This week, a public debate has ensued over the full body scanners being used in American airports that many people who care about civil liberties and privacy issues are having a loud backlash against. Then there are the sheeple who will go along with whatever the government wants because they believe that this will actually be an effective deterrent against terrorism.
On the Coast to Coast AM radio program, host George Noory brought up an even scarier possibility. He mentioned that there was little to stop a Jihadist on a suicide mission from opening the hatch of an airplane in mid-flight. That involves no weapons at all.
As one can see from the pictures, the body scans do reveal quite a bit. It appears, though, that it is mostly women who are raising a fuss because of concerns about TSA agents being perverts who save the images they like for personal use or who get a "Peeping Tom" thrill during the course of their workday. Many guys seem to shrug it off as a necessity in the "war on terror."
Is it really necessary? I believe the government has gone too far. As my friends know, I'm no anti-government radical. I don't spend my days reading about the Trilateral Commission, Blackhawk Helicopters with United Nations markings being seen in Western Montana or Northern Idaho, or the New World Order. I just think people are allowing their fears to overrule their reason. I love the Benjamin Frankling quote: "Those who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." It simply amazes me how quickly Americans want to give up their long-fought liberties, all because of a fear of a possible terrorist attack. One probably has a better chance of winning the lottery than dying in a terrorist attack! More Americans die in auto accidents every year but Americans aren't afraid to get behind the wheel.
Apparently, for those who do not want to walk through the full body scanner for whatever reason (privacy issues, health-related issues), one can opt for a patdown. One passenger in San Diego did just that last weekend, leaving his cell phone camera running through the 12 minute ordeal as he argued his rights. I loved his comment, "If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested." His comment was kind of funny. I'm not one to refer to my crown jewels as "junk." If a man really thinks that of his, he should consider a sex change operation! The sad part of this is, if we do not want to be body scanned, our only alternative is an intrusive patdown by a TSA agent. So, that's our choice: get blasted by radiation and have our nude x-ray seen by TSA agents (and possibly released on the Internet for all to see) or get groped by a government agent! Its enough to make one miss the 1990s when a security check meant that an airline ticket agent asked you just two questions: did you pack your luggage and has your luggage been in your possession the entire time.
This intrusive body scan and patdown alternative actually violates the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Have a quick read:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Don't people get that the terrorist win when liberty gets restricted? We are allowing our fears to give away our Constitutional rights and freedoms. Guess what? Life is a risk! In the past decade, I have been on Amtrak and Greyhound more than a dozen times and no passenger ever has to walk through a metal detector to board a train or bus. Is it possible for a crazed lunatic to bring a gun on board and shoot everyone up? Yes, of course. Has it happened? No. Granted, airplanes have a higher element of danger involved and airplane crashes of any kind tend to scare people in ways that train, bus, or car crashes generally do not. I'm okay with the metal detectors and even the enhanced screening that requires people to take off their shoes and belts, even though it looks ridiculous.
One thing that bothered me about flying, though, is how stupid TSA agents look when they randomly select a person to do an individual search and the person happens to be an elderly lady or a young child. Granted, this is done out of a principle fairness that "racial profiling" won't be used (that everyone is subject to a search), but come on! People need to get real. When I interned in D.C., I learned that the Secret Service and the FBI have procedures based on statistical data and psychological profiles about who likely threats are. They don't have time to waste by "fairly" picking people at random. Secret Service and FBI Agents have a trained eye in knowing what to look out for when they scan crowds of people. Do you think they are wasting their time looking at elderly ladies or young children? The likeliest suspect of any violent crime is going to be a male. That's pretty much a given.
Here's something to consider. In December 1999, a border agent in Washington State managed to catch a terrorist suspect crossing the border from Canada. There was an increased alert because of threats made regarding Millennium celebrations at the Space Needle in Seattle, the Los Angeles Airport, and the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The border agent noticed that a driver of a particular car was sweating, even though it was cold outside. The driver was also nervous in his speech. Who knows what else about the suspect caused the border agent to feel that the car needed to be searched? There is a reason why psychological profiles and training in human behaviour comes in handy. We need to stop deluding ourselves that life is fair and equal. After all, the time wasted giving an elderly lady a more thorough search at the airport might mean that the Jihadist slips through without being noticed.
So, I hope Americans will engage in a boycott or massive protest or even refuse to participate in this charade and violation of the Fourth Amendment. Since people might need to travel for the jobs or to see family and friends across the country, we can't really avoid this as much as we might like. Since I live far from my folks, as well as from destinations on the east coast, I'll most certainly have to fly at some point. As much as I hate being touched, though, I would much prefer a patdown than walking through a full body scan. The next time I fly, I'll be sure to wear a shirt that quotes the Fourth Amendment or makes a statement about being groped by a government agent. I wonder how the TSA agent would feel if the person he does a patdown on starts acting turned on by the touches. Would that get the passenger in trouble with the law?
What can we do as a matter of Civil Disobedience? The best idea I read online was that men should wear Kilts, the full Scottish-style (sans underwear), when we travel. One could imagine how much the TSA agents will hate their jobs if they had to give a patdown to men wearing Kilts. I really hope some people do attempt this soon. The busiest travel day of the year is fast approaching (a week from Wednesday). I have a feeling that stress levels at airports all across the USA are going to be super high. Glad I'm not going anywhere.
The picture above is a good motivator to join a gym. Some comments I've read on various articles are hilarious. One lady mentioned that she feels sorry for the TSA agent who will get a hard-on upon seeing her body. Some guys wrote that they believe the TSA agent will be jealous when they see the "size of their tool".
Those who don't have a problem with full body scanners, I highly recommend watching the films Minority Report; I, Robot; and Total Recall. Is this really the future we want to live in? Not me. I'll take the terrorist risk over the violation of the Fourth Amendment. There is a smarter way to fight terrorism. It does not involve fear or giving up our rights as Americans. So, TSA Agent...you can scan my dead fucking body, because you won't have my consent as long as I'm alive. Capisce?