Wednesday, May 11, 2011

TSA: Total Senseless Absudity

Three items in the news recently caught my attention and simply begged to be connected for your reading entertainment. The first occurred a little over a month ago with the release of a YouTube video of a six year-old girl being given an enhanced pat down by agents of the Transportation Security Administration at the New Orleans airport. I found a copy of it on this USA Today piece posted on April 13th. I think that the story speaks for itself. 

The second occurred here in Kansas City and I found the actual photograph posted just yesterday. In KC's case, the story linked here came from the local TV Fox station; and the picture shown was of an eight month old baby being given an enhanced pat down by a different group of TSA Agents. If you didn't find the concept of a six year-old being used as a weapon of mass destruction rather idiotic, perhaps the concept of a 'poop bomb' in the diaper of a young baby might help the process along. 

The third image and story (from an AP bit on the MSNBC website) tells of an actual incident on a airplane occurring when a Yemen native became a little unruly on American Airlines flight 1561 bound for San Francisco. It seems, at least according to prosecutors, that Rageh Al-Murisi should be considered "dangerous and erratic" simply for screaming "God is great" in Arabic and attempting to break into the cockpit. The interesting thing to me about these three travelogues is that while two small children (one unable to walk on its own) were detained for careful scrutiny and 'special attention' from TSA agents; apparently this man carrying, according to the story, "several valid and expired forms of identification from New York and California" was not waylaid on his journey by the dedicated (and soon to be unionized) bastions of airline safety. To the no doubt immense gratitude of his fellow passengers, he was able to make his flight. 

The justification for what should probably be considered little more than three failures on the part of our 'mall cops of the air' is of course that in all of these cases, TSA agents were strictly following the guidelines laid out by the Department of Homeland Security for our travel safety. (I know after reading these stories, I certainly feel safer flying.) 

I don't want to go off on the TSA however, as in this case they are simply too easy a target. I will however use this opportunity to point out that once again, the federal government's attempt at 'one size fits all rules' are a dismal failure, an annoying nuisance, and an expensive boondoggle. I would also like to point out that these guidelines and the minons of the TSA did nothing to keep what was either disturbed or disturbing individual from attempting to interfere with the guys flying the plane. In the end, it was not through state-of-the-art imaging technology, highly trained security personnel, or draconian procedures that make the crossing at 'Checkpoint Charlie' seem simple by comparison that foiled the only actual incident that all of this nonsense is supposed to protect us from. No, once again, the 'gentleman' in question was subdued instead by crew and passengers on the plane. (By the way, where were the 'Sky Marshalls' that have proved equally invisible and unheard of recently.) 

It seems for all of the rules and procedures that our caring government has put in place to secure a safety that they tell us only they are capable of providing, the only true safety and the best protection available to us comes from a flying public that will no longer tolerate this kind of behavior and will rise to the occasion when called for to defend themselves. This is something that the enemies of this country (including those who appear to be serving in government) might wish to take note of. 

There is a point beyond which the citizens of the United States cannot be pushed, and they will rise up to defend their peace, their honor, and their freedom when required ... against any and all threats. All might wish to take note as well, that the actions of the passengers on Flight 1561 have done what no Congressional Committee or government review has been able to do, render the appropriate judgment on TSA; a Total Senseless Absurdity.


Dawn Wolf said...

A well written piece, as usual, Timothy.

Dawn Wolf said...

“There is a senseless absurdity to Homeland Security. I have no respect for the institution, its assertions, purpose, and its disregard for truth telling. I live in Washington DC. Everyone in the metropolitan area is too close to the spirit of the inconsistencies, and the dimness of citizens not 'hip' to the fluff of pretense of the institution.

The employees of TSA seemed to have submitted logic, and conflict resolution to the wind. More often than not they are pleasers who are not skilled beyond a fundamental level of function. If they were they would not be employed.

In addition to the publicized stories of the TSA actions I have personal stories. Capital Police officers, five of them, surrounded a pastor and me because someone claimed I was walking with a pad of paper in my hand, and pointing in the sky in no particular direction. We were talking, planning the development of his church, and sight-seeing in the Capital Hill neighborhood. The dimness of intelligence, of humanity in their eyes silenced me, and the voice of my friend burst out accusations of racial profiling. I lapsed into silence reviewing in my mind the hundreds of American people who had been swept off American cities into jails without legal representation at the time during the Bush administration. I didn’t want to be one of those poor souls.

I had been in law enforcement years before, and I knew the trained thought patterns of the officers, and the dictates of their superiors in high places: Congress. Released we went home seething. We decided to take our outrage, and the incident public, but no publication would touch the story, The NAACP wouldn’t touch it because it was not a national story. The Afro-American news paper granted us an interview with a reporter who showed up late and distraught about her daughter, and a sad family life. We wound up counseling her. Because the reporter was so profoundly disconnected from her center the interview couldn’t, and wasn’t published. Our only recourse was to use the Capital Police’s concern about us going public with the story.

I did. It remains as a recorded conversation between a Capital Police sergeant, and me with an historical grasp of a few things, and my thoughts, and feelings around the issue of Homeland Security, politics, and policing under the banner of a police state.”

-Gregory E. Woods, Keeper of Stories