The justification for TSA procedures is that they are necessary “to keep Americans safe.” Unfortunately, that is an invalid premise for any governmental actions. As odd as it sounds, it is not the job of government to keep us safe.
Think how different life would be if it were. How many Americans have died in commercial airplane accidents in the last decade? How many died in auto accidents just last year? If government exists to keep us safe, why don’t they address the more serious threat of motor vehicle operation? What about threats from drowning, bicycles, falls and lightning, all of which kill more Americans, on average, than commercial plane crashes?
Some will point to the government’s mandate to “provide for the common defense”. That even sounds reasonable. Except government is wishy-washy in its threat assessments. It seems reasonable for TSA to try to protect us from Islamic terrorists. Yet TSA refuses to address the issue of Muslims or Arabs who fly domestically . The US government won’t even identify an enemy from which they are defending us. The 9/11 murderers, The Shoe Bomber and The Underwear Bomber all had ties to Islam. Not a single act of airline “terror” has been committed by someone not connected with Islam. How is TSA defending us? If you look at TSA practices, you must conclude that Islam is no danger at all. Instead we are threatened by Catholics, 3 year olds, amputees, cancer survivors and grandmothers.
The truth, largely lost on Americans who increasingly abdicate responsibility for their safety and liberty to others, is two-fold. First, government cannot “keep us safe”. At best it can identify threats and make us aware of them. Expanded intrusion into our lives does not bring safety but control. Control is a poor tool for ensuring safety. Second, even if I grant that government can keep us safe, it is not now nor has it ever been government’s job to do so.
Our government was constructed on a number of foundational premises described in the Declaration of Independence as “self evident truths”. To the Founders, these were as substantive as the sun rising in the east. Their third self evident truth is, “… to secure these rights government was instituted among men …” To the Founders, government is not to keep us safe. Rather it is to secure “Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”; it is to keep us free.
When government trespasses the boundaries set for it by the Framers, it actually works against the safety of citizens. TSA, trying to create unverifiable safety, has instead created demonstrable dangers. We know driving is far more dangerous than flying. Thanks to TSA’s excess tens of thousands of people will drive rather than suffer TSA’s assault on their liberty. This puts Americans at greater risk, not less. We know terrorists choose targets of easy opportunity; wedding receptions, pizza parlors, kids getting candy from soldiers and Iraqis waiting to be paid. TSA is creating delays at airports; stacking up people on the unsecure side of security. Terrorists could waltz into any airport, walk right up to TSA’s checkpoints, blow themselves up and there is absolutely no plan in place for TSA to prevent that from happening. You can, no doubt, add other scenarios. This is safety? It is madness. It is wrong. It must cease.
In light of threats to air travel, TSA ineffectively meddles in the arena of safety for which they have no authority. Yet they ignore their clear responsibility to preserve and secure the liberties and rights of Americans. Bluntly, they cannot keep us safe and they will not keep us free. For the sake of both safety and liberty, this farce needs to stop.