Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Security theater

I just returned from a two week vacation in the Caribbean. For obvious reasons, I kept the number of people who knew I would be gone to a minimum, but now that I have returned, I would like to share a few of my observations.

On the day that I left, I had to fly to Puerto Rico to catch the cruise ship that would carry me for the journey. I try not to fly, but the fact that Puerto Rico is an island over 1,100 miles from my home made flying a necessity.

We arrived at the airport two hours early, so that we could deal with the effects of the security theater put in place by our government. The ticketing procedures were efficient: the ticket agent asked for my ID and credit card, weighed in our bags, and issued our boarding passes. We then proceeded to the security gates, and that is where things took a turn for the worse.

The first thing you notice is the long lines. After waiting in line for about 5 minutes, you come to the first security post. At this station, the TSA official examines your papers to make sure of what, I do not know. She looked over my boarding pass and my Photo Identification and, deciding that I was worthy of flying, allowed me to pass on to the next line.

This line requried me to remove my shoes, and place all of my belongings in a plastic tote. This tote was x-rayed, and inspected for contraband. Mrs Street Pharmacist was also required to remove her belt, and had to submit to a frisking. I felt so incredibly violated being searched in such a fashion. I was afraid to make eye contact with any of the security personnel, for fear that they would somehow deem me a troublemaker or miscreant, and place me on some sort of a list that would forever brand me to be a terrorist. Once on this government list, who knows what other liberties I will have taken from me?

To those who think that these searches are needed in order to keep us safe, I would point this out: the 9/11 hijackings were carried out by a handful of determined men who carried nothing more than a few small knives. Have you ever seen these before?

Completely undetectable, and they can be bought for less than $10 on websites like this one. Our Government cannot even keep weapons and drugs out of the prisons, so what makes you think that they can do any better with any other venue?

What has happened here is that our Fourth Amendment has been totally destroyed. The rest of our Bill of Rights are soon to follow.

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.

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