Nothing to fear but fear-based stupidities

November 20, 2010

It’s pathetic, but it looks like people are finally — after nine years! — beginning to revolt from these idiotic over-reactions to security threats. Interesting that the Israelis, who have more experience with terrorism than any country in the world, haven’t felt it necessary to adapt such measures. This from the Wall Street Journal

NOVEMBER 21, 2010

TSA Terrifies, Too


When will Americans declare the Transportation Security Administration a terrorist organization?

The TSA has evolved far beyond shaking down little old ladies for hair gel and children for liquid-filled snow globes.

Now it snaps naked pictures with creepy Advanced Imaging Technology machines, subjecting you to unknown health risks from radiation. And if you don’t want to submit to this high-tech horror, one of its tub stackers will gladly pat down your genitals instead.

Several U.S. senators last week told TSA Director John Pistole that maybe his agency has gone too far. Ya think?

“I wouldn’t want my wife being touched in the way these folks are being touched,” Sen. George LeMieux, (R., Fla.) cried.

Mr. Pistole, an impeccably shaven former FBI official, was freakishly unrepentant: “I recognize the invasiveness of it. I also recognize the threats are real.”

Terrorists are indeed a threat. But terrorists do not have their hands on our pants.

John Tyner, a 31-year-old software engineer, became a media sensation last week after refusing a body scan at the San Diego airport. He then warned a TSA officer not to touch “my junk,” which became an instant mantra online among TSA detractors.

The TSA kicked him out of the airport. It also threatened to investigate him, fine him and sue him, Mr. Tyner says.

This is America, where we used to have a right to privacy and constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. But terrorists — who we dare not profile at the airports because that’s unconstitutional — have given Washington power-mongers an excuse to turn America into an ever more invasive police state.

Thankfully, we still live in a country where lawsuits are flying, civil-rights groups are agitating and bloggers are blabbing. There’s even a “National Opt Out of the Airport Scanners Day” slated for Nov. 24.

Imagine all the frisking TSA folks may have to do as Thanksgiving travelers take over the airports this week.

Imagine the throngs chanting: “Don’t touch my junk!”

Amid this rising backlash, the unbending Mr. Pistole appeared before senators as a classic literary archetype: the terrorist hunter who became something of a terrorist himself, sanctimoniously reserving the TSA’s power to pat down our privates.

Mr. Pistole repeated his justification: This is all for the public’s safety. The government we need to get smaller must also get bigger to protect us even more.

Never mind that most terrorist plots have been foiled with information rather than water-bottle shakedowns.

And where does Mr. Pistole’s argument end? If a little touching ensures our safety, wouldn’t a cavity search ensure it further? Clearly, we’d be safer flying naked with no luggage at all.

If you don’t like it, don’t fly. That’s essentially how Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently put it — as if the airline industry needs another round of bankruptcies.

This strange nightmare began with three strange words: Osama bin Laden. Anybody know where he went? Or is our government too busy molesting the flying public to keep looking?

—Al Lewis is a columnist for Dow Jones Newswires in Denver. He blogs at; his email address is


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