Yesterday, I was discriminated against because of one of my disabilities. The acts of one individual and by extension, one agency, caused me to seriously think about the state of our rights here in America. What happened yesterday amounted to a unautorized search under Constitutional law. But, because it was conducted under the auspices of “security,” it was perfectly legal.
I watched literally hundreds of people shuffle through the TSA checkpoint yesterday. No questions asked, they just shuffled along dropping their clothes and shoes into bins to be x-rayed. They consented to pat downs and partial strip searches because TSA asked them to comply. Americans are so accustomed to the invasive practices of TSA that they don’t even question the legality of what’s happening in the name of security.
I for one am outraged. There was no justification for what happened to me yesterday. I requested that a vial of insulin not be x-rayed as that process ionizes the medication and renders it useless. The TSA agent told me I was the first person to request this. The TSA then proceeds to rifle through my belongings. I was threatened with security and being removed from the airport at least six times.
In an attempt to figure out what had triggered this event, I asked the agent in charge why she insisted on a full search procedure. I was told it was because their policy dictated it. I also learned she felt that working for TSA for 8 years and having a degree in Criminal Justice made her somehow better than me. Her chiding tone confirmed that she no longer saw me as an American citizen just trying to get home. No, I was an inconvenience to be handled.
The agent insisted she was just keeping everyone safe. I, for one, did not feel safe. Honestly, I don’t feel any safer under TSA than I did 13 years ago. This agent threatened to force me out of the airport with no recourse. It was truly comply or else. I asked how she was making things safe and was told she didn’t need to explain herself. TSA has become an agency that answers to no one. They hide behind policy and procedure. There is no accountability. There is almost no respect for the people they are supposedly helping to feel safe.
Since the TSA has failed to do anything in the way of preventing terrorism, what is their true mission? They came claim that by their existence, they are a deterrent. Yet, aside from confiscating millions of gallons of wine, water and baby formula there is nothing to show for their efforts. Tons of metal products including scissors, knitting needles and pocket knives have been seized under the guise of protecting the public. Millions of people have been harassed, assaulted, ejected and threatened under the guise of keeping the traveling public safe. Enough is enough.
Looking in from my place, the agency is nothing but a group of domestic terrorists. They have implemented policy that discriminates and degrades to the point of instilling fear. That is terrorism.
It’s time to realize that bit by bit we have lost our Constitutionally guaranteed rights. I’m not talking the big, controversial rights. It’s the little drops of water that have worn away the touchstone of democracy. It’s the quiet stealth of the government peering into the windows of our lives. If you’re okay with peeping toms, than you should be comfortable with the way our government has snuck into every corner. I’m not okay with peeping toms. I’m standing at this point and loudly declaring that enough is enough.