by John Tyner: Motivation
of My Filming of MyTSAEncounter
places, I’ve heard responses like this to what I did, but very few
people have taken the time to ask their questions respectfully and
without name-calling. I received this message early this morning
and am going to take the author’s measured tone as an indication
that he really does want a response and does not simply want to
excoriate me. I am publishing this response as a way to answer everyone
who may have similar questions about what I did.
May I ask:
So if next time a terrorist successfully hides "devices"
to kill Americans on a plane, because you seem to think TSA or
airport security is over-excessive…What will you say?
First of all,
I am not advocating that we drop all security at our airports. What
I oppose are the intrusive (and arguably unconstitutional) use of
body scanning (or AIT) machines that can literally take a picture
of one’s naked body and/or the use of the new pat down procedures
in which TSA officers are not necessarily instructed to "touch
your junk" but come so close that many have and/or do. I find
this level of scrutiny to be invasive and offensive.
What do we
do instead? As I said, I am not saying that we should simply allow
anyone and everyone to get on a plane simply because they have a
ticket. (I should add that I would not oppose an airline that wanted
to board planes with zero security. I don’t think they would get
much business, but it is within their right to do so.) What I am
saying is that there are alternative methods of screening passengers
that are far less invasive than what we do now and could actually
make us more secure. That is, we wouldn’t have to rely on machines
that would not detect a "device" hidden inside of a would-be
I drove across the U.S./Canada border about 5 years back. When I
reached the border, an agent stopped me and asked why I was entering
Canada. I explained that my wife and I had been driving/sightseeing
in the northeastern area and wanted to go to Niagara Falls. When
he looked at my ID, he noticed that I had a California driver’s
license but was driving a car with Virginia plates. He asked about
this. I told him that the car was rented. He then asked how I got
to the East coast in the first place… There is a bit more to this
story; he asked me a few more questions. My point is, though, that
if someone is lying, their story usually begins to fall apart around
the third question or so. We should be employing a screening more
along these lines.
technology (both advanced and not-so-advanced) allows for the detection
of very small amounts of explosive material. One of these is the
swab that you’ve seen TSA take of your bags and then run through
a machine. They also have employed full body sized machines that
simply blow a puff of air over you and analyze the result. Finally,
a lower-tech solution of using bomb sniffing dogs is a possibility.
Any of these would be as equally effective in ferreting out would-be
terrorists and do not require anyone to virtually take off their
clothes or have their junk touched.
you one thing that WILL happen. We service members will fight
a war again, just for you, because you complained of security
being unnecessary…. The terrorists are waiting for us to put
our guard down again. Think about that for a bit…..
Thank you for
your service. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the men
and women in our military. I know that they all enter the service
willing to die to protect the liberty and freedom upon which this
country was founded, especially because I’m not sure that I would
be able to make the same sacrifice. I would certainly like to think
that I would, but I can’t say for certain that that is true.
I agree with
you that in the event of another terrorist attack, you will likely
be called upon to go overseas and fight another war in the name
of freedom. You should ask your commanding officers, and ultimately,
the president, however, if your fighting in those wars makes us
safer. Terrorist attacks do not take place in a vacuum. The Times
Square bomber viewed himself as defending
his "lands" against foreign occupation. The underwear
bomber acted in retaliation
for "American-backed airstrikes […] in Yemen." Osama
bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda group attacked us on September 11th because
of our interventionist foreign policies and our
presence in Saudi Arabia. Don’t forget that we actually backed
bin Laden in the 80’s in his fight against the Soviet Union.
It goes on
and on, and don’t get me wrong. I fully support a strong national
defense. What I oppose is a strong national offense that imposes
U.S. will on other peoples. Despite the rhetoric, terrorists don’t
hate our freedoms. They just want us to leave them alone.
I UNDERSTAND what all is implied and I respect whatever you want
to call this. Unfortunately you have forgotten why things are
the way they are. How are you a "Hero". Tell ME that.
Honestly brother, a person who self-consciously video records
prior going through security had the attention to overembellish
the true intent for TSA Security – FOR SAFETY and TO PREVENT
PEOPLE FROM GETTING KILLED.
Forget" (looks like you all forgot)
video to jock your memory.
I have not
forgotten September 11th. I am reminded of September 11th every
time I enter an airport, every time a "suspicious package"
is found at a public building, every time a U.S. soldier like yourself
is killed fighting in the name of that terrible event. It truly
I am not a
hero. I know that people have come to regard me as such, but I have
explicitly disclaimed that title. I’m simply someone who stood up
for what he believed to be right: that the government does not have
the authority to view me naked or pat me down to the extent that
they would have without some kind of reasonable suspicion or probable
I have explained
repeatedly the reason
for my recording of my interaction with the TSA. I am not trying
to over-embellish anything. In fact, the recording prevents me from
doing exactly that. I don’t doubt that TSA is trying to provide
security for air travelers. So far though, they have done a poor
job of it. Attacks on our airplanes since September 11th have been
stopped by the passengers, not the TSA. It’s time we started treating
our passengers like the first (and arguably last) responders to
a possible attack. We need to start treating them with dignity and
respect and not like the very terrorists of whom we have now become
with permission from Johnnyedge.
[send him mail] is a software
engineer in Southern California. He occasionally writes about economics,
politics, and constitutional issues from a layman/amateur perspective.