When You Touch My Liberty (Don’t Touch Me There)

Posted by Frankly Francis on November 21, 2010 under In The News, Social Issues/Politics | 5 Comments to Read

There’s much being made about having your privates groped or doing a radiated digital strip tease in order to board an airplane these days.  Emotions are running high on both sides of the issue.

Has it really come to this?

So how did it come to this?

Social and political issues are not typically one-offs.  They are usually part of an intertwined pattern of events and circumstances… actions and reactions.

This is how I sort it:

America has had its hand in foreign countries for a long while now.  Post World War II, American foreign aid in rebuilding decimated nations and economies was certainly noteworthy.  America was viewed pretty well throughout the world.

It went to our heads.

We decided that we knew better.

We felt a deep obligation to mold the world in our own image.

America began meddling in affairs of other countries using money to get its way, commencing military affairs and even using black ops assassination teams.  We began an all out effort to deploy our military everywhere.  We propped up tyrants at the expense of their citizens.  We became involved in combat operations all over the place.  America made a pre-emptive strike against Iraq.  From there we began openly utilizing methods of interrogation that involve torture.

Some people do not like being subjected to the atrocities committed by their puppet government held in place by the Americans.  Some people resent the fact that American military actions result in the deaths of their innocent loved ones.  Some religious folks truly believe that American presence on their soil is sacrilegious to their beliefs.

Some of all of these types of people had their lives so shattered by American actions in their lands that they vowed to make America hurt.  Terrorism resulted.

That’s the way it works – you get in somebody’s face, they get back in yours.  Guaranteed blowback.

For the record, I strongly condemn the initiation of violence.

Well as it turns out, we still have this wonderful, if not completely forgotten and misused document known as the constitution which very clearly states that the federal government is responsible to the people for the defense of America – note the word “defense.”  It also clearly states that Americans cannot be subjected to unreasonable search.

We the people need to understand that when we gave up our liberty, the terrorists won.

Now try this on:

Isn’t it ironic that when America is the world’s most powerful country, that we are actually more at risk and more afraid to live on our own soil?  All of our great power and force has only brought violence directly to us.

Here’s Bill Bonner’s take:

We’ve never been mistreated by an agent of the TSA. Bullied, yes. Threatened, yes. They’ve been impolite on occasion. We’ve been patted down so vigorously we didn’t know whether to leave a tip or lodge a complaint.

But we try to maintain a sense of humor.

“The trouble with you, is you just don’t get it,” said a paranoid friend lately. “Can’t you see? This TSA has nothing to do with keeping out bad guys. It’s about keeping us in. They’re not really there to make the airlines safer. Instead, it is just a preparation. They are getting Americans accustomed to following orders, standing in line, and acting like half-wits. They are also training up a whole class of goons. These guys don’t ask whether it really makes sense to pat down girl scouts and look at old ladies naked. They just do whatever they’re told to do. And they probably enjoy it.

“There are always some people like that – ready to be concentration camp guards and exterminators. The TSA program helps the authorities identify these people.”

“Why”” we asked.

“Who knows…maybe they just want power. Maybe they just want a docile population so they can do what they want.”

A few years back we took a family trip to NYC.  We were selected for the enhanced search.  As American citizens with no cause for suspicion, I was humiliated when I saw my nearly 80 year old mother-in-law’s arms out in the “airplane” position.  I understood how the Nazis pulled off the Holocaust.

I get the feeling that a lot of people are under the mistaken impression that submitting to the government mandates is necessary for the privilege of flying.  But Americans never sacrifice their constitutional rights to the government.

As bizarre as it seems today, in truth, it is the government’s obligation to protect our rights – not take them away.

When you board a plane, if you have not given the authorities reasonable grounds to search you, then they cannot legally search you.  It’s that simple.  It really is.  Seriously, it really is.

And I don’t want to hear that tired line, “if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear.”  The very existence of that line gives one much to fear.

If you believe that the government’s rules and actions are protecting you, I would respectfully ask you to think that through again.

I’ve heard some comments from those in support of cooperating with invasive body inspections that if someone doesn’t want to go through the procedure, that’s OK – they should take another mode of transportation.  I would suggest that if you are willing to give up your liberty by complying with unconstitutional actions then it is you who should find another mode of transportation.

Don’t let them touch your liberty.



P.S. I don’t vouch for the accuracy of the following demonstration of the radiation strip scanners, but on the surface it seems reasonable.  Be forewarned that it is graphic and should not be watched if you are sensitive to reality.


  • User Loser said,

    When is the point not security but stripping you rights? I think we passed that Rubicon a while ago.

  • Skinny Pirate said,

    I agree with your assessment of the sequence of events leading up to the current situation except I would add that the US’s old nemesis Russia and communism fueled a lot of the political “cover” for these efforts including us getting Russia out of Afghanistan (Charlie Wilson’s war). The same training and weapons we provided the Afghan’s and those freedom fighters from other countries helping them are now being used against us. Some have argued that Russia has turned the table and is helping them with these efforts. But I digress – fast forward to current events of airport security.

    Right or wrong, we have a terrorism issue today. We could argue how we got here and what precipitated this but it does not eliminate the terrorist problem we have. Recently as the last couple of weeks there have been multiple attempts to blow up planes in a variety of ways thankfully thwarted. So I ask, how do we provide for the “common defence” of the people who choose to fly an airplane?

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    Let’s imagine for a moment that all security was lifted and we could travel however we wanted. Utopia? I think not. The problem is we can’t erase the past and those that feel they have been wronged by the US will not all of a sudden forget, nor forgive. Here’s the government’s predicament – they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. We are seeing a perfect example of this now.

    On Oct 28th, new measures were announced and taken by TSA to protect the flying traveler (pat downs and electronic screenings). A week later, I have a casual conversation with a friend who travels worldwide for business every week that went through these new measures and joked how he was taken to a room and groped by one agent while another watched. He saw it more as a time issue and was fine with it if it made flying safer. This was the first and only time I heard of these new measures until Internet blogger John Tyner video tapes his experience (I would argue more to sensationalize himself), then it becomes a big deal. Like all mass media mayhem, the most sensationalized bits are broadcast. And so now the Government is damned because they did.

    So what if they don’t. Let’s say we eliminated the TSA checks altogether. Anyone can come and go as they please carrying whatever they like. When something happened, many of the same people complaining about security checks now would be upset at the Government for not doing enough. So they are damned if they don’t.

    Now, let me be clear. In my opinion anything done by the government is inefficient, expensive, and in many cases ineffective. I don’t like just anyone touching my junk either, but I always look at motives. Has anyone interviewed any of these TSA agents. I bet you a large amount of them don’t want to be touching junk either. I know Bonner’s paranoid friend thinks this is about “Keeping us in” and about controlling us. Well, yes…..because we ask for it. I come back to the damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

    What’s the solution? Do we let whatever happens happen and take away security altogether? Do we have some security and how much is too much? Do we get really good looking TSA agents so we can choose who gropes us so the experience is more customer friendly? Do we ask airline companies to police themselves and those who do have security charge more and those who don’t be really inexpensive (hmm)? I think any solution is going to have its ups and downs, just like what we have right now.

    Here is what I do know. Flying is a privilege (as you point out FF) and not a right. I can choose other forms of transportation. If I do fly and am selected for a more stringent security check, I can even choose between tech vs grope vs leaving. I also know that the terrorism threat is real. There were bombs thwarted as recently as 2 weeks ago on planes. I also know that if I fly, I want everyone on board to have the same goal in mind as me – getting to my destination safely.

    Given all this, I think something has to be in place to make sure we arrive safely and I do believe security checks provide for the “common defence” and are Constitutional. The real question I have that I think is being missed by all this mass media sensationalism, do these new security measures really make us any safer? The law of diminishing returns. If not, then why go through the expense, embarrassment, and time?

  • Frankly Francis said,

    Well said my naughty nautical commentor, and I do concur that terrorism is a threat, but in my opinion, giving up liberty in the face of a threat is worse than the threat.

    Our current methodology is escalating the threat, not diminishing it. I would point to the history of the conflict between the Arabs and Jews as an inescapable spiral that we are emulating.

    So can we have the sacred right to not be unreasonably searched while feeling safe at the same time?

    I think so.

    All we need to do is let the free market work on our mutual interests. Airlines cannot afford to stay in business if their planes are being blown out of the sky. Pilots and flight crews certainly aren’t going to come into work if they think they will be killed on the job. A lot of people would indeed feel safer if there were full blown cavity searches.

    So let the airlines offer differing levels of security to you and me. Then it is choice. Not Big Brother.

    And when I said that flying is a privilege, I meant that the airlines should feel privileged to get my business…

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  • Rhiannon said,

    I appreciate you taking the time to blog on this topic. Just saw a news stat that 80% of Americans are in favor of these new measures…a stat that I am completely shocked by! When I heard about these new “naked booths” awhile back I was completely outraged and taken aback. To the point that I decided I would not fly to airports that had them. Now I am oustounded to see my fellow Americans complying with this without a second thought!

    So we’ve been given two options: take your pick. Would you like to be radiated or molested or both??

    These measures employed by the TSA do NOT make us safer, instead they give the gov’t power over the people that just does not belong to them. The Terrorists are winning by striking fear into our hearts and “stripping” us of our freedoms and rights.

    We have become a “Nation of Suspects.”

  • Rhiannon said,

    Any interest in protesting at the airport? Is something like that possible? I’ve been entertaining the thought. 😉

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