Recently by Brian Travis: The Drug War Is Upside-Down
“The naked body scanners must go!” “The naked body scanners must go!”
I hear the cry coming from all over the ‘tubes. We won’t be subjected to x-rays that project our naked bodies on a screen! We won’t let our children be viewed by pervert TSA agents! The scanners re-arrange our DNA! We won’t fly!
The resistance is substantial. The tactics of the TSA have finally reached the threshold of what we are willing to put up with.
Really? Finally? Let’s step back a few years.
I have flown more than a million miles in my career. I remember walking to my gate with a large pocket knife that I merely had to take out and show to the guy at the metal detector. He just wanted to make sure it wasn’t a gun. I remember when I was greeted at the gate by my loved ones who came to pick me up.
And it wasn’t that long ago.
And then, the-most-horrible-event-on-earth-that-shall-live-in-our-memories-forever happened. For the next several years, the countdown to tyranny began. No pocket knives. No knitting needles. No water. X-ray your laptop. X-ray your shoes. X-ray your hat, your coat, your 4-ounce mouthwash.
People complied. We showed our IDs. We took off our shoes. We submitted to their wands. We drank our baby’s mother’s milk. We bought 3-ounce toothpaste and put it in a Ziploc baggie. We put all of our crap into their Rubbermaid containers. We arrived two hours early for a one-hour flight. Oh, and there were the puffer machines to make sure we didn’t smell like a bomb.
And then, they went too far. They want to X-ray my whole body! If I refuse, they will grope me. If I refuse the groping, I’m not flying today. This is totally unacceptable! I won’t submit! I won’t degrade myself! Something must be done!
I see two equally likely scenarios that will roll out over the next few months.
Scenario 1: Congress, under pressure from the public, will call for an investigation into the porno scanners. The scanner makers will re-tool their machines to be less lifelike. The TSA will install the new improved machines.
Scenario 2: The TSA will realize that they have gone too far and remove all of the naked body scanners and revert back to the pre-scanner era of screening.
No matter which of these scenarios play out, the TSA will announce how they are listening to their customers and brag about how well they can serve the needs of the traveling public while still maintaining security and keeping us safe from terrorists.
So that means we win, right? The people demanded redress from their government and we got it. God Bless America! The government still works!
But wait…what about my bottle of water? What about my sock-hop through the metal detector? What about my long-lost pocket knife?
While we are taking our high-five victory laps, travelers are still being subjected to just one degree short of total security tyranny. We’ve done nothing to strike at the root. The problem is not naked body scanners. The problem is government using fear to insert itself in between the parties of a consensual transaction. But the people who profit from controlling us will be satisfied that they have found a level of tyranny to which they can subject us that we will accept.
They could not have planned it better. Governmental bureaucratic incompetence, combined with retired-bureaucrat-lobbyist greed, with a helping from an indoctrinated citizenry, creates a populace that thinks they won.
May our chains rest lightly on our wrists.
Brian Travis [send him mail] is a computer jockey living in New Hampshire. He’s written six books on various technology topics and has toured the world several times giving technical seminars until the TSA took the fun out of flying. He is on the board of directors of the Civil Disobedience Evolution Fund.