November 20th, 2010

The TSA’s Pat Down of Our Rights

The following is an op-ed I wrote that was published in the Salt Lake Tribune today:

The report of an encounter between the Transportation Security Administration and a man named John Tyner inside the San Diego Airport went viral last week.

Tyner refused to comply with the TSA’s new “enhanced” pat down, decided instead to leave the airport, and was threatened by a TSA agent with a $10,000 civil suit for refusing to endure the security screening.

During the ordeal, the TSA agent tasked with manhandling Tyner reportedly stated that by purchasing his ticket, Tyner had given up “a lot of his rights.” Perhaps this is a recent development; I don’t recall seeing any fine print about voluntarily surrendering my constitutional rights when I last purchased an airline ticket.

To the contrary: Nobody has to give up their rights, including “the right of the people to be secure … against unreasonable searches and seizures,” by engaging in a commercial transaction with an airline. The federal government, with no probable cause, has seen fit to intervene in this voluntary relationship and impose its onerous mandates on all travelers — and on top of that, has the audacity to refer to them as “customers.”

This right to be free from searches and seizures is deeply rooted in the American experience. In colonial times, the English claimed an unrestrained, oft-abused power to search one’s property or person at any time, for any reason (or no reason). The ensuing resistance to such an egregious assault on the privacy of innocent individuals was, according to John Adams, “the spark in which originated the American Revolution.”

That spark’s kindling was ultimately the Declaration of Independence, a document in which Thomas Jefferson and his co-authors noted that “all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

Suffice it to say that in the past decade, Americans have become accustomed to the increasing demands of the Transportation Security Administration.

They have chosen to quietly suffer, rather than “right themselves.”

The past few weeks have changed this attitude, however, with the introduction of new “enhanced” pat-down methods which, quite literally, are a form of molestation in which a stranger runs his or her hands over your body with the palms touching genitalia, in full view of other travelers. What would clearly be illegal for any other person has become sanctioned by law for a worker with a badge.

The American public has now been given a set of two options by its own government if one wishes to fly: either step into a machine which bathes you in radiation and, with that radiation, takes a nude picture of your body; or submit to a “freedom frisk” — the pejorative, popularized term for the aforementioned molestation.

Children and seniors are not exempt, nor are disabled persons, former victims of rape or sexual abuse, or cancer survivors whose radiation intake has already reached a maximum. All must submit to the TSA’s invasions.

So much for liberty. America, once the land of the free and home of the brave, is now an elaborate system where rights are dictated into oblivion by federal bureaucrats, and individuals are not permitted to engage in commerce without either being turned into pornography or groped by a stranger.

Tyner threatened his assigned TSA agent with arrest for “touching [his] junk.” It’s time the rest of us likewise assert our rights to be free from such searches, and abolish “the forms to which [we] are accustomed.”

9 Responses to “The TSA’s Pat Down of Our Rights”

  1. Connor
    November 20, 2010 at 8:35 am #

    Here is Pat Bagley’s editorial cartoon to go along with the op-ed:

  2. Kelly W.
    November 20, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    Yes, the false-flag inside job of 9/11 has changed everything. I suppose that revealing the truth behind 9/11 would be an obvious way to get the TSA dismantled.

  3. Scrooge
    November 21, 2010 at 5:09 am #

    So what does 2 Nephi 1:7 really mean for the righteous that have to live in the same land with all of the iniquity doers? I work hard at trying to be righteous but I don’t feel so blessed being groped.

    Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.

  4. Craig
    November 21, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

    I read this portion on an alternative news website.

    -Senator John Ensign, a Nevada Republican, asked Pistole about groups that objected to all forms of bodily search on religious grounds. “While we respect that person’s beliefs, that person’s not going to get on an airplane,” said the TSA boss.-

    Are Latter-Day Saints going to allow themselves to go through a dehumanizing process of risk of being groped or scanned just to fly? If the Church Leaders speak out against the new TSA screening process it may just stop this, just like President Kimble speaking against the propose MX Missile site in Nevada-Utah areas back in early ’80s did.

  5. Kelly W.
    November 21, 2010 at 7:05 pm #

    As a missionary back in 1974, I remember transferring planes at the Amsterdam airport. They frisked everybody as they boarded the plane. Made me feel like some common criminal to stand with my legs apart as the security guard patted down my legs.

    Will missionaries of 2010 be told to go to the scanners, or to the friskers? I’m sure they’ll have to choose one or the other!

  6. Jim Turner
    November 22, 2010 at 7:51 am #

    I like the Cartoon below the Article with one exception. I don’t believe Americans are scered witless about being blown out of the ski. I do believe the Government uses that lie as an excuse to run rampant over our liberties.

  7. mormonlibertarian
    November 22, 2010 at 9:06 am #

    LDS love Babylon; it gives them ‘the good life’, and *they* (all right, *I* believe, a majority of *us*)–

    sorry to be so collective, but my observation is that many, if not most, of *us* really like the world the way it is and just whine or whimper now and again when things don’t feel right.

    If *we* agree with empire-building, pre-emptive wars and economic darwinism, not to mention . . . the wealth required to fly everywhere (not everyone in the world can afford to fly at all)–

    then we have what we want. We’re ‘playing’ with the ‘big guys’, and *we* will get used by *them* (the big boys who want complete control of the world)–

    for *their* purposes.

    WHAT will it take for the saints to stop loving Babylon enough that *they*/*we* cry for Jesus to come, day and night?

    What will finally be enough?

    Do *you* honestly believe governments will listen to prophets?

    I think the ‘brethren’ saw this coming and have for a very long time, and they have tried to prepare *us*; do you have food stored?

  8. J.M Harrison
    November 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

    What can we expect when the Government defines travel as a “privilege” and not a right?

    “It is common misconception that any person in the United States has a right to drive. There is no such right in the US Constitution.” claims a legal website.

    This underlines the exploited crack in our liberties, the Bill of RIghts. Crafty legislators reason that since travel is not specifically mentioned, it must not be a right. “It’s a privilege.” they say wisely.

    Therefore, any form of travel, being a government-granted privilege, is subject to government-mandated control.

    According to their very “strict” interpretation of the Constitution, things not mentioned, but implied (such as the right to travel) are clearly to be ignored.

    If this be the case, then where is the Constitutional authority for the TSA itself? I am taken aback in wonder…hypocrisy from the U.S Government?

  9. loquaciousmomma
    November 29, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    The supreme court has long held that we have a constitutional right to freedom of movement. Since the head of the TSA has made it clear he intends to expand his organization’s mission to “secure” the other major modes of transportation, I wonder who is going to challenge the inevitable restriction on this right?

    Here is a quote from Williams V. Town of Greenburg:

    We first recognized a right to intrastate travel in King v. New Rochelle Municipal Housing Authority, 442 F.2d 646, 648 (2d Cir.1971). ? Relying on the Supreme Court’s holding in Shapiro v. Thompson that “moving from State to State or to the District of Columbia” constituted “a constitutional right,” 394 U.S. 618, 634, 89 S.Ct. 1322, 22 L.Ed.2d 600 (1969), the King Court concluded that “[i]t would be meaningless to describe the right to travel between states as a fundamental precept of personal liberty and not to acknowledge a correlative constitutional right to travel within a state,” King, 442 F.2d at 648. ? Accordingly, in King, we applied strict scrutiny to a five-year residency requirement for municipal public housing because that requirement affected a “fundamental right” of two applicants who had moved to the city from elsewhere within the state. ?442 F.2d at 648. ? More recently, we reinstated a civil rights complaint alleging a violation of the “constitutional right to travel” arising from a brutal attack on a young man riding his bicycle in Coney Island. ?Spencer v. Casavilla, 903 F.2d 171, 174-75 (2d Cir.1990). ? Finally, we explained in Ramos that because the curfew in question “limit[ed] the constitutional right to free movement within the [t]own ?, we assume that were this ordinance applied to adults, it would be subject to strict scrutiny.” ?Ramos, 353 F.3d at 176.4

    ?These precedents stand for the proposition that individuals possess a fundamental right to travel within a state.

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