video circulating around the internet right now of a little six year old girl getting an "enhanced" pat down search. I've watched it a couple times now and I'm just shocked and appalled on two levels. One, how can anyone claim that this isn't a violation of our rights? And two, how could the parents of this child let the TSA get away with this?
The behavior of the TSA and their agents is getting out of hand. This is the kind of thing that the founding fathers of this nation feared from the English kings and why we have a BILL OF RIGHTS. The Fourth Amendment protects us from unreasonable searches. Now, this is an unfortunately subjective wording. The TSA and therefore the entire United States government are claiming that the searches and pat downs are not unreasonable in order to protect us from the possibility of terrorist attack. I say that we need to find another way. I understand their logic and I do think that their methods have probably made some terrorists think twice about their tactics. I do not think that the threat is great enough to warrant the blatant disregard of our "unalienable" rights. It's just a matter of time before some terrorist will find a way to circumvent the current TSA protocols and then things will get worse. We, as American citizens, need to put our feet down and say "This is unacceptable!".
It should be unacceptable. If I were travelling with my wife and children I would rather go to jail myself then subject my children to this kind of treatment. If the TSA insisted that my children go through that kind search, I would shout and make a fuss and do whatever it took to make sure that it didn't happen. Because it shouldn't! I wouldn't let them get away with it either. If they arrested me, I would call the ACLU so fast that it wouldn't be funny.
Wil Wheaton recently wrote about his experiences with the TSA. He mentions that he is speaking to a lawyer and the ACLU and I don't blame him. In fact, I applaud him for it. I would do the same and I would be glad for a celebrity on the side of good in this instance because it seems that these days people listen to celebrities more than they pay attention to right and wrong. I've been lucky in my travels to not have experienced this myself and I am not looking forward to that day. I'm sure it's coming and that saddens me. This nation is supposed to be about freedoms. I'm saddened because I'm sure that someday soon the government will try to violate my Fourth Amendment freedom while I'm traveling. I'm not sure, yet, how I'll react to the situation. Will I stand up for my rights or just take it and complain afterward? I just don't know yet.
Now, contrary to public speculation and rumor, the TSA is a government agency that reports to the Department of Homeland Security. The current administration is within its power to direct the TSA's activities and I think that an overhaul of its policies and procedures is overdue. Perhaps a changing of the guard as to who runs this agency is even necessary. I'm not sure exactly because I'm not a government expert, but it needs to happen before things get out of hand (which might be too late).
I'm going to end this post before it turns too much into a rant (might be too late!), but I'd like to encourage you all to watch out for yourselves and don't let the government trample on your rights. Remember that authoritarian regimes aren't always built overnight.