**Warning: Due to the nature of this post, the links may include content that may not be suitable for all viewers. Use your discretion**
What started out as a series of posts on twitter has prompted me to write a blog post! You know things are srs when a blog post is produced!
Words cannot express how outraged I am at the TSA’s actions over the past few weeks- the government sexually assaulting young and old, and most disappointingly, the president behind it all, condoning and encouraging these actions. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want pics of me stored on TSA computers and inevitably leaked, molested if I refuse the scanner, and fined $10k and subject to legal action if I refuse both. So by virtue of you refusing the TSA’s services to make sure your children aren’t smuggling guns in their underwear, you are presumed guilty and fined. Ten. Thousand. Dollars.
- Obama approves $1B to be used by the TSA to install, train, and use new scanning devices (if you want to learn more about them, search for backscatter and millimeter wave scanners)
- TSA spends time joking and more joking
- Kids are molested (the paternal instinct in me would have had me bashing heads)
- Passengers are threatened with legal suits for refusing both the scanner and gropings (and offering to leave the airport)
- TSA computers are found to have had 35,000+ saved pictures on just ONE scanner (and subsequently leaked via FOIA)
Starting to get the picture? The TSA (and more and more government entities lately, it seems) is out of control and we have no one but ourselves to blame for it. Our passivity, our election day choices, and our desire to have safe, bubble-wrapped lives have brought us to this point.
The Deeper Issues
So what exactly are the underlying issues here?
- Feel uncomfortable even when a doctor has to examine you? Now realize that the TSA is seeing you naked and you probably didn’t even think twice. Invasion of privacy much? I’m pretty sure the photographing of a person.. indecently.. is illegal. But its the government.. Who cares, right? Since when has trusting them to not misuse technology been a bad idea? That’s not even the point. They shouldn’t have access to pictures of you, me, your child, your grandparent naked. Period.
- If you find yourself refusing the scanner, the TSA will leave no part of you physically unsearched. If a stranger performed the same search on you? Sexual assault. If a friend or relative performed the same search on you? Most likely, sexual assault. So how does the TSA justify searching a most-probably innocent person to a greater degree than a person in the process of being arrested? DEAR TSA: AT LEAST AFFORD US THE DIGNITY OF READING US OUR RIGHTS?
- If you’ve managed to deal with theÂ harassment of the TSAÂ and refused both the scanner and the search, more than likely, you have on the order of a dozen armed TSA agents and police officers surrounding you. By this point you’re thinking, “No flight is worth this. I’m leaving.” Sorry, but no, you have to fill out a report and then prepare to be served a $10,000 fine, be subjected to legal procedings, and possibly barred from airline travel. Sounds like the TSA is trying to be judge, jury, and executioner, while presuming that you’re guilty until proven innocent.
- Unless there is probable cause (andÂ as invoking the 5th amendment doesn’t constitute probable cause, neither should refusing the scanner and search), there is no basis for the unlawful searching and detaining of a passenger in the first place. Perhaps more accurately reflecting this concept- refusing a sobriety test does constitute probable cause; however, in order to administer the sobriety test, an officer will have already had some suspicions that a driver was drunk. Still, this is a far less invasive operation. So what the TSA is saying, is that everyone passing through the security checkpoint has a default, inherent level of suspicion and you must prove yourself innocent. Well guess what TSA! I’m suspicious of YOU.
- Health concerns regarding the backscatter scanners are warranted!
So What Can You Do? Nothing. Well, realistically nothing. Welcome to bureaucracy and a President who loves big government. Thank you population who voted him in and let him reach far, far beyond his Constitutional power.. but that’s ok, because even though he swore to uphold it, he calls it an imperfect and flawed document. Thanks to the post-9/11 terrorism-threat shroud that covers the airline industry, the government can exercise its power more and more. And believe this if you want– but there are no post-9/11 reports of airport security measures actually stopping a terrorist. Sure, there have been the random failed shoe bombers, but they were on board. Yes.. there were rigged packages destined for a synagogue, but that was a cargo plane. Can you imagine if Thomas Jefferson could see what was happening 200-some years after his “Founding Father”-hood and presidency? I bet he would be crying… weeping for his country that he dedicated his life to making. Instead we have idiots in Harlem voting back in Charles Rangel (apparently so they could watch him be found guilty of financial misconduct?). Yes.. Thomas Jefferson would be broken hearted, but he would have the guts to stand up high in the airport and proclaim the liberties afforded to us by the Constitution (Wait, I said Jefferson and not Ron Paul, right?)- a document written to LIMIT government and protect the people from government expanding beyond its bounds. At which point, he would be arrested, I’m sure.