It's the ultimate in no-good choices: either you submit to an invasive x-ray scan or you allow some under-paid, under-trained, over-worked and harried TSA employee "touch your junk". Before I had kids, I used to travel quite a bit for work, often as much as four cities in a week, necessitating five or more flights. I'm pretty clear that I would not choose to be full body scanned if I was still doing that, because no matter what the TSA says, I'm not convinced that repeated exposures to that level of radiation is safe, especially if you might be (or might want to be) pregnant. And pilots' groups are recommending that their members submit to the pat-downs for that reason.
But the pat downs themselves open up a whole other area of concern. At what point have we sacrifice far too much liberty for the sake of "security"? Besides the argument that the entire policy is ridiculously reactive to the "Underwear Bomber" and not really making us any safer, it also ignores the reality that if someone was really determined to execute a terrorist act, they would simply find ways around the new rules. As someone who has traveled to other countries--including those with more recent terrorist threats--and experienced the way they've handled security, the way the US has responded appears ludicrous and ineffective.
We are about to come upon the most traveled time in the airline industry as people fly home for the holidays. Going viral around the internets tubes is National Opt Out Day (the Wednesday before Thanksgiving), guaranteed to snarl air traffic:
As if next Wednesday weren't already going to be a nightmare at airports across the nation, an online group is hoping to make the busiest travel day of the year the platform for "National Opt-Out Day," protesting the TSA's new policy of using full body scanners.
"The goal of National Opt Out Day is to send a message to our lawmakers that we demand change," it reads on the group's web site. "We have a right to privacy and buying a plane ticket should not mean that we're guilty until proven innocent. This day is needed because many people do not understand what they consent to when choosing to fly."