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14 August 2006 @ 09:24 am
You're asking the wrong person to bend over  
I'm not flying again any time soon, and it's not because I'm scared of being blown up by terrorists. In high school, I came to terms with the fact that when it's my time to go, it's my time to go. Besides, if my seizures are anything like dying, then it's not bad at all- it's like sleeping in on Saturday.

I am scared of something, though: how much more our rights are going to be raped in the name of "security." We don't have a Fourth Amendment anymore, we barely have a Second, and only a few select people who say the right things and bow down to the "right" magical sky man have a First.*

So of course there's a lot of bitching about this, online and elsewhere (for the sake of my blood pressure, we'll ignore the folks who "don't mind" these new security measures because they "have nothing to hide"). But in addition to the bitching, there's also a troubling and valid complaint: what, exactly, is anyone doing to stop this? When is enough going to be enough for people? How many more rights and freedoms will be lost before we do something about it? When are we going to stop peeing ourselves every time a new threat is exposed?

What I want to say in response, though, is this: what can we do? Let's see, I always heard that thing about "soapbox, ballot box, jury box, ammo box." Just about everyone on all sides of the issue has been soapboxing, and that hasn't helped. Ballot box? Well, voter turnout in this country is shamefully low, and it's obvious that most, if not all, politicians are after their own self-interests and those of the aristocrats/companies who finance their campaigns. They don't pay attention to the thoughtful letters that world-conscious Joe Schmoes might still write them from time to time; they vote however they have to to keep the money coming in and stay in office. And, to be fair, we as a nation don't pay the politicans much mind either. Most people don't have a clue who their state representative is, much less what their voting record is, and the incumbent re-election rate is staggeringly high. If anyone was paying any attention whatsoever, Ted Stevens and Orrin Hatch would've had their crazy asses thrown out years ago. And of course, this is all based on the assumption that elections are in no way rigged. Diebold doesn't make voting machines with paper trails because everyone is just that honest. Hah. Hah hah. Hah hah hah hah hah hah hah.

Okay, jury box. Well, when the executive branch and various individuals/government agencies deem they're above the law, and repeatedly evade prosecution despite flagrant violations and abuses of power (Gitmo and warrantless spying to name but two examples), then I suppose a trial by jury is moot.

...Ammo box, then? Goodness, has it come down to that? Well, even that's pretty impractical these days. No state-run militias, and in most states you have to walk on water to own a firearm, if you're even allowed at all. Sounds like our Orwellian overlords have their bases covered.

Maybe, if we were able to spur a large enough percentage of the population to action, something positive could be done that wouldn't involve violent methods. But you probably won't see that happen. Unemployment isn't high enough, gas prices aren't high enough, and voting is still too much of a pain in the ass/waste of time for most people. Your average Schmoe can still afford his XBox 360 and other pleasant distractions, and isn't willing to risk his comfortable standard of living- even if he is willing to submit to unwarranted search and seizure and increasing loss of privacy at the drop of a hat.

At this point, the individual dissenter's pretty much at a loss, unless he's charismatic and publicly visible enough to convince a whole nation to stand up for themselves. This, finally, brings me back to why I'm not flying. I figure the only way I can fight at this point is via capitalism. If you're going to make it an unnecessarily inconvenient process to fly and treat me like a criminal throughout the whole process, then I'll just take my money elsewhere (I know the airline industry isn't at fault per se, as these are government regulations, but the airlines are trying to capitalize on the regs by charging more for in-flight beverage service, etc). Travel by car, train, bus, and boat aren't as fast, and they aren't as safe as air travel, but I'm willing to trade a little false security for a little freedom. Maybe, if enough people do this, the economic hurt on the airports and airlines will be enough to get lobbyists to change some minds in Congress. Maybe. More likely, they'll just take more tax money from us to subsidize the airlines, but I really don't know what else would work.

I'm not completely angry, I'm also sad about this. I have fond memories of flying all over the place with my family- Hawaii, Cancun, the Cayman Islands, Germany, England, to name but a few- back when I was daddy's little girl and he'd explain to me why it was silly to be afraid of flying, then let me borrow his headphones so I could listen to Weird Al and Bill Cosby on the radios in the armrests. I still want very badly to take Remy abroad, revisit a few places and see new ones... it'll hopefully still happen, just not sure how or when.



*Yes, I still have the freedom to make rants like this, but who wants to bet this'll land me on the terrorist watch list, if I'm not on there already for other rants or for being an Iranian's daughter? Remy's on it, so I wouldn't be surprised if I were too. One of us might be guilty by association with the other.
 
 
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Gods and Monsters soundtrack
 
 
 
mqstout on August 14th, 2006 08:37 pm (UTC)
Don't forget that that travelling by train is fairly environmentally friendly (compared) and also very comfortable and not-stress-inducing. (Except the stress of how poorly covered and behind our nation is in transit technology.)
Miusherimiusheri on August 14th, 2006 08:40 pm (UTC)
Traveling by train was awesome in Europe. If only Amtrak weren't so crappy... but yeah, when Remy has to travel, he prefers the train.
a dreamer like youlutraphile on August 15th, 2006 03:12 am (UTC)
*waves* hi Daryl! :)

...so, how do you find out if you're on the watch list? I'd love to know. In a morbid-fascination sort of way.
Miusheri: Laramiusheri on August 15th, 2006 12:30 pm (UTC)
Certain institutions check to see if your name is on it for various purposes. They can't find out why your name is on it, but they are required to look for it. Remy once had to teach at... I think it was a hospital, and had to be checked in this manner. The system supposedly "burped" on his name, but he wasn't escorted off the premises or anything. Sounds like a stupid system to me!

I'd love to know if I'm on it too, hehe, but I don't know how you go about finding out for yourself. I'm pretty sure you can't...
J.P.tierceljm on August 16th, 2006 03:19 am (UTC)
I got flagged coming back from Ireland, but I think that was just because my cousin had our tickets for the next flight and had gone on ahead while I waited to get my luggage, so I was (a) nervous, (b) without my ticket, and (c) an obvious irishman entering the country from Ireland, whose birthday supposedly made the system "burp", as you say.

I would actually say most states are pretty easy to own firearms in; my cousin, having obtained permits for four states, may now legally carry his pistol in I think 24 states due to various reciprocities. I would absolutely despise living in California, though, or Massachusetts. Nothing's going to save California ;)

PS as I told Remy, my new musket pistol will not have to be registered "until you plan on shooting it" i.e. after I assemble it and before I buy ammo. So obviously the thing to do is to become a gunsmith :) Oh or load up on guns that are 50+ years old, as they are no longer firearms, they are "Curios and Relics".

I like old guns.