There was an error in this gadget

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Training of Sheep

When I travel by air, I politely endure the TSA security checks. But I’m not willing to give up my civil rights because of fear of terrorism. As Ben Franklin said, those who would sacrifice liberty for security, deserve neither.

What’s going on at airports around the country is starting a groundswell of outrage.

Consider the following:
An eight year old boy is partially strip-searched in public.

A man with bladder cancer, who went out of his way to tell TSA officers that his urine bag and hoses might look suspicious, is strip-searched anyway, so roughly that despite his pleas that they take care, the TSA personnel rupture the seal on his apparatus and leave him drenched in urine and humiliated. The agents not only fail to apologize, but refuse to offer him help in any way.

A man carrying $4700.00 in cash is abusively and coercively questioned by TSA personnel who are apparently infuriated that he is asserting his right to due process.

If you refuse to enter a full-body scanner, and you might because the radiation risk is real, you’re subjected to a pretty invasive enhanced pat down. The person groping you need not even be of the same gender. If you go on YouTube you can find examples of quite invasive searches being performed right out in the open. And why are those invasive pat downs happening in public? To train you. You watch the other guy being humiliated, and you say, what the hell, I’ll get scanned. Yet our stringent security rules are, as the TV program 60 Minutes noted, largely theater. One has only to note that the notoriously security-conscious Israelis have check in procedures that are far less invasive.

And if the TSA agent is still suspicious, or just doesn’t like you, and calls for an even more invasive cavity search, they’re not even required to change the rubber gloves they’ve been using unless you demand it.

Imagine you’re traveling with your 12-year-old daughter. For some reason unbeknownst to you, perhaps because you’re of Arab descent, or because you merely annoyed a TSA agent, or simply because he’d like to fondle her, your daughter is taken away from you and cavity searched by a man, wearing rubber gloves he’s used to search 5 other people. How would you feel? How would your daughter feel? Would you really put up with this? Well, increasingly, people are. The boogieman of terrorism, so deftly employed by Hermann Goebbels and Dick Cheney alike, has once again coerced a population into unthinking passivity.

You may think they have the right the right to do these things to you, but they don’t. If you don’t care if you miss your flight and you’re willing to stand your ground, you can demand the presence of a real law enforcement officer. By and large, police officers are much more cognizant of the law, and your rights. Moreover, your average cop will look at you, size you up, profile you, if you will, based on his instincts, training and experience, and decline to take your clothes off. And even if he does search you, chances are 99 out of 100 that it’ll be more professional and less invasive.

TSA officers are NOT law enforcement officers. They do not have the right to search you against your will, yet they have. They do not have the right to detain and restrain you, harass and coerce you, yet they have. And if you decide that you don’t want to be scanned, and you don’t want your child subjected to groping, and you merely try to leave, you can be liable for an $11,000 fine. Just for refusing to be humiliated or irradiated. Land of the free? I don’t think so.

The behavior we’re being subjected to is progressively desensitizing us to our rights, and will progressively increase our passivity if we don’t fight back.

This is how sheep are trained. This is how you eventually end up with a nation of easily coerced, passive citizens who have forgotten how to stand up for their individual and collective rights. And in the end, this is how you can end up with boxcars to Auschwitz, the killing fields, and the Cultural Revolution.

Remember, many of those people walking into boxcars weren’t facing machine guns; they were merely following the orders of people in uniform.

If one airline passenger refuses these humiliations, nothing will change. But if 20 or 30 passengers per flight refuse, and demand to be searched by a real cop, not a rent-a-cop with a chip on his shoulder and a 3rd grade education, things will change.

Thursday is the busiest travel day of the year. If on that day, ten percent of all travelers refuse to go through carcinogenic scanning, and refuse to let TSA personnel fondle them, and request a law enforcement officer instead, this policy will reverse course quickly.