Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TSA Pats Down Six Year Old Girl

I was going to write out a very long essay explaining why I think these TSA searches are demeaning, illegal and unconstitutional. Many of the TSA's processes need to be stopped for good.  But honestly I  (a) don't have the time, (b) am far too angry having watched that smirking saurian Napolitano defend the practice on MSNBC's Morning Joe and (c) think that this video and the parent's statements tell the truth of what all this is about far more than I ever could hope to do.

“Nobody likes to see those kinds of things, in we doing that even though it was done professionally according to the protocols,” Napolitano said. “But, what TSA is doing is reexamining those protocols all the time. It’s all in relation to threat – what is the threat? And one of the things we do see is if you categorically remove a group from any type of screening, well those who seek to do us harm will then exploit that group. So you have to be very careful on how you do it.”

BS!!!! This is a big heaping pile of BS. And it stinks.

The whole issue with the 9-11 attacks and attempted attacks since then is that they have fundamentally and perhaps permanently altered our ideas about guilt and innocence and which is more important to find. Additionally they have tragically reduced people's interest in freedom and increased their interest in so-called security. This goes far beyond left and right. It's about who has interest in freedom and who does not.
To live anywhere is to accept risk. This week, somewhere in this country a mother is abusing her children. Some young man is going to shoot some other young man. A woman will be raped. Someone will drive drunk. Someone will get into a fist fight at a bar. Someone is abusing their spouse or planning to have them bumped off for the insurance money. As I am writing this some nut could come shoot up the place. Someone is turning a blind eye to worker safety in favor of profit. Someone is planning what she thinks will be the perfect embezzlement. Someone is robbing a liquor store and shooting the owners. And so on.

Generally speaking, we don't allow the police to fan out and break into people's homes they THINK will commit those crimes and search for evidence. With a few exceptions, we don't allow police to search people walking down the street just because. And we certainly don't base our justice system or everyday rules in society on the theory that it is better that 10,000 innocent people have their rights violated than let one guilty man go free. The government can not provide 100% security. But it can strip you of your rights.

Eventually, some determined terrorist will hide a bomb in his or her body cavities. What then?
Does this mean every other citizen, regardless of age, gender, or personal beliefs about privacy must then submit to public cavity searches?  Free prostate exam/pap smear with every 5000 miles flown??
This is ridiculous. The TSA should be severely limited in these sorts of searches. I would much rather see a honest debate about current immigration policies- i.e. is it really a good idea to allow immigration from countries we are currently bombing? The example of Faisal Shahzad would seem to indicate that maybe, just maybe it might not be. You can not invade the world and then invite the people you've invaded to come to your country. Some might hold grudges. Some hail from places where grudge holding is damn near a statutory requirement of citizenship.
If that girl in the video had been my kin I don't think I could have tolerated that.
The TSA needs to be forced to stop these searches. I don't care about the possibility of attack. There are some rights which are simply fundamental. If we are putting our hands down the pants of six year olds, it is WAY PAST time to reject this entire paradigm.

What do you think? Is the TSA doing the best it can, or is this a power grab by the exact sort of people who shouldn't have this sort of power? Should children be exempt from these searches? Are you okay with strangers feeling on you in public? How do we tell children don't let anyone touch you in certain places...except for the TSA agents, their police backups, etc.
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