Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Airports and security

Random little postage today, the other day on google plus i commented on a post by Brian Brushwood in which he said this.

'Just minutes ago at the airport, I opted out of the full body scan, as I always do. During the full-body pat down, I remained cheerful and friendly (again, as I always do). But something happened today that I've never before experienced:

TSA agent Charles (I won't give his last name, as I don't want to cause any kind of punishment or retribution), asked me why I chose to opt out. I gave him my usual answer, that I'm one of those misty-eyed constitutionalists... One of those crazy folk who believe that if we're going to have a highly-intrusive search, it should be awkward for both of us.

"Oh, but you're thinking of those older scanners, that showed the whole naked body. These are totally different; they just show a yellow square."

This gave me pause, because my position is more nuanced: understand, I'll dance completely naked through the TSA checkpoint on a dare. I could care less about people seeing my naughty bits. It's the fact that the fourth amendment states, unequivocally:

"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."

It means that unless you're under suspicion for a specific crime, the government has no business checking through your stuff. None at all. Your business is your own. It doesn't matter if you're in line at the bank, at Taco Bell, or at the airport, the government only has the right to search you if they specifically suspect you of being involved in a crime. This was so important to the founders, they wrote it into the constitution... right alongside the right to speak your mind freely and protect your family with a weapon.

I hate the normalization of these intrusive searches. And I hate the scanners even more: They're a magic trick. A way to make something highly intrusive and unconstitutional feel completely civilized and normal. And me, refusing to play their silly game is my little quiet protest against it.

I did my best to explain my position, and was shocked by his response: with the friendliest of tones, he patiently explained to me:

"Well, if you ask me, it's about time the constitution was re-written. That was hundreds of years ago."

...There was not a hint of hostility in his voice, and not a sliver of malice. It was as obvious as pointing out that they sky is up and the ground is down. And if he is this comfortable sharing this opinion with his hand down my pants, I have no doubt it's a popular sentiment among his co-workers.'

The post got plenty of comments and i decided to comment about my recent flight, which was my first ever time on a plane.
  This was my essay/comment.

'Very good post, wish us english folks had a constitution like you guys, it seems the majority of our laws are made up as they go along.

Recently on my first trip abroad (Las Vegas(For the magics)), i had my first full body scan and had a nice surprise when i got out the little scanning booth(?) the guard asked me to remain still and to raise my arms and then proceeded to call for assistance as the scanner had found metal of some kind unbeknownst to me within my right bicep. I was pretty freaked out i didn't move, obviously. I kept my cool as much as i could followed orders, bare in mind i was a airport virgin at 23 and got rescanned with everyone staring and i could hear the guards ask each other if they had stab vests on. I picked up on alot at that moment from the folks making comments to twitchy looking guards who were seemingly growing in numbers. NOT FUN.

At that moment when i go rescanned they in fact detected nothing and was thrown through like the obvious piece of shit i was to them.

Nothing seemed to say welcome any better i'm sure. So yeah maybe i may want them to feel some of that indignity and awkwardness next time.

Sorry about the rant, i just had to share and that is the short version.

Thank you kindly.'

Thinking about it now my comment on his post is more of a blog post than a random comment. Hopefully this makes sense to you all.


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