I recently went on a trip from Philadelphia to Fort Myers and saw yet another example of the rediculousness of the TSA. Going through Philadephia International Airport reminds one (well, if you are old enough to remember such things) of crossing over into East Berlin. The surly, highly suspicous guards, the bogus security measures, intimidation as an official policy prove that the flavor of authoritarianism is alive and well.
As I approached the security checkpoint, (shoes in hand, natch!) I saw that they were funneling everyone through the Rapiscan. Now, I won’t bore you with all the reasons why I have heartburn with these machines but as a matter of course, I refuse to go through them. So, I walk up to what appeared to be the ‘Screener in Charge’ and tell her:
“I’m going to decline to go through the scanner and would like a pat down, instead.”
Screener: “Why don’t you want to go through the scanner? Has it done anything to you?”
Me: (After weighing whether I should spend any effort trying to explain my numerous objections to that hunk of junk) “They don’t do any good.”
At that point the Screener indicated for me to step into a small (two feet by three feet?) roped off area and closed me off. So, there I stood like a doofus in full view, standing in a little roped off box. The message was clear: ‘This is what happens to non-conformers.
Then we went through the obligatory ‘Contempt of TSA’ wait where, despite numerous screeners loitering about, one has to wait in the box for some time. After all, the process is designed to make you uncomfortable in order to ensure compliance.
I was then given a cursory pat down that was totally ineffectual at catching contraband and sent on my way.
The whole experience was no different than that experienced by thousands of people every day but just because it’s common doesn’t mean we should lose our
outrage frustration at having to go through these ridiculous measures.
On a similar note, please read this post from former FBI guy Steve Moore. I don’t know Steve and haven’t read anything else of his but he’s got a pretty impressive resume (assuming what he writes is accurate – I know lying on the internet is very rare but I’ve heard it does happen) and I can say with confidence that we agree on at least one thing:
…TSA is one of the worst-run, ineffective and most unnecessarily intrusive agencies in the United States government.