Liberty vs Security

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Ezra Lb.
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Liberty vs Security

Postby Ezra Lb. » Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:21 am

Well I was beginning to wonder when Americans would stand up on their hind legs and protest about the security procedures in place supposedly to "protect" us.

http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/20 ... rs-harmful

I don't have any objection to reasonable measures. But the problem is that the TSA is (over)reacting to every incident that takes place. One can only hope that nobody tries to light a fart in a plane. Full scale rectal exams!

I can sympathize with the security folks. All it would take is one incident and they would never hear the end of it. But as citizens we have to face the fact that total protection is a fantasy. And most of the measures in place offer no real security just the appearence of security.

And the political correctness! Pulling aside little old ladies and 8 year olds for intensive screening just to prove we're not prejudiced is effing stupid. Why shouldn't a 20 something Arab male expect more attention than a 80 year old in a wheel chair?

I suppose living in DC I'm more conscious of this stuff. All our monuments (symbols of liberty) are surrounded by ugly barriers. You can't walk into the Capitol or even the Supreme Court anymore through the main entrance. The museums all have bag checks and some even have metal detectors!

Home of the brave?
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Re: Liberty vs Security

Postby Moderator » Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:49 pm

It's simple: We're scared. The Terrorists have won.

Or, as I saw noted in a commentary a few days ago: "The TSA is so busy reacting to something that has just happened, and so is unlikely to catch the NEXt thing before it happens."


As a travel lover, I find myself wholly disenchanted with the TSA. If any department in the government gives me enough pause to consider Libertarianism, it's Homeland Security.
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Re: Liberty vs Security

Postby Moderator » Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:00 pm

Ezra, you may not be far off in your point. Once the TSA realizes that explosive devices can be shoved up someone's backside I'm sure the strip search will become de rigeur.

If the question is one of "where do you stop the invasiveness?", we've passed that point.
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Steve Evil
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Re: Liberty vs Security

Postby Steve Evil » Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:53 pm

I been thinking since my last plane trip last month. . .

You ever try to cut anything with a saftey razor? (While not shaving I mean.) To damage a human being, you'd have to press it up agaisnt them real hard and drag it across the skin very slowly and carefully. Even then, you're more likely to just scrape some skin off unless you're lucky enough to hit an artery.

Who I ask is going to sit still and allow you to do this?

You could do more damage with the plastic knives they give you at dinner time. That they give you. . .

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Re: Liberty vs Security

Postby FinderDoug » Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:32 pm

True story:

Peggy was going through a security checkpoint and had completely forgotten a corkscrew in her bag.

It sets off the machine's bells and whistles. They pull her bag out. Find the corkscrew. She's obviously embarrassed that she'd forgotten it and caused the hub-bub. She tells them to go ahead and dispose of it.

'Oh no,' they tell her, 'that's fine,' and return the corkscrew to her on the other side of the checkpoint.

:shock:

- - -

I disagree that we're collectively scared. If we were, we simply wouldn't be flying because of the hassle and risk.

I'm not scared when I fly. I'm already 35,000 feet in the air - a crack in the fuselage and I'm probably chopped meat anyway, so why worry? I only hope if someone tries to light his shoe that I'm not the only one trying to separate his head from his shoulders. The precise time to not be scared is when the opposition is going for the touchdown, and I keep my inner Damned Yankee on the field when I'm in the air because fuck it - if I'm put in a position where I'm dead already, they're going to get to understand that it's they who are locked in with me before we're done.

What we DO have is a government infrastructure populated with politicos and job appointees who are scared - scared that the next terrorist strike will happen on their watch, scared that if something DOES happen, they will somehow be blamed for it - worried less about people, per se, and more about what they get tagged with if something goes blooey. Homeland Security is as much about the enlightened self-interest of the people running it as it is about keeping the people safe. It'll be political death for the guy or gal who's determined to be asleep at the switch when we were supposed to be being vigilant. I mean, do YOU want to be the guy whose half-assed enforcement policy results in the Sears Tower winding up a cloud by the lake?

This is compounded by an inconsistent from airport to airport TSA policy and a somewhat motley combination of stress cases, hardcases and people who are simply trying to do their jobs manning the heckpoints - all while being hated for being the bearers of any and all bad news, including things that aren't their fault, like three busloads of tourists getting in line just before you do; and by travelers who still don't pay attention to anything until they're being asked why they have a 16oz bottle of liquid in their carry-on or who act surprised that their bag of knives can't be brought on board. I think ignorant travelers are an equally large part of the problem, whether they take no responsibility for understanding the do's and do not's, or think (as they do elsewhere in life) that rules somehow don't apply to them {"But surely when you say no liquids, you don't mean MY bottle of Coke! I VOUCH for this Coke!")

Dunno if there IS a solution, short of issuing everyone a hospital gown, eliminating carry-on bags and electronics from all flights, and sending luggage via separate unmanned cargo flights. And you'll still need to screen the mostly undressed ANYWAY to make sure there's nothing secreted on the body.

Or maybe we just replace the TSA with a big sign that says "All flights are undertaken at the passenger's risk. US government and individual airlines not responsible for loss of life resulting from terrorist acts. From takeoff to landing, you're dead to us on the ground."

How quickly would this get fixed if foreign dignitaries had to travel to the US on public flights?

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Re: Liberty vs Security

Postby Moderator » Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:01 pm

You're right Doug, and I genuinely prefer the disclaimer approach versus the colonoscopic variety.

Like you, I'm not afraid that a terrorist will strike while I'm flying (I don't like flying for other much more visceral reasons). But many, many people ARE, and the government's steps make it evident that we, as a nation, have lost perspective.

We had the opposite experience. Earlier this year we were coming back from Kauai and had forgotten a small bottle of rum-based chocolate syrup that we'd purchased at the only rum distillery in Hawaii. You could tell that even the TSA person was agaonized by the need to garbage it. And not like we could swig it... :cry:

But I will stick by my assertion that the terrorists have effectively won. When you base a national policy on fear of their actions, and it inconveniences millions of people solely because of the possible actions of a select few, you hand the few the trophy they sought.

I do not fear flying...but have to admit I'm actively trying to find ways to avoid it due to my fear of the security measures being taken and the impact they will have on my travel.
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Re: Liberty vs Security

Postby FrankChurch » Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:32 pm

Another of the many reasons to blame television. Civic responsibility is nil ever since they killed labor unions. These things are linked.

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Re: Liberty vs Security

Postby swp » Wed Nov 17, 2010 6:53 pm

FinderDoug wrote:manning the heckpoints

:lol:

sometimes those typos are just priceless.
swp

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Re: Liberty vs Security

Postby Lori Koonce » Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:00 am

FrankChurch wrote:Another of the many reasons to blame television. Civic responsibility is nil ever since they killed labor unions. These things are linked.


Please explain...

I'd think it's more along the lines of the fact that even the most civic responsible person is probably feeling most disenfranchised 'round about now than anything else.

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Re: Liberty vs Security

Postby Lori Koonce » Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:05 am

swp wrote:
FinderDoug wrote:manning the heckpoints

:lol:

sometimes those typos are just priceless.


Our Doug is a published author now, what makes you think that's a typo SWP? Either way, it's a great turn of phrase isn't it?

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Re: Liberty vs Security

Postby admin » Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:37 am

What I want to know is who is the brave soul among us men who is willing to go through security wearing a bra stuffed with plastic explosives (or whatever would be scary enough to make bras become the new sneakers).

Come on. Someone has to be willing to take one for the team...

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FrankChurch
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Re: Liberty vs Security

Postby FrankChurch » Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:49 am

Let's recruit Rob.

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Re: Liberty vs Security

Postby Lori Koonce » Thu Nov 18, 2010 12:40 pm

Am I the only one around here who feels sorry for those poor TSA agents? I mean, heavens help them if a shoe or underwear bomber actually SUCCEEDS at bring down an American plane. They will be the first to get shit dumped on them.

And they are doing the best they can to enforce the rules handed down to them by a bunch of ninnies who are too dumb to take care of the problems that are causing those people to have these jobs in the first place.

Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

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Re: Liberty vs Security

Postby Moderator » Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:03 pm

admin wrote:Come on. Someone has to be willing to take one for the team...


You mean two...
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Re: Liberty vs Security

Postby Lori Koonce » Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:26 pm

It would only take one C4 nipple and the right detonation device to get a guy to "take one for the team"


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