TSA Searches, Security or Power Grab
Why A Physical Search
Due to my background in Law Enforcement, and my years of work in the California prison system. I have participated in thousands of pat-down searches and strip searches. Most people would understand extreme pat-down, or strip searches in a prison, but do not understand why at the airport.
First consider that inmates and terrorists have somethings in common. They both want to be invisible when involved in their planning, preparation, and implementation of their crimes. They both conceal illegal items on their person to avoid detection.
In todays world not all weapons are made of metal, there for metal detectors do not always work. Weapons can be made from plastic wrap to ceramic materials. As mechanical detection systems are designed and improved, criminals and terrorists seek out their weakness and exploit them.
I have seen weapons and contraband hidden in slits cut inside the mouth in the area of the cheeks, concealed in pockets sown into outer clothing and under garments. Concealed in and around the genitalia, and any other place you can think of.
So which form of searching is the best? The best would be a full strip search and x-rays. This would detect any items on the body, and inside the body. After all, if our security procedures only check the outside of the body, criminals and terrorists will conceal items inside the body either in a cavity, or inserted under the skin that would be able to be removed, or activated by the individual. Between the two, a strip search is less likely to have lasting harmful effects.
Our Prudish Ways
Americans as a whole are some what prudish. We like our comfort zone, or put a better way our space. We have a personal zone that extends about three feet, or arms length. We are comfortable keeping most people an arms length from us. A person that we know or know well can enter with-in our personal space without undo concern. We will allow an unknown person to shake our hand, but even then the person is about three feet from us as both have extended their arms and hands. Hugs or body contact are generally unwelcomed, unless we know and trust the individual involved.
Due to my background my comfort zone is actually, three feet plus one step. Unless I know and trust a person, I do not want them touching me. In theaters I have to sit in the back and keep an empty seat between me and the person next to me ( if I don't know them). During my Military service I was stationed in Japan. The Japanese personal space zone extends from their skin inwards, at least on trains. During non rush hours there was enough space that I was comfortable on the trains. However, I avoided trains during the rush hours due to the crowded conditions, having six people I did not know touching me was just too much.
In certain circumstances we allow people to not only touch us but probe us. I remember my first rectal exam, I did not like it a bit, but it was required as part of my medical exam for entry into the army. We submit to these kind of probes for our health, but will we submit to searches for our Safety?
Are Constitutional Rights Violated?
First, I am not a Constitutional lawyer, or practice law in any form of fashion. These are just my understanding based on my working background and my personal studies. What have we already given up that would fall into the same category or close too the search issue.
Health-care that requires everyone to buy insurance if they want it or not. This is a violation as we have no choice, and it is required by the Government.
Drivers License, Auto insurance, smog checks. These I feel are legal as we have an option not to own or drive a vehicle. The individual can make a choice if their desire for a license, insurance, and a smog check, is worth the cost or limit of freedom.
Social Security Number, again we are not required by law to have one. Unless we want to work or receive any government assistance or programs such as medicare, social security benifits. Again you as an individual have the right to choose.
Now the TSA searches. Again we have a choice, to fly or go by train, auto, bike, or walk. Again we must weigh our decission based on our desire to fly and our right to unreasonable searches.
People in American have given up rights to search many times. We as individuals can choose to let the Police officer search our home, car and belongings, at anytime by giving permission. We can also refuse and make them either violate our rights, or get a court order, to do the searches. We can give up our right to remain silent and talk with police about a criminal matter, or we can refuse, again we have a choice. The TSA searches fall into this same group, we can submit and fly, or refuse and find another way to travel.
How to change the TSA policy? I have heard numerous ways people have been talking about. Including everyone requesting a strip search or everyone refusing it. If people start this, the TSA will set up another line for people to show their airline ticket, no ticket no entry into the screening area. You have a ticket and refuse, your ticket is marked refused screening, sent out and barred from re-entry with the ticket marked refused. Out come, increased cost to Government, further delay for people willing to be searched.
Personally, I believe you should write/call the TSA, Homeland Security, and your local and federal representatives and make your concerns known and what you want done. Secondly, refuse to fly, jobs will be lost by both Government and the airlines. They will be required to re-evaluate their decision based on the economics.
Lastly, by attempting to block airports and screening areas are you violating the rights of those people who have chosen to fly, and submit to the security procedures?
This is a personal issue and everyone must make a decission if they will or will not allow their person to be searched.