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Exploding Jumbo Jets or Exposed Naughty Bits? A Tough Call for Americans

Let me get this straight: In a world where a terrorist can blow up a jumbo jet with his underwear, we Americans aren't quite sure it's worth protecting ourselves by letting a security guard see us without our underwear?

Apparently so, judging by the debate that's occurred on the cable news networks since Friday's botched terrorist attempt. The bomber would have almost surely been detected if he'd had gone through a full-body imaging device that conducts a virtual strip search of airline passengers.

A very sexy proposition -- at least in the moment before you look around at your fellow travelers.


This occurred to me while threading my way through the security queue at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. What poor, intrepid soul could endure the trauma of seeing every single one of us naked, for every single working day?

So let's not flatter ourselves by talking about our rights to keep our bodies private. Whatever those rights may be, they pale in comparison to our collective interest in airplanes that don't explode in mid-air.

A recent Rasmussen poll found that 46 percent of Americans want more security at airports, delays or not.

Here's a Utah congressman who wants to use the full-body scans only as a secondary means of screening passengers.



Sure, put the fellows on the terrorism "watch list" through the full-body scan. Better yet: How about giving those watch list guys their own line at the airport, so they don't slow down the rest of us? Obviously, there are going to be terrorists who aren't on the watch list, and we need to prepare for them.

Channel 10's Janine Stanwood found that passengers at MIA weren't afflicted by the same prudery that exists in other sections of the U.S. A spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport didn't return calls about whether there's a move afoot to install more sophisticated security devices in Broward.

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Thomas Francis

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