In a mere four words Jennifer Abel summed up what is wrong with the latest TSA airport body searches. She called them: “state-sponsored sexual harassment.“
To others it feels like the invasion of the body snatchers, or better, the invasion of the dignity snatchers.
For the record Abel was writing in the Guardian; apparently, she is their token libertarian. Link here.
Abel is outraged at the American’ government’s reaction to the new terrorism threat. In her words: “No bureaucracy better embodies that reactionary principle than the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), whose contempt for American citizens has grown so great that they now require we submit to government agents either photographing our, to them, visibly naked bodies or groping us in molestation-style patdowns if we ever want to fly again.”
It is fair to say that there is a difference between a patdown and sexual harassment. The latter involves a lascivious intent; the former does not.
But, how do you explain this to the three-year-old girl who was screaming in horror and fighting with every ounce of her strength as her mother was holding her down so that a TSA inspector could pat down her genitals.
No one at the TSA seems to have been bothered by inflicting sexual traumas on small children. Or by asking the children’s parents to collude in the invasion of privacy.
If I never have to see anything like that again, it will not be a moment too soon.
It is a frightening irony that a culture that is permanently on guard against the sexual abuse of children can now countenance acts that a child will experience as sexual molestation.
And, the alternative to the patdown is hardly less appealing. Travelers are first invited to expose their intimacy by a new type of x-ray photography.
And all, apparently, because we are so strongly opposed to profiling that we would prefer to abuse children and nuns and grandmothers.
However well trained the agents are, the possibilities for abuse are so many that someone, somewhere should have found a better way.
Of course, someone has. Israeli officials have already stated that psychological profiling is the most effective way to discover terrorists. Yet, the American bureaucratic mind is so thoroughly infected with political correctness that it does not care how much damage the citizenry will be forced to sustain, the better to avoid profiling.
No one else in the world can find any redeeming social virtue in the new American way to humiliate the population.
So much for your right to privacy. And so much for your dignity and decorum.
Is it possible that the TSA did not think that Americans would assert their dignity against this unwanted and unwarranted intrusion?
Many people are now addressing the question of whether or not these patdowns constitute a criminal action. I will leave the issue for those who are versed in criminal law.
Whether or not TSA agents are committing a crime, they are certainly robbing us, individually, of our dignity. They are also making us look, collectively, like complete fools in the eyes of the world.
At a time in our political history when more and more people are offended and outraged at increased government encroachment into private life, it takes an especially dense bureaucrat to green light these new anti-terrorism methods.
Ultimately, the story highlights the unspeakable stupidity of the bureaucracy. And it shows, with exceptional clarity, why people do not trust the government.
The mental processing here is thoroughly embarrassing.
Why is the TSA so interested in seeing through your clothes and touching your genitalia? Because, a terrorist once hid a bomb in his undershorts.
Do you think that the terrorists are so stupid that they would keep trying the same thing over and over again, and that, to do so, they would enlist three year old girls?
The bureaucracy seems to be wedded to the notion that we should keep our eyes strictly focused on the past, the better to fight the last war.
Now, who decided that we had to ban the shipment of toner cartridges because since Yemeni terrorists recently tried to blow up airplanes by turning toner cartridges into bombs?
Does anyone really believe that they are going to use toner cartridges the next time? How stupid do we think they are?
In the end it looks like the government has not learned the lesson of 9/11.
Why didn’t the government foresee 9/11? One reason was: a gross failure of imagination.
As I recall it, in 2001 when the government heard of a threat to aviation, it assumed that the terrorists were planning to hijack planes for ransom. No one imagined that the terrorists would fly planes into skyscrapers.