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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Grouchy: Call Me A Skeptic

I don't believe in coincidences.  OK, OK, sometimes they happen, but most of the time they are in response to a prior event.

For instance, there have been a couple of fairly widely reported stories about an airline pilot who refused to go through the body scanning machine at the airport.  His belief - of which I share - was that it was an unwarranted invasion of his privacy.

These things don't take an x-ray of you, they essentially produce a very vivid nude image.  Our laws say that you cannot be subjected to an invasive body search unless you are in police custody or the LEO has a warrant.

Since virtually Day One of the TSAs existence since 9/11, we've all heard the stories about how little old ladies are being put through the "secondary searches" - even though there's never been an incident of a little old lady being a terrorist.

The TSA and their handlers - from the Bush and Obama administrations - have used the "we won't profile" BS as their reasoning for doing this.  That's absolutely insane and a horrific waste of limited resources (our money).  Not a problem when you look at taxpayers as a bottomless bank account.

If you know that white-looking males between the ages of 55 and 70, or Arabic-looking males between the ages of 18 and 35 are likely to commit some sort of a crime, the police now have reasonable cause to pay a little extra attention when people that fit that profile go to the airport.

It looks like the boys and girls at the TSA now have reasonable cause to do as they please.  Everyone is a suspect now.

It appears as though a young Asian male dressed up - very convincingly - as an old white guy.  He boarded a plane as the old guy, hit the restroom mid-flight and departed as the young guy.

My whoop!whoop!whoop! alarms went off when I saw these pictures.  I've flown a lot in my life.  Much of it recent travel.  I've NEVER had my photo taken at the airport.  Ever.

Both of these pictures are clearly posed portraits.  Why dat?  Obviously, you'd get an "after" photo if you arrested the guy, but why the "before" picture?  This makes no sense -
The Canadian Border Services Agency said the passenger ''was observed at the beginning of the flight to be an elderly Caucasian male who appeared to have young-looking hands''.
WTF?!  If you were suspicious of the guy, why did you let him on the plane?!

As the story notes, the TSA wasn't involved in this incident, as it was an Air Canada flight from Hong Kong to Vancouver.  But the US administration is wasting no time jumping on the bandwagon -
Napolitano said the U.S. was actively trying to protect air travelers, including working on an agreement with the European Union that would provide advance information on airline passengers.

"Good security is layered security. It begins with information sharing, information collection . . . good screening and scanning techniques at the airport gates themselves," she said.
Ahhhh.... Americans that are respected by the public - people such as airline pilots - are pushing back because of invasive screening and scanning techniques and POW! an international incident presents itself that lets the administration justify its actions.

How lucky is that?

Accept The Challenge

An oldie but goodie -

Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.
--Benjamin Franklin

Don't fall for this stuff, folks.  No one wants to die on a plane blown out of the sky by a terrorist bomb.  No one wants to die from any cause other than old age!

But we can't keep acceding our rights to the government.  Eat this.  Don't eat that.  Watch this.  Don't watch that.  Smoke this.  Don't smoke that.  Exercise this right.  Don't exercise that right.

Life has risks.  If we allow the government to manage these risks for us, we're no more personally responsible than a child.  Our Constitution lays out what the government is expected to do for us, as well as what they are not allowed to do for us.  They are not allowed to trample one right (unreasonable searches, per the Fourth Amendment) in pursuit of enforcing another (uhm, the interstate commerce clause?).

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suek said...

I have a son in Texas. We live in California. I've resigned myself to the fact that we will not be visiting them anymore until we sell our store and retire - again. I have no intention of flying.

commoncents said...

THANK YOU for posting this! I really like your blog and glad I found it!!

Common Cents

suek said...


You've been spammed by commoncts.

He comments the same thing _everywhere_!!

Although usually he includes a request to link to his blog. He may have a terrific blog - but I absolutely refuse to even check it out. Maybe I'm being hardheaded and passing up a good thing...or not. I don't know.