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The TSA – Part 2

OK, I’ve expressed my rage over our treatment at the hands of the TSA (Yea, like I’m going to deny that it’s rage? The proper distinction is between mindless and principled.). Having read the comments thereto, let me expound in greater detail and in a calmer tone.

First, I don’t get into proposing alternate (but more “efficient”) ways of disposing of your natural freedom. I don’t contrive to identify groups it would be “better” to steal from or deny freedom to. So, I won’t be proposing that you “call your congressmen” with my pat solution. I demand freedom for all human beings on the sole condition that they act as human beings, which means that they recognize all of the freedoms inherent in all others, and all that it implies.

I reject the notion that there is a thing in the world too risky, too costly, or “socially unjust” about unbridled human freedom. Yes, let freedom ring. And that’s all. The issue is not that we’ll be better off if we do. It’s just what we must do, for no reason other than that we’re human beings—or supposed to be, anyway.

It is not my problem that you don’t feel safe to get on an airplane unless you and your co-passengers are frisked prior to boarding (under federal mandate, imposed by force). Using “safety” as an excuse to violate rights is logically untenable (utterly so). Just take one moment to think of the myriad ways that terrorists could make your life a living hell when they set themselves purposefully to the task. Here’s just one: four or five simultaneous suicide bombers in a huge indoor shopping mall. Hell; make it 20—and make it 50 shopping malls around the country at the same time.

In truth, the planning and preparation for such an operation would be child’s play compared to what was carried out on 9/11. I could go on, and if you’re honest with yourself, you know that I can.

So the simple and obvious fact derived from the above is that the TSA has nothing in the world to do with safety, and your insistence on clinging to it as some magic bullet is simply irrationality motivated by fear. You’re just not thinking clearly. Understandable—people do their stupidest things when in fear mode. That, however, does not alleviate your basic responsibility to think. It also does not absolve you of your culpability in supporting such an abomination as the TSA.

The Big Lie at work here is in the ‘we’, as usual. It’s “our” national air-transportation system, you see, so “we” have to keep it safe for “our” sake. Et cetera. And while I’m at it, the white-collar-hoax pipsqueaks that man the boardrooms and executive offices of these major airlines are just as at-fault—if not more. The very first thing the shit bags did after 9/11 was not to step up and tell you: “We messed up, and by God, we’re going to do better. We pledge to do the best that can humanly be done to get you safely to your destination.” Not at all. The first thing they did was to point fingers of blame and whine about how they needed a federal bailout.

This should have been a clue to anyone thinking about the issue. The airlines, and by proxy, their shareholders wish to be absolved of a portion of the very thing that you contract with them to provide you—safe passage to a destination. Why on earth should they be responsible for the material safety of their aircraft (which they do very well), but not the skies in which they fly (I’m taking a shot at the FAA, here, in case you didn’t notice), or the comportment of the passengers they carry?

In the end, it all comes back to laziness. Laziness is at the root of each and every collectivist scheme. Nature has blessed us with human beings who benevolently produce far more than they could ever consume—in spite of every obstacle thrown at them by the do-nothings. This fortunate circumstance has its double edge, as no good deed goes unpunished. The lazy are, at once, incentivized by democracy and plunder.

Everyone wants to escape their responsibilities. Who is naturally first in line in the chain of responsibility for keeping you safe on an aircraft? You are. You look around. You use your senses and mind, and in a rational world, you’d be able to pick an airline (and probably pay more for the ticket) with an excellent safety record in all aspects of travel, from the time you step into their boarding area at embarkation, to the time you exit at your destination. Second in line, as implied, it the airline you’ve contracted with. Who’s next? Nobody is next. The contract is between two entities—you and the airline. Those are the only two entities with any business in the matter.

Instead, all the lazy have together made passenger security the responsibility of neither party to the contract. No one with any business has any responsibility. The lazy have made it the “government’s” responsibility, which means, everyone is responsible for everyone else’s safety, which means, no one is responsible for any one’s safety.

As I said at the beginning, the TSA has nothing in the world to do with safety. It can’t, since no one is really responsible or accountable. Instead, it operates as a gauntlet of intimidation so that people unaccustomed to thinking can feel safe.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

12 Comments

  1. David Nikoley on February 27, 2005 at 20:25

    I could not agree with you more. I’ve done a fair share of traveling since 9/11. It's another example of the government giving us the illusion that they are actually providing a service and keeping us safe. It’s also an opportunity for the TSA lackeys to feel power, and most don’t have the character to use it wisely. They are typically rude, and will not listen, because in their mind you are guilty.

    Two years ago I traveled to Mexico with my wife’s family and my mother in law who is 70 years old is crippled from arthritis and scleroderma, the visual effects of both being very obvious. The TSA bozo’s made her get out of the wheel chair, so they could search her and the wheel chair. Absolutely ridicules!

    To date the TSA has not arrested one person with intent to harm anyone. The only thing they have accomplished is to cause millions in damage to the countless travelers when some pipsqueak TSA agent overreacts and sounds the alarm so the airport is evacuated. I experienced this in LA in November, 1000’s were delayed, not to mention the affect on the airline schedules across the county all over a brief case that was left on the inspection table.

    I agree with your sentiments a 100%

  2. Lute Nikoley on March 10, 2005 at 10:56

    A little late for this comment, but I just had to post this one because it fit's so perfectly. I think Ben Franklin could see into the future. Today I ran into this quote by Ben Franklin "THOSE WHO WOULD SACRIFICE LIBERTY FOR SECURITY DESERVE NEITHER."

  3. Dr.B on March 26, 2005 at 16:02

    I had a rude awakening only yesterday at the hands of the TSA. I have read your comments and could not agree more. I did not feel safe, I felt incredulous ,then I felt intimidated, then angry. Now I am afraid, those that question anything are searched more. They actually try to break things in their search. Any suggestion is met with ecalation in intimidation. This is how government power and oppression starts and I am truly fearful, even in writing this. Wow, next time I fly I'll be stuck 2 hours or more and purposely made to miss my plane. Or better, arrested on some made up charge. I am not sure if it is Bush alone, it is the rest of our elected officials too. I was guilty ,as they are, of mostly taking a private jet everywhere. They have no idea that standing in a security line at BWI just a few miles from the hallowed halls of freedom, they would think they had been transported to an alternate universe where HItler was still in power and the TSA agents were made up of Hitler youth and the gestapo and TSA were synonomous agencies. I found people, as you said, calmly allowing the constitution to be tossed right out the window. As a doctor, I tried to explain that the line of people in socks standing on a moisture wicking, unsterilizable carpet is a terrific health hazard. I have a planter's wart on my foot that I did not care to share with others thru my hose. There were several athletic gentlemen on line that I did not want, that their possible foot fungus, was easily transmitted to me thru my walking where they had, as we shuffled along. Then here come the "TSA gorrillas", after taking, all be it gloved hands(for the TSA worker's protection not mine), from some man's dirty underwear, ready to put her hands thru my toothbrush holder and toiletries.Then to take my underwear and place it in a bin that seconds before had contained a man's dirty boots and his razor. Even restaurants won't allow folks in with out at least sandals on. The suggestion that folks could stand on paper towels got me a pat down and extra time, my stating so that other passenger's could possibly hear, that diabetic's lives and limbs(literally) could be in danger should they contract infections in their feet was met by an offer stating that if I did not "STOP talking immediatly the police would be summoned and I would have my name run." I asked do you think I am a criminal because, as a doctor I am concerned for people's health. That was too much for this bradyphrenic, power hungry,all american 5 letter word. She had 4 burly officers on the scene immediatly. They demanded ID and I was told to not say any thing. When I asked what the problem was-WOW you would think that they were dealing with a 3 year old. I was never disrespectful, I did not speak louder than a conversational tone,I spoke in what other civilians said was a calm way. I never made any fast moves and yet they got more and more agitated as if they were trying to find some way they could do something else. They went thru every nook and cranny in my bag taking 30min. to do so and having by then 6 officers and TSA folks standing there. I observed and then unfortunatly stated that now I was scared and concerned because with all of them involved with this feined concern over what horrible weapon I could have hidden amoung the contents of a clearly middle aged women's personal belongings,there could be terrorists going thru on the other side. The TSA women now tells the police that I told her "there were terroists over there" She knew she was lieing but had to justify this esculating encounter. The idea that someone had asked questions and others may continue with them ,was unacceptable and had to be squelched at all costs. Have they ever found a terroist in a security line waiting patiently with a ham sandwich wrapper (that I'd asked to throw away at the beginning of this.)I know they can't profile but a white,well dressed, appropriatly credentialed, 40 something, profesional women? The chances are higher the wheel will fall off the plane than someone with my "profile" is a danger. Profiling is wrong when it is used to abuse minorities not when it is a proven fact that it works, saves money and time may be needed to keep us safe.Taking nail trimmers away from a 84 year old women that was needing a stool to sit on in the security line is incredibly stupid. If Muslim people want to help, they can by becoming screeners and having the cultural sensitivity to be able to pick the bad apples from the good. If I were a Muslim and especially taking advantage of the other freedoms in this country I would understand others of my religion were ones who were up to the bad deeds and that history shows that ALL of the major attacks have been carried out by Muslim men aged 19-48. I am a gal if all of a sudden someone said we need 100 folks to move 70 pound rocks 50 feet. What percent of these volenteers would fit my profile? The point would be- could I move the rock if I had too-yes of course but why waste time effort and money trying to "not profile" when it does not serve. What are they doing to prevent new and novel attacks? I asked the TSA superviser what if 2 guys had baby powder bottles, they could put anthrax powder in them and run from the back of the plane sprinkling everyone as they went??-everyone would die a terrible death.Are they looking for that? What about chemicals? Perfume bottles can contain stuff that when mixed at altitude could be a huge exlosion. These folks are not even remotly interested in listening, and questioning seems to be a crime. The process is more frightening than the terrorists. We are allowing the terrorists to terrorize us every day, at every TSA check point. If not writing our elected officials what? I have never written on one of these sites before and I have never written to an elected official before-although I will. I wish to challenge our elected officials to travel and go thru the security process themselves without letting TSA know who they are. I think they may be as shocked as I was. What else can we do? Our rights are being userped in the name of freedom which rings of history's many mistakes. One screener said "well you don't have to fly, it is your choice." Today perhaps, but what happens when the first terrorist hyjacks a truck full of hazardous waste, drives it to a crowded area and…another horrible event? Then what?Check points, road blocks, "You- papers "( said with a heavy, uneducated German accent)? Then it will be too late. My children will live in that world until history repeats itself and enough people can see the problem and it is solved. What can we do now, to save us from that future? How can people now, see that authoritarian methods will eventually create home grown terrorists like Timothy McVey(sp?) who reacted to the perceived abuse by the government? He became what he abhored, to try for retribution instead of solving the problem and and feeling that another Waco will be prevented from happening by putting measures in place to be sure that our government agensies are held in check and no matter how long it takes, citizens will be treated with respect and that TSA really are public SERVENTS and should act as such. They only have the ability to progress in power and intimidation when it is necessary. It must be kept in public forums wih secrecy and power kept in check.

  4. Richard Nikoley on September 26, 2006 at 21:45

    Eric:

    The TSA are a bunch of lame-ass fucks who couldn't secure a doll house. Making air travel miserable for everyone, at all times is testament to their ineptitude, cluelessness, and demonstrated ineffectiveness.

    The truth is, they haven't a clue as to how to guard against determined and organized attackers, so they go through a bunch of nonsense motions to make dopes like you think you're safer. I don't buy it, and neither does anyone with any brains. The terrorists just have to be laughing their asses off, like watching a dog chase its own tail.

    Pathetic.

  5. Eric on September 26, 2006 at 19:24

    Your the kind of person that would encourage terrorist to attack America. Your liberal views about the safety and security of our country sickens me, its people like you that oppose and expose the little flaws in some of our aviation security and turn it into some gigantic issue when its realy very petty. If every American thought like you God help us, half our country would be bombmed by now because your the type of person that would welcome terrorism. People like you want to be handed a glass of champagne at the airport because you cant handle 1% out of 100% of your freedom being inconvienced for 10-15 minutes out of your life…what a shame…why dont you just send a personal letter to the terrorist in support and sponsor them to come into our nation and blow it all to hell. I bet you rally at protests against us putting terrorist in Jail!…my view, screw them, they want to blow up our people and our soldiers they deserve to be stuck in some prison in the middle of know where…why dont you people get it, these jerks will kill you and your family if they had the chance, you dont seem to get it do you. You cannot negotiate with delusional people like this, and we have no time to give them any chances at the airport, or in any of our transportation, but all you liberal Americans who cant stand being inconvienced at the Airport for 5-10 minutes of your precious life only encourage these jerks to come into the country…the reason why? because you dont want any security at the Airport…and whats more amazing, is when something happens again you will blame the security for not being more on top of it…thats what amazes me…our airport security is dammed if they do and dammed if they dont all because of cry babies like you….get a life and understand that these terrorist havent done anything yet because of TSA being aware of what they want to do…..

  6. Kyle Bennett on September 27, 2006 at 06:00

    Eric,

    You go to public school, dontchya?

  7. Richard Nikoley on June 6, 2007 at 13:39

    Well, Tim, you TSA guys are like the proverbial day-late-and-dollar-short types. You aren't protecting anyone from anything much. You're protecting against methods already well known because they were innovative when they were tried, which is why you didn't catch them.

    Your purpose is none other (…other than that of creating a mountain of fake jobs for people to feel falsely important) than fooling a bunch of sheeple into thinking they're extraordinarily safe.

    But they already are about as safe as natural reality affords, along with that afforded by the competence of aircraft manufacturers, pilots, mechanics and the others who make the whole thing go like it does. You're just trying to piggyback off the real people who keep us as safe as we can be in an aluminum tube at 30,000 feet.

    I'm not falling for your con. And, I don't need you or any of the others. I'm perfectly happy taking my chances, which I don't think you do a damn thing to improve.

  8. Billy Beck on June 6, 2007 at 15:49

    "And you're to stupid to know you should take off that huge METAL belt buckle befor passing thru a METAL detector…."

    Look, you fucking idiot: I know a guy who regularly flies with a BIC lighter in his pocket. It goes right security every single time and everywhere we go. He's the one that we all crowd around for a light as soon as we make it to the sidewalk.

    "Don't fuck with us,…"

    Close your stupid yap, asshole. You people are worthless dinks. Without the government guaranteeing what you're pleased to call your "job", by force, you wouldn't last ten minutes in a real market, which is as it should be.

    Drop dead.

  9. Tim on June 6, 2007 at 12:47

    It's the passengers who make security hell, not TSA.
    You pussies can't handle the minor inconveniences like taking out a laptop. Or taking off your shoes. And you're to stupid to know you should take off that huge METAL belt buckle befor passing thru a METAL detector….
    And then you morons complain that it's taking so long to pass security because we have to search your bag. Why? Because you left your 16oz bottle of lotion in your bag after 5000 people in front of you had their bags searched for the same thing!!!! Do you REALLY need that much lotion on a 5, 6, 20 hour flight????? CHECK THE FUCKING BAG!!!!!!!
    "My poor 75 year old grand mother was screened" TO FUCKING BAD!!!! Yeah, she may not be a threat, but how about the guy standing behind you at the ticket counter, or the cab driver that brought you to the airport that handled her wheelchair when he put it into the trunk of the car, and again when he took it out. No oppertunity to slip something in at any time, huh???
    "Why do I have to take my shoes off? That's stupid!" Because some dick that wanted to blow up a plane put explosives in his shoes. A passenger, not TSA. So don't blame us for rules that have been proven to be needed.
    "I told you I have a metal knee, why do I still have to go thru this???" Cause I don't know you, and I don't know that it was your knee. "But the Dr. gave me this card!" So, I can print up a card, go to Staples and get it laminated pretty easy. If we took peoples word, the guy that says "But I wont shoot anyone." would get his gun on the plane.
    Long story short, quit being pussies, let us do our jobs. And remember, we don't make the rules, we just have to enforce them. And I'm not willing to loose my job and starve my family so you can keep your shoes on, or keep your 18oz bottle of mouth wash (which ALOT of you need!!). Don't fuck with us, and you will get to your flight much faster and happier.

    You may not mean to do this country any harm, but some people do. I couldn't point out a terrorist in a group of people, but neither could you. And if you think you can, submit an application, and make a change. Then when your methods fail, we will go back to what is working, and will work just fine if dick heads like you learn to cooperate.

  10. Kyle Bennett on June 7, 2007 at 07:07

    "we don't make the rules, we just have to enforce them"

    Gotta love a guy that spends 5 paragraphs defending what he does, then disavows it with the Neurenburg defense.

    In the end, there's only one way to resolve that kind of conflict: Countown to Tim threatening what he's gonna do if Rich ever happens to be in *his* line at the airport. 3… 2… 1…

  11. John Lopez on June 6, 2007 at 20:23

    Tim,

    "I couldn't point out a terrorist in a group of people, but neither could you."

    What would be your reaction to a 777 pilot said "I can't fly a 777 to Japan, but neither can you"?

    My personal reaction would be to instantly lose any confidence whatsoever in that pilot's skill. Further, assuming that that pilot was there because of a federal law that required him to be there, I would instantly lose confidence in the entire structure that imposed him into a situation where he judged that he could repudiate his supposed core competency with such unthinking contempt.

    But hey, that's just me. Probably the pilot would just tell me to "stop being a pussy" about the whole affair, and that he "keeps us safe in the skies" or something. And besides, you wouldn't want him to "starve his family" just because he didn't know what he was doing, right?

  12. Matt on June 10, 2007 at 10:10

    I went through security in Tokyo's Narita airport earlier today and one of the security folks there handed a time-stamped paper to the man ahead of me in line, and asked him to hand it to the immigration agent, to test how long the process took. I've never seen such a thing at any US airport.

    This is my second trip to Okinawa, Japan and again I am amazed at how courteous and helpful everyone is at the airports. All of my experiences with US TSA employees has revealed them to be mostly surly and less than enthusiastic.

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