I recently had the pleasure of getting one of these “naked X-rays” at the airport in Raleigh, North Carolina. I was irritated at having to go through the procedure, not because I think there’s anyone perverted enough to be interested in a naked photo of an old man, but because I had to take everything out of my pockets before the X-ray. When I fly, I carry a lot of stuff in my pockets – from Advil and Tums to ear plugs and Kleenex to business cards and Altoids to my wallet and comb. When you get this X-ray you don’t just take the metal objects out of your pockets. The officer told me that a single Aspirin tablet will show up and trigger a pat-down search.
Anyway, if I thought this kind of exam was really helping make flying safer, I might not have been so irritated. But I don’t exactly fit the profile of a terrorist, either foreign or domestic. While I spent several minutes getting scanned, I saw quite a few suspicious-looking folk passing through the security line. We’re always “fighting the last war” in our efforts to keep this country safe. I suspect the terrorists are way ahead of us in their thinking, and I’ll be surprised if these expensive scanners ever catch a real threat.
But I complied, and tried to pretend I was in the Transporter Room, waiting to re-materialize on some exotic planet. Alas, when it was over, I was still in North Carolina, with only a crowded MD-80 to carry me back home. At least I still had my Tums and Advil to make the flight more bearable.