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Sunday, November 21, 2010

God Bless the TSA (Transportation Security Administration)

You gotta love the Transportation Security Administration, aka the TSA.
I just cannot understand all the people who are slamming the TSA. Did you know there are some folks who want to protest the thoroughness of the job that the Transportation Security Administration is performing in trying to assure the safety of all who fly the skies in the good ol' United States of America? Yes, indeed, these good Americans want to disrupt the rest of us in our air travel; they want to impede the TSA in the performance of its duty and thereby consequently delay all the airline passengers across all of America, or even causing innocent passengers to actually miss their flights.

Please, go on over to my other blog, Roland's Ramblings, to read The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) Watches Out For Our Safety.

The protesters allege that our right of privacy is being abridged by the new TSA procedures. What these folks fail to understand is that there is no such thing as a constitutional right for privacy, per se. Constitutionally speaking, there is no broad general expressed right to privacy or right of privacy in the United States Constitution.

None-the-less, in regards to an implied right of privacy, there are decisions of the United States Supreme Court interpreting various sections of the Constitution and applying those interpretations to certain types of situations. Generally, speaking however, none of those situations really apply the right of privacy for an individual in a setting that involves the public at large. As an example, an individual may generally expect an implied constitutional right of privacy to be applicable to conversations taking place in a person's private home or even conversations held on a person's land-line home telephone; but, there is no express or implied constitutional right to privacy that is applicable to conversations being held over a cordless telephone that uses public radio airwaves.

Commercial airlines are available to the general public. Air travel is conducted in the skies of the public air routes. Why on Earth or above the Earth should anyone expect any right to privacy? Come to think of it, why should anyone even think they have the right to wear clothing at anytime during the process of participating in air travel?

This whole thing about a constitutional right of privacy is clear as mud!


Chili Dog said...

Sorry, Roland, but you've struck o nerve, so I'm opening a can of Whoop-Ass.

It is an "expectation of privacy" not the right to privacy. A person may conduct himself in a manner that he lessens or even loses the expectation of privacy. The expectation flows from that behavior. As you mention, if you are speaking on a wired telephone circuit, you expect that there is no one listening in to that conversation, but if you speak over an wireless connection, you have to expect that the transmission may be intercepted by any number of beings. If you throw something in the trash, you lose any expectation of privacy in that item if you place the trash at the curb. It all flows from the behavior.

There are certain exceptions. Secondary school students have no expectation of privacy in their school lockers, for instance.

Before this, we have all given up any expectation of privacy in the things we take aboard an airplane. But that doesn't mean the TSA can examine the files on my laptop (not yet) or my iPod, or count the money in my wallet.

(caveat: customs notwithstanding)

The problem with the TSA's policies is that of the millions and millions who fly, there are millions and millions of people who do not have bombs, weapons or contraband of any sort in their underwear, bras, shoes, etc.

It is our expectation that our sensitive parts not be scanned or groped just because we want to board an airplane. In this case, our expectation of privacy has been lost because there is the beyond minuscule chance that some person is carrying something aboard a plane for nefarious reasons.

As intrusive as these new policies are, they cannot prevent someone from sticking contraband in their rectum or swallowing some incendiary device and boarding a plane.

So, Roland, if we are to lose our expectation of privacy in our most private of regions just because we want to avail ourselves of public transportation, then why stop there? Why not have the TSA perform real x-rays, CAT scans and body cavity searches?

Isn't this America? Can't the people decide what risks they are willing to take? Why not turn this around and tell those paranoid about terrorists to stay out of airports? I'm sure many of them do already.

CWMartin said...

that last comment from chili dog says it all. The hell with the greater good, and protecting both those who fly and those on the ground. As long as one person is offended by a scan/screen, let the planes get blown out of the sky. I reject, reject, reject those who think the government's job is to protect the individual at the expense of the majority.

Jay said...

Roland -

I love your post! I have been thinking a little about this lately also. We all know that if something were to happen, the TSA would be the first to get blamed for not doing their job thoroughly.

I say, if you don't want to be scanned, or molested as some say, then drive or take a train or bus.

Would the critics prefer that we begin profiling people at the airport?

I'm not sure what the answer is, but I would rather err on the side of caution. I jokingly said maybe I should book a trip so that I could have the "TSA rub down."

Chili Dog said...

You're absolutely right. Having a TSA agent grab my nuts certainly will prevent future terrorist acts.

In addition to your TSA rub down, you may wish to consider adding the TSA anal probe. I hear it's simply titillating.

Don't we all feel safer!?!

CWMartin said...

Frankly Chili, based on your comments, I think I'll feel safer on a plane if the TSA guidelines scare you off.

Chili Dog said...

because I use logic?

Homework assignment:

Read this story.

Please explain how taking nude scans of every airline passenger body (or worse) is NECESSARY to ensure the "general public's" safety while, according to this report, "While fliers endure tough controls, including body scan machines and controversial pat-down searches, train riders still board without passing through metal detectors or having their luggage screened."

CWMartin said...

No, you're logic is yours, and you are welcome to it. It's because of your wonderfull turn of a phrase that I'd feel safer with out you.

I would have no problem getting scanned, and I really don't see why anyone else should unless they have a pacemaker or something. But it's totally their choice. However, I should have a reasonable expectation of safety from the world's whackjobs when I fly, and if a scan is what it takes, fine. You don't like it, walk.

Roland Hansen said...

Oh, my!
Such a touchy subject! Pun intended, of course.