I am mad as hell. Do I still live in America? I feel like I woke up in a Stalinist country. When did we (collectively) decide that security trumped liberty? I fly quite a bit, and I want to feel safe when I fly. I do not feel safe. It seems to me that we spend so much of our precious resources harassing law abiding citizens that we are missing opportunities. How about spending that money on intelligence driven searches and profiling. Yes, I said profiling. If someone buys a one-way ticket with cash and has visited Yemen in the past twelve months, I would be concerned.
So are we targeting people that look, act and believe the way the terrorists that attacked us looked, acted and believed? No...we are strip searching kids, like this one:
Are you kidding me?
Ben Franklin said "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Submitting to pat-down searches (a violation of the Fourth Amendment) without probable cause, or at least reasonable suspicion is inexcusable. Some people might suggest that flying is not a natural right, that it is a privilege. I would not argue that point, and would agree that metal detectors and property scanners are not that invasive. Strip searches, vigorous pat-downs and x-ray body scanners, however, are a complete violation of what American liberty stands for. We have given up our essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety.
And we do this why? Well, TSA and President Obama suggest that it is all the underwear bomber's fault. Okay, let's dissect that, if this is the reason we are being given. Most security experts agree that the body scanners being used would not have detected the underwear bomber's bomb. Whether you agree with that assessment or not, it is an opinion held by many experts in the field. But why rely on an intrusive device that violates the Fourth Amendment Rights of US citizens? The other thing we know about the underwear bomber is that he had visited Yemen, his father had alerted US intelligence agencies to his propensities, and he purchased a one-way ticket to the United States with cash. All of this on a questionable passport. I don't know how we missed that...but a few things are clear. The flight originated outside the United States, meaning our invasive measures mean nothing for this type of attack. Also, the suspect was in Yemen, paid cash and purchased a one-way ticket. That is what many people might call "a clue."
So why are we invading the privacy of so many Americans and turning our airports into a police state? Because President Bush presided over an alarming expansion of police powers at the airports with the introduction of TSA. TSA has grown to an obese bureaucracy that is incapable of introspection. It is an over-sized beast that can only pursue knee-jerk reactions (over-reactions?) to any set of circumstances. We need to streamline our efforts and start calling a spade a spade. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...it is probably a duck. So why are grandma and junior getting strip searched, having their colostomy bags spilled all over them, or being forced to pull out prosthetic breasts for examination, when the threat is mostly external?
The answer is simple. We are asleep at the wheel. We need to take back our Fourth Amendment Rights and force change. We need to hold our elected officials accountable for this incredible violation of the United States Constitution and demand that the process change. We need to shrink or privatize TSA and start pursuing the terrorists on their home turf. We need to profile travelers and conduct investigations before they ever get on a plane. We already know what to look for. How about start looking for the indicators and stop with the window dressing. Because that is all TSA is. A giant smoke screen to make it appear we are safer. We are not. The fact that the underwear bomber made it on a plane with his background in an already tight security environment should be evidence enough.
Let's stop the madness.
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