Monday, November 05, 2007

Airport Blogging - TSA & Our Freedoms

As I sit here stranded in Airport limbo, I hear the continuous announcements that blare over the PA system. “The Transportation Security Administration and Homeland Security remind you that any liquids of gels must be contained in a plastic bag…”

Now I am not a chemist, but I do know a little about the basics and there are a large number of binary or other substances that explode that can be mixed up in just a few minutes from small quantities of liquids or gels. So why does a plastic bag do anything to prevent this? The answer is that it does not. It’s just a security blanket for American travelers to feel safe. It also comes from the numerous complaints TSA and Homeland Security got after banning all liquids and gels.

Like the half-assed screenings that delay travelers and make flying absolutely no fun at all, these are for our minds, not our protection. If we see screening, we feel that the government is doing something. It is a seductive illusion, but it is nothing more than an illusion. OH sure the most clumsy bad guy or girl could be picked up by this technique, but someone really intent on doing harm is going to find a way through.

The “shoe bomber” tried to light the fuse of his bomb with a match. So lighters were eliminated. Now, however, I can buy a lighter in the airport gift shop. What changed? Well they screen your shoes now! Big deal! There are lots of other ways and that isn’t the problem. All this is a technique to keep us afraid. A fearful public is malleable and will consent to the loss of personal liberties at the expense of perceived security. In the end, we live in a state of terror…and isn’t that what the terrorists want?

So who is the winner and loser? Well the average American is the loser and those who seek more power and control over our lives are the winners. The new regulations proposed by TSA and Homeland Security that are scheduled to go into effect in February will make things for travelers even more difficult. We will have to have all our travel approved by the government. It makes driving a lot more attractive, but with the escalating gas prices, even that is tough.

I hate to make comparisons to folks like the Nazis, because when I use that word most people are conditioned to not take me seriously. How could we be like them? Well if you want to know exactly how, read some of the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer written during the 1930’s. You will find an erie similarity to today’s climate of fundamentalist madness. Then it was a “Germanic Religion” that was seeping into everything. A deadly combination of church and state. Today it’s faith based initiatives and pandering to the Radical Fundamental Christians. We have developed an American religion. A perverse blend of nationalism and apocalyptic nuttiness born from the fiction of Tim LaHay and the rantings of the Jerry Falwells of this country. A cross wrapped in a flag. It’s an image Jesus would be sickened by, but it is showing up in more and more places.

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