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16 November 2010 @ 01:25 pm
In Soviet America, safe feels YOU!  
Dear Mr. President, Congressmen, and all others it may concern:

I am writing to add mine to the voices of protest in response to the newly revamped TSA security model at airports. The new backscatter scans are possibly a health hazard, mostly ineffective, and definitely a gross violation of privacy and personal dignity. The "enhanced" pat-downs are no better, and there have already been multiple reports of agents who have taken their responsibilities way too far. All this in the name of "security," when someone determined enough could foil either of these measures without much difficulty. To my knowledge, we have caught exactly zero terrorists with them, and have inconvenienced, humiliated, and violated the rights of thousands of people who just wanted to fly from one city to another.

Did I mention "rights?" Why, yes, the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution has something to say in this matter. I've inscribed it here in its entirety:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Can anyone kindly explain how buying a plane ticket and showing up at an airport constitutes "probable cause" of a crime being committed? Don't bother; you can't, because it's not. Almost all of TSA's agenda has been ridiculous, ineffective, and intrusive- but now, agents of the federal government may photograph passengers unclothed or touch them in ways that would make any reasonable person uncomfortable. This absolutely constitutes "unreasonable search." I know most of you, when you fly, are exempt from the indignities foisted on the little people, but please try to imagine how you would feel if you had to submit to one of these measures. Do you risk the dose of radiation, and the pictures of your naked body that can be stored indefinitely and transmitted elsewhere (there are already several such pictures circulating on the Internet)? Or, do you allow a complete stranger to cup your breasts or testicles, and, in some cases, stick their hand down the waistband of your pants? Now, which option do you choose for the small, trusting children in your custody?

So unfortunate is the current state of and regard toward civil liberties in this country, and so all-powerful is the profit motive, that I fear my next statement will move you more than anything written above. Until we transition to a model of airport security that is efficient, fast, effective, and does not begin by presuming the guilt of every ticket holder, I promise I will not be flying again. Neither will my husband, my sister, or anyone else I can talk to. I hope a hit to the wallet will mean something to somebody, since cries of "Security!" and "9/11!" have gained enough potency to crush the sacredness of individual liberty that once defined our nation.

If you've read this far, I sincerely thank you for your attention, and urge you to inject whatever rationality you can back into the screening process.


Good links for those interested...

Abraxasdr_abraxas on November 16th, 2010 08:00 pm (UTC)
add my name to the list :(
Miusheri: Morriganmiusheri on November 16th, 2010 08:12 pm (UTC)
Sad is right... I really liked flying before TSA came along!
Abraxasdr_abraxas on November 16th, 2010 08:43 pm (UTC)
if the country has any balls left, there should be a big time revolt this holiday weekend, when people come face to face with this shit.
Miusheri: Data_wtfmiusheri on November 16th, 2010 10:00 pm (UTC)
The Opt-Out Day campaign is for precisely that. Pilots are already refusing screens en masse.

Plus, there's this guy who refused both the scan and the pat-down, and tried to leave the airport... only the TSA didn't let him. He had already canceled his flight and gotten a refund for his ticket, and they tried to make him submit to a search anyway. He refused to comply with them, and recorded everything. TSA might be pursuing an $11K civil suit against him. Man, I hope they get shredded in court.

There's also going to be a Senate TSA oversight committee hearing tomorrow morning. I hope to hell they do something, but I'm not holding my breath on legislative action. That won't happen until more airlines and lobbyists pitch a bitch.
Arsenal: rectalmarkarsenal on November 16th, 2010 08:02 pm (UTC)
I would love to never fly again. I hate flying to begin with (it really is a wretched ay to travel) and security theatre makes it positively horrible. But that would mean dozens of lovers and loved ones all over the continent that I'd never see again, alas...

Here's hoping teleportation comes sooner than later. Until then, pucker up the sphincter for the cavity search...
Miusheri: Morriganmiusheri on November 16th, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
I know I'm fortunate enough to (a) have a car and (b) live within driving distance of my family and home office. Eight hours one-way is the longest trip I would have to make, if it came to that. I know a lot of people aren't that fortunate, and don't have options for alternate travel. The government has a lot of people by the balls, literally AND figuratively. Since I am privileged enough to give the TSA and the airlines the finger, I'll gladly do it on behalf of those who can't.

The big downside for me is that, prior to 9/11, I loved flying places. No bullshit at the security checkpoints- just a metal detector for people and X-ray for carry-ons- and the service from airlines was better. I also like traveling for vacation, and I'd love to go back to Europe someday, but... *shrug* Maybe an extra-long vacation from work, and a cruise across the Atlantic, will be in order one of these days. It'd certainly add some romance to the experience.

But yes, I've been dearly wanting a transporter for years now. Scotty, beam me away from this horseshit.
Arsenalmarkarsenal on November 16th, 2010 08:38 pm (UTC)
You know, if we could only excise everything between the Mississippi and the western Rockies and stitch together the ends, I could probably handle train and bus options... It's getting safely over that 'heartland' stuff that makes my trips so tough :P
skyibesky on November 17th, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC)
Brilliantly written, honey.

I'm also not flying until this bullshit is over. Makes going to see Ma a little more sucktastic, but a 14 hour drive is much better than having paranoid, over-zealous strangers in charge of our so-called security getting all up in my stuff.
Miusherimiusheri on November 17th, 2010 11:25 pm (UTC)
*hugs* Thanks! I'm hoping sanity (or, more realistically, economics) prevail on this one.

I hope you're doing well- I miss you!