They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. ~ Benjamin Franklin
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's Let's Make a Deal approach to keeping America's airports secure isn't generating too many fans. Perhaps it's because the choices given are so insulting to the rights enjoyed by a free people:
Door #1: Have nude pictures of yourself beamed to some video monitor to be viewed by a total stranger where it may or may not be stored; or,
Door #2: Allow yourself to be groped, poked, patted down, felt up, frisked, and squeezed at the hands of some police academy reject in a Smurf-blue uniform [Photo: Kim Kardashian at LAX]; or...
Door #3: Don't travel.
Worse is the fact that, if you have children, you have the same choices to make on their behalf:
- Have nude images of your kids viewed (and stored?) by strangers,
- Subject your kids to physical molestation, or
- Cancel your trip.
I've got to admit that, as a frequent flyer, I've sort of gotten used to being frisked. Perhaps airport security screeners confuse old bikers in Harley shirts with Al Quaeda, but the pat downs have been an almost regular occurrence since 9/11. While most of the pat downs over the years have been of the generic sort, a few after 9/11 seemed to be going a little too far as well—the fingers inside the waistline by an officer of the opposite sex was one such memorable occasion.
It wasn't until a couple of weeks ago, however, while traveling through an airport in the Midwest that I received the double treatment—the body imaging device and the pat down (no open palms on the genitals though) that the Smurfs began to get annoying. At the same time, the pilots' and flight attendants' unions began to grumble that their members were being traumatized by the TSA's new security measures.
Since then, the controversy has grown considerably and Janet Napolitano is faced with trying to appease a variety of constituencies while remaining seemingly resolved to infringe on Americans' constitutional right to be "secure in their persons...against unreasonable searches."
One individual has started a website called optoutday.com, which suggests that people opt out of the body imaging on November 24, the day before Thanksgiving (when the volume of air travel is particularly high). According to the website's founder, Brian Sodergren, the goal is to get people to experience the rigorous pat-down so they can discuss it around the Thanksgiving table:
"Getting a plane ticket doesn't mean you're consenting to someone being able to look under your clothes or feel your genitals," said Sodergren during a phone interview with ABC15.
Sodergren wants passengers, pilots and flight attendants to "opt-out" of the X-ray body scanners and go through the pat down procedure.
"It's too much, I don't want my wife or my child going through the pat-downs and have their genitals touched, people need to understand what's going on," said Sodergren.
- 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.
- In this situation, you may be asked to submit to a pat-down or to go through a full body scanner. If you are selected for the scanner, you may ask to go through a pat-down instead.
- Before you are patted down, you should remind the TSA officer that they are only supposed to pat down the area in question, in this scenario, your head and neck. They SHOULD NOT subject you to a full-body or partial-body pat-down.
- You may ask to be taken to a private room for the pat-down procedure.
- Instead of the pat-down, you can always request to pat down your own scarf, including head and neck area, and have the officers perform a chemical swipe of your hands.
How perfectly Orwellian that, while non-Muslim Americans are having their Fourth Amendment rights being groped, grabbed and trampled by Napolitano & her gang, Muslims are being urged to use the First Amendment's Freedom of Religion provision to all-but-ignore the TSA screening measures.
Meanwhile, for those of us who are stuck traveling for a living, until this gets sorted out, we'll just suck it up and suck it in, as the Smurfs continue to get up close and really, really personal.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776