Friday, March 28, 2008

Have The terrorists Won?

Just as I don't watch Fox News, I am also an infrequent reader of Sound Politics, as I find the ultra-conservative mindset of a lot of the posters there to be way too narrow for my level of patience — but that in itself is fodder for a completely different post.

However, while checking it for the first time in a couple of weeks, I came across a link to a story there that was originally posted on SLOG, the blog for The Stranger (which I also don't read). It made me shake my head and wonder if the terrorists haven't already won.

As someone who flies somewhere between 50 and 75 thousand miles a year, I'm no stranger to the daily stupidity that passes for safeguarding our freedom perpetrated upon us by the TSA. We might be safe from our own shoes, as well as from the evil possibilities of the imagined threats posed by fingernail clippers and toothpaste, but you have to wonder if these morons just haven't let their authority get in the way of basic common sense.

It seems that recently, a woman was forced by TSA security to remove two rings in her pierced nipples in order to pass security. The woman was given a pair of pliers in order to remove the rings, which had reportedly been there for many years. Several years ago, actress (?) Nicole Richie, had her breasts inspected by security at a different airport because of her nipple rings.

Given that some people have metal medical implants for hips, shoulders, head wounds, etc., should they be given pliers and a field surgical kit and ordered to remove the pins holding their joints together?

My question is, what part of the U.S. Constitution doesn't the TSA accept or understand? The First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of expression — and such freedom of expression would certainly include nipple rings — or the Fourth Amendment, with its protections from unreasonable searches and seizures?

If there was some "reasonable" concern about this woman and her rings being a bona fide threat to other passengers, it could have been resolved in seconds. Private booth, female guard. "Please lift your shirt... Okay. Thank you ma'am, sorry for the inconvenience. Have a nice flight." End of story.

Is it just me, or does that make too much sense?

In my opinion, the TSA is the biggest make-work boondoggle since the WPA, and hasn't really had any significant impact on making our skies safer. At any rate, find the Stranger story here and another version here.

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