Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Transportation Security Administration

Hello everyone! Long time no post, eh? I had a really busy weekend and start to the week so I've been lazy when it comes to blog postings. I guess I feel obligated to comment on all of the controversy surrounding the new enhanced security measures at airports. First a word from our friend Mike Huckabee from 2007:

"Just like when I go to the airport it's a civilian function of the TSA to check me out and to make sure that I am who I say I am and that I'm going where I say I'm going. That's why they check my boarding pass and my photo ID to make sure that I'm not bringing something on that could be harmful, so that's why I go through all that X-ray and patting down process."


Apparently Huckabee feels differently today:

"If he thinks this is an appropriate way for us to deal with security as he has defended, then I've said, 'OK, Mr. Obama, take your wife, your two daughters and your mother-in-law to Washington Reagan National Airport and have them publicly go through both the body scanner and the full enhanced pat-down in front of others,'" Huckabee said in an interview on Fox and Friends. "'If it's OK for your wife, your daughters, and your mother-in-law, then maybe the rest of us won't feel so bad when our wives, our daughters and our mothers are being put through this humiliating and degrading, totally unconstitutional, intrusion of their privacy.'"


I understand that there is a little bit of nuance to the two statements but this a prime example of conservative hypocrisy. Believe one set of principles one day and then change them the next to score political points against an opponent. Of course liberals do this too, I just feel not with the same frequency as right wingers. Isn't it also funny that the most vocal group against the TSA enhanced searches are the same group that brought us the Patriot Act, a far more vile intrusion to our civil liberties! I'm really tired of these conservative Teabagging scum fucks. Guess who's fault it would be if airport security was made more relaxed and we were attacked?

So where do I stand with the whole controversy? I'm actually torn. I consider myself somewhat as a civil libertarian and I really hate the thought of the government performing these kinds of enhanced searches or forcing people to go through scanners that could possibly be unsafe. On the other hand I do agree that the 4th Amendment doesn't necessary apply when going through a security gate at the airport. I've been through the scanners and it was no big deal to me; however, if it were I guess I would just have to drive to my destination. Traveling by plane is not a right in this country.

What often gets left behind in this debate is the abuse that TSA agents receive on a daily basis. These are people on the front lines just doing their job:

“Yesterday a passenger told me to keep my hands off his penis or he’d scream. Is this how a 40 year old man in business attire acts? He’ll scream? My 3 year old can get away with saying he’ll scream, but a 40 something business man? I am a professional doing my job, whether I agree with this current policy or not, I am doing my job. I do not want to be here all day touching penises.”


I do have to concede that airport security is kind of a joke. It probably really isn't keeping us as safe as we could be but having scanners and enhanced searches at random has to have helped in at least being a deterrent to someone bringing something crazy on to a plane. Has anyone flown a plane into a building in America since 2001? Something somewhere in our security protocols have to be working!

From Richard Adams:

"Relax, 40 year old man in business attire. If you think a TSA pat down is sexual assault then you don't ever want to go on the New York subway at rush-hour. Modern life, especially in densely-populated cities, is full of such minor indignities."


Wouldn't it be nice if we could have a national conversation about safety versus civil liberties without all the screaming and hyperbole? I just don't think that's possible with right and left wing fringes screaming the loudest...

I think Lewis Black put it the best (I'm paraphrasing): in the name of fighting terrorism we've spent billions on two wars, lost thousands of American military and civilian lives, tortured people, and spied on our own people. Airport security is where we draw the line? Go back to watching "Dancing with the Stars" America...

Thoughts or opinions?

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