The TSA and Civil Rights

In Issues and Debate on November 24, 2010 at 10:58 am

I, like many Americans, am not terribly comfortable with being ‘pat-down’ or frisked in any manner. In all honesty such occurrences happen predominantly when one has either broken the law or has some health related necessity. With that said, I do question the very notion that such advanced airport screening techniques truly constitute a violation of civil rights as some have laid claim. The screening itself may very well be a personal violation in some sense, but its hard to see it as a constitutional issue considering our nation’s not so distant history with civil rights.

Pat downs and screenings have now become the hot issue of the moment as many in the mainstream media and middle America itself have come to criticise the techniques. This criticism is truly coming from both sides of the aisle and everywhere in-between, giving the debate a more legitimate flavor than many recent, controversial national security policies; namely warrantless wiretapping and the torture of so-called enemy combatants.

The irony of course, is disconcerting compared to the oft villified members of society who truly protested and faught warrantless wiretaps, torture, and even the misinformation campaign that led to the Iraq War. These activists were all too easy to ignore or label as some form of leftist fringe by both bias and complacent media outlets alike. This lack of true journalism from the mainstream ultimately prevented an honest debate on these issues from happening. With any luck we can avoid this problem concerning what has truly become an increasingly embarrassing issue for many travelers.

Regardless of how this debate turns out, the American public must come to accept some sort advanced security protocols in our nation’s airports. From shoe bombers to underwear incendiaries and subway bombs through Western Europe, our transportation systems have numerous vulnerabilities and are all too tempting a target to those wishing to cause massive amounts of death and mass panic. Compromise is key and though we must be pro-active in our national security, we must not find ourselves giving in to the vestiges of fear, for freedom means nothing without principle.


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