I intend to opt out. I always do. It’s not that I think going through the body scanner will give me cancer or that I’m claustrophobic – it’s because I think the TSA is a bloated and ridiculous government institution. Thus, I decide to demonstrate civil disobedience by forcing some poor agent to waste his time rubbing his hands all over my body to ensure I am not planning on blowing up an airplane
The Dangerous Old Lady
Today was different though. There was an elderly Japanese women about a half dozen people in ahead of me. By the way she was looking around I could tell she was nervous. A lot had changed since the last time she was in the airport. She was nervous and unsure about the new procedures instituted by Homeland Security.
Her turn quickly came to enter the body scanner. We have to be sure she’s not a terrorist. Take away her walker, take off her shoes, and shove her through the line with the rest of the heard. It’s mandatory.
The scanner beeped. She moved back. Everyone is irritated – in a hurry. She looks confused. A second attempt, the scanner peeps. “Empty your pockets ma’am.” The TSA agenda holds his hand out making a cup shape indicating she should fill his palms with whatever is causing the alarm to be unsatisfied. She has no idea what to do.
Coins. Coins. Coins.
The poor old women reaches in her pockets and pulls out a few coins and soon the TSA agent is satisfied and instructs her to try again. The alarm sounds again. The process continues several times. Meanwhile a long line of frustrated people is building.
The TSA agents finally decide to put us through the normal “X-Ray scanner”. We heard through like good slaves and I’m happy I don’t have to opt out. I save a few minutes – though I was slightly looking forward to some poor soul feeling me up for a couple of minutes.
I gather my things: shoes, belt, laptop, coat, and everything else that might be used by a terrorist. On my way down the stairs headed toward my gate I see an upset old women escorted by a TSA agent. The TSA agent’s head is down, almost ashamed. The poor old women can barely walk so the agent is helping her move along at a slowly with her arms wrapped around her waist. Looks like she finally made it through, but not with her dignity.
My Problem with the TSA
I don’t hate TSA agents as people, but I hate the entire organization’s institution of groupthink policy. No individual agent is allowed to use a bit of common sense or human decency. They obey the rules like sheep even when it’s obviously wrong. They follow orders.
I’m reminded of the stories told by former Nazis or the Youth Soldiers under Communist China when later in life they recount their stories, the things they did to people, and can’t believe it. They were “following orders”. They “thought they were doing the right thing”. Caught in the moment, brainwashed, told by those in power it’s their mission – so they violated human rights.
Of course I’m not saying the TSA agents are Nazis, but their thinking is the same. Do they even realize how ridiculous it is – the amount of dignity and liberty they are stealing from the people. They have an ounce of power and plan to use it – some of them abuse it. Sometimes I wonder if we will look back on history and examine the noble sounding institution “Homeland Security” and realize that was the beginning of the end for liberty in America.
I don’t want to sound like an insane person, a radical, but a quick examination of history shows this pattern again and again. Noble sounding institutions formed under the guise of “protecting” the people – to take a way a few freedoms for the common good – which eventually develop into the very institutions that enslave the people.
Warrantless wire taps, body scanners, internet spying, indefinite detention without trial, kill lists, drone attacks, disarmament, taxation, the list goes on. Taken as a whole it’s easy to understand why many people do not trust their Government. Should they?