What sort of country do you want to live in?

Perhaps a country where airport security can inflict this upon your children:

The reporter, also the father, has a pretty level-headed approach to this whole thing. I imagine I would have been arrested for assault and put on a no-fly list if this had been my daughter. Then again, a reporter has a bit of an advantage getting this aired on television. And I suppose we could, any one of us, get this to go viral online (and probably get picked up by the mainstream media eventually) thanks to video phones, Youtube, and the blogs.

Still, this is not the country we had in mind. Or at least, I suspect, not the country our forebears had in mind. Nor is it the one we should pass along to our children. At some point we all have to wake up from this delusion of security. We are trading precious things for a mediocre illusion.

P.S. Ken at Popehat has a really good takedown of the TSA here. (via Christopher Carr in the comments.)

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13 thoughts on “What sort of country do you want to live in?

  1. Two related commentsL
    1. Jennifer Abel reports that you don’t need a high-school diploma to work for the TSA. That’s just asking for trouble.

    2. At JFK last weekend, the Middle Eastern man in front of me objected to how the TSA agent was talking to his wife, and the agent called for a physical search because of the man’s behavior (which was argumentative, but not, to my mind, out of line). The agent then turned and smiled smugly at another agent, which seemed to me to send a clear signal that he was simply using the search to punish the man, not because he had any actual security concerns.

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    • The last time we flew out of Toronto the security guards were really obnoxious too, and we didn’t actually do or say anything rude to them. But everyone in that airport is like that. I guess paying these people a pittance doesn’t put them in the best mood and hiring people who have no real qualifications, aside from a chip on their shoulder, isn’t the greatest idea either. But it once occurred to me that the straightforward contempt cops and security guards have for the public is actually part of their job. We want them to hate the public equally since, for all we know, the rest of the public might be up to no good.

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  2. Popehat has a great post on this: http://www.popehat.com/2010/11/12/gropers-to-gropees-shut-up-and-take-it-or-hit-the-road/

    Is abolishing the TSA altogether immediately and turning security over to the individual airlines too radical a proposal? As it is now we basically have the dumbest possible system, unless you’re a elected official trying to pass the buck when the next terrorist attack happens.

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    • And I think that this ultimately has to happen. We need to pick a holiday- say next Easter- and make a point of taking other forms of transportation if at all possible. If that means leaving a day earlier on the bus ( like it would for me) then so be it. Another possibility would be for groups to go together and, at the right moment, demand a ticket refund as a group. But the only way things are going to change is if the airlines are pressuring the TSA to chill the hell out, and the only way that will happen is if they’re losing more money than they are already.

      Because, seriously, blogging and forwarding these posts isn’t going to change things.

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  3. I don’t claim to be a security expert. But there has to be a better way than this. We’ve been joking about cavity searches for years now, but the first time some nutjob literally does pull an explosive device out of his @$$ on board an airplane, next thing you know you are going to be asked instructed to drop drawers and submit to an anal probe. Enjoy your enhanced illusory perception of safety!

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