Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 624, June 19, 2011

"Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms should be a
convenience store—NOT a government agency."

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Where's the Outrage?
by Sean Gangol

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Many years ago, the late great George Carlin had this to say about airport security "Airport security. There's too much of it. I'm sick of having some guy with a triple digit income and a double digit IQ going through my bags and never finding anything. The whole thing is fucking pointless." (This is actually more of a paraphrase).

I can't say that I have agreed with everything that was uttered on Carlin's stage, but when it came to airport security, he was right on the money. He had actually made this joke years before 9-11. As we all know, the measures have become a hundred times more intrusive.

I thought it was absurd when they took knitting needles away from eighty-year-old ladies and made Suzy Homemaker and her five kids take their shoes off. Anyone who would question the necessity or validity of these measures would be met with hostility. Conventional wisdom seems to tell us that when it comes to safety, all common sense must be disregarded. The same logic has carried on to this day.

The one thing that old George didn't live to see was the day when the TSA brought in the body scanners. I can only imagine what he would have thought of the most invasive measures ever conceived by the TSA. He probably would have longed for the days when airport security wasted time rummaging through your bags. Now you have two choices. You can go through the x-ray machine and allow the security agents to take what Judge Andrew Napolitano has appropriately called "pornographic pictures" or you can get manhandled. What a choice. You could pose for an amateur porno shoot or allow agents to run their hands all over your package.

I can't say that I am surprised. I knew that it was only a matter of time before they started doing strip searches or body cavity checks. As it turns out, I wasn't that far from the truth. What I do find surprising are the people who act nonchalant about being violated. I know that there are people who need to fly and have no other choice but to submit to the police state tactics used by the TSA. The people who really get my blood boiling are those who are not only willing to go through these perverted measures, but are also willing to put their spouses and children through them as well.

If I were to start fondling somebody's wife, I would certainly expect to beaten within every inch of my life. Protecting your mate is part of the very essence of human nature. So how is it that these bureaucratic perverts get through the day without so much as scratch from one of the passengers? What I find even more perplexing is how parents can allow their children to be photographed naked by total strangers. If I went up to a parent and asked if I could take naked pictures of his/her children, at the very least I would expect to walk away with a few teeth missing. Protecting one's children should be another important part of human nature. So why doesn't human nature apply when a person steps foot in an airport?

The excuses that people make for supporting these measures are astounding. I hear them say things like, "I don't like these measures, but I like getting blown up even less." Really? You actually believe that these measures are making us safer? So patting down a toddler is actually making us safer? Forcing Suzie Homemaker to take pornographic pictures is insuring our safety? Who would have every thought that Suzie Homemaker was the 72 Virgins type? As usual, I am met with blank stares or down right hostility when I ask these questions.

For that matter, how exactly has the government's track record been when it comes to preventing hijackings? In the case of the Underwear Bomber, the government had prior warning from the father of the would-be terrorist that he was a security threat. He was allowed to get on a plane unmolested. It was the same with the Shoestring Bomber, who was subdued by the other passengers, not by any government agent. Remember when a flight school in Arizona called to warn the FAA about a suspicious Middle Eastern student, who didn't seem to have any interest in learning how to take off or land? We all know how well that one turned out.

What about the bombs that are so small that they can fit inside a person's body? Should we submit everybody to a body cavity check? What people don't seem to understand is that safety is something that can't be guaranteed. Sure, you can take measures to help reduce the risks, but in the end nothing can be 100% safe. Once again, I am forced to paraphrase George Carlin, "People are trading their freedoms for the illusion of security." How right he was. I just wish all these Sunny-time Patriots, who claim to believe in individual freedom when it is convenient, will finally understand what Carlin had been saying all these years.

Author's Note: I had actually started writing this article about three months ago. Since then the legislator in my home state of Texas has tried to pass a bill that would make it a crime for TSA agents to touch the genitals of any passenger without some form of probable cause. Unfortunately the TSA claimed that their authority superseded that of our legislator and threaten to make Texas a no-fly zone. Sadly, the majority of our legislator is made up of Sunny-time Patriots, who have no backbone. Instead of calling the TSA's bluff, they decided to cave in. I do give thanks to those who tried to get the bill passed. I find it amusing that the TSA has the nerve to claim that the Constitution favors their authority, while routinely violating the Fourth Amendment with their random searches. For that matter, which part of the Constitution authorizes the existence of the TSA in the first place? It just goes to show that we can't even count on our local legislators to protect our rights. I just hope that someday that the rest of our countrymen will grow enough of a backbone to finally put these TSA clowns in their place. I also hope that it happens sooner then later.


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