Groping our way toward freedom 

The Transportation Security Administration obviously knows with 100 percent certainty that John Tyner, the 31-year-old Oceanside man who refused to submit to one of those embarrassing body scans or be searched by TSA groin-checkers during his recent attempt to fly from San Diego to South Dakota, poses no security threat to the United States or anywhere else. He is not a terrorist, but a citizen frustrated by the growing intrusiveness of TSA screening procedures.

 

Nevertheless, after Tyner refused to complete his screening process, a TSA official told him that the agency is likely to sue him. Tyner faces $11,000 in fines and a possible ban from air travel — not because he did anything wrong, but because he refused to submit to the authorities, which used to be a proud tradition in our society.

 

The worst part of life in the Eastern bloc, I’ve been told by refugees, was the endless indignities of waiting in line and being forced to submit to the inconsistent whims of various government agents. Increasingly, Americans must put up with whatever nonsensical and degrading policies are imposed on us.

 

There are legitimate concerns about the health risks of these X-ray scanners for frequent travelers, which is why the airline pilots’ union is protesting their use. It shouldn’t be a crime to keep bureaucrats from looking at our private parts or to avoid having them perform pat downs that have been compared by some people who have experienced them to a form of sexual molestation.

 

Here in Sacramento, one needs to go through an airport-like screening process merely to go into the main post office, and statewide red-light cameras and other video surveillance machines are becoming ubiquitous. It’s not just the airport any more.

 

Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano insisted last week that this is all necessary for our security. “It’s all about everybody recognizing their role,” she said. She’s probably right. We all have to recognize our new role in the new America, which is to submit to whatever procedures demanded of us.

 

If the X-rated scanners don’t cause the public to start pushing the pendulum back in a more sensible direction, then I’m not sure there’s anything that will save what freedoms are left in this nation.

Steven Greenhut is editor of www.calwatchdog.com; write to him at sgreenhut@calwatchdog.com.

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