November 23, 2010
Thinking back to Christmas, 2001, at Denver International Airport: watching from the balcony level, I felt alternately angry and helpless as I observed my first-born---my sensitive-souled, tender-hearted, brilliant scholar/poet/musician son---being frisked as if a criminal as he ran the security gauntlet en route to boarding his flight back to college in Michigan. Why him? We all have observed kids and grandmas, and ourselves, being randomly pulled out of line to be frisked or interviewed throughout the past decade, and it makes us both angry and sad---"that ain't the way it's supposed to be." The sadness is a feeling of loss, a loss of our perceived innocence thanks to terrorism; now we Americans need to have as rampant security as Dubai or Israel or England or .... fill in the blank. The sadness and anger is produced by a growing cynical mistrust of each other and of our institutions---with some cause, as we've had attorneys-general who extended airport-security measures to library use, telephone conversation, internet use, and government officials who not only considered the use of torture but condoned and promoted its use---to name a few points. <br>Ultimately, I will reserve my feelings not for the TSA, but for the sin and evil in the world that causes world conflict. I'm angry at terrorists and war-mongers; I'm saddened for the perceived harassment and loss of dignity felt by everyone world-wide, not just travelers on holiday; I'm saddened and frustrated by Americans who think they should live in a vacuum apart from the rest of the world's troubles.<br>Fear and sadness and frustration and hopelessness----perfect setting for Advent, eh? Come Prince of Peace---
If you believe in authority, then you should look at the 4th Amendment, and expect that TSA, DHS, etc submit to the authority that is the US Constitution (and that many take an oath to uphold.)<br><br>This isn't a difficult question as to what to believe in. It's difficult to act on it.
In light of the possible radiation risks and a history of cancer in my family, I would opt for the pat down.<br><br>The idea of submitting to authority is a strange way to frame this TSA situation. The procedures they are implementing do not seem to be "of the people" or "by the people." On the whole a democratic system offers more input before implementing authoritarian protocols.<br><br>It seems that much is being done "in the interest of national security" that has questionable effectiveness in securing the nation. We, as citizens of a democracy, are right to question things we find unjust. Being forced to choose between a groping or invasive imaging with possible health risks is a decision people shouldn't have to be making when there is little evidence that these techniques are anything more than theatrics.<br><br>We are seeking reassurance of safety, but the screening we have in place does not protect us to the degree that people think. We're giving up personal dignity hoping for safety guarantees. I don't think what we are getting is effective or forward thinking, so it seems a terrible concession.
I don't really mind any of it. If they need to do a full body scan to make sure everything's okay, I'm fine with that. I did that going through Baltimore and it wasn't embarrassing. It was quick and painless. I have a problem with pictures like that being released on the internet, but if the premise that it will make us more secure is correct, I don't mind it happening.<br><br>IF it does actually help and it can be done securely, then by all means continue to do it. But if it ends up not actually improving anything or making us any safer than we were before, it will need to be re-evaluated. I think it's too soon to know that right now, though.
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