Commentary: 'Opt-out' protesters could turn me into a shoe-thrower

The Kansas City StarNovember 24, 2010 

Luckily, I never have to fly during the holidays.

But if I were at the airport today and forced to wait in a long line because someone ahead of me was making a political statement against the new airport security screening system, I’d be tempted to make a statement of my own.

By taking my shoes off — even before the guards instructed me to — and flinging them at the silly fool inconveniencing the rest of us.

Yes, it’s National Opt-Out Day, as everyone knows by now. To protest use of those new body scanners, travelers are encouraged to strike a blow for freedom by refusing to walk through the devices.

This threatens to bollix up the nation’s air travel system on one of the busiest flying days of the year because security screeners then have no choice but to pat down the opt-outers.

Those pat-downs, too, are controversial because of their, uh, thoroughness. But that’s another column.

The body scanners sparked the call for the opt-out protest. Some are cheering on the effort, including critics of the Obama administration, who see it as a chance to embarrass the president.

The whole thing seems rather silly and selfish to me. There are many sensible and civilized ways to lodge a protest. Staging a protest the day before Thanksgiving isn’t one of them, even if, as organizers say, there is “no intent or desire to delay passengers en route to friends and family.”

But if the protest does inconvenience even a few hundred people who just want to get to where they’re going, no one can blame those folks for being angry.

To read the complete column, visit www.kansascity.com.

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