A news reporter, Matt Touchette, went to visit the Lucas Oil stadium, site of Super Bowl XLVI. He writes, “I then found myself walking into the side gates of the stadium, through intense security which included full body scanners”. In Yahoo Sports, writer Eric R. Ivie writing about event security urges everyone to go along with the plan.
[T]his is the world in which we live now. When you’re starting to feel aggravated about the wait or self-conscious about getting patted down, remember that the object of all this security is to keep everyone safe and having a good time at Super Bowl XLVI. And everyone else has to go through the exact same thing, too.
Let’s examine the logic: We should be made to feel secure before having a good time. When we go to see the Super Bowl, we should relax because everyone else around us is violated too. We must get used to this treatment because this is “the world in which we live now”.
Perhaps we are lucky; TSA says it will not use scanners – this time. There is little holding them back except our reaction against such treatment. Extending the logic, we should feel safer and more secure being scanned with x-rays that could cause cancer, produced by scanners that show picures of us naked.
The current Administration clearly believes we should ignore what the Founding Fathers put in the Bill of Rights.
Amendment 4 of the US Constitution
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.
American colonists were regularly searched by British soldiers. No doubt the British authorities believed these security measures were reasonable. In the case of the Super Bowl, the event is run by a private company, The National Football League. If you don’t want to be scanned, don’t go.
Airports are another matter. Air travel is basic transportation, and unavoidable for many people being necessary for their jobs. Representative John Mica (R-FL) authored legislation that established TSA, but now wants the programs “dismantled”.
Rep. Mica originally wanted TSA to use a program like El Al Airlines, based in Israel. “Unfortunately, the TSA’s SPOT Program is not like the Israeli behavior detection model. Unlike the Israeli program, SPOT is conducted from a distance, with no personal interaction between the passenger and the TSA employee performing the SPOT screening unless the passenger is identified for secondary screening”, he said.
The measures used by the Transportation Safety Administration for airport security have failed. Judicial Watch reports the TSA security measures are ineffective and expensive.
TSA’s operations are outdated, more than 25,000 security breaches have occurred at U.S. airports since congress created it and the agency has failed to develop and deploy effective technology despite wasting $39 million to procure special machines that could not consistently detect explosives. The TSA also blew $212 million on a failed passenger observation program that allowed terrorists to board planes on nearly two dozen occasions. This information was attributed to a separate government report published earlier this year.
It’s not like the TSA lacks manpower. Its workforce has swelled by 400%—from 16,000 to 65,000—since it was created and it’s larger than many other agencies, including the departments of State, Labor, Energy, Education and Housing and Urban Development. The TSA has also received nearly $60 billion to secure the nation’s transportation network.
Time Magazine reports these x-ray scanners are banned in Europe. Yet here in America, the LA Times reports TSA is planning to expand its security measures at train stations, subways, busses and on our streets. X-ray scanners could be used. Scanners have been developed that can look inside vehicles on the road. Fox News reports mobile scanning “ZBV” vans are ready to patrol our streets and peer into our vehicles while we are inside them.
AS&E, the company producing the ZBV vans, claims the x-ray devices provide “safety” and “privacy”. They assure us the images cannot be used to identify anyone. The dose from a scanner is supposed to be less than 10 µrem, about 0.3% of the dose you would get riding for an hour in an airplane. The actual dose depends on the number of scans and the duration of each scan. If these devices become common, your dose from x-rays could go up dramatically. Each scan may be deemed “safe”, but the cumulative exposure may be harder to justify.
Anyone with knowledge of radiation health would tell you there is no “safe” dose. When you go to a doctor or dentist for an x-ray, you accept the risk voluntarily. The risk is weighed against the risk of a dangerous condition like a malignant tumor, a bone infection, or a tooth abscess.
Even if the majority of people believe we need to give up basic rights, that doesn’t make it acceptable. The United States Constitution is based on certain founding principles, one being to protect the rights of the minority. The rights of a majority are protected in a Democracy. That’s called “tyranny of the majority”, or mob rule. We have a Republic administered by a government with limited powers given to it under the Constitution. It is supposed to protect individual liberties.
It isn’t even clear that the majority of people want to be “protected” by these ineffective scanners, or would like to be patted-down at subway stations, or while walking on the streets. The fact is, that is the direction this Administration is taking us.
I feel more terrorized by the prospect of daily invasions of privacy than I do from the boogeyman terrorists. The measures taken at airports don’t work, and probably are not even needed. Terrorists know passengers will fight back now. If we give up our freedom for a false sense of security, we should be ashamed. And we will deserve to lose our freedom. Every generation has a duty to defend our rights. Start by learning what your rights are. Then defend them starting with the ballot box.