Rocks and Hard Places

20 Nov

I’m no fan of the TSA; I think their track record on some things leaves a lot to be desired and that the organization, as a whole, is so inconsistent in the way their agents do things it makes people who travel wonder which end is up.  However, after the tragedy of September 11th, security at our airports had to be beefed up and the answer was the TSA.  After all the shit the TSA has had to deal with over the years since 9/11, now they’re getting kicked in the balls over the new full-body scanner and a more invasive pat-down procedure.

Okay, folks, here goes:  You want air travel to be as safe as it can be… but you don’t want to do whatever’s necessary to insure that safety?  What kind of logic is that?  I just read an RSS blurb about some dude becoming so upset over being patted down, he pissed himself.  Oh, come on, really?  Seriously?  Maybe it’s just me, but if the TSA  wanted to feel me up or look at my ass and cock on a screen, to me, that’s worth knowing that nothing that isn’t supposed to be on a plane isn’t going to get on there.

Besides, I might just like getting felt up like that…

There has been so much whining and crying over the new body scanner.  The situation called for such a device, what, with people sneaking shit onto planes that their normal metal and x-ray devices weren’t catching.  And now that they’re here, people are pitching a royal bitch over someone at a console taking a peek at their goodies?  Oh, give me a fucking break, will ya?  And if that wasn’t enough, they’re even questioning the amount of radiation the new devices are emitting, um, like people probably don’t know that the higher your plane flies, the more radiation you’re being exposed to because the atmosphere is less dense at 40,000 feet than it is at sea level?  Maybe they didn’t know, but I also guess that’s what they get for bagging science class.

Sure, being overly irradiated is a real concern so I hope both the government and the people who make the devices can substantiate their claim that the body scanners are safe to use.

More rage against the machine:  Apparently, when in a test or diagnostic mode, the body scanners have the ability to record images, store them, and they can even be printed.  Oh, lawd, the natives are up in arms about this fearing that a picture of their body scan is going to wind up on YouTube.  An article about it says that anyone with a cell phone could take a picture of the images… which is why TSA says that no one working in the body scanner area will be allowed to carry a cell phone.

Okay, from a technical point of view, making the body scanners capable of recording, storing and printing images makes perfectly good sense.  If nothing else, TSA and DHS can study what the machines are capturing, especially when questionable items are seen and to determine if the TSA folks on the scene are using the machine properly.  I mean, someone has to watch the watchers, right?  And, yeah, if it breaks down, well, it’s better to test the device as completely as possible before putting it back into service, huh?  TSA says that this functionality will be locked out by administrative password and then that password isn’t going to be common knowledge.  Personally, I think they’d make out better with having that piece of software that generates one-time usable passwords that are hard to figure out; your basic Windows server probably has that functionality built into it and used to better protect the more secure areas of a server or groups of servers.

Even with such protection in place, it’s still about people being people in some cases and we’re either going to trust the TSA to do their jobs within their legal remit… or we need to disband them and start over from scratch.

Airline pilots jumped in on this too, pitching a bitch about having to be body scanned and maybe patted down just like everyone else getting onto the aircraft.  One pilot said he felt violated and was physically ill after the fact and I just find it hard to believe that someone with the know-how and saavy to fly today’s sophisticated aircraft would let something like getting his ass felt up bother him.  But, as hilarious as this might sound, the pilots did make a good point:  If an act of terrorism was on their minds, they wouldn’t need any weapons simply because, uh, they’re the ones at the controls and sitting behind a locked door that’s damn near impenetrable.  With that thought in mind, yeah, subjecting them to the same searches as passengers kinda doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it?  Besides, a flight crew can get frisked and scanned from now until whenever… and no one’s come up with a device that’ll tell you what’s going on in their heads, have they?  So, needless to say, the pilots and flight crews got a pass on this one; they only have to be subjected to the normal checks.

I can only guess that the only reason the TSA was pushing this was to be uniform across the board; when they say everyone, they fucking mean everyone and without exception.  As much as I despise the TSA, I’m kinda on their side on this one.  Hell, my wife, on our trip to the Caribbean, actually volunteered to be body scanned – and was disappointed to find out they didn’t have one at the American Airlines concourse entrance – but Southwest has one.  And, I have to admit, that my encounter with the BWI and MIA TSA contingents went rather quickly and was well tolerated by myself.  And they didn’t ask me to empty out my fanny pack, like they’d done a few times before!

I saw another RSS article that stated that a cancer patient was made to remove a prosthetic device they were wearing during a pat-down.  I didn’t read the whole thing but I’m pretty sure the media wouldn’t have mentioned it if someone hadn’t pitched a bitch about it.  I mean, really, if you’ve ever watched TV or movies and see how the bad guys hide bombs and other weapons in a fake prostheses, well, what makes you think the TSA isn’t going to want to examine something they don’t know about?  Unless the removal of the prosthetic would have been life-threatening, why not let them check it out?  See, the one time it doesn’t get checked, it’ll contain something that might bring an aircraft down or otherwise be used to threaten and terrorize the passengers and crew.

What, you think the bad guys aren’t reading all of this shit and watching the news on CNN where this is concerned?  You can bet your sweet ass they are!

Yeah, okay, it can all be seen as us giving up our civil liberties; the state of Virginia recently filed suit on the matter saying that the new TSA practices violates the fourth amendment rights against illegal search and seizure.  But this is a simple question:  Would you rather get scanned or felt up and have your safety in the air better assured; or would you rather it all go away and have another 9/11 event take place?  Oh, that would make the bad guys happy!  They don’t have to worry about figuring out ways to defeat the new systems and avoid the pat-downs – we’re going to do that for them by making it illegal for the TSA to do whatever’s necessary to keep us safe.

I’ve heard that DHS and TSA are offering the option of applying to them for a number or some such identifier that says that you’re good to go.  To me, uh, that would kinda imply having to go through a really thorough FBI background check – and you can probably bet your ass that the NSA and CIA might be peeking into your entire life as well.  Seem to me that one way or the other, your privacy is going to be “violated” for the sake of national security as well as the security of air travel as a whole.  I went through such a background check a couple of times in the Air Force; I figure that if the FBI found out about the window I broke when I was nine, can you imagine what they can find out about you that you’ve either forgotten or maybe don’t want the government to know about you?  Personally, I’d rather be scanned or frisked rather to go through another FBI background check at my age… not that I have anything to hide that I can remember.

If there’s a line to be drawn in any of this, it’s if/when the shit gets so bad that you have to strip down naked to be checked and body cavity searches become the order of the day… and some folks just might get a kick out of that, too.  Seriously, something’s got to give; we can’t have it both ways in needing the security but not wanting to subject yourself to it.  Okay, I do get that some people are really funny about stuff like this to the point of puking, feeling violated and, yep, pissing their pants.  Do you have or want to fly?  Your choices are really simple:  Either do the body scan, opt for the pat-down… or you’re not getting on the plane.  And, yeah, if there’s no body scanner and you go through and keep setting the detector off, do you really expect TSA not to check you out as thoroughly as the law will allow?  It really fucks me up that people in this are more fucked up in the head about who might see or feel something… like such things have never been seen or felt before by the people doing it – than they are about their safety in the air.

If someone defeats the current scanning technology and kills a plane full of people, aw, that’s a fucking shame!  They should have had better security in place!  Oh, wait… they do – but Americans didn’t want to subject themselves to it because it would make them feel violated.  I read that airports in Europe have the scanners in use… and no one there is whining or crying or pissing themselves because a security agent saw their winky or their kitty cat.  And I’m sure they’re laughing their asses off at us – again – for our childish and even prudish behavior in this as we behave as the petulant children we can be about such things.  In our petulance, we demand that our government do it’s fucking job and protect us… but when they do, it’s temper tantrum time.

I just don’t know about anyone else but my right to be safe when I board a plane and fly somewhere is a lot more important than my personal modesty.  I’m just waiting for when these new procedures get brought before the US Supreme Court because they’re being seen as unconstitutional.  The fourth amendment protects US citizens against illegal search and seizure or, in simpler terms, you can’t be searched without either probable cause or a warrant.  Um, does checking people for items that may threaten the lives and safety of others on a plane (as well as the aircraft itself) count as probable cause?  It’ll be interesting to see how the state of Virginia fares in it’s lawsuit against DHS and the TSA in the matter of any perceived violations of the fourth amendment.

Which also bears the question of whether or not the 4th amendment is valid for non-Americans in-country and leaving from, say, DCA or IAD?  That’s Regan National and Dulles respectively, for those who don’t speak airline code.  Ah, but I’m sure that if DHS ordered TSA to only use the more invasive methods on anyone not carrying a passport issued by the United States of America, then the country will be accused of racial and ethnic profiling – again.  I might even agree that while the 4th amendment exists to protect me, it’s not there to protect anyone who isn’t a citizen of this country.  Go to some other country and run afoul of them and start yapping about your 4th amendment rights when they strip you down and search you like they’re about to fuck you – then tell us how much they laughed at you when you did.

Then you should be pissed…


Posted by on 20 November 2010 in Life, Living and Loving


Tags: ,

2 responses to “Rocks and Hard Places

  1. marriagecoach1

    22 November 2010 at 17:50

    We are spending billions searching innocent people to be politically correct and not racially profile young muslim men who are doing all the killing.



    • kdaddy23

      23 November 2010 at 13:07

      Profiling would have worked until the terrorists started looking like us… because they were us. It puts DHS in a bad position because now that more and more “home grown” terrorists are being discovered, it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys until it’s almost too late. I’m sure the bad guys are just waiting for DHS/TSA to scrap the body scanners and invasive pat-downs so they can get back to work terrorizing everyone and, as Americans, we’re just being a bunch of cry-babies about it. Even now, TSA is trying to revise the procedure so as to not insult anyone’s sensibilities and all that will do is make their job that much more difficult.



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