TSA: What’s Left To Say?
Nope. The problem is more mundane and, arguably, more insidious: I just couldn’t think of anything to say. At least not anything I haven’t said already, and it’s not good for professional writers to get reputations for repetitiveness. Consider this shiny new news story from January 17, 2013: TSA’s so-called VIPR teams are slithering out of airports and into Amtrak stations.
And here’s something I wrote for the Guardian nine months earlier, on April 18, 2012, in protest of TSA raids on bus passengers:
No specific threats or reasons were cited for the raids, as the government no longer even pretends to need any. Vipers bite you just because they can. TSA spokesman Jim Fotenos confirmed this a few days before the Houston raids, when VIPR teams and local police did the same thing to travelers catching trains out of the Amtrak station in Alton, Illinois. Fotenos confirmed that "It was not in response to a specific threat," and bragged that VIPR teams conduct "thousands" of these operations each year.Stroll with me further down Memory Lane and the view gets even more depressing. Here’s me on March 2011, optimistic and naïve enough to talk non-sarcastically about an anti-TSA “backlash,” and mention how VIPR teams had been banned from Amtrak after some particularly egregious mistreatment of train passengers in Savannah. So much for that.
Last November, TSA garnered outraged national headlines for a day or two after exposing a teenage girl’s breasts to her classmates during a typical groping. Untypically, the breasts in question belonged to a congressman’s close relative, so the congressman in question sputtered about it for a day or two, and then nothing happened.
And as I go through the TSA outrage stories in various archives, my professional columns and my personal blog posts here, the names and places and details differ but the pattern always remains the same: some monstrous misbehavior catches the nation’s attention, there is outraged sputtering for a day or two, then nothing happens.