Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Those Aren't Secret Weapons

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

So, I had a really great weekend spending time with Conservatives who support Sarah Palin in Chicago. I’ll be writing more about that in the coming days. But, I have to write about something that occurred before I even left Spokane.

There’s nothing like a personal experience to give you stronger opinion on a matter. So, with all the chatter about the increased use of the body scanner I was fairly certain that I would be one of the chosen to use that amazing technology. I must just have a dangerous look about me or something. So, off to the blasted machine I went. I stuck my hands on my head, in the type of impersonation of a moose that you’d do for some kid’s song, walked out of the thing and than was informed that there was a ping that had to be checked. The ping was apparently a zipper on my sweat shirt. So, thought I maybe they’ll just have me remove the sweatshirt. Nope, my zipper I guess gave probable cause that I may be concealing something and so, not only did I get the naked maker scanner treatment I also got a frontal pat down. My thought at the time, ‘yeah those aren’t secret weapons, those are my boobs.’

I actually felt bad for the TSA lady, she seemed like a nice middle aged woman, who’d rather be doing just about anything else than patting down some unknown person. My thought for her was ‘why aren’t you guys protesting against doing this to people?’ She kindly explained to me that it was probably my zipper but that she had to do the pat down, and I’m thinking ‘blame the zipper all you want, but the fact is you’re giving me a boob job because of a stupid governmental mandate.’

These are random checks; there is less than 50% chance that a terrorist concealing a secret weapon boob bomb would get caught, according to these methods. I really question their effectiveness. Its like doping in sports, the producers of the illegal performance enhancing drugs are already working on the next concealable type before the rule enforcers have figured out how to detect the current one. Terrorists have likely already figured out multiple ways of defeating the backscatter, meanwhile we have to discuss the necessity of molesting nuns.

As a mental health professional I must also register another concern. The kind of pat downs being used are most definitely akin to sexual molestation. We warn children all the time to not let strangers touch them, what the heck are they learning now? And another thing, what about kids and adults who have experienced sexual abuse/trauma in the past? I’ve not read anything addressing the reality of PTSD for instance and the stress inducement this kind of treatment could give rise to.

How many more freedoms are we going to endure being stripped away (and in this case, that’s a very accurate statement), under some false pretense of security? The freedom from unwarranted searches and seizures is one that is guaranteed in our Constitution. It’s right there in black and white, well yellowing paper. I’m far from the only one to find it all completely unreasonable. I have to pay the price for some lunatic terrorist’s actions. Oh and not only that, I have to pay the price for the governments incompetence. They are the ones who did not catch the flippin underwear bomber, so the answer is for them to take more power for themselves and leave us with less freedom. The body scanner and pat down procedure are a slow response to a government failure. They have to be seen doing something.

This idea that we all have to sacrifice our rights for security is the reason that freedom gets lost. And honestly doesn’t this let the terrorists win, when fear is in charge?

I’m not sure what the solution is. Some have proposed the idea of having airlines themselves be in charge of security. That way if people prefer the security of having a full pat down they can go with that airline, or if they’d rather have a series of questions they could go with another airline. We should certainly learn from successful operations like they have in Israel for instance. But, this solution thrown out there, with little testing or veracity is just not a viable one.

This is all in direct violation of the IV Amendment to our Constitution. I personally have not done anything that could give probable cause that I’m a terrorist. And certainly the elderly in their walkers, and children who need leg braces to walk have little probable cause. A tyranny of security is still a tyranny.

1 comment:

Durfee said...

I think you have given probable cause that you are a terrorist. After all you are at least sympathetic with the TEA party and we all know that they are terrorists. You're probably on all kinds of watch lists. :)
Seriously, I agree that this is a violation of our rights. If we continue to give up our rights for a false sense of security we will soon be left with neither security nor liberty. I've thought about what I would do in your circumstance, but I'm not sure if I would submit to the screening or refuse. I guess I won't fly for a while until I can figure out what my response would be.