The citizen outrage over the TSA “pat downs” and use of X-ray machines that create X rated pictures is completely justified as American citizens protected by the constitution are being molested and abused by representatives of our government. This argument is not about security it is about rights, and what we are willing to accept as a “price” for security. There are better ways to keep planes safe than the ones the TSA uses. But I want to focus on a particular comment and policy of the TSA.
The recent publication of a passenger telling a TSA agent “if you touch my junk I will have you arrested” has caused me the most constitutional concern. The passenger decided he wanted neither the enhanced pat down nor the X-ray option. He wanted to go through the metal detector just like 80% of the passengers at San Diego airport were allowed to do. He was denied that option so he chose to get a refund and was escorted to the American ticket counter to do that. A discussion ensued with a TSA supervisor that he could not leave the airport without finishing the procedure he started or he would be subject to an $11,000 fine. He was also told that when you buy an airline ticket you give up certain rights. I have heard this comment from a number of TSA representatives and people not so interested in the constitution.
Let’s think about that. I fly often and I generally purchase my tickets weeks and sometimes months in advance. When I buy my ticket months in advance have I given up my fourth amendment rights? Can a TSA agent or some other government agent come to my home without a warrant and search my home and me because I have purchased an airline ticket? Is the fourth amendment null and void when I buy that ticket? I would argue that the purchase of any ticket is not an opportunity for a government agency to ignore our constitutional rights.
So why is an airport any different? If I as an American refuse to be molested or scanned, I should have the choice to leave without being accosted by the government. If the government believes I am a risk then they can go through the process of submitting evidence to secure a warrant for further investigation through due process. To suggest that this policy of forced interrogation once I enter an airport security area is to ensure terrorists don’t come to the security area to gather some kind of intelligence and then leave is ludicrous. Terrorists would most likely not risk the spotlight that kind of action would place on them.
So where does my fourth amendment constitutional right end? It doesn’t. The TSA needs to be disbanded and replaced with real law enforcement professionals trained in profiling behavior. The arrogance of the TSA leadership to stomp our constitution is unforgivable. I want to fly on safe planes but there are many better options than government agents chuckling over naked pictures, feeling up our wives and daughter’s breasts, our sons private parts, trampling our dignity and rights. We have created another gigantic, ineffective, and embarrassing agency. Let’s look at a better option in the best interest of our security, the airlines, and our constitutional rights….