Thursday, November 18, 2010

Why we should resist the TSA's "security theater"

Ed Stetzer has weighed in on the latest insanity coming from the TSA. He gives four reasons why we should resist the TSA's new body scans and pat downs.

1. It is wrong.

Yes, I will say it that bluntly. It is wrong to take naked pictures of people as a requirement for them to travel across a free country. And, it is wrong to grope their genitals as a requirement of travel.

Now, honestly, I don't care if they want to look at my lumpy physique all day. In one sense, you would have to consider that a painful sacrifice on the TSA agent's part.

But, I have a wife and three daughters. I teach my children that only their parents or their doctor should see or touch certain places on their bodies. And, I do not think I should add, "Oh, and strangers in the airport."

The TSA has already backed down on groping children under 12. (This video is an example of why this change was made.) But, does that mean that at 13 it is OK for a man alone behind a screen to see naked pictures of my daughter. And, let's not forget how graphic these pictures are. (You can see that many places on the web so I won't link that here-- they are too graphic.)

But, you say, "it is a stranger and you do not see that person." Well, I do not want strangers to see my wife naked. Simply put, that is unacceptable.

The government promises they won't keep the pictures, and (last I saw) they have a little paper sign on the door to the room where they see them. The sign says you can't bring in your cell phone camera. Great idea-- but I wonder how long it will be until some famous movie star ends up on the Internet.

2. It doesn't work.

The TSA has been at work for nine years and has caught a grand total of zero terrorists. The widespread view is that this is simply "security theater." It is a show that won't make a difference.

At some point, you have to recognize that you simply cannot continue the ratcheting up of privacy invasion. Yes, you can take naked pictures and grope people's genitals, but that won't stop a determined terrorist. For example, it is questionable if it would have stopped the underwear bomber and it certainly would not have stopped the Saudi assassin who put explosives in his rectum.

So, if you say we have to be sure to catch every possible person at this check point, you need to start searching up people's rectum. That may seem ridiculous, but I bet naked pictures and genital gropes seemed ridiculous in early October.

What is needed is a system more like the Israeli one-- but politicians lack the political will to do so.

3. It gives government too much power.

Our founders always were concerned that the government not have too much power. They put checks and balances on the government because the natural tendency of government is to grow more, not less, intrusive. And, that is exactly what has happened with the TSA.

For example, the House of Representatives specifically voted to not allow the TSA to use virtual strip searchers as their primary means of security (the Senate never voted). Yet, here they are.

It is the right and responsibility of the people to stand up and demand change. I do not think that you should give up your rights in order to fly.

Now, I am aware of the legal issues involved. And, yes, you DO forfeit your Fourth Amendment rights as a condition of carriage, but that can change if people resist.

4. You should not have to give up naked pictures in order to go to work.

I wonder if you would keep working at Home Depot if they required you take naked pictures and have your genitals touched. Yet, millions of people fly for their job. And, that is exactly what this means for them.

Secretary Napolitano has said that you can choose other means of travel. Really? This week I have been in Dallas, Seattle, Oklahoma City, and Columbia. I have taken ten airline flights in the last ten days-- and they were for my work. Some of us have to fly. I could stay home, but I have talked to several flight attendants this week and they, by nature of their job, have to fly -- and they are mortified that the people they see every day get to see them naked.
Stetzer also offers three ways that we can resist responsibly:

1. Don't fly and tell your airline that you won't. Actually, there is a website with that very suggestion. Call the place where you were going and tell them why you are not coming.

2. Opt out of the virtual strip search machine. And, I would do that by telling the TSA agent (where others can hear), "I do not believe you should have naked picture of me in order to fly -- I opt out." Yes, you will have your genitals handled by a stranger, but I would complain about that as well -- with kindness since they are doing their job.

Now, I recognize that TSA Administrator John Pistole has said (of a forthcoming protest called "opt out day"): "On the eve of a major national holiday and less than one year after al Qaida's failed attack last Christmas Day, it is irresponsible for a group to suggest travelers opt out of the very screening that could prevent an attack using non-metallic explosives." (via) But, I do not think that people exercising their right to not be photographed naked is a threat to national security.

3. Call your Senator today. You can find a list of those on the committee here. I have already contacted my Senators and one on the committee that is meeting right now.

Let's not forget that they have already changed the policies once and public pressure can help them change again. However, the law of the land is what it is. If you choose to fly, you may have to give up naked pictures of you, your wife, and your children or you will have to explain to them that a stranger will touch them.

Read the entire article HERE.


Hockeyclimber said...

To quote an Israeli speaking about TSA procedures:

"You look for weapons. We look for terrorists."

Harley A. said...

Excerpt from an article I read – with which I whole-heartedly agree…

“But even though naked body scanners may not enhance air travel security, they do accomplish something far more intriguing: The successful completion of an experiment in human behavior. If you were to pose the question "Will people line up like cattle to be electronically undressed in front of government security officers?" The answer is now unequivocally YES!

Most people, it turns out, will simply do whatever they're told by government authorities, even if it means giving up their privacy or their freedoms. Almost anything can be sold to the public under the guise of "fighting terrorism" these days, including subjecting your body to what is essentially a low-radiation CT scan at the airport!”

Folks who don’t know should really find out the resolution and nature of the scans – you will be shocked.