Back off, TSA

In the wake of public outrage over its security measures at US airports, the Transportation Security Administration has come out with all sorts of defensive statements about how thoroughly its screeners are vetted and trained. As if that were the issue.

The outrage is over intrusive pat-downs of women’s breasts and everyone’s inner thighs (supposedly not touching the genitals), and scanning machines that yield images verging on nude photos (images supposedly destroyed right away, even though some have already made it onto the Internet). What’s next? Cavity searches?

There are rumors of sex offenders hiring on as agents so they can get paid to pursue their avocation, accusations that Michael Chertoff encourages the measures because his client sells the scanning machines, concerns about too much radiation exposure for frequent fliers, and knowledgeable assertions that the screening procedures violate our Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

Meantime, all sorts of numbers are being circulated that show how low the odds are that an individual will die on a plane crashed by terrorists. You’re in more danger when you drive on the interstate. You’re in more danger from criminals on the street. People who have given any thought to the matter realize how ridiculous, illogical, and unconscionable — not to mention unconstitutional — it is for our own government to victimize and violate us at airports. The chances of actually catching a terrorist there are slim now, and there are so many other ways and places determined terrorists could strike. Assuming they even try. After all, their job is done; look what we’re doing to each other.

If that weren’t enough, President Obama has given a pass to Muslim women wearing hijabs. Their religion forbids their submitting to the revealing electronic scans, and the president has agreed they shall only be patted down on the head and neck. Political correctness run amok. Reverse profiling. Lunacy. Why bother when you make exceptions like this?

Back off, TSA. Until you have a marriage license, a medical license, or a warrant, you’re not entitled to treat me like your spouse, your patient, or your suspect. As the now-famous John Tyner said, “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.” Meantime, don’t be surprised if I kick you in the groin or gouge your eyes. Nothing personal, you understand. It’s just a reflex. It’s what my parents, family, school, church, workplace, friends, and society taught me to do if assaulted.

Afterthought: I wonder how long these procedures would remain in place if all our Washington lawmakers and their families were forced to go through such searches. They all fly privately, of course, so they don’t have to endure such “inconveniences” at public airports.

8 thoughts on “Back off, TSA

  1. In every political or philosophical disagreement there comes a time when diplomacy and reason either discover a mutual solution, or fail miserably. As an anal Libertarian, I believe that time has come and gone. We are being victimized by complacency inspired by our inherited legacy and natural belief that our government is one that uniquely acts in our own personal best interests. Death by a thousand paper cuts and our ability to ignore ceding our individual rights as necessary for security are one and the same thing.

    Prior to 9/11 I routinely commuted by air, but when the federal government took over air travel security, I quit flying. I quit going into airports. I quit picking up friends and relatives who arrive at airports. Aside from the fact that the federal government has no constitutional authority to commandeer any aspect of a private company, it also has no vested interest in doing a good job. A failure of security might well be the reason an airline employee has no job tomorrow, but the same failure won’t even shorten a TSA employees time in the coffee break room tomorrow.

    Allowing this sort of physical abuse to continue unchallenged will soon bring similar “accepted by the public” operations to the entrance of court houses and all other federal, state and municipal office buildings. Sorry for the length, but I’m p*ssed off too.

    1. No apology necessary. You have no idea how much ranting I cut out of this before I posted it. I’ve only flown once since 9/11, not because I’m afraid of terrorists but because of the security nightmare our airports have become. Someday a family emergency will probably require that I fly again, and I dread the day. Maybe things will get better by then, but in the meantime, who is going to protect us from our “protectors”?

  2. Sing it! I am very upset over this whole thing and only too glad that I’m not traveling anywhere this holiday season. I’m also glad that most of my faraway friends are in Amtrak country.

    1. If I were a terrorist, I wouldn’t go anywhere near an airport. (Been there, done that.) I’d be looking at trains (sorry ’bout that), buses, subways, tunnels, bridges, football stadiums, convention centers, power stations, tourist attractions, etc., etc., etc.. So many targets … and all the time in the world. As long as the US government persists in searching grandmothers, nuns, and children in US airports rather than profiling likely terrorists, the rest of the country is their oyster.

  3. Muslim women are exempted, but nuns aren’t? Our President is a joke, he’s just another statist, like his predecessor. Remember when ‘liberal’ actually meant liberty?

    On the plus side: this might finally be the issue that causes left-wing/ACLU/civil-liberties types and right-wing/Tea Party/small-government types to realize we’re really not so different, after all.

    1. I read somewhere about the exemption, but since then have read that it’s just something that’s being considered. Either way, it’s a crazy idea. Meantime, yes, it appears nuns are being searched.

... and that's my two cents