“It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once.” — David Hume
One candidate for the US Congress from Georgia, Bob Johnson, recently said that he would rather see another terrorist attack than have Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening at airports.
“Now this is going to sound outrageous, I’d rather see another terrorist attack, truly I would, than to give up my liberty as an American citizen,… Give me liberty or give me death. Isn’t that what Patrick Henry said at the founding of our republic?” he stated, according to a video.
He went on to criticize the TSA for “indoctrinating generations of Americans to walk through a line and be prodded and probed by uniform personnel, agents of the government, like sheep.” Later he apologized for the comment, however he continued to reiterate his passionate criticism of the TSA. Upon later reflection Johnson stated, “As a Constitutional conservative, it angers me that we are giving up our liberty to the bureaucratic TSA and spying on our own people in the name of false security and that has to stop.” Johnson isn’t the only one to see the TSA as either ineffective, abusive, and worse.
Responding to critics, one TSA spokeswoman cried, “Perhaps the next time [you] and [your] family fly out of a New York-area airport to a fun vacation spot, [you’ll] look out the car window at the New York skyline minus the Twin Towers and remember some of the true facts about TSA and why it exists,” – Lisa Farbstein.
With embarrassing disapproval ratings; criticism and anger over the tedious and invasive TSA screening continues to grow. It is easy to wonder if or whenever the US officials will possibly tire of playing the September 11th card, whenever they want to justify any current, or further, intrusions into the lives of innocent civilians.
The truth is that you are more likely to die in a car crash, be killed by a police officer, die from multiple bee stings, be hit by lightning, or suffer terminal injury from a myriad of other events than you are of being killed by a terrorist. In other words, you are as likely to be killed by your own inanimate furniture than you are to be killed by terrorism. There have also been legitimate questions and concerns over whether or not the aggressive TSA screening methods are even in fact effective at preventing terrorism and achieving their goals whatsoever.
The TSA isn’t excitedly forthcoming with stats and other comprehensive data on how many terrorist plots they’ve supposedly sullied. Granted, they do catch the occasional illegal firearm, suspicious or fraudulent travel document, and a myriad of other victimless offenses, and perhaps stop the occasional nut-job. However, is the daily harassment of mostly innocent citizens justified? The TSA wastes over $1 billion per year in this ghost-chase.
“The police state in this country is growing out of control,… One of the ultimate embodiments of this is the TSA that gropes and grabs our children, our seniors, and our loved ones and neighbors with disabilities. The TSA does all of this while doing nothing to keep us safe.” – former congressman Ron Paul
According to a survey conducted by the US Travel Association, 2 out of 5 (40%) travelers are in favor of boycotting airports and invasive checkpoints, and are instead opting in favor of the train, or the automobile. As the TSA continue to expand their reach to highways, trains, and other areas, the options become increasingly limited for those who can’t afford to opt for private travel methods. If the strenuous airport screening methods were reduced, more citizens would travel; contributing to tourism and the economy.
According to data from 2010 from the Government Accountability Office, the TSA behavioral detection program, Screening Of Passengers by Observational Techniques (SPOTS), costs more than $200 million per year. Perhaps with more of a focus on investigative and substance oriented operations, instead of the broad phishing expeditions, there would be more supportive, tangible and meaningful results from all that has been invested into this “security” charade.
With all the money and man power behind the TSA, it’s surprising that some have even managed to evade the screening and smuggle through items which have been deemed “prohibited” or in one particular case, where they create a weapon using materials purchased after going through airport security.
One man in Tennessee successfully managed to build a firing gun with items that he had purchased at the airport after going through security. Perhaps smuggling items through the TSA screening show that it isn’t the legitimate worry that it’s presented as. Evan Booth managed to create the gun using items like a hairdryer, lithium battery, and body spray. He titled his creation BLUNDERBUSiness. He insists that current TSA screening methods are more like “security theater,” and offers passengers a false sense of security, rather than being in any way effectual.
Booth insists that the body scanners violate travelers’ privacy, as many others have reiterated and continue to do so. Another man claims to have beaten the body scanners by placing contraband along the side of his body. In his own YouTube video (which went viral shortly after) he insists that if you place a metal object (knife, gun, box cutter) so that it is along the side of your body, it will appear to be part of the background, it won’t show up properly on the body image scan.
The TSA have invested heavily in their pro-active conditioning efforts with security-themed cartoons, attempting to expose young children to, and help them establish, positive TSA regard. They’ve established an official kids website, equipped with a few activities: a coloring page (of a TSA deputy officer badge), word search, and crossword puzzle. The site also posts numerous photos of the agencies K9 dog team. Aside from the activities on the official site, there’s also the My First Cavity Search book for children.
Sadly, they aren’t above using colorful activity booklets to condition children into accepting that they don’t have rights. No doubt, they hope that the following generation blindly accepts to be sexually assaulted, have their privacy invaded, be treated disrespectfully, or have a number of other injustices perpetrated against them all in the name of safety. Innocence does not protect you from the aggressive hand of the state.
“The truth is that innocence is no protection at all against government agencies with the power to do what they think best — or against a government agent hoping for promotion and willing to do whatever he can get away with. Tell a businessman he has nothing to fear from the piles of forms he must file to prove he doesn’t discriminate. Tell a home owner he has nothing to fear when his property is seized by the government in a mistaken — or contrived — drug raid. Tell a taxpayer he has nothing to fear when the IRS drags him into a “taxpayer compliance” audit that eats up a week of his life, costs him thousands of dollars in accounting fees, and threatens him with unbearable penalties. It is the innocent who suffer most from government’s intrusions.” – Harry Browne
Several TSA agents have been arrested, or investigated, for a number of reasons over the years, leading some to believe that perhaps they are even looking to hire “questionable candidates”. Most recently, one TSA supervisor was busted for having sex with two underage girls in Dominican Republic. Vernon Lythcott, 48, was arrested for paying two 15-year-old girls $80 to have sex, according to a complaint filed in Brooklyn Federal Court. Currently, it is illegal for U.S. citizens to have sex with someone under the age of 16 or a prostitute under the age of 18 anywhere in the world. Lythcott regularly supervises security officers during screening procedures at Kennedy Airport.
The biggest issue remains the conditioning of travelers to accept highly invasive security checkpoints, and accept a reduction of freedom in the name of safety. The truth is: the TSA is likely not making many people safer, but it is making people more likely to tolerate unacceptable behavior from those in authority.