A woman of a certain age vs. body scanners

Photo of Martha Zoller
Martha Zoller
  • See All Articles
  • Subscribe to RSS
  • Bio

      Martha Zoller

      Ms. Zoller is a political analyst and conservative talk show host for WXKT FM 103.7 in Gainesville, Georgia and syndicated on <a href="http://www.georgianewsnetwork.com/">The Georgia News Network</a>. She is one of the Talkers Magazine "Heavy Hundred" Talk Shows in America. She can be seen regularly on cable news. She is the author of "Indivisible: Uniting Values for a Divided America." Email her at martha@marthazoller.com.

During the continuing debate over the thwarted suicide bomber who tried to take down an airliner on Christmas Day, every option except the right one is being considered.  Somehow, we are supposed to feel better since Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano says she’s going to have 300 full body scanners in airports by the end of the year.  Women are overwhelmingly opposed to this, wonder why?

The thought of having to go through a full body scan at my age has me on a 1000 calorie a day diet to get in shape for my next airline trip. It won’t be a pretty sight.  On top of that, it seems that TSA is telling a little white lie about whether these machines can store and send images. TSA says no, common sense says yes.  If it can take a digital picture, it will show up somewhere and that scares me to death.  I have spent years avoiding full body pictures of me, with or without clothes on. You will never find a questionable video or picture of me and my beloved anywhere because we still think we’ve got “it” and we are not going to let actual evidence tell us otherwise.

So let’s look at the real problem with the boarding of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who I call “The Panty Bomber,” on an airplane bound for Detroit on Christmas Day. Sources say the substance that was in his panties would not have been detectable by a full body scanner. There are disputes as to whether he had luggage or a passport, but there is no dispute that he arrived at the airport, booked a one-way ticket, paid cash and checked no luggage.  If you throw in there the fact that he was Muslim and a male under 40, there were red flags all over this guy.  He should have never been let on that plane until he was interviewed and searched. I don’t even watch “24” and I know that.

So because of political correctness, I have to continue being searched at the airport.  I generally set off the alarms every time I go through.  Not sure what does it but I get the full raise your legs, hold your arms out, wand up and down treatment almost every time I fly.  I don’t really mind it since we know Rubenesque women of 50 are at very high risk to try to take a plane down.  What really makes me angry is seeing an octogenarian being frisked right down to their waistbands.  I dared to ask a TSA agent why search an 85 year old woman who is in a wheelchair and he said, “last week we found a gun on a 90 year old.”  Do you believe that, I don’t?

So let’s deal with this issue head, or body, on. We need to profile. That includes things like paying cash for a one way ticket, no luggage, no identification and yes, Muslim, male and under 40.  I’m sure there are a few others to be added in that have not been revealed to the public, yet. If you check off 3 or 4 of these, then you need to be searched and interviewed further. Look them in the eyes, make an assessment.  Technology will not set you free in this case.

So if you see me in an airport with a body scanner before I successfully complete my 1000 calorie a day diet back to beauty, shield your eyes, it won’t be pretty.

Ms. Zoller is a political analyst and conservative talk show host for WXKT FM 103.7 in Gainesville, Georgia and syndicated on The Georgia News Network. She is one of the Talkers Magazine “Heavy Hundred” Talk Shows in America. She can be seen regularly on cable news. She is the author of “Indivisible: Uniting Values for a Divided America.” Email her at martha@marthazoller.com.

  • newworldman

    Theoretical propositions always have flaws. An emplaced system requiring all “Muslim males under 40″ to be searched, while allowing “Christian-God-fearing” European Americans to waltz by the security checks, would soon backlash on a number of fronts. It would inflame the Muslim world, reinforcing their negative ideas about racist, crusade-waging America, thereby recruiting even more terrorists. The terrorists, who are not particularly stupid, would soon outsmart this system anyway. A dark-skinned Muslim could change his identity to that of a Latino-American or a Native American, and then “boom goes the dynamite.” Then what? Profile all dark-skinned Americans, while continuing to allow white European Americans to waltz by the security checks? Ummm…I think not. Misery loves company. If any of us have to suffer from this “war on terror,” then we should all suffer equally. Welcome to the 21st century, where our rather extensive negative historical baggage is catching up with us.

  • 2old2givea

    Correction: “unconstitutional” (Sorry, I develop typing problems when I have a banging headache.)

  • 2old2givea

    I have a suggestion:

    Let’s stop calling it “racial” profiling and call it what it is: CRIMINAL profiling. See how one little word changes the whole ballgame? Criminal profiling is not unconstitional.

    Let’s start criminal profiling like we should have from the beginning and start treating passengers like humans again.

  • 2old2givea

    Loved the piece. At least now you’re just worried about your weight. Wait till things start heading south… and east… and west… Not to mention having to wait HOURS, standing in line, just to get on a plane. Damskippy we need to profile.

  • Facebook User

    worry instead about the increased risk of cancer caused by this crude trick.

  • lilolme

    I know you’re trying to do your best Nora Ephron here, but I find your column insulting. I could give a whit less what an almost transparent, “picture” of me looks like or if someone is stupid enough to actually be interested enough to look at it or post it somewhere. As long as I know there’s an effort being made to keep me, my family and my fellow Americans safe, that’s all that matters. That women are still worrying over such things at age 50+ just makes me roll my eyes.

    • lnsmithee

      Nora Ephron is insulting. Details to come.

  • sabbahillel

    Reminds me of a cartoon I recently saw.

    A TSA “security person” is speaking to an attractive woman.

    I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that the security checks have caused you to miss your plane. The good news is that our full body scanner technician would like your phone number.

    I also remember the old Mary Tyler Moore show. Her bag is being checked as she is about to board and the checker finds her “pills” and comments about it out loud.

  • lnsmithee

    I guess it was just a coincidence that your brief bio at the end of your piece notes you are on Talkers mag’s “Heavy Hundred” list. But amusing nonetheless.

    I am not in the ad biz, but I guarantamdee you there are TV ads in the works for diet plans in which a woman who has just dropped a ton proudly awaits the scanner while other women are visibly nervous.

  • froggie199

    Wonderful post, very cute. And true. We women are still super-sensitive about our weight and our figures, there is ample evidence of that in magazines and daytime TV shows. Add to that anorexia, bulemia, starvation diets, fitness fanatics etc. etc. and it’s easy to see that women are plagued with self-doubt when it comes to their shapes.

    How long do you suppose it will take for some enterprising screeners to set up a porn website or show images of these blurry images on YouTube or Facebook ? Or to do a reality show themed: “Who do you think this big ugly fat women is ? with commercials that go: “Is it you ? Time to buy the INSTANT BODY TRIMMER to slim those ugly thighs and waist rolls…… “

  • ignatiusreilly

    I’m beginning to have a real problem with this line of thought that places one’s childish clinging to modesty and delicacy above the Fourteenth Amendment rights of an entire class of citizens. If the thought of some anonymous person viewing a sterile, robotic image of your naked form gives you a case of the vapors, then the answer is simple. Don’t fly.
    It’s not a question of political correctness. It’s a matter of individual rights enshrined in the Constitution.
    It’s easy enough to casually sacrifice the protections guaranteed to all when it doesn’t directly affect you, but once that threshold is crossed, where do we stop?
    Here are two examples from separate government studies:
    “Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”
    U.S. Department of Homeland Security
    (Israel) “conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any U.S. ally.”
    General Accounting Office
    Do we next dispatch teams of federal agents to scour the Texas plains for anyone with ties to the Conservative Party? Should we then round up all persons of Jewish descent with access to sensitive information and subject them to a grueling interrogation to verify their loyalty?
    A slippery slope, indeed, but on the plus side, your tender sensibilities concerning your body image will have been preserved and consequences be damned.

    • cl696

      “booked a one-way ticket, paid cash and checked no luggage. If you throw in there the fact that he was Muslim and a male under 40, there were red flags all over this guy. He should have never been let on that plane until he was interviewed and searched”

      …read the entire article…it is more than modesty at stake here.

      I also find it interesting that warrantless cell phone searches are a breach of our right to privacy but a good video crotch search is all okay in the name of equal protection.

      • ignatiusreilly

        “booked a one-way ticket, paid cash and checked no luggage”

        Actually, if we’re going to be precise, you’ve highlighted one of the errors in the article which she claims to be an area of “no dispute”. He bought a round-trip ticket. Look it up.

        All that is beside the point. The gist of the article is what I claimed:

        “So let’s deal with this issue head, or body, on. We need to profile.”

        Racial profiling would seem to be a violation of Fourteenth Amendment protections.

        Domestic warrantless wiretapping as practiced by the NSA under the previous administration was certainly a violation of Fourth Amendment protections.

        You have set up a false equation when you seek to invoke privacy protection with regard to “video crotch search(es)” because there is no Constitutional right to board an airplane without submitting to security procedures.

        As far as warrantless wiretapping, I object

        • cl696

          I’m a piping inspector. I have limited resources so I must use industry norms, training and my experience to determine where to inspect for certain potential failures.

          If I inspect everything equally certain areas will go without inspection…due to limited resources…and preventable failures will occur (which is unfair to the victims).

          Or I could use my training and experience and profile situations to determine areas of the highest failure probability (which may be unfair to the situation)

          …at 30,000 feet…its all semantics’…you dead