There’s this little article in in the Constitution of the United States of America called the 4th Amendment. This little article goes something like this, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”. Maybe the definition of “unreasonable searches” has changed in the past 200 years, but it seems that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) violates the 4th amendment every time a law-abiding citizen walks through a security checkpoint at any major airport in the United States.
I flew home to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving break last week, and I was a little apprehensive about what I would be required to do to get through security. I was initially pleased when, departing DIA, I didn’t have to go through the full-body scanner or have a full pat-down. However, when I went through security at the Milwaukee, WI airport, I was simply directed to the scanner and there was no question, no debate. I had thought that you were only required to have the full body scan if you set off the metal detector, but I now know that is not the case. It seems that, as airports are receiving and installing the new scanners, they are simply requiring everyone to go through. You have no choice; either have someone walk their eyes over every inch of your body, or have someone walk their fingers over every inch of your body. Mildly irritating, no? I must confess, I felt violated as I stepped into the scanner, knowing that some pervert could be looking at things I would rather keep covered.
This wouldn’t be as bad as all that, except that there are perverts in the TSA. Surely by now everyone has heard the horror stories of people getting groped and mistreated by unscrupulous agents, and some sicko being fired because of certain things he was doing while a football team was going through the scanner. This is nothing short of outrageous. Under the pretext of protecting the American people, the TSA has stripped away every shred of privacy that the common American once had. Apparently, the constitution doesn’t matter anymore…
What is the everyday American traveler to do? For now, if you want to fly anywhere in the country, you will be subjected to a full-body scan or a full pat-down, no holds (or gropes, as the case may be) barred. For the future, we can fight these new procedures, and hopefully work towards a system that ensures our security but also protects our privacy. Who knows what goes on that we don’t even hear about. You know, there must be a better way to screen out potential threats before they board a plane. One friend of mine suggested profiling based on certain actions that are indicative of someone planning some dastardly act. I wonder if the facial expressions of a person planning to murder innocent people would be the same as those of an ordinary person who just wants to go home. While not an exact science by any stretch, it would be better than violating personal privacy and breaking the law.
Turns out flying this Christmas season may no longer be a family-friendly activity. TSA, let’s keep it PG.