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Only In America . . . TM

Copyright 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.

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Security personnel at the nation's airports will no longer have to worry about passengers carrying weapons in their pockets, explosives in their shoes or knives in their belt buckles: beginning next week all airline passengers will be required to travel naked.

"This represents the greatest advance in airline security since the invention of the metal detector," according to FAA spokesman Harry Polander. "It will make the X-ray of carry-on baggage, personal searches and long waits at the airport a thing of the past," he said at a press conference in Washington, D.C.

Security firms are ecstatic about the new law, because it means they will need fewer metal detectors, personal baggage fluoroscopes and inspection personnel. "We'll be able to just eyeball - if you'll pardon the pun - the passengers as they pass through the gate," said the security director of a large midwestern airport. "And the fewer machines we have, the fewer people we will need to man them. That translates to lower cost both for us and the flying public." He did add that the sight of throngs of naked travelers might cause some of the security people to be a little less attentive than normal, but opined that "we can address that problem through increased training."

But not everyone is happy with the new law: garment manufacturers, shoe companies and nudist colony directors all registered strong complaints with the government.

Gisele Minimaxi, President of The American Garment Makers Union, testified that this legislation would severely cripple the garment industry. "Most people buy new clothes to go on vacation," she said. "With this new law, the need for vacation clothes will be greatly reduced. Also, business travelers used to wear suits and business attire; now they will be able to cut way back on their wardrobes." She told Congress that "without a federal bailout, the garment industry in this country is headed for extinction under the new law."

Susan Suede, past President of the Leather Tanner's and Shoemaker's Guild, agreed. "As the garment industry goes, so goes the shoe trade," she said. "Vacationers and business travelers account for almost half of our gross income. Without them, we would have to rely almost entirely on the athletic shoe segment of the industry. And that," she warned, "could drive the price of athletic shoes through the roof."

Gordon Goodbody, President of Naked and Unclad Denizens of the Earth (NUDE), is even more pessimistic. "Nude beaches have always been tremendous tourist attractions," he said. "But who needs to travel to an exotic beach to see naked people when the airports will be full of them?" He also predicted the demise of most nudist colonies and the disappearance of the "natural life style" NUDE members have become used to.

Despite these dire warnings, proponents of the bill still feel that it is overall a good thing. "It's pretty hard to hide a weapon or bomb on a naked body," Harry Polander said. "That alone should make all of us feel a lot safer."



Copyright 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.

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