious as to his intentions.

The point that I am making is that, these days, governments know a hell of a lot about each of its  citizens.  It is known that the current crop of prospective terrorists have particular cultural, political or religious views – why are there no figures published which show how many passengers have been stopped because they were carrying implements which could be used to make bombs or weapons?  I would suggest that no figures have been published because those cases are practically non-existent.

I further maintain that ordinary passengers are being inconvenienced simply because it looks like governments are doing something about terrorism.  The fact is, ordinary people are an easy touch, so governments get away with hassling normal people because it gives the facade they are fighting terrorism.

Osama Bin Laden is still on the loose.  The Taliban are still a force to be reckoned with in Afghanistan. Al Queda is said to be operating in more Middle Eastern countries now.  Al Shabaab and Jemaah Islamiya are known terrorist groups which operate quite openly in some Islamic countries – so governments have actually failed to adequately fight terrorism.

Meanwhile, they can frisk guide dogs at airport in a bid to keep us all safe – the actual fight against terrorism is a great big joke.

3 comments to Frisking dogs at airports

  • […] Frisking dogs at airports | Grumpy's Getaway Guide […]

  • […] also written about how my daughter’s guide dog (who is allowed to travel onboard with her) was frisked at the airport!  He’s a dog!  He doesn’t have anywhere to hide explosives, and being a highly-trained guide […]

  • Hayden Smith

    In my opinion, this is not an unreasonable measure to take at security checkpoints. It is a lot more convenient than others that security companies were suggesting to Guide Dogs agencies earlier this year in a bid to make procedures universal, that to have a security officer take the guide dog from the passenger and lead it through externally while the passenger was assisted by staff through the security checkpoint. As a guided owner myself, I protest at this very loudly and would prefer to have my dog frisked than to be taken from me, by someone who I don’t even know. I know that the security measure that guide dog owners undergo at airports may seem extreme, in my case having me and my dog submit to personal security scans by hand-held scanners as well as a pat down… But to be blatantly honest, I don’t care. Whatever, it works, its usually over in 2 minutes. whatever. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.

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