The Obama administration, through the TSA, recently went live with full-body scanners (x-ray machines) and full-body pat downs. There has been much uproar regarding the invasiveness of these measures. There has also been so much discussion regarding the true effectiveness of our airport security measures. What has been lacking is any mainstream discussion of the real implications of this newest degradation of the Constitution & Bill of Rights.
There has been a steady degradation of the Bill of Rights by the federal government, and Presidential administrations virtually since they’re ratification. However, in the last 25 years and particularly since the World Trade Center Bombing, the acceleration has been extreme. This recent TSA full body scan procedure is another chink in that process.
When asked, many people state they are willing to give up some freedom for increased safety, and that this is in fact necessary. However, that assumes three things. First that we have much freedom to give up. Second, that there is any real security to be had. And, perhaps most importantly, that there is any end to the giving up of freedoms. When looking at the powers of the executive branch with executive orders, command of the military, and its unelected regulatory agencies, there is not really much freedom left in the United States. The fact that you may not feel violated, doesn’t mean you’re free.
All the security measures we’ve taken have not really increased our real security. Hijacker take over a plane with box cutters because passengers didn’t understand that they were doomed to die. Once passengers understand that hijackers are not going to land the plane, box cutters no longer are effective. Thus, the best measures against box cutters become, reinforced cock pit doors, and passenger education. Scanning each and every passenger each and every time for every possible implement is ridiculous and inherently doomed to failure. Thus, what does taking away my nail clippers accomplish? It doesn’t make anybody any safer. What it does do is encroach on my freedom.
Similarly with taking off shoes. While TSA is seizing my nail clippers, a guy tries to ignite a shoe bomb. So now each and every American must take off their shoes each and every time the go through a security gate. Any more shoe bombers? No. Does it mean we have now deterred shoe bombs? No. It only means that there was one guy with a shoe bomb, and now American citizens are subject to the demeaning and useless process of taking off their shoes over and over again.
What is the point, really? These are the types of techniques used in controlling prison populations. Subject and condition them to accept humiliating direction from their controllers. This most recent TSA screening measure is no different. The administration cannot possibly have any expectation that this will make us any safer. They can bet it will be another blow in the process of beating us into submission.
Bomb sniffing dogs are your best bomb detection method. This is how we clear mine fields, when the stakes are hard and real. Why don’t we employ the best detection method? Body scanners and mass pat downs are only effective against a narrow class of attacks. They are massively expensive. Why are we using the extremely expensive, less effective method?
There are so many vulnerabilities to terrorist attack, that the idea of the government restricting our freedom to protect us is an unending process. The question then becomes, What is the point?
Boiling a Frog. We’ve all heard of the boiling frog. The idea goes (I have not personally verified the scientific accuracy) that you can boil a frog to death, and have it not jump out of the pot, if you first set it in a pot of cold water. Then turn on the flame and increase the water temperature slowly, incrementally. The frog will adjust to each incremental increase, not noticing one degree difference at a time. However, when taken together the 212 individual degrees will not have been noticed, yet the frog is boiling just the same.
Another brick in the wall. The latest TSA measures are just another brick in the wall of the prison that the United States is becoming.
- “TSA S&M: All this airport groping doesn’t make anyone safer. But that may not be the point.” — http://nymag.com/news/politics/powergrid/69779/
- Slow boiled frog — http://www.snopes.com/critters/wild/frogboil.asp
- Majority agree on giving up rights for “safety” — http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=664_1263493736&c=1
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