Sunday, November 21, 2010

Who is the TSA trying to prevent from flying?

From UMKC CR chair, Rachael Herndon

As Thanksgiving approaches, the holiday season doesn't seem to be good for anyone as the daily news headlines continue to demonstrate the practices of the Transportation Security Authority (or Theatrical Security Agents...Taking Scissors Away...more appropriate acronym possibilities from Reason at People want to travel and see their families, but as Thanksgiving is in less than 5 days, it will be interesting to see how much travel drops as the invasive searches proceed. How many people would rather stay home than be submitted to an enhanced pat down, a strip search, or a body scan? I can't wait to find out how much the government's practices are further hurting the airline industry - perhaps another blog post. How far will the government go to realize their interference doesn't help industry?

There are so many questions going through my head as I read the news or glance through my Facebook newsfeed.

Would you fly under these conditions? I wouldn't. I already take extensive measures and make wardrobe changes before flying, just to ensure that I won't be pulled aside or my trip will be held up. Hilary Clinton avoids it too. "Democrats also acknowledged the difficulty of the issue. Asked if she would submit to an enhanced pat-down, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the CBS program "Face the Nation": "Not if I could avoid it. No, I mean, who would?"" If Clinton would avoid it, I wonder if Obama would too.

That same article outlines that the TSA has "intelligence" that says there should be heightened security. The TSA chief says that the measures are completely necessary and that the practices must be continued in order to protect innocent travelers. The government says it needs to protect travelers from potential dangers that may occur when traveling. However, are the lengths that they are going to now completely necessary? The Obama Administration seems to think so.

But really, how can the government say that they are trying to stay a "step ahead of terrorists", as said in the video, as well as "responding to intelligence"? That's not even close to the same thing. But, are travelers so innocent to not know that there is ALWAYS a risk in traveling? How stupid does the government think we are? Do we no longer have the liberty to assess the risk for ourselves?

Why is our safety so vital to the government that they cannot allow us to assess the risk for ourselves? They do in other aspects of our lives. If there is such a great risk, why isn't the media telling us what it is? Who is threatening us? Expose the plans, spoil their plan. It seems to me that the best way to prevent an attack is to leak the intelligence to the public so that they do not put themselves in such situations, instead of the government choosing for us. The government needs to be more transparent with the public. Transparency and public knowledge is what provides real safety.

Not to give them any ideas, but we choose to get in cars daily, knowing that there is a great risk of getting into an accident. At what point will the government stop their intrusions for the sake of our alleged safety? Soon, will there be daily assessments of our cars? Will there be automobile spot checks? With more deaths in car accidents than air planes yearly, why haven't they done this, if they so adamantly feel the need to protect us at all costs, especially the cost of our individual liberties? Why does this all look like a game the government enjoys playing to me?

"Clearly, it's invasive; it's not comfortable," John Pistole said of the pat-downs in an interview Sunday. Invasive? Just invasive? Young children are being strip searched in the middle of airports. Travelers are being covered in their own urine as agents improperly handle their medical equipment.

Other lawmakers are taking notice of how invasive the "precautions" are. "Groping people at the airport doesn't solve our problem," says Congressman Ron Paul. The Texas Republican last week introduced a bill forbidding airport security agents from actions that would be illegal if undertaken by a private citizen. I'm glad that some lawmakers are taking notice of these gross violations of our individual rights and I hope that all of our lawmakers get on board with stopping these intrusions.

Beyond that, if a traveler refuses the scan, they are fined profusely. Why fined? Why can't they just be denied from flying? Is that the only way that they can figure that they pay for this enhanced security that we allegedly need? The questions going through my head just keep coming.

If you are incredibly angry about this issue, I strongly encourage you to get off your computer and have your voice heard. There will be a protest at MCI (or KCI, as most of us call it) on the National Opt-Out Day. Join concerned people. There are several Facebook events for the protest and several groups will be there, including KU Young American's for Liberty and the Liberty Restoration Project. Be sure that you read the rules. Maybe you'll see a UMKC CR there.

I think this is all ridiculous. The last question is... if we lose our liberty and privacy, do we lose it forever? I hope not. I don't know what Obama was wanting us to hope for, but I hope for freedom.

Stay home and don't fly. Be angry. Write the newspaper, write the airlines, write a blog. The government has gone too far...again. We've all got to do something, because the continued and escalating intrusions into every aspect of our lives has got to stop.

What's my call to arms? Transparency. Choice. Freedom.

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