November 15, 2010

Another Man Gets Harassed At An Airport, This Time On Purpose

tsascanner.jpgma'am, this isn't the elevator




The story: man doesn't want to be full body scanned, checks the San Diego airport website to make sure they don't have them, they don't, gets there and-- surprise-- they do.  Don't they  update their facebook?  They tell him he has to either have the porno shots taken or submit to a physical search of his "junk" (that would be penis), he refuses and asks to leave, and they threaten to fine/imprison him for leaving the terminal without getting naked.

The other part of the story: he appears to be on the right of Tea Party and he had a secret video camera running, which makes some think that he did this all just to provoke the TSA/get publicity.

After you pick a side and start yelling, take a moment and look at the big picture: an angry citizenry provoking a perceived oppressive government, manned on both sides by self-indulgent idiots who couldn't care less about the big picture.  Yikes.  If San Diego bloggers are driven to this kind of madness, you have to wonder what the Montana Militia is up to.  It sure ain't blogging.

II.

Go back and read about how power is applied, top down, and protected, bottom up, and you'll be able to see that far from this guy making any dent in the TSA's monopoly on power, he helped them solidify it.  He thinks this is civil disobedience, but it's not, his actions don't affect the workings of the PowersThatBe.   What he doesn't understand is that the TSA didn't do this to him, a couple of guys who happen to be wearing TSA uniforms did it.



tsa agent.jpg

Back in the day, you were supposed to subsume your personal identity under the larger one represented by the uniform.  The tradeoff was that anything you did in that uniform was the uniform's fault, not necessarily yours.  Your superior took the fall; hell, he resigned immediately on principle.

But not in 21st century Narcissist America.  Personal identity matters more than anything, even money and certainly more than honor ("huh? like shoguns?")  The uniform is just something you add to your character sheet.  "What, you think I'm going to let my job define me?  Only TV and music gets to do that."

Well, if you're going to play it that way the government will, too, so that when uniformed people do something wrong it's the fault of a few bad apples, the system is otherwise ok.  That's why uniforms have name badges: so we can identify the scapegoat.
 

lynndie-england.jpg
So whether these TSA guys did everything by the book, or under the direction of a supervisor, or totally under the influence of drugs and spite, it will be a contained problem that will have nothing to do with the "good work" the rest of the TSA does every single day.  Heck, give them slightly more power, look at the kind of nonsense they have to put up with.  Can we just make it a federal law that you have to submit to full body cavity search?  Not because terrorists are wiley-- still no breast implant bombs?--  but because Americans are annoying.  You know they are, right?  Thanks.

Bonus: tighter enforcement of inconvenient laws always leads to an underground economy based on bribes.  Thanks for the idea, Russia!  We could really use the money.









Comments

firsties... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 1:32 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

firsties

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -46 (66 votes cast)
secondies... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 1:34 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

secondies

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -46 (66 votes cast)
Okay, you're going to subje... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 1:40 AM | Posted by gah: | Reply

Okay, you're going to subject pilots to searches, how very very egalitarian. Then when they pass the search protocol, we let them fly the jet. If you mistrust pilots to the point where you feel compelled to search them, for God's sake don't let them fly the jet -- it's a biggerbetter bomb than anything they could possibly bring on board. I despair.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 28 (38 votes cast)
I cannot wait for the next ... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 1:43 AM | Posted by Andonymous: | Reply

I cannot wait for the next flame war.

In the mean time, here's something worth reading:

http://articles.cnn.com/2004-11-01/world/binladen.tape_1_al-jazeera-qaeda-bin?_s=PM:WORLD

Basically Osama says that Al-Qaeda's whole plan is to bankrupt, harass, and otherwise demean America. Killing 3000 people is an atrocity, but the billions of hours wasted getting searched and trillions spent is just a statistic. Whether you think literal death or the metaphorical death of civil liberties are worse, Al-Qaeda's succeeding on all counts. It's also a little suspicious how quickly after the "underwear bomber" thousands of these machines were rolled out.

Is it really so hard to make the trade off between being a little less secure and living in a freer society (however nebulously defined that might be)?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 21 (25 votes cast)
The pre-eminent truth of ou... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 1:52 AM | Posted by Babylon 5: | Reply

The pre-eminent truth of our age is that you cannot fight the system.

But if the truth is fluid... if the truth is subjective...

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -3 (13 votes cast)
My dad has said he is fine ... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 2:34 AM | Posted by Libertarians vs. Unicorns: | Reply

My dad has said he is fine getting a full body search, as long as it is by a woman . . ..

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (21 votes cast)
He sounds just like you, Al... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 2:47 AM | Posted by Tin foil underpants: | Reply

He sounds just like you, Alone. This is from his October 7 blog post:

When a person participates in the electoral system and votes, he legitimizes the system. As such, he agrees to be bound by the outcome, and regardless of which person is put into power or which law is enacted, the result is always the same: the State is legitimized.
Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 17 (21 votes cast)
Isn't it amazing that Osama... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 3:02 AM | Posted, in reply to Andonymous's comment, by EH: | Reply

Isn't it amazing that Osama's goals always seem to be whatever is already going bad for the US?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 6 (18 votes cast)
The personalization of the ... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 6:00 AM | Posted by Ben: | Reply

The personalization of the uniform, though, seems to be working only in one direction, and wundincha know it, it's against the user. If the personalization were symmetrical, the passenger-blogger refusing to follow the rules would only be affronting the personal dignity of the Mr. TSA-guy. But the TSA won't accept the act as a personal diss, mano a mano.
Instead, the TSA gets to preserve its claim that defiance is an affront to the uniform, the agency, its constituted authority, and by golly, to the republic for Richard Stands. The uniform is a shield protecting everyone who loves democracy and apple pie, except for the poor sod wearing it, who will be duly tossed under a shuttle bus.
Individuals get pwnd by the symbols they create and validate but can't get rid of.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 17 (19 votes cast)
If enough people get suffic... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 9:01 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

If enough people get sufficiently outraged about the actions of the government in a democracy, the government will sometimes change them. Publicity stunts like this guy in San Diego -- whether they're deliberate or accidental -- are part of getting people sufficiently outraged. It's not guaranteed to work, but it's better than sitting there feeling smug about how theatrically cynical you are.

The Pat-Down Is Too Damn Invasive Guy and you are both engaging in cynical theater, but his is a lot more likely to be productive.

And his immediate conflict may have been with one or two specific individuals who've been given arbitrary, unaccountable power over him, but the problem is the arbitrary, unaccountable power, not the individuals. Without the uniform and the badge, they'd be a hell of a lot more polite and considerate.

Side note: I just recently read Jon Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven", which among other things chronicles 19th-century mob violence against Mormons in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. The people enforcing the law in those states acted a hell of a lot more arbitrarily and narcissistically than these TSA goons. And then when the Mormons finally got to Utah, they established their own law enforcement, and guess what they did? The very same!

There's not a whole lot new under the sun.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 15 (23 votes cast)
Don't agree with this post.... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 11:11 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Don't agree with this post. Too bad. You were on a great winning streak there.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -7 (19 votes cast)
That's reminds of the stati... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 11:16 AM | Posted by Gil: | Reply

That's reminds of the statistic that the Sept. 11 caused 1,000 more deaths in following year because of all the people who decided to forego travelling via plane and take a far riskier alternative - travelling via car.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (8 votes cast)
*Basically Osama...whole pl... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 11:20 AM | Posted by no: | Reply

*Basically Osama...whole plan is to bankrupt, harass, and otherwise demean America.*

When I read this the first time, I saw "Obama" and it still made sense.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -6 (36 votes cast)
This is only tangentially r... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 1:37 PM | Posted by BHE: | Reply

This is only tangentially related, but I'd fly "Take A Chance" airways if they let me just get on the damn plane. Wouldn't you?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 13 (13 votes cast)
Gil, great example of reali... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 2:12 PM | Posted, in reply to Gil's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Gil, great example of reality vs perception and how perception of danger can trump actual safety and make people choose to do things that are actually more dangerous.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 3 (3 votes cast)
That's a fascinating statis... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 2:43 PM | Posted, in reply to Gil's comment, by RC: | Reply

That's a fascinating statistic, but can you give a source for it? It sounds like it could be true.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
your point about uniformed ... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 4:37 PM | Posted by tempted to agree: | Reply

your point about uniformed employees and higher ups is right on target. I'm a 2LT in the Army and the officers take very little pride in the work the enlisted do, they distance themselves from it just in case something goes wrong.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
After you pick a side an... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 8:25 PM | Posted by Medusa: | Reply

After you pick a side and start yelling, take a moment and look at the big picture: an angry citizenry provoking a perceived oppressive government, manned on both sides by self-indulgent idiots who couldn't care less about the big picture.

This is basically what I was trying to say in the comments of the last post.

People are just retarded, literally. I have a really hard time not verbally beating down people who refuse to see the big picture.

(Why are these comment so linear and not threaded? Makes replies to others' comments difficult to follow, unless you quote someone's comment and use their name...I'm sure this has probably been asked before and stuff, but, still. Newbie here and stuff.)

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (3 votes cast)
Killing 3000 people is a... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 8:29 PM | Posted, in reply to Andonymous's comment, by Medusa: | Reply

Killing 3000 people is an atrocity, but the billions of hours wasted getting searched and trillions spent is just a statistic. Whether you think literal death or the metaphorical death of civil liberties are worse, Al-Qaeda's succeeding on all counts.

Yes! I've been saying for a while that the terrorists have already won, as far as I'm concerned. This extends to many things besides just national security.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 3 (3 votes cast)
Well I got it here:<p... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 8:47 PM | Posted, in reply to RC's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Well I got it here:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200712/10-ways-we-get-the-odds-wrong

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
Chalk me up on the side of ... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 12:01 AM | Posted by Pesty13480: | Reply

Chalk me up on the side of this being a self-indulgent little passion play for believers.

The happy shining brass at the TSA itself is not likely to be moved by stunts of this nature. The foot soldiers of the TSA will just just be marginally annoyed, go home, and not care so long as the paychecks keep flowing in. The teeming millions aren't even going to hear about it and the majority of the token few that do are going to be just as apathetic as the men in the uniforms.

It'll make the rounds among the handful who care and, I'm sure, they'll sing it to themselves, banners high, with notions of a world on the verge of being shocked out of complacency or whatever it is that helps them sleep through the night.

Nothing accomplished, nothing solved and nothing done.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 3 (5 votes cast)
"If enough people get suffi... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 3:40 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"If enough people get sufficiently outraged about the actions of the government in a democracy, the government will sometimes change them. Publicity stunts like this guy in San Diego -- whether they're deliberate or accidental -- are part of getting people sufficiently outraged. It's not guaranteed to work, but it's better than sitting there feeling smug about how theatrically cynical you are"

you misunderstand, BRO, this IS just a publicity stunt.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (1 votes cast)
Anonymous 9:01 (BTW, can yo... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 5:30 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Ben: | Reply

Anonymous 9:01 (BTW, can you guys number yourselves sequentially or something "I am number 2. You are number 6." It would help a lot to keep the anonymii straight - assuming there isn't just one of you):

I dig what you say about outrage/action vs. cynicism/self-satisfaction. The problem with outrage, though, is that it emerges very quickly and tends to serve as its own justification thereafter. Once people get outraged, they start to enjoy it and perpetuate it, but they stop thinking. Outrage becomes an end in itself.

Containing your outrage is a good idea because it will let you keep an open mind, listen to what the other side has to say, refine your own position, wash, rinse, repeat. There are very few situations where outrage and action are the appropriate place to start. A fist in the air rarely solves anything. Even if violence does turn out to be advisable in some situation, wouldn't it be preferable as the product of reason and desperation rather than outrage and impatience?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (2 votes cast)
gah,Theft of air c... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 9:09 AM | Posted, in reply to gah's comment, by Jack Coupal: | Reply

gah,

Theft of air crew uniforms on crew overnite stays at hotels is a known security problem. Those stolen uniforms are not going into a uniform museum at someone's home.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
It is not a "known security... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 11:44 AM | Posted, in reply to Jack Coupal's comment, by EH: | Reply

It is not a "known security problem," it was a plot device in "Catch Me If You Can" and a sourceless, byline-free CNN article published on September 13, 2001 (which has never been followed up on). If you can find better references than I did I'd be curious to see them.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
<a href="http://paul.house.... (Below threshold) Obviously he's no different... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 4:10 PM | Posted, in reply to Up the ladder's comment, by Aurini: | Reply

Obviously he's no different than any other politician, he just happens to win votes by pretending to wear a white hat.

Your poor, foolish, naive young people, who think things can be changed for the better. Can't you see how mature and cynical I am? I must be right. God, I'm so world weary.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (4 votes cast)
<a href="http://vimeo.com/1... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 6:31 AM | Posted by TSA: | Reply

http://vimeo.com/17057322

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
I really wish people who di... (Below threshold)

November 29, 2010 3:13 PM | Posted by mike: | Reply

I really wish people who dislike these TSA searches would begin to make the conenction with what we are doing overseas that has so angered these people. We have been in their countries, both covertly and overtly, for more than 50 years now. Killing them, propping up bloody dictators and depriving them of progress and growth. The suffering we have caused is immeasurable. It is no wonder they are willing to die simply to inflict pain on us.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (4 votes cast)
what makes you think people... (Below threshold)

November 29, 2010 3:33 PM | Posted, in reply to mike's comment, by EH: | Reply

what makes you think people who dislike TSA searches aren't doing that already? it makes no sense to cloud the issue with hippy platitudes like "oh, because we're shitting on the world." no kidding dude, will you second the UN resolution i have no standing to submit?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
best bestbest... (Below threshold)

December 20, 2010 2:14 AM | Posted by kavitHARI: | Reply

best best

best

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
So what would be a producti... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2011 7:57 PM | Posted by Robin: | Reply

So what would be a productive way to help deter TSA civil liberty abuses? It seems to me that if TSA personnel, police, anyone in a position to abuse their authority, are taught to suspect that someone might be recording them, they're going to approach their job with more professionalism, and if enough people are outraged by TSA procedure and agents, people with actual authority may eventually be convinced that those procedures are costly and useless, much like the TSA itself. Am I not looking at the big picture? I feel like I am. Is it just my narcissism? What does him being a right-winger have to do with this?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Irrespective of how interes... (Below threshold)

March 18, 2013 9:00 PM | Posted by Atarii: | Reply

Irrespective of how interesting or simple the subject is, I never know what you're talking about.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
I know this is 3 years late... (Below threshold)

March 12, 2014 11:30 PM | Posted, in reply to Ben's comment, by johnnycoconut: | Reply

I know this is 3 years later, but I (mis)read "a fish in the air rarely solves anything" and I got really happy

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)