Monday, November 22, 2010

Touching your privates, Four

In response to complaints about the T&A's "get stripped or get groped" policy, the Boston Globe ran a remarkably thick-skulled editorial on Saturday, the flavor of which can be gotten from just the title, which was, no joke, "Airport screening: Patdown or perish." Surrender or die.

It began by whining about the protest encouraged for Wednesday of people refusing to go through the scanners. That, the editorial blubbered, might wind up delaying Thanksgiving dinner for some folks. "The protesters should stay home," it said. The fact that it never penetrated the catacombs of the collective Globe editorial mind the protest is to be done by pre-Thanksgiving travelers who were themselves planning to get on a plane and go somewhere is evidence enough of the level of thought that went into this - appropriate for the season - turkey.

The editorial then quickly ran through the THE TERRORISTS! THE TERRORISTS! argument, gave a quick nod to the one the goes "BFD about the scanners, doesn't bother me so it can't legitimately bother you" and ended by saying that if you don't like the choice of being stripped graphically or searched gropingly, then "Don't fly."

As of tonight, there are over 100 comments, the vast majority ranging from negative to really negative. Leave off the screeching screamers screechingly screaming some variation of "PROFILE MUSLIMS" and those insisting that "it" - whatever "it" happens to be - "is all the liberals fault," and the opinion approached unanimity.

I wrote a comment on - Surprise! - a point I thought wasn't being addressed and I decided to post it here, as well (Links not in original):
Others have said much of what I would have about the numerous inanities in this editorial, so I will confine myself to a single point: The argument that "Ya don't like it, ya just doesn't fly."

Again, others have already noted the sheer bullheaded, dismissive, arrogance on display in that assertion, asking for example how businesspeople who have to get to meetings or people wanting to travel overseas are to avoid flying as a practical matter.

But there's another point, and that's what I wanted to raise: Where does that logic stop? If the argument is (as it in fact is) that we "willingly" surrender our rights for the "privilege" of flying, how can it be that the logic, if you will, stops at the airport parking lot?

Have we forgotten the Madrid train bombings? Should we have to go through being either technologically strip-searched or groped by a stranger in order to get on a train? "Hey, if ya don't like it, don't take the train."

What about the bombings in the London tube? Why should subways not get the same treatment? Don't talk to me about the practicalities involved; surely you're not proposing to sacrifice our security because of a little inconvenience! So it's "If ya don't like it don't take the T."

And driving? Are you joking? Don't you remember the Times Square bomber or, worse, all the car bombs that have been successfully detonated around the world? Why not random stops, searches, roadblocks, body scanners at every toll booth and in every tunnel? "So don't drive."

And how many instances have there been of suicide bombers just walking into a crowd and blowing themselves up? Don't you want protection against The Terrorists? So be prepared to be x-rayed, full body-scanned, searched, and/or felt up any time you're in public. And if you don't like it, you can just stay home.

And who could object? Certainly not The Globe: After all, in the paper's own words, the choice is "Patdown or perish."

The real question is what it is that is going to "perish." It seems our civil liberties are in greater danger from cowering editorialists than we are from terrorists.
For me as an individual, the airlines and the T&A can go screen themselves. I'll stick with Amtrak.

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