Skip to comments.The Third Option
Posted on 11/25/2010 2:59:04 AM PST by Scanian
Let's acknowledge that when it comes to flying, we're all willing to make a few compromises in the interests of safety. We're willing to subject ourselves to some minor inconvenience if other passengers do the same. To be honest, we'd prefer that every stranger who gets on a plane with us go through the most stringent of tests - body scans, pat downs, strip searches and waterboarding, topped off by an interview with Jack Bauer. But unfortunately, these strangers have the right to expect the same of us. Therein lies the dilemma. How do we fashion a security system that satisfies the sensibilities of a very diverse populace, while ensuring fairness to all? The TSA's answer is to offer essentially a Morton's Fork. Behind door number one is the full-body scan and behind door number two is the pat down. Take your pick. That's like offering death by hanging or death by firing squad. Both are equally unacceptable. And the TSA's choices are equally humiliating depending again on your sensibilities. I, for one, have had the pat down and quite frankly was only mildly uncomfortable with the procedure. But I can see that others might feel differently and I would probably not care to have my wife or daughter undergo this treatment. Others object to the full body scan as a major intrusion on our privacy. After all, the purchase of what other product or service requires that we agree to basically strip down in front of strangers? It's a ridiculous notion and Americans are waking up to the absurdity of it all. But again, if that's the choice some of my fellow passengers want to make, more power to them.
The problem is that there is at least one other option that we're not being offered, and that's to be profiled. I understand that certain people believe that profiling is un-American, not consistent with our principle of equal treatment under the law. So be it. Don't choose to be profiled. Choose one of the other options. But I want to be profiled. I want my fellow passengers to know that I'm simply interested in getting from point A to point B, and not a threat to end their lives. So give me the option to be profiled. Look at all the information you have about me - nationality, ethnicity, religion, sex, age, destination, prior travels and behavior. Ask me questions about my travel plans. Judge the sincerity and veracity of my responses. Add it all up and then decide whether I'm a potential threat to other passengers and therefore should undergo a more thorough check. If my profile is statistically inconsistent with a terror threat, then send me through the non-invasive metal detector and on my way. In practice, this can be implemented very easily. When you buy a plane ticket, you select one of three security options 1) Full body scan 2) Pat down or 3) Profiling. Your ticket is issued with your selected option clearly visible and you're treated by security appropriately.
We're Americans and we expect options. When it comes to travel security, we want a third option - Opt-In Profiling. When profiling is an individual choice instead of a TSA policy, it becomes much more acceptable and an option that many travelers would select over the alternatives.
That would empower individuals. Unacceptable in a communist police stae.
The elites who rule us fly private planes or have exemptions to invasive preflight searches should they fly on a public airline. Corporate executives, wealthy individuals, celebrities, media moguls, and senior government officials do not fly with the public or use public transportation. They are whisked around urban areas in private limos that take them to the steps of a private jet without ever having their bodies or luggage searched and scanned. The President, cabinet secretaries, the House Speaker, senior military officers have immediate access to military transportation which allows them to bypass the intrusive searches on the public. To them, this is no big deal.
We now have a nobility in this country that collects privileges while insulating itself from the rough edges of power wielded by the state they control. The elites live lives of luxury the monarchs of Europe in 1776 could not conceive of while they control the daily lives of the public as tightly as any lord or baron of the 18th century. Most do not understand the tea party because they are even more removed from the lives of the ordinary citizen than the noble who lived in a walled castle centuries ago. Those who are more aware of the tea party movement are using their power to crush it because they recognize the threat to their lifestyles if government became subservient to the people. They benefit from the big bureaucratic corporate state that doles out favors and privileges to those at the top of the elite establishment as effectively and arbitrarily as a monarch or dictator.
Polls indicate that about 70% of the public is okay with the searches. This is disturbing in that it demonstrates a majority of citizens are so far removed from the principles on which the country was established they will gladly give up their constitutionally protected liberties for the illusion of protection against a perceived threat the government should be combatting by other means. The traveling public is more likely to be killed in an auto accident on the way to an airport by an illegal immigrant driving inebriated and without a driver’s license than they are to be blown up by a terrorist while flying. The same public willingly submits to an unconstitutional and invasive search at the airport by a government that has no intention of providing them any protection against the more real threat posed by the millions of illegals streaming across the border every year.
For the 30% of us who understand the threat from terrorism, the threat from illegal immigration, and the threat of big government these are scary times. If over 2/3 of our fellow citizens can willingly embrace arbitrary searches of their bodies, we are likely lost. The Kelo Supreme Court decision effectively ended private property rights. The new TSA administrative policies have set a precedent for searches by the state. No doubt assaults on free speech will continue until expression of ideas the state or the elites find offensive will be banned in order to protect the public.
Unfortunately, as in the Kelo decision, it seems we will likely lose this battle.
If you want to be pre-screened and badged, the public should have that option too.
“Polls indicate that about 70% of the public is okay with the searches.”
I don’t really believe this poll is accurate, but let’s say it is - how many of the people polled have actually flown in an airplane in the last year? And of those people how many have undergone the scan or the enhanced patdown? A lot of people have no idea what the new procedures entail, so their opinion is totally uninformed and worthless.
And nobody pays much attention to private aircraft at all.
1. The 70% figure you've cited for the portion of the public that supports the full-body scans is a bit misleading. I don't doubt the number is accurate, but remember that it includes ALL people who are surveyed, not just airline passengers. Most people probably never fly and have no idea how invasive the process is, so their opinion doesn't mean anything to me on this matter.
2. The events surrounding the Supreme Court's Kelo decision is an indication that justice sometimes has a strange way of ultimately manifesting itself. The Kelo property seized by the City of New London was never developed as originally intended . . . the project was cancelled when Pfizer -- one of the major prospective occupants of the new office development -- scaled back its Connecticut operations after it was merged with another big pharmaceutical firm. So the property sits vacant to this day, and doesn't generate even so much as a nickel in tax revenue for New London.
Sometimes true justice wins out at the end of the day, and I suspect this is exactly what's going to happen when the holiday season is over and large numbers of people stop flying on airlines for discretionary travel.
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