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Admittedly, the war can be defined as a continuing activity of humanity since people have been fighting since pre-historic times. Of course, the technology development led to the development of new types of weapon and new strategies for combats. However, in the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century the war obtained absolutely new form. This new form was called terrorism.
Thus, whereas several centuries ago warfare involved mainly military people, nowadays many civilians become victims of terrorism. In this perspective, any state has to look for the most appropriate ways to defend its people, which is the major of any country. Since terrorist attacks take place in public places like airports, ports, train stations, subway it was decided to implement certain security program to make such places safe.
For instance, after “9/11, the U.S. Congress opted for a higher level of security” and created the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) “to produce security via screening of passengers and baggage” (Seidenstat and Splane 7). According to Darrin Kayser, TSA spokesman, the program has been “a success” so far (Hanson 18). The effectiveness of the system in airports led to its implementation in ports, train stations, underground, etc. Nevertheless, as any other program, TSA screening evoked certain opposition.
For instance, some people argue that the screening is quite time-consuming and causes much inconveniency to travelers, it can violate basic human rights and it can also be harmful to human health. However, at closer look these arguments are irrelevant since even though there can be minor inconvenience the advantage of complete travelers’ security cannot be overestimated.
The major is people’s security
Admittedly, one of the most tragic events in the history of the United States (Twin Towers attack) became a potent stimulus to reconsider the issue of security in the area of transportation. For instance, port security programs were also launched (Haveman, Shatz and Vilchis 4). Of course, to evaluate the effectiveness of the TSA program it is important to understand the way it works.
Thus, the program uses walk-through portals which detect “trace amounts of explosives” (Hanson 18). Basically, it takes each traveler about thirty seconds to pass the procedure since while the traveler walks through the portal his/her baggage is also screened (Hanson 18). It is also necessary to point out that not only terrorist attacks can be prevented with the help of the system since other dangers can be traced with the help of TSA screening.
For instance, not only explosives but other types of weapons can be detected. The system is also effective since it not only traces but actually prevents many crimes since terrorists and criminals are well aware of the security measures which are established at the majority of such places as airports, train stations, etc. Thus, they cannot simply commit their crimes in such places, and what is more, they cannot travel with their weapon on board.
Thus, only terrorists and criminals face the major inconvenience which prevents them from realizing their inhumane acts. Of course, it is necessary to admit that there are cases when terrorists or criminals use some sophisticated types of weapon which some system can miss. Nevertheless, the number of such cases is insignificant so the TSA screening fulfills its central objective to secure travelers.
Health threats concerns
In spite of vivid advantages of the TSA screening some people tend to concentrate on possible threats for people’s health claiming that radiation which travelers are exposed to while being screened is very harmful and can even cause cancer.
Nevertheless, the recent researches proved that “the current millimeter wave machines produce no radiation” (Poole). There is no need to add that the risk of immediate death because of the terrorist attack is much higher than the risk of having health problems due to the exposure to insignificant amount of radiation.
Fortunately, people assess the risks correctly and prefer 30 seconds of screening to constant fear of disguised terrorists with explosives in their bags or underwear. Moreover, the development of technology enables to create detecting devices which produce minimum or no radiation at all. Thus, the argument that TSA screening is harmful for people is absolutely inconsistent.
Apart from health problems many people claim that TSA program has too large budget. They argue that money could be spent more effectively since it is possible to reduce the number of people involved in the program, reduce the amount of technology used and of course, spend less money on staff training (Seidenstat and Splane 267).
However, this argument should be considered carefully. In the first place, it is necessary to admit that any serious plan requires substantial financing. For instance, people do not argue that the development of the area of cancer treatment and prevention has to inflated budget. Thus, travelers’ security against terrorist threat can be compared to cancer prevention.
Apart from this the development of technology enables people to optimize the process. Reportedly, many scholars point out the necessity of improving TSA programs and suggest many possible options (Leone and Liu 69). Thus, the argument that TSA security programs are only waste of many is also inconsistent.
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There are also concerns that TSA screening violates human rights. Many travelers are against screening since sometimes it is necessary to put away personal things (wallets, cell phones, bells or even shoes). Besides, many oppose against the fact that the baggage is being watched.
Nevertheless, those opposing travelers should think of the threat that some passenger would like to have some explosive to the plane. Admittedly, if a terrorist is caught and is proved to have some dangerous objects, no one will object that this terrorist’s baggage or he/she was screened.
Thus, it is possible to draw a conclusion that people who have nothing to hide should not be afraid of screening since no one will laugh at a traveler who has some funny slippers in the baggage. At the same time the real threat is easily detected with the help of screening. So, there can be no violation of human rights if a person is checked in terms of security program.
Possible improvements or conventional devices?
Of course, some people may feel distressed by those thirty seconds of delay or the necessity to put too glamorous belt aside. That is why various innovations are constantly used in the TSA program. One of the major claims of travelers is that the TSA screening is too intrusive. So, some people claim that it is possible to implement some more “sophisticated” forms of detecting danger, e.g. the programs which are used in Israel (Cooper A24).
In Israel airports passengers do not need to walk through platforms, but they are screened before they even get into the plane. The passengers are checked with the help of various data. Moreover, if the security of airport supposes that a traveler can be dangerous, the traveler will have to be checked more thoroughly. For instance, many travelers do not like visiting Israel airports due to real inconveniency.
One of travelers, Matthew Yglesias stated: “My experience leaving Tel Aviv was by far and away the most unpleasant encounter I’ve ever had with airport security officials in the decade” (Cooper A24). Reportedly, it took him three hours to pass the initial security check. Admittedly, this is much more than thirty seconds of walking through the platform.
In summary, it is possible to point out that despite several arguments against TSA screening it is necessary to admit that the program is really effective. Moreover, the arguments against the screening turn to be insufficient since the tiny inconvenience of some procedures is incompatible with the advantages of the appropriate level of travelers’ safety. Thus, the threat of health problem is almost absent since the radiation from screening devices is minimal and insignificant.
The accusation of inflated financing is absolutely irrelevant since every dollar spent on travelers security is worth spending. Finally, the lamest argument concerning human rights violation does not deserve much attention since only terrorists or criminals have something to hide from the TSA screening. On balance, the TSA screening is a very effective program which should be further implemented and developed.
Cooper, Helen. “Administration to Seek Balance in Airport Screening.” The New York Times 23 November 2010: A24. Hanson, Julie. “Rail Safe.” CSO 3.7 (2004): 18.
Haveman, Jon D., Shatz, Howard J. and Ernesto A Vilchis. “U.S. Port Security Policy after 9/11: Overview and Evaluation,” Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management 2.4 (2005): 4-12.
Kelly, Leone and Rongfang (Rachel) Liu. “The Key Design Parameters of Checked Baggage Security Screening Systems in Airports.” Journal of Air Transport Management 11.2 (2005): 69-78.
Poole, Robert. “Refocusing Aviation Security on Bad People, not Banned Objects.” Reason Foundation. 7 Jan. 2010. Web.
Seidenstat, Paul and Francis X. Splane. Protecting Airline Passengers in the Age of Terrorism. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2009.