I have always enjoyed airports for a number of reasons. One is the mere excitement of traveling. I enjoy watching people go to and fro in the airports as they rush to their gates. They come from all over the country and the world, especially in a major international hub like LAX. I have never been afraid to travel by airplane or out of the country. I have been to Europe several times. I have walked the streets of Munich, breathed the clean air of the Austrian alps, seen the bullet holes from the 1916 Easter Rising in the columns of the GPO building in Dublin, and stood on the Cliffs of Moher (these look like the Cliffs of Insanity from “The Princess Bride”). The world is an interesting place and far bigger than our backyards and hometowns. We forget this if we never travel beyond the confines of our localities. When we travel to other places, we realize there are other ways to live. We also learn more about history when visiting the actual places where events occured. Traveling around the country or the world is very rewarding. It is also difficult to travel very far without flying. Aside from traveling for personal enrichment or for education, many people must travel by plane for work-related reasons; often several times a week.
However, with the ascendancy of the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) over airport security during the past decade, traveling by plane has become a living hell. Instead of being innocent until proven guilty, all are now guilty until proven innocent. The TSA’s line of thought is that you just might be a terrorist even if you are elderly and wheelchair-bound.
Air travel passengers are subjected to all manner of invasive procedures such as body scans which take an image of your naked body or invasive body pat downs. No metal detector wand is used. Instead they feel up your whole body. Everyone is forced to take their shoes off and walk through the whole screening process in their socks or bare feet across a filthy floor traversed by countless multitudes. Imagine the athlete’s foot cases! Then you have to put your shoes in a plastic bin so it can go through the scanner. If you happen to bring a laptop, it must be removed and placed in one of those same bins that John Doe’s gym shoes were in just a minute before. All the while, the TSA employee is on a power trip yelling at everyone to throw away plastic bottles and liquids because, after all, someone just might hijack an airplane with shampoo. How much more of this insanity must we put up with? Are we really supposed to endure this treatment for all time?
People pay hundreds of dollars for their flights and deserve to be treated better than this. Furthermore, this is not becoming of an ostensibly free society. We have a common law right to be secure in our persons and our property. This right is protected by law in the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
“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.”
The TSA does not have warrants to search air travel passengers. Neither do they have probable cause to suspect most people are going to hijack an airplane or cause any other type of mayhem. They just search, violate, and harass everyone at will. (Police checkpoints in which everyone is stopped and checked without probable cause or warrants are also unconstitutional.). What is particularly upsetting is the way they even treat children as potential criminals. There have been egregious cases of children being “patted down” and violated by TSA (see the photo below). What about the radiation from these x-ray body scanners? That alone is reason for outrage, let alone all of the groping and violation of people’s privacy and property. When you go to the dentist and have your teeth x-rayed, the technician places a protector over your vital organs and walks out of the room before taking the x-ray. But the TSA? They just make you walk through it unprotected. The TSA employees don’t even protect themselves from the radiation! To add insult to injury, they take a highly-detailed image of your naked body. How is this acceptable?
Senator Rand Paul, was even recently detained by the TSA in Nashville, Tenn. He set the metal detector off and refused to let them pat him down so they detained him for over two hours, making him miss the Senate session he was supposed to be at and the rally he was scheduled to speak at in Washington, D.C. that day. He offered to go through the metal detector again but they refused to let him. The TSA later admitted that the detectors go off randomly even when there are no metal objects on a person which is what happened to Senator Paul. They then make you go through a pat down. Senator Paul, rightfully not wanting his rights violated, did not allow them to pat him down. Really, TSA? You are going to treat a United States Senator this way?!
Bottom line: this has got to stop and the TSA must be removed from all transportation hubs and abolished. If not, how long will it be before the TSA is given the go-ahead to start taking over bus terminals and other public venues? If you, dear reader, are one of the decent people stuck in the TSA because you applied to work there simply because it was a job; please, I implore you, try to find employment elsewhere. Groping people all day and standing next to cancer-inducing radiation machines cannot have a good effect on you over the long run. Let’s have airports and airlines control their own security and give the people their dignity back. Freedom of movement and being secure in your persons and property are the hallmarks of a free society and must be protected and maintained.