[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]
Update: Iowahawk goofs on the whole controversy with a song: Comply with Me.
Update (II): New post here on what happened when Penn Jillette did call the cops.
So recently there has been a lot of rebellion against the TSA’s frankly invasive scanning and pat downs. I haven’t written on it, because frankly I wasn’t sure how I felt about the core issue. I mean the fact is we do have people putting bombs in their shoes and underwear. That is the reality we live with. And complaining that we are patting down a three year old girl and so on, forgets that if we give them a free pass the terrorists are given an incentive to use three year old girls. Our enemies are that big a bunch of @$$holes. But on the other hand, I can completely understand where people are coming from when they say, “this is too far, whatever the justification.”
And certainly the award for the most ridiculous complaint has to go to CAIR which seems to think that Muslim women, and only Muslim women, should be exempt from the full body pat-down. The amazing thing in this press release is that this comes on the heels of instructing Muslim women to be ready to accuse TSA officials of profiling:
If you are selected for secondary screening after you go through the metal detector and it does not go off, and “sss” is not written on your boarding pass, ask the TSA officer if the reason you are being selected is because of your head scarf.
So rather than profile Muslim women, single them out for especially nice treatment, I guess. What a dhimwitted thing to say.
Still, while I am not sure how I feel about the full body scans, I can agree with this simple proposition. You should be allowed to refuse to fly, rather than be subjected to any of this. And that is where John Tyner comes in. John Tyner is the famous “if you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested” guy. He wrote an absolutely famous blog post where he described his encounter with the TSA, where basically he said, pat me down, but hands off the jewels. The TSA said, “if you don’t submit to this, you can’t fly” in which case he told them he was not willing to fly under those circumstances. Really read the whole thing, but he was perfectly reasonable and as far as I know not at all disruptive. He just objected to being felt up. And while I am of two minds on the issue of whether they can make that a requirement of flying, certainly he should be able to refuse to fly as an option.
And so naturally, they are investigating him. That’s right, because supposedly it’s a crime to leave the security area without permission once you have entered. Which is funny, because they not only gave him permission to leave the security area, but actually escorted him out. So depending on the wording of the statute (I have not found the actual statute), their official explanation for the investigation doesn’t seem to make sense. Further, if you look at the guidance they give for fines, the one that corresponds with refusing the pat downs maxes at $3,000, not the $11,000 amount they keep bandying around.
No, I am sorry, but this looks like payback for a man who embarrassed them nationally. And it’s wrong. The TSA should back down and leave this man alone.
Of course the real problem with this scan-or-molest approach is that it is playing defense. Which means you are inevitably going to annoy a lot of innocent people (even if you do profile), and we still won’t be safe. The correct response from a national security standpoint isn’t to play defense like this. It’s to go on offense, to kill the bad guys where they live. Kill them over there, so we don’t have to face them over here.
But then again, with our current president that will never happen. So its scan or grope, for now.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]