I get email: TSA holiday travel edition
This is from Kent Ashcraft, sending out another one of his email missives:
When I was an active duty Marine, I was forced to submit to random drug testing. Several times a year I had to urinate into a bottle under direct observation of another person – fairly intrusive, if you ask me. If I’d felt it were a violation of my Fourth Amendment rights, I would have protested loudly, but it wasn’t. It was merely a condition of my employment. Today I am self-employed and no one can force me to do such a thing.
Likewise, the full body scans (or pat-downs) at our airports are intrusive, but not a violation of our rights. They are merely a condition of being allowed to fly on a commercial airliner. Whether they are necessary or effective in preventing terrorist attacks is debatable, but that is their purpose in any case.
Here’s what I find ironic here: Many of the people who are most indignant about the TSA’s screening procedures didn’t bat an eye when the Bush administration authorized warrantless electronic surveillance a few years ago, for exactly the same ostensible purpose. And that program actually was Constitutionally dubious, since the people being searched weren’t even aware of it. But many of those who approved of that are now going all ACLU on us. I’m not going to suggest this has anything to do with whose administration ordered the body search program, but I have a sneaking suspicion these protesters wouldn’t have had a problem with it four years ago.
At any rate, although air travel is becoming more and more of a major hassle, at least we know that up front. It’s like when I go to my doctor for a prostate exam – I’m well aware I have a fairly intrusive search in my immediate future, but there’s no way around it so I accept it. And that’s my advice for my holiday-traveling friends.
Happy Thanksgiving, Kent
Right, Kent, and warrantless wiretaps are just a condition of being allowed to talk on a commercial telephone network. Actually you have a really good point about people not taking violations personally until it actually touched their person. It’s just one of the many things we do to innocent people in the name of safety. And Janet Napolitano wants to do it on trains and busses too, because who knows? Terrorists could attack there too.
You say that because you are self-employed, no one can force you to do such a thing. How far from mainstream employment, commerce, education and travel will we eventually have to be, to have any boundaries at all?
Where does it stop?