Not real violence

Jan 2, 2017 by

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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

Comments Policy

Mennonite World Review invites readers’ comments on articles. To promote constructive dialogue, editors select the comments that appear, just as we do with letters to the editor in print. These decisions are final. Writers must sign their first and last names; anonymous comments are not accepted. Comments do not appear until approved and are posted during business hours. Comments may be reproduced in print, and may be edited if selected for print.

  • Keith Wiebe

    Conrad, please put yourself in other people’s shoes for once. She’s speaking from her heart. You’re speaking from your man-head.

    • Conrad Hertzler

      Keith, why do you insist on using the words “for once” when you reply to me. This implies that you know me and furthermore you know me to be completely insensitive to others feelings. You assume that my comments are not thought out and that I am reacting rather than responding thoughtfully. Again, I do admit that I could have started my letter to the editor differently and I apologize for the way it comes across. However, I stand by my opinion. I have been in Ms. Watson’s shoes as has anybody else who has flown very much at all. I do understand the inconvenience and embarrassment of being patted down or made to pass through the scanner. You accuse me of not putting myself in other’s shoes. In my letter, I did put myself in the shoes of the average TSA agent who probably would rather not do a pat-down but is striving to make a living by obeying rules which are set in place by people much more powerful than they are. So please, I would love to discuss things with you. I choose to believe that you are intelligent and your opinions well-thought out. I would appreciate the same courtesy from you.

      • Keith Wiebe

        Conrad, it’s obvious your point of view is from a male, not female. You say you been in Ms. Watson’s shoes (I don’t have any evidence of that) but I’m leery of that claim. Perhaps just listening to her view and trying to understand instead of complaining. And than you try and put yourselves in the TSA agents position (which this article wasn’t about) and trying to blast the author some more. If you’re married, do you take your wife’s feelings, throw them out the window and try to deny them? Good luck.

        • Conrad Hertzler

          Keith, I’m still not quite sure what your issue with my original letter is. What I hear you saying in your last reply is that I’m not qualified to disagree with Ms. Watson because I’m not a woman. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. My understanding of this forum is that a person is allowed to express dissenting opinions as well as agree with contributors. I’m not sure why you feel that I should “just listen instead of complaining”. I did listen and then attempted to offer a different viewpoint. And of course my point of view is from a male since that is what I am. I can do my best to understand my wife but I will always be limited because I am a male, not a female. Maybe you have had a different experience.

          I don’t feel like I “blasted” Ms. Watson by disagreeing with her. I have seen many more strongly worded opinions offered on this page without accusations of “blasting”.

          Anyway, I don’t think we are getting anywhere and we are off the original subject. Peace.

About Me