Mike Curtiss (25 Nov 2010)
"Easily Shuffling Toward a Police State"

How easily we shuffle toward a police state


         Every day seems to bring another atrocity from the Transportation Security Administration. There was the nun who was frisked. There was the screaming 3-year-old who was frisked. There was the bladder cancer survivor who was frisked so hard he wet himself.

         On and on and on. With his daily postings online at the Drudge Report of airport security gone wild, Matt Drudge has pushed this issue into the nation's face.

I refuse to call this abuse pat-downs. TSA personnel are frisking Americans for the crime of refusing to expose themselves at airports to full body scans.

If you refuse to be body scanned, you could be fined $11,000.

         As the full-of-himself retired Marine general in charge of the TSA in San Diego said, you lose your rights when you buy a plane ticket. Huh?

How did the innocent citizen become the criminal? When did this become a police state when agents of the federal can manhandle anyone and everyone at an airport in the name of security?

         This is bogus. This method has caught no terrorists. The best Janet Napolitano “ our thickheaded secretary of Homeland Security ” can offer is that she is pretty sure that this method would have caught the Christmas Day bomber. Of course, the Christmas Day bomber flew in from Amsterdam, which the last time I checked was not in the United States.

The time has come to rid us of the TSA. The agency is like the man who claimed to be protecting Central Park against polar bears. Told that there are no polar bears, the man said: See how good I am.

           The Department of Homeland Security is the schoolyard bully of the United States. The people who run it are not very bright, but they have a nearly unlimited budget and unlimited power. Any challenge to its budget or its authority marks one as weak on terrorism.

           So how did we come to this? Like all bullying, this one began at school, where fear of lawsuits about discrimination and the like led to the easy policy of zero tolerance.

Rather than just say no to illegal drugs, schools invoked a zero tolerance policy for drugs. An honor student was punished for giving a Midol to another girl, embarrassing them both.

Principals embraced zero tolerance because it took out of their hands any decision-making. Going by the book is a convenient way to avoid responsibility.

            As a bonus, zero tolerance meant that drugs as insignificant as an aspirin must be dispensed by trained medical personnel, which assured jobs for thousands of school nurses “ and expanded the empire of their principals. Repeatedly, we expand the powers of the state in the name of security. As with the TSA, we are not really any safer.

            Consider drinking while driving. Everyone opposes that. But the old limit of 0.10 blood alcohol content is down to 0.08, not because it makes us any safer “ most of the fatalities occur at 0.15 or higher “ but because the lower limit appears to make us safer.

Already, the neo-temperance advocates want to drop that to 0.05. Eventually, it will be down to zero.

            America is a binary nation. Things either are or they are not. We divide our world into ones and zeroes. That is great if you are programming a computer.

But such a binary approach to security is nonsensical and it leads to our hell at the airports.