It’s that time, boys and girls, to unroll the rants about our favorite federal agency, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA):
Rant #1 – “Nanny State” vs. Police State
Pilots and frequent fliers have hunkered down and refused to go through these scanners. There are t-shirts to be bought heralding the fact that “I have been groped by TSA.” I am personally ready to swear off flying ever again. I cannot bear to once again drive to the airport an hour and a half before my flight, remove all of my jewelry and place it in my purse, stand in line to pass through security, remove my shoes, wonder if I can take a cigarette lighter and bottle of unopened water, then stand with my legs spread and my arms outstretched because I am being “virtually searched” by a full body scanning machine that may be deemed really really bad for our health in the near future. I don’t like the way it feels right now- to be frisked. My send through bag is always examined- I am always left a formal advisement to this effect. Is someone truly going to tell me that this is the cost of freedom?
War against terrorism? I don’t believe one word of it. This is the lucrative fear industry at work, which feathers its own nest quite nicely at the public expense. Fear is good business. How much do those scanners cost, how many of them have been sold, where are they being used? Who makes them? And who in our government has opened his or her arms to this brave new world?
The OBRag website gets comments from people decrying the “nanny state.” Damn few of these same commentators express concern about the police state. The homeland security cameras on the OB pier. Verizon- which is the City’s preferred provider- listening to and turning over our private conversations to the government without a warrant.
I frankly do not care that we are ticketed (nanny state!) if we don’t use our seat belts. Use your friggin’ seat belt. I’m an old woman and need to set some priorities in life. I DO care very much about these scanners and the bloated pig that Homeland security has become. Ordinary citizens have been yanked around by the security/industrial/ governmental complex. Spied upon. Humiliated. Our privacy invaded. We pay through the nose with our tax dollars. And the security/industrial/government complex still fucks stuff up. All those warnings about the “Diaper Bomber” and even 9/11 were ignored by top level intelligence. What’s with that?
Of course it is easy to take pot shots at the TSA workers themselves, as is so manifestly shown in the U-T comment section. We are generally willing to lower the culpability bar to those stupid, undeserving people beneath our own exalted, responsible, intelligent station in life. It’s an American tradition to feel infinitely superior to someone else- particularly the poor and marginalized. Never look up at the people making a buck, sinking their assets in offshore accounts, and partying like there is not tomorrow!!!
Rant #2 : A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To Work (or How Much I Love TSA)
I have a titanium knee. It beeps every time I walk through a metal detector. I traveled for a living and flew two to three flights a week. When I took off on my first post-surgery flight with my “I have a metal body part” card in hand I had no idea what I was in for. I hand my cane and my “I’m a bionic” to the TSA agent. I suppose I had a preset expectation, somehow, that the cane, the card, the six week old scar, the fact that the hand-wand only beeped at the knee and my record as a weekly flier for the four previous years would ease my way to the gate. I was horribly wrong. Every flight, every time, no exceptions I had to be hand-searched.
Every single time I beeped, so every single time I got patted down. Sometimes gently and with respect, sometimes gruffly and with embarrassment and sometimes with barely disguised disdain, occasionally with a little bit too much “tenderness”. Mostly, however, it was with a disassociated non-chalance and disregard for any thought other than going by the rules and they treated me as if I were not a person, but a suitcase needing to be swapped for explosives. These employees are not hired to think or to use logic and they didn’t. At best they are competent, at worst they are despicable. I flew two to three times a week and every time I did I was subject to the abuse of the TSA minions.
(Note: Yes, I am sure there are good TSA agents and I’m sure they have nice families and I know there are exceptions and I know that I am generalizing to some degree. However, I reserve the right to rant)
After a run-in with the St. Louis TSA that could have landed me in jail my stress level was through the roof and I had decided to ask for some time off. I needed to finish recovering from the total knee replacement and I needed to stop wanting to stomp of the toes of every TSA agent I passed.
My last trip (no pun intended): As I’m making my way to the security line at the San Diego Airport I was taking a deep breath and preparing myself for the first of what will be six total weekly gropings, the woman in front of me stopped suddenly and I caught my left foot under her trailing roller-bag and went down two times, hard on my “new and improved” knee.
If I were the victim type I’d blame TSA. But what the hell, I drove over the hill from Pt. Loma, found OB, parked at the end of the pier and haven’t left.
Well, dear reader, do you have a rant against the TSA? Here’s your chance …. make a comment below.