Culture · Her Views

freedom and flying

In the pre-Thanksgiving hype and media frenzy about the TSA’s full body scanners or invasive pat-downs, I went on a bit of a rant. Turns out I’m rather passionate about these unconstitutional searches. I happen to think it’s clearly a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s “right to be safe from unreasonable search and seizure” clause. You have to be doing something that warrants “reasonable suspicion” for a search – presumably, something other than just trying to get on a plane. As a middle-aged white woman, I’d like to know what their “reasonable suspicion” is to require I go through either a full-body scan or invasive pat-down. Every American should demand to know the same thing. And “because we say so” isn’t really the right answer.

Lots of public opinion fell along the lines of: “It’s 2010. It’s the price we have to pay for safety. If you don’t like it, don’t fly.” Really, Americans? We’re okay with this? And this?

Technically, the choice between “accept scan/patdown or don’t fly” is a false dichotomy. There are other (less tyrannical) options.

And actually, our Founders, who were wise enough to see all the ways our government would try to control us, nail the issue:

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.
What country can preserve liberty if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? ~ Thomas Jefferson

And lastly, in the true spirit of American ingenuity and mockery, a parody TSA twitter site, TSAgov, appeared with commentary such as these:

@TSAgov: How the public feels about the TSA is not as important as how we feel the public.
@TSAgov: For everyone flying tomorrow, know that you will be in good hands. Ours.

One thought on “freedom and flying

  1. I agree with you, Jan: These searches clearly violate the Fourth Amendment. It galls me to read polls indicating strong public support for such measures. Do our schools teach the Constitution anymore, or are they more interested in “political correctness?”


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