Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Gaynier and Her Security Cake

Why do you feel safe to get on an airplane in the U.S.?

Rhonda Gaynier and the ALCU may make it a little easier for their terrorist enemies to board planes if this problem grows larger roots.

Gaynier would like to have her cake and eat it too. She does not want her privacy to be violated. She does want to board the airplane. She claims she was searched like she was a convict. Guilty until proven innocent...isn't that the way the investigation must be conducted?

Okay, people should absolutely NOT be groped in any way that is inconsistent with what is necessary to prove that they are not hiding weapons on their body. Personally, as a male, I do not appreciate the wand or anyone's hands checking me out at the airport, and for women it must be even more humiliating. But let's keep our focus here. Gaynier's planned class action lawsuit is not going to make matters better. In fact, I'm immediately reminded of the line from A Few Good Men from Colonel Jessep: "You just weakened a country today."

Solution? There are no easy ones. As long as screenings are going to be required, there are going to be problems and frustrations. Were Gaynier and everyone else who are now claiming that they were touched inappropriately right to make accusations? I am certain that a percentage of them are legitimate.

Maybe we should allow physicians to perform the checks. Maybe they could do a mini check-up as we went through screening and we could get a health report along with a clearance to board. Wouldn't this also fit with the x-ray machines that are being tested for body screenings? Couldn't a good radiologist get a quick glance at our bodies along with a view of possible hidden weapons? We don't argue that our family doctor goes too far when he/she investigates into highly personal areas because we know it is necessary. 'Necessary' may also be the word we have to accept when it comes to being screened at the airport as well.

Gaynier's accusations should be taken seriously, as should others. But the issue of so-called "freedoms" is not at stake here. The ACLU has no business in this argument (but then, wha'ts new.) America will only be free as long as we are a safe nation. If our terrorist enemies were smart, they would not only be training fighters to carry bombs and guns, but also lawyers to fight in the U.S. courts for the freedom to harm Americans.

Maybe in the future we can have two systems: flights for people who wish to be screened and flights for those who do not.


Anonymous said...

Our government should not erode the rights of Americans by conducting such searches without a reasonable suspicion of some security problems. Terry v. Ohio and its progeny prohibit stops and searches without a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. A far better system of making domestic flights secure would concentrate on the problem; foreigners, specifically Muslim radicals. It is absurd to search Americans and ignore Middle Eastern passengers, who are far more likely to be terrorists, to avoid claims of profiling. Corollaries to this approach are securing our borders and keeping track of foreigners here on visas.
I for one would be far more willing to have the government check my name, date of birth, address, payment method, and other information, plus X-ray/MRI/body scanner technology at the gate, than the intrusive searches of my luggage and person. It is far more likely that TSA searches will spread a flu epidemic than stop terrorists. Why doesn't TSA check personal CD players, cell phones, computers, and other electronics to ensure that they are operational and not explosives? Because TSA is a dog and pony show, designed to appear as if our national government (Madison's term from the Federalist Papers) is doing something to combat terrorism.
If my suggestions are not taken, TSA can search all the Americans they want to, and terrorists will nonetheless attack us.

Colby Willen said...

Good points on the whole issue. I agree that the lack of profiling for the sake of "fair" treatment is ridiculous. Elderly little women from Wisconsin should not receive the same kind of scrutiny as 30-year old men from Saudi Arabia. As for the Ohio court case, I don't know whether the context of that ruling applies to flying on a commercial airline. Aren't many of our search laws written in terms of public places whereas when a person enters a private establishment they are consenting to some degree to be searched without any specific suspicion?

Anonymous said...

I think this women is absolutely ridiculous. Everyone has to go through this stuff. Man, woman, and child for the safety of everyone on board these planes. I don't care if they have to do a full body strip search to make sure that I am safe I am willing to deal with it as long as it doesn't cross any sexual lines. I have a friend who is a screener at the Airport in Burlington, Vermont and he made a good point in the fact that these screeners are not getting their "jollies" off this. They are protecting and serving the same neo-nazi feminist women who are complaining about this. These are women who are conducting these pat downs and if you are offended about doing this in public you can ask for a private room to do it in. I just have one question for this would you feel if they didn't pat me down and I had a bomb strapped to my leg and on your way home to Christmas with your family I blew you and the rest of the passengers on our plane ot kingdom come....would you think the pat down was necessary then?

Anonymous said...

Ms. Gaynier and her ACLU buddies should be encouraged to seek other means of transportation if they oppose 'pat downs' as a legitimate security measure to insure safe air travel. The other 99.99% of Americans will continue to accept these necessary steps in an effort to prevent the next unthinkable terroristic act against freedom.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Willen,

the 4th Amendment to the Constitution is not just a "search law", with differences between public and private places. The 4th Amendment is a guarantee that you will be protected against government seizure. Before the government can stop and search someone, Supreme Court case law (Terry v. Ohio and its progeny) requires that a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity be observed. Then, only a brief questioning and pat down is allowed. What infuriated Ms. Gaynier, and should infuriate all Americans, is the intrusive groping of Americans who did not have bulges under clothes, walking with a limp (such as the correspondent who hypothesized a bomb strapped to his leg), or other objective indicia of possible criminal activity.

I will concede that patting down someone who sets off a metal detector is warranted, even if the only metal is an underwire bra. But that is exactly the sort of objective indicator that justifies a pat down. The random searches are not warranted and are not making flights safer. Before 9/11/01, when was the last time that an American hijacked a plane? D.B. Cooper in the early 1970's, right? He did not blow it up or use it as a missile.

To keep the flying public safe, the government should be targeting Middle Eastern males and Islamic radicals for extra searches and pat downs. After all, who are the terrorists? As aliens, they should not be entitled to the full constitutional protections that Americans enjoy. Also, INS or whatever it is called these days must get organized and start following up on overdue visa holders and so-called students. Third, if TSA were serious about checking for bombs, all electronic equipment should be tested to ensure that it actually works and is not an explosive. Finally, the national government needs to secure our borders, which are porous and a perfect avenue for terrorists to enter and smuggle all sorts of weapons.

Colby Willen said...

My chief concern is that our "rights" do not supercede our safety. I think the backlash in the U.S. against anything that might infringe a bit on our freedoms (dare I mention the Patriot Act) has been overly done. We cannot be free the way we were in the past and have the security that is needed.

I agree that the current checks do not seem adequate to protect us against another attack. Spending our time wanding children and their mothers is a waste of time in the name of "civil liberties" and fairness. However, I do think that the things that are being done at airports are a step in the right direction with many steps still needed. The most glaring problem I see is the openness of America's borders. Until we can clamp down on who is actually in this country we cannot fully monitor what is going on.