The Transportation “Security” Administration is a Fucking Joke

One of the most go-to answers for why U.S. citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights are violated is that it is in the interest of national security. For those who don’t know, the Fourth Amendment states:

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.

Apparently, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has interpreted this provision of our Constitution to mean that it is acceptable for them to force a 95 year old woman, with cancer, in a wheelchair, to remove her adult diaper in order to pass through security.  I may be alone, but I happen to be of the opinion that if the terrorists are putting explosives in this woman’s Depends, we might as well just let it lie- they’ve won.

But on a more serious note, this situation clearly illustrates the extent of the discretion that we have not only permitted, but encouraged to be placed in the hands of the TSA. The TSA has stood behind the actions of its officers, saying that in regard to this incident, they “acted professionally and according to proper procedure.” Not only have our representatives gone along with such actions in the past, to a large extent they have applauded them. Hell, who could possibly come out against National Security?

“National Security” is doublespeak. It’s a clever little term used to make it sting a bit less when our rights are infringed upon. We don’t really increase the security of the country by letting the TSA violate our constitutional rights. We have seen time and time again that we are fighting an illusive, intelligent enemy. If we make people start taking their shoes off, they put the bombs in their underwear. If we install machines that sniff for explosives, they bring the ingredients and make the bombs in the bathrooms. If we restrict liquids, they set off bombs in baggage claim.  We seem to only think reactively about security, while our enemy thinks only proactively. This is stupid, on our part.

And seriously people, what makes you think the terrorists share our fixation with airplanes? There is no limit to the number of places where Americans gather en masse that are considered just as viable of targets. The Fort Hood and Pentagon shootings have proven that. All a terrorist has to do is get a visa and come to America (assuming they’re not already an American resident/citizen) and not bring any weapons with them on the trip (whatever they might bring is already here anyway). Lucky for them we have yet to create a Department of Thought Crime, though we seem to be getting closer to doing so every day.

Over the last ten years, I have heard little other than praise for the lengths to which the TSA has gone to protect our safety, and yet the whole time I find myself curious as to how exactly they have been able to gauge their great successes. We don’t hear about people who are stopped at these TSA checkpoints who were actually trying to get a bomb or a weapon onboard a plane. What we do hear about is people who have gotten through security, and then are taken down by passengers on the plane. In fact, so far, the two most proven counter-terrorist devices on airliners are passenger reaction and lockable cockpit doors.

Why do we even bother with intrusive security when anybody who cares to can gain access to “secure” areas of an airport. I’ll tell you why. It’s a show. The whole thing is an attempt to prove to the American people that the government is capable of defending against a threat that cannot really be defended against. Unfortunately, the threat against which our government purports to protect us is as difficult to pin down as mustard gas, and in our attempts to resist it we only increase our exposure. That’s not to mention that when we increase security, and particularly when we allow such security to encroach upon our freedoms as Americans, the terrorists win.

What do you think they’re trying to do when they blow up a building, or hijack an airplane? Do you really think that their ultimate goal is to kill a hundred, even a few thousand of the over 300 million American people? Would you consider that an effective way to topple an empire such as ours? They are trying to destroy our nation by eroding and eventually eliminating the freedoms that we stand for. Like the soviets during the cold war, they realize that the most effective strategy is one that causes us to fear and suspect each other. Their methods are terroristic because they know that they stand no chance of defeating us in physical warfare. When we succumb to their reverse-psychological terror tactics, and restrict our right to live free from unreasonable searches, we are in essence telling them that what they are doing is working.

So what to do? Get mad! Nothing is going to change while you’re sitting on your ass reading my incoherent ramblings. The TSA isn’t going to just give up the power that has been vested in it. Your congressmen aren’t going to say anything that might suggest that they’re opposed to an agency that falls into the “National Security” category unless they think their jobs are on the line over it. Stop buying into the idea that “National Security” is such a bulletproof excuse for anything. Talk to people about these issues, and talk particularly loudly about them in airports. If you’re feeling ballsy, tell the TSA exactly how you feel. We do supposedly have a freedom of speech in this country, and if the Westboro church is allowed to say what they want you should be able to as well.

If you loudly vocalize your dissent the TSA might detain you, or search you more thoroughly, but if you don’t do anything wrong they can’t do anything to you other than that. If they do something that harms you physically, mentally, or financially, sue them. If they detain you for speaking out, tell people how unreasonable that is. It will only give credence to the fact that theirs is not an administration of security, but one of the illusion of power and control. Their power is what we give them. Their control is what we allow. Think of it like this- if speaking out does nothing else, it will at least get them to think twice before messing with your grandma’s adult diapers. At this point, I count that as a win.

Painfully. Slow. Progress.

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About Painfully. Slow. Progress.

I am a secular humanist, an independent progressive, and a law student currently earning both my J.D. and LL.M. in democratic governance and the rule of law. More importantly, I consider myself to be a student of anything and everything. I started this blog in hopes of generating an in-depth and practical discussion of American politics, culture, religion, and law. Hopefully it will serve to get people really thinking, including me. View all posts by Painfully. Slow. Progress.

One response to “The Transportation “Security” Administration is a Fucking Joke

  • Joe Henn

    The TSA is a damn dog & pony show that does nothing! Another government run joke! My 70 yr old mother traveling to florida gets body searched….while 5 others who would “fit a terrorist profile” just get shoved along the line!

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