Sunday, November 21, 2010

From TSA to T&A - The Right to NOT be Groped!

In light of this bullshit with the TSA, I thought it might be appropriate to re-post my comments from this summer- I went off on a mini rant regarding the Patriot Act and airport security following the September 11th attacks. And, at the risk of sounding like a crazy person, or worse, a "libertarian" TPer, I'm probably going to go off on a mini-rant right now, because I've had a ton of sugar from Poptart World and I should be sleeping. (Factual, well though out rant to follow later at some point when I'm not in an altered state of mind...)

This is where you see my "left libertarian" side come out - if you feel the need to go through excessive "security" measures and have your every move tracked in the name of "fighting terrorism" to feel safe, then go right ahead. That's your business.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

I can't say that I'm comfortable with losing civil rights and privacy in favor of allowing the government to see what I'm reading today, or watch my IMs or phone calls because I've had a copy of a shorter version of the Anarchist Cookbook "hidden" on one of my laptops [deleting this part, because it's irrelevant right now & takes up space] even if I have no plans whatsoever to ever try anything in it (except picking an old Masterlock, because I totally forgot the combo ^^") and I've said that many times now. (In fact, friends and I used to purposely start throwing in trigger words and make up the most random conversations just to mess with anyone who could be reading our messages. It's even more amusing on the phone, because of random wiretapping... You never know. Yay for instilling paranoia in the people!!!) And some new security rules are just...???. Like having to take off flip-flops at the airport. It's all out there in the open, what the hell else is there to see? A microchip implanted in the bottom of someone's foot??? Trust me, if someone were trying to sneak a bomb onto a plane in their flip-flops, 1. they're about as bright as a burnt out light-bulb, and 2. you'd probably notice, unless you were too. A knife, maybe, but there's really only so much you can do with a knife that small... I wouldn't really consider them to be a threat. Don't get me wrong here, safety is absolutely a priority, right down there at the base of Maslow's hierarchy, between sleep and friendship... It's just that sometimes you really have to wonder how effective these things are, and just how far we have to go to stop feeling so scared about everything. What will it take for us to feel secure as a people? An authoritarian nanny-state (which is NOT true socialism, no matter how much the ignoramuses think it is [rolls eyes] sorry, in a combative mood after dealing with Murphy's Law for an entire day.) where we're told how to feel in the morning? I don't think so. I have a big problem with laws that are meant to target criminal behavior but affect more innocent people than "guilty." I've been searching high and low for evidence that the Patriot Act has actually been effective. I haven't found any, friends haven't found any, because there apparently really isn't any... Why our government officials felt a need to renew this bullshit, well who really knows. Other countries have passed laws to intentionally block the Act from affecting their own citizens' civil rights and privacy - that's how broad this is. There are necessary safety rules, and then there are paranoid delusions-- and sometimes I really wonder if we too often cross that line...

 So. All of that being said-- I came across a great article in the Trentonian Times, about how these new body scanners are a complete invasion of our privacy and our rights, and serve no real purpose except to humiliate us, etc. (Ok, so maybe I'm paraphrasing a bit...) It was nice, until I saw the comments- what a nightmare! Apparently there are in fact people who praise these scanners as the greatest thing to happen to airport security, because it makes them feel safe. I'm sorry, but no. I drew the line at taking off my fucking flip-flops that were supposedly carrying knives, or so I was told, and giving up a completely full, UNOPENED bottle of apple juice I had just purchased and forgotten about (because I do that). I was pissed off about the waste of perfectly good juice, and the money I had spent on it, and the fact that I was pretty freakin' thirsty and already running late and wouldn't have time to down the bottle right there, but whatever, I could deal with that. I am NOT giving anyone permission to molest me just so that you feel safe on a giant metal object careening through the sky. And my refusal does NOT give you permission to sue me or any other person who does not want to be sexually assaulted on their way to Disney World, if something should actually go wrong. A choice to fly? You know there are a lot of big open spaces between those things we call countries, right? And they're full of dihydrogen monoxide? Which kills people who can't swim 3,000 miles at a time? How the fuck, then, do you expect us to get overseas? Boat? Good luck finding one nowadays. Takes 3 days and 3 times the money of a plane ticket to get anywhere-- and despite what they tell you, those days in between are rarely "fun" once you realize that guy at the bar has been stalking you and plans to kill you in your bed-closet. My father travels often for work, all over the country, all over the world. What do you propose he do? All of the people from school who were planning to study abroad - tough luck? To the rape victims, to those of us who were abused and don't like to be touched by strangers- get over it, you're going to be groped whether you like it or not?? Yea, great, thanks. So glad you're concerned about our well-being. Never mind the fact that it's a trigger, and will probably cause us to collapse in a panic or fit of self-loathing depression, leading us to yet another suicide attempt. No, go right ahead. Grope away.

And Mr. President-- I'm especially pissed off that you're supporting this nonsense. If you're going to NOT be Bush, then dude, you have to actually NOT be Bush-like. We said we hated these things before. Why should now be any different? I understand that some people (oh yea, I'm using that phrase) feel that this is necessary, but let's be frank- it's not, and you know it. You wanted bipartisanship-- well, on this, you're certainly going to get it. But you're not going to like the results. This is a massive violation of our rights not to be publicly groped by government officials. Where is that in the Constitution? 4th Amendment- Unreasonable Search. Yes, I'm saying that patting down a 5 year old because you think she has a bomb hidden in her Dora the Explorer panties is pretty damn unreasonable. And I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that yes, taking pictures of her nude body is pretty damn illegal, too. You're no Sally Mann. TSA, if I'm not horribly mistaken, I'm pretty sure you're required to have probable cause. So how about the guy with a violent criminal record? Not that I'm judging him, because he's repaid his "debt to society"and is probably now trying to be a very nice person and I don't want to take that away from him, but seriously? Between little Sally, or Tom (warning - I kind of think this borders on child pr0n, honestly. TSA strip search of a CHILD-- way to scar him for life, man!), and Jack the Ripper, don't you think that perhaps you're targeting the wrong person? Statistics, people!

You, TSA, fucked up with the racial profiling thing, and the religious profiling thing. That wasn't cool. So now you think it's fair if you just sexually abuse everyone? I don't think so. "The terrorists have won." Exactly. Whether they exist or not is irrelevant, because they have you in a corner shitting your pants every time some hack job with a couple of wires shows up claiming to be a terrorist mastermind hell bent on destroying the planet or whatever it is they're trying to do (and failing so horribly). So now we, the public, must choose - be subjected to potentially harmful xray photographs of ourselves naked, for anyone to see, or be publicly molested? (Unless you set off the scanners, because then you get molested anyway. Oh, but you get another choice! Aren't we lucky? Groped in public, or we can go find somewhere private and secluded...) Or, if we're brave enough, refuse completely and get slapped with a $10,000 fine and possible prison sentence. Hmm, decisions, decisions...

And while we're on the subject of invasive procedures, let's go with another little detail they forgot to mention - who's up for a prostate exam/anal weapons check? Anyone? C'mon, we'll kill two birds with one finger! (Or two, if you'd like... No judgment here!) By the way, who the hell are they hiring to do these "checks?" Because, I'm thinking here, if someone were you know, a sexual predator, they would probably want this job, where they are legally required to fondle people.Why are we not concerned about this??

Can I just say something? Of course I can, it's my blog. We have been dehumanized, humiliated, abused, deluded, lied to, and ignored far enough in this country, by too many. I'm all for National Opt-Out Day. Sounds like fun. (Well, not exactly. Don't touch me. I will hurt you if you touch me, and I don't like to hurt people.) I feel bad for the people who might be held up because of it, but hey, no lines on the scanners, right? Have fun being a (forced) exhibitionist for a day. I'll pass, thanks. Can I trade in my frequent flier miles for skipping this whole ordeal? I'll even get your stupid credit card, Continental!

And on another note, I REALLY want to talk about the Harry Potter movie & how it totally plays into this, because it soo does...

1 comment:

Storyteller Knight said...

Here's what gets me. The chances of something bad happening to you when flying- whether it be a mechanical failure or a terrorist plot- are tiny. Like, you-have-a better-chance-of-winning-the-lottery tiny. I fly a fair amount- making at least two round trips a year. Nothing bad has ever happened to me. My dad used to fly a ton- at least a round trip a week. Nothing bad has ever happened to him. Despite flying the day of the shoe bombing incident and the day the liquid bombing occured, my most dangerous flying related incident was probably when a piece of our airplane fell off midflight (except we weren't actually on the airplane- we were slated to be on it for the return trip but got delayed for 48 hours due to repairs. And, it wasn't even an important piece).

Here is something TSA really needs to consider: it is more likely that the person they are screening is a victim of rape or abuse than a terrorist. It is more likely that these enhanced techniques are going to trigger someone than catch a terrorist. It is more likely that a person being screened has a medical condition that these patdowns and/or body scanners could irritate than catch a terrorist. And of the three major terrorist plane-blowing-up-plots since 9/11(shoe, liquids and underwear) only 1 of 3 have been stopped before getting on the airplane. There are better ways to do this and instituting new screening procedures based on the last terrorist plot instead of a future one is not one of them.

~Storyteller Knight