Sunday, January 02, 2011

The TSA Knoweth Not Shakespeare

"What's in a name?" Juliet famously asked. "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

"Yes," Jennifer added five and a half centuries later, "and that which we call feces by any other name would smell like crap." So I'm spectacularly unimpressed by recent reports that some airports are considering eliminating TSA personnel and hiring private security contractors instead. This sounds good until you realize airport security would still be required to follow TSA guidelines, which means flying still includes the legal obligation Americans submit to having our genitalia groped by some thug wearing the same latex gloves already shoved down nine dozen other strangers' underwear.

Removing TSA from airports is not enough; TSA needs to be removed from America. Disband the agency and permanently blackball every one of its employees -- especially the administrators and policymakers -- from holding any position of legal authority ever again.


Anonymous Tim Andrews said...

Sure, getting rid of the TSA would be the ideal solution, but privitising it would at least lead to a marginal improvement, I would think (after all, if under such a situation there were too many complaints the contract would not be renewed, hence providing an incentive for less thuggish behaviour)?

5:53 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

In theory yes, Tim, but all the airports could do is keep switching between various groups of people all "just following orders." Either way you're talking about people authorized -- nay, required -- to blackmail travelers: "Either submit to nude photography, genital fondling or both, or else you can't fly." There is no professional, acceptable, non-thuggish way to do this, whether you're working for the government or a private organization.

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Allen123 said...

I think that as a symbolic gesture it would be helpful for all airports to privatize airport security. I agree that privatizing by itself won't stop the irradiating strip searches and non-consensual sexual touching, but we need to use any and all methods of resistance available. This one is about the message - TSA, you suck! - is the message of privatizing.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

*sigh* I dunno, Allen. Perhaps you're right and I'm just being stubborn, but ... seems to me "symbolic gestures" are at the heart of this whole mess: instead of taking practical steps to actually make airline travel safer, the government just leans on symbolic gestures: the Banning of the Nail Clippers, the Removal of the Shoes ... as a result, I am sick and tired of mere symbolic gestures, or actions that don't solve the problem, merely "send a message." I want GENUINE FREEDOM back, not mere symbols of freedom.

So for starters: nobody gets to assume I"m a criminal just because I want to fly: not a government agent, not a private contractor, not even if it's a hot dude altered to look exactly like Christopher Reeve circa "Superman II."

11:04 AM  

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