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TSA bill a popular distraction

While the so called “anti-groping” bill has no shortage of supporters, it’s also generating a lot of obvious smoke during an election cycle.

Facing the obvious, it’s easy to understand why Americans are passionate about the issue of Transportation Security Administration airport searches and pat-downs. From the radiation scares that went out immediately once the infamous “backscatter scanners” were announced to the search techniques many view as criminally invasive, the TSA has seemed to many to be overstepping its rights.

Far be it from us to argue against the idea that people’s bodies are sovereign, sacred temples that shouldn’t be violated. On the other side of that coin, safety in an age of terrorism was a good selling point for such measures, before reports of how they can be taken too far started the downward spiral of public opinion against the TSA.

The Texas Legislature’s effort to discuss the issue is downright obviously a political card that is meant to make the state look indignant, rebellious and self-reliant. Headstrong may be a better word for now. That view has come from the mouths of legislators. The federal policies in place to support transportation security procedures are stiff and thorny for states to try and override, for one. The possibility of federal backlash introduces a host of problems that could cause Texas grief in the midst of much more serious situations affecting the lives of Texans, for two. Thirdly, it seems almost tacky to make an issue out of problems like this when serious setbacks like job losses and the lagging economy have weighed on our state. Education funding, for example, needed a serious overhaul, and it just gave everyone serious heartburn without the accompanying begrudged compromise that heartburn should have signaled.

We believe that state-level “anti-groping” legislation may be a good sideshow that can draw necessary attention to a national issue, and hopefully it catalyzes changing that model of security for the better.

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Posted by on Jun 29 2011. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Comment for “TSA bill a popular distraction”

  1. “No amount of safety, no measure of security, NO NUMBER OF LIVES SAVED is worth sacrificing the founding principles of our nation.

    This is (ostensibly still) the land of the free, not the land of the safe. Freedom means risk and 235 years ago, some people decided that given the choice between living safe lives of submission to authority, or taking their lives in their hands and being free, they would rather have liberty at the expense of personal risk.

    Yes, if TSA stops doing what it is doing, planes may be blown up. Maybe we’ll have another 9/11. Maybe we’ll have 911 more 9/11s. It will be sad, people will be hurting and mourning. But that is the price we pay for liberty. When people say “freedom isn’t free,” that’s where that slogan comes from. When Thomas Jefferson said “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants,” it was not intended as some sort of anarchist screed. He was saying that sometimes, in order for there to be freedom for all, good people must stand against oppressors and, sometimes, sacrifice themselves in order to do so.

    And for godsakes, nobody is even asking any American patriot to fall on their sword. What we’re talking about is the people standing up and saying “Enough is enough” to the TSA. Saying “If we have to choose between being less safe in the air and enduring the wholesale sexual assault that you neander-thugs perpetrate against us every day at terminals across the nation, then we’ll keep our 4th-Amendment rights and take our chances. Now get the hell out of our airports.”

    Anyone who values safety over liberty is not espousing American principles and, in point of fact, this can be confirmed via the words of Benjamin Franklin himself. It’s been quoted a thousand times before but it rings absolutely true each and every last time. “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

    America. Land of the free. Not “Land of the free, except in airports or when we’re really really scared, void where prohibited, some restrictions may apply.””

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