Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The TSA wants to get to 3rd base with you...

Right now it is harder than it looks to write about the TSA.  There are basically two camps: the righteously pissed-off citizens who don't want their rights violated, and the righteously fearful citizens who want protection from evil terrorists.  Unfortunately, both (especially the frightened ones) are missing the point.

Let's start from a slightly different perspective than most of the articles I have read take.  Let's look at it first from the point of view of the TSA "officers" -- the creeps who are feeling you up if you opt-out of their creepy pornscan machines.

I don't know the requirements to have that job, but based on my interactions with these individuals I am pretty certain they don't set the bar very high.  Most of them are mouth-breathers, and the ones that are smart are assholes -- because to be smart, you would have to be an asshole to want a job like that.  I have no respect for stupid people and assholes should be treated as such, so to those of you who want to ruffle their feathers, taunt them, make them miserable, go for it!  Just don't let it lull you into believing that you are doing anything other than taking some pleasure from a miserable situation.

So the TSA officer or whatever, the guy feeling you up when you opt out of the scanner, he probably can't get a better job, or he wouldn't be grabbing around your tender bits "looking for explosives."  There are probably a percentage of these folks who really get off on violating people, but for most of them, you are just another faceless idiot in a sea of faceless idiots.  They don't want to be looking at you on their pornscan machines all day; they don't want to be grabbing your crotch or listening to you taunt them about the stupidity of their job.  They probably want to be home drinking beer and watching television with their families, just like the rest of America.  Or maybe they want to be rock stars or they just couldn't make the cut for the state police (another bar that is set very, very low).  The point is, they don't want to be there any more than you, and they probably hate the whole process more than you.

So what does taunting them accomplish?  It makes you feel better, but don't confuse that with thinking that you've "done something," or changed anything.  You think that the TSA people dealing with you have any decision-making power whatsoever?  Of course not!  The whole point of the system is to distract you.

You want to piss off the people who think that these airport shenanigans are worthwhile?  Ask them how many terrorists they've caught.  They aren't stopping anyone.  A determined, smart person will not be foiled by the TSA.  They catch what you might call the "crazies," the stupid people who do stupid stuff because there is something wrong in their heads.  Not for political reasons.

The political roots of this go much deeper.  Do you remember a few years ago the hype, similar to this, surrounding the searches of bags on the NYC subway?  Imagine my surprise, a few months later, when I walked into my local subway stop in Boston and saw police doing the same random checks, but nobody batted an eyelash.  This is how they get you: they chip away, they chip away, and they frame things in their own terms.  They are "protecting" us.

This is going the same way.  Do you think this is going to cause anyone to wake up and say wait a minute let's think about this all again from the beginning?  Because it isn't.  They've framed the argument and distracted the opponents.  It isn't "should we have police in airports?" -- it is, "how should the police function in airports?"  Once you frame the argument in a way that is self-justifying, all the rest is just part of the system.

What's next?  How about random searches of homes?  Oh, we've already chipped away at the Constitution a little bit, and this is a new era, you know.  We have to deal with things that our Founding Fathers never did... riiight.  Well, the easiest way is to target the terrorists (child molesters also work well for this) first, then you can start rolling it out to the rest of the population in small increments.  Just wait.

They don't just want to get to third base.  They want it all, and as long as they are allowed to frame the terms they will get it.  Who are "they?"  Well, just remember, it isn't the creep in a uniform feeling you up at the airport.  But have fun with it anyway -- you only live once, and if this is a bellwether of times to come then we're on our way downhill no matter what -- as Jim said, get your kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames...