Friday, November 19, 2010

Further Thoughts on the TSA

Just a followup to the last post. A large number of people in the U.S. are apparently as upset about our giving up rights and freedom as I am. Several internet groups have sprung up that are lobbying Congress and the White House to introduce a little sanity back into airline security. Also, 18 airports so far have kicked out the TSA and put into place their own private security. I am not certain how much effect this will have on the situation since the private groups still have to go by TSA regulations. Perhaps there is enough wiggle room in the wording of the documentation that the private groups can return to a more sane approach. With any luck enough airports will opt out of the TSA that the government security group will lose money and disband.

One thing I expected but still can't understand is that when challenged about this mess the supporters of it simply say "Don't you remember September 11th?". Yes I do remember it and I fully support a comprehensive security upgrade for all aspects of our infrastructure that could be attacked. As a society that has prided itself on defending personal liberty I also believe the litmus test for any changes in security has to ask the most important question, "In what ways can we defend our society from these nuts without giving up our freedoms and making our society more repressive than those we are fighting." In other words we should not give in to our fears and give our freedoms up to a small minority in our country who are using this as a pretext to gain more power over the citizens of this great nation.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What Are We Turning Into In The U.S. ??

I don't normally pontificate on political type matters but this entire TSA "enhanced patdown" thing at the airports has really gotten to me. I had not flown in years until this summer. Frankly I thought that having to take off my shoes was silly and demeaning but it is nothing compared to what some people are currently being subjected to. The nude scanners and intensive frisks violate some of our most basic human rights. Who decided to take this Draconian approach at airports? Our illustrious political body, with a little help from judicial bureaucrats. Please allow me to point out something about this extreme form of keeping us "safe":

Any person with a little ingenuity could make a component type of bomb that would easily pass through both nude scanners and frisking. Simply break the parts down into small pieces and hide them inside common items in take-on luggage and on your person. Disguise wires and minimize the use of wire and metal parts. Once on the plane, put the parts together. This is not brain surgery, folks, and it is not a task beyond the skills of a bright teenager. Why haven't we seen this so far? We have some really stupid terrorists out there. These frisks and nude scanners might catch people like them but these approaches will not deter a talented bomber with a death wish.

So what do we get for our money with these scanners and frisks? We pay more for our tickets, we get to stand in longer lines, and we don't have to worry about people with an average I.Q. of a doughnut smuggling onboard submachine guns or sticks of dynamite taped together with "have a nice day" stickers plastered on them. Since people are opting out of flying and are driving on trips now due to all of the hassles the gas prices are skyrocketing. This should make the oil companies, all of whom have the same politicians who are vigorously pushing for this garbage in their pockets, very happy. Hmmm... If I were a conspiracy oriented person I would be thinking that perhaps the politicians are doing this as a sneaky way to jack up the gas prices for their oil company pals.

Why are we allowing our country to be turned into a nation that may soon make the Nazis look downright liberal by comparison? When did we lose our sense of liberty, justice, and decency, and let people rule our lives who are bullying thugs? Why do we so blithely give away our freedoms for the fictitious promise of flight safety. Where do we draw the line? Nude screening by walking down an aisle in front of other passengers? Forced body cavity searches? Having to provide documentation of your ethnic purity before boarding? Giving up freedoms is a very slippery slope once you start.