Sunday, November 21, 2010
Halt!......your privacy or your life!
OK. I admit it. I have been dodging this issue for a couple of weeks now. The TSA versus the air traveling public. It's a tough one for sure. I am all for the security aspect and a firm believer that it is the government's job to protect it's citizens from all enemies foreign and domestic. I guess it's all in how it's accomplished.
Do you remember the scene in the satirical movie "Airplane" from the 70's? The bad guys were moving right through the security checkpoint with ammunition belts, guns and bazookas but as soon as an innocent 80-year old grandma came through she was grabbed and thrown up against the wall to be strip searched. Pretty funny at the time. Who could have imagined that it would actually come to that? (The grandma part, not the gun toting guys part)
There appears to be no doubt that the current system had become way too intrusive. The scanner system is just an excuse for a group of government employees to enjoy some free porn pics while getting get paid for it. The heck of it is, it just might catch a person hiding explosives too. And the TSA's assurances that these images are not saved or stored is laughable. That's not even considering whether the radiation produced by these things is harmful. Again the TSA says no problem. They'll be the first to apologize when we all start showing up at emergency rooms. Here's hoping you haven't already been fined for not buying insurance.
The pat downs are nothing short of legalized sexual assault. That's bad in itself but when little children are treated like convicted criminals during a cell search, it's way past unacceptable. As one weary mother stated recently, "it's bad enough that I was just groped and fondled, but I do not want my three year old daughter to grow up thinking that it is fine for complete strangers to touch her inappropriately."
If you had any doubt before where I stand on homeland security, you will not after this. Here's the dilemma as I see it. We're a bunch of politically correct wienies. It's about common sense again folks. There are certain people that by their appearance tend to raise suspicion. I am not talking skin color or religious preference here. I'm talking about unusual appearance, attitude, demeanor, types of carry on baggage etc. By the same token, it's pretty obvious that some folks are not a threat. You could pick them out easily and you haven't had the top notch training of a TSA employee. If a wand exam or metal detector walk-through does not change that perception then why all the extra security exams on these folks? As for the "suspicious" types they can be pulled out for further security measures.
Is this profiling? Damn right it is! I think we all agree that the whole point of this is to keep an airliner with hundreds of people on it from being blown up. I think we all also agree that according to our Constitution, no one should be denied their rights due to race, creed , religion, sexual preference etc. etc. etc. Well, if you look or act like you have a desire to harm your fellow travelers, you will be inconvenienced for a short while, but assuming you are clean after the extra security check, your rights will not be abrogated in the least. You can get on the flight. If it's all right for a "no fly" list to exist, how is it not OK for a security officer to pull aside a person he or she thinks is suspicious for further checking.
Given the advanced state of technology in this country I can't believe there is not a better, less invasive system being developed. Until that comes along we will have this system. But to subject everyone to it, even if it is randomly, does not make sense. Random, smandom. You may recall there were thousands of people "randomly" vaporized on 9/11/01. It will be interesting to see if the Thanksgiving boycott of these security measures produces any improvement in reason or whether it will just jam up travel to the point of gridlock. Wait a minute. Here's a thought. Let's send Janet Napolitano and Barack Obama through the x-ray machine and pat down. That might help them to decide what changes might be necessary. There's no possibility their "junk" would show up on You Tube, right?
To my way of thinking, the more vulnerable area of air travel is luggage and freight. They are so much easier to conceal destructive devices in and there is so much more of it. I don't know this for a fact but my feeling from reading is that there is a lot less security in these areas than in human travel. Plots have been thwarted recently and Al Qaeda readily admits that it is now concentrating on easier cargo type targets that will not have the same impact as great loss of life, but will cripple the American economy and instill fear. And besides, they claim they are cheaper to finance. At least someone believes in Capitalism.
In the meantime, don't forget, the Constitution does not deny you the right to travel by other means. Ain't it a great document?