This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Not real violence

I shook my head with incredulity after reading Hillary Watson’s column, “I’ll Take the Pat-Down” (Dec. 19). The airport security system is flawed, to be sure. Everyone who has flown has experienced frustrations with long lines, gruff TSA agents and the embarrassment of needing to stand “hands up” in the body scanner. However, I would never call airport security measures violence. It seems to me this would be an insult to people who have suffered true violence, people who lost loved ones on 9/11 and in other bombings or hijackings. Call TSA’s security measures unjust or annoying and I would agree with you. But violent? I can’t see it.

Does Watson think TSA employees enjoy doing pat-downs? Sure, it creates a personal connection, but I’m not so certain it’s the kind of connection she imagines. I cringe when I see them needing to pat someone down, and I imagine it must be embarrassing for them. Would it not be better to take the body scan and give a kind smile and an encouraging word? If everyone chose the pat-down, I fail to see how that would transform “state-authorized systems of violence.” It would create longer lines, more hassles, more frustrations and yet more machine-efficient security measures.

Conrad Hertzler
Kalona, Iowa

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