Posted by Steven Hayward
Forget immigration as a hot-button issue. Sooner or later flyers are going to say "enough!" if the government doesnt stop idiocy like this.
What ARE our rights with the TSA? I have been searched every time I have flown since 9/11, but once, and that at the Akron/Canton airport (and why do they bother searching ANYONE there?) I do not think it is because I look Middle Eastern or particularly threatening. Steve, you have seen me in an Ashland U. summer course, and everyone else, please, trust me on this, I do not. Can I refuse the next time? It is silly.
The most dangerous object I carry is a circular knitting needle. In a pinch, it could be used as a a garrotte, but would I ever? Well, maybe on a hijacker - in my dreams. But, really? I ask you!
Here are your rights in an airport:
You have the right to say yes sir, no sir. Did you hear about the entire football team that wore their uniforms into an airport and had to strip all the way down to their jock straps and remove their cups to prove they werent hiding anything and, well some of them did have rather well developed glutes and you know what glutes are dont you officer? and well anyway...yak yak yak, on and on and on until they decide they want to move you along just to shut you up.
Question for Mr. Hayward - Is the idiocy youre referring to that demonstrated by the passenger scrawling insults of TSAs director on their ziplocs or the TSA inspector committing time and attention to such silliness (or both)? And the follow-up query is what should government do to stop that idiocy (as youve defined it)? Thank you.
Kate, so you think terrorists would only try to fly out of NYC, Boston or DC? If they stopped doing searches at Akron/Canton, Im guessing they might try flying out of there.
Also, while it may be obvious that youre not from the Middle East, theres hardly a sure-fire method of determining how threatening a person might be just by looking at them. True, youre highly unlikely to be a jihadist, but isnt possible that a person who looks nice and safe (white) could be mentally disturbed and bring a knife or other weapon onboard and try to injure someone or disrupt the flight in some manner?
Would you really suggest that the TSA just open up the gates for white people and only screen people who look like they might be Muslims? How would that prevent a John Walker Lindh-type from getting on a plane? Or a Timothy McVeigh? Im not asking these questions out of some bleeding heart, "we might hurt Muslims feelings" stance- Im asking them because I really question the logic of not searching those who appear to be "non-threatening" from a safety standpoint.
Yes, Kate, if someone doesnt look like a swarthy jihadist then I guess theres no way they might, say, bring a bomb onboard the plane. Well, okay, maybe the occasional harmless young white lad might do so, but if his daddy (Charles Sr.) is pals with the former mayor (a Republican), then theres nothing to worry about.
I say "Yes sir, No Sir" and I make jokes, though not in any antagonistic way, as the fellow at MKE. I do try to make the screeners laugh so as to pass the time in as sensibly pleasant and civil way I can. I do not even set off alarms going through the checkpoint. I am told that my ticket is flagged at the front counter. If true, that means I am really being screened by those experts on terror at check-in. Or is it that I am randomly chosen ten or maybe eleven times in these past few years?
I look NOTHING like Craig Scanlons perpetrator, nor John Walker Lindh, neither, being a smiley, 53 year old knitting grandmother. Someone at a conference suggested that it was because I seem so unlikely to ever make a fuss that I am chosen for screening. I am exceedingly happy that I have never had to submit to the type of search Uncle Guidos football team underwent, my searches being more perfunctory and blessedly superficial.
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