Rubber glove lobby wins big with new TSA pat down procedures
By J.J. Jackson
The American people are up in arms over new and enhanced security procedures being implemented at airports across this nation. With full body scanners popping up at security checkpoints like dandelions in a suburban lawn, airline passengers are staging a mini revolt over what is seen as further evidence of creeping government. After September 11th, 2001 we heard often how we would not let the terrorists win by changing the way we lived our lives. Well by the standard of what is happening now at our airports I would say that the terrorists have indeed clearly won. America as a whole has lied to itself.
For years Americans have endured and gritted their teeth at the theatrical presentation performed under the guise of security at our nation's airports. You know what I am talking about. Little old gray-haired grandmas of Irish heritage are pulled out of line and questioned about everything under the sun while Habib, Hussein and Mohammed wearing his sister's hijab are literally allowed to pass unmolested. Yes, that pun was fully intended.
Few had objections to the concept of passing through a metal detector and emptying pockets of every item to make sure that no more box cutters or other items arbitrarily labeled as "weapons" made it through for terrorists to use. We even ignored how easily it was to get non metallic items such as hard plastic shivs and other "weapons" through this sort of security. It is however what came afterwards that started this pot progressing to a boil.
For years Americans asked what the point was of ever tightening regulations as to what you could and could not carry on board a plane. These regulations were, it seemed, only to serve the purpose of boosting sales at convenience stores in our destination cities since we were not allowed to take our toiletries with us because the bottle was bigger than so many ounces. It has, at times, become so ridiculous that it was a wonder we were allowed on planes at all. As one of my friends in Special Forces one told me, "give me five men with your average run of the mill pens and we could take control of a commercial plane if we really wanted to." He may have been exaggerating, but I suspect not by much.
For years people have griped. And often those gripes were more than legitimate. Now we have the infamous backscatter x-ray full body scanners. Almost as if the TSA is mocking us. Going through metal detectors was one thing for most Americans. These however are really just plain old freaky.
People ask is the radiation safe? We are told it is but at the same time we have pilots fighting to be exempt from the scans because of fears of the risk of repeated exposure to the radiation. Now word is that pilots will be granted a special exemption from the enhanced scans and be treated unequally to the rest of us.
People ask how detailed are the pictures being taken and what is able to be seen? We are told that the pictures are discrete. Yet examples of the latest technology show what amount to black and white nude shots of those being scanned.
People ask what will be done with the data? We are told that the units cannot store, transfer or send the pictures. Yet recently there have been leaked copies of pictures that are not supposed to be stored, transferred or sent. How exactly is that happening? Inquiring minds would like to know.
People ask what is up with being treated as even more guilty until proven innocent than in the past? We are told that when you buy a ticket you give up a lot of your rights. We are told this even though there is no provision in our federal Constitution that allows for such a negation of our rights at the hands of government agents. In fact, our federal Constitution is quite clear that one's rights cannot be taken away except for punishment of an actual crime. Something, which I remind you, has not happened when you simply buy a ticket to visit your grandchildren in Ohio.
What if you are just modest and do not think that someone should be looking at your naked body? You know, maybe you are a little bit fatter than you should be and are a self-conscious sort? Hey, I do not make that comment to be flippant. There is, after all, a reason why we wear clothes all day long. Hey, I am no Adonis, but I am a fairly good looking guy. For me someone getting a glance at Jimmy and the boys in all their glory does not bother me. It does not bother me even if that someone is a pervert who is sitting in a little room wearing a TSA uniform because their application for the burger flipper position at McDonalds was rejected due to insufficient skills. I say let him or her knock themselves out. But I am an adult. My children however I worry about because it is my job as a father to protect them from such perverts.
So what are your options when you get to the airport and you see one of these new fangled devices sitting there? Well apparently it is a pat down process which is also newly enhanced, performed by very enthusiastic TSA agents and that would be considered sexual molestation if performed by anyone other than a federal agent. But hey, that is pretty much par for the course for our federal government. For years they have used the Internal Revenue Service to steal money from our paychecks to pay off the political friends of Congressmen and Presidents alike. So adding the TSA to the criminal enterprises of our elected government is just another notch in their belt.
These new pat downs include what has been documented to date as groping of normally private areas of one's body. You know, those areas where we tell our children that if anyone ever touches you there to scream loudly and tell an adult? But the TSA doing these sorts of things is apparently a-ok. Boy, it must be great to be a government employee. You get so many perks.
So here we are. We are at a point where federal agents are allowed to harass children and feel them up causing them to cry and wail. We are at a point where agents of the TSA are being put in very dangerous situations because if they touch the wrong person in the wrong way there is going to all Hell breaking loose at the security check point. Of course, the TSA thugs will win that confrontation because of their sheer numbers. So they are not too concerned about it happening.
The real problem here is that the government is doing this security at our airports in the first place. They claim that they have to do it because only the great and powerful federal government, the same yummy brains who cannot even balance our federal checkbook, is capable of such a task. But the truth is that the airlines themselves have a very high interest in not having their planes loaded with paying passengers going kaboom. The truth is that if the airlines were given the ability to screen their own passengers we would actually be able to introduce some competition into the field of airport security. If Airline A requires you to have Jim Bob stick a rubber gloved finger up your rectum as a condition to get on board a flight and you do not like that concept then you can opt for Airline B where they do profiling only. On the other hand if you get off having someone shove a finger up your rear then Airline A is there for you. Hey I am not going to judge you.
Also if the airlines themselves did all this screening then all the issues of unreasonable search and seizure and innocent until proven guilty go out the window since those problems only apply to the government aspect of these searches. Private companies have no such restrictions. And dare I say that we will have more responsiveness to concerns over various issues of intrusiveness from the airlines. Maybe not much more, but definitely more. What we have seen to date from the federal government is that the more people complain the stricter and more intrusive the screening becomes over time.
They are the federal government after all. What are you going to do to stop them? That is their attitude.
Listen, here's a little secret. The American people understand the need for some sort of security at airports considering the track record of terrorists who proved on September 11th, 2001 that they viewed fuel laden airplanes as good weapons against the infidels. But here's another little secret. The American people are fed up with our federal government. And when the federal government resorts to molesting Americans and making us all feel as though we are suspects the American people eventually get angry.
Other than the terrorists, the only people that seem to have won out here is the rubber glove lobby whose members will be making a killing off selling their product to the government for use in harassing the private parts of citizens just trying to visit their friends and family.
J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author from Pittsburgh, PA who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993 and is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. He is the Pittsburgh Conservative Examiner for Examiner.com. He is also the owner of The Right Things - Conservative T-shirts & Gifts. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at http://www.libertyreborn.com.