Major Dad 1984

Cursed By A Classical Education

Let's just say that I intend to use this blog to blow off some steam that I might be feeling with the International/National media, my work situation, or maybe even to tee off on the family in a humorous way of course!

11/25/2004

Planes, Trains, and Group Gropes

With this being the busiest travel season of the year, I'm sure you've probably heard something about the recent change implemented by the TSA screeners from the Homeland Security Department...let's just say they're getting a little more "hands on" experience...

Read the following story....and come on back. As always, I've got an opinion on this one...

Airport screeners say getting up close and personal is no fun...


I'm a fairly frequent traveler...and I've been getting fed up for the past several years. We've seen a "knee jerk" reaction to the different tactics that some would be terrorists have tried...sometimes successfully, but others unsuccessfully.

Let's see, the hijackers on 9/11 (all easily identifiable as ARABS) use box cutters to commandeer four planes...and use them as fuel laden missiles to take down the World Trade Center Towers, cause substatial damage to the Pentagon, and thankfully caused the crash of the fourth plane short of their target in Pennsylvania. This caused several reactions...such as no more metal implements with our meals on planes, anything larger than a nail clipper to be confiscated at the security checkpoints, and longer more intrusive security procedures.

Then Mr. Reid tried to blow up a plane by lighting a fuse to ignite explosives hidden in his shoes...now I get to take off my shoes while trying to juggle a briefcase, laptop, coat, cell phone, keys and the like while trying to wind my way through airport security.

A couple of Chechen widows blow up a couple of planes in Russia...and now my wife, daughter, mother, and grandmother are subject to a grope in plain view of the traveling public.

Have we lost our minds? There are people that want to do us harm...a relatively small number of them at that. Why don't we try and round them all up and simply deport them? What's the harm in taking people that do not belong here and just send them packing?

This isn't necessarily a matter of security...first, it's a matter of controlling our borders and our sovereignty. If we would get tough by ensuring we know who is trying to enter our country, we would have a much better idea about who might be a real suspect rather than subjecting the law abiding CITIZENS of this country to the humiliation currently underway at our nation's airports. Immigration and Naturalization have procedures in place to accept a set number of immigrants each year. It's time that they get tough with people that enter this country and seem to disappear into our population of 300 million.

For some reason I seem to recall that El Al, the national airline of Israel has done pretty much a bang up job. Here's a link to a story that gives you some idea of how they've been able to avoid any serious security incidents since 1968, before these types of procedures went into place.

El Al Security

Yes, they rely heavily on racial, ethnic, and geographical profiling...but when you see a thief fleeing the scene of a crime with shoulder length hair, heavily pierced with facial decorations, and towering over you at 6'5"...you're not going to look for a chubby little Irish kid. Profiling is nothing more than using statistics to help you defeat a threat. Our friends in Israel seem to have much more experience than we do in this realm...perhaps we can learn from their past to help us into a safer, less intrusive period of travel.

Let's just hope that someone doesn't try detonating a "booty bomb" anytime soon. The thought of a TSA screener with a rubber glove will all of a sudden take on a whole different meaning.

From the high ground...

MajorDad1984


Read the rest of the longer story!

13 Comments:

At 9:30 AM, Blogger the urban fox said...

Hmm. This is dangerous ground, Major Dad. Once you start racial profiling and making assumptions based on ethnicity, you're in Hitler territory.

I know you probably feel this comparison is unjust and that your scheme has only America's best interests at heart, but that's how the Third Reich sold anti-Semitism to his people too. I know you are a good, patriotic family man who truly feels that this solution would be the best all round... but in this context, caution is essential.

The history from the pre-WWII period must be remembered, to ensure that such abominable acts never happen again.

We learn from it that Hitler choreographed civil disturbances, unrest and violence and blamed all this on what he called the "vermin" of German Jews. He used a combination of targeted thug tactics, media manipulation and superb PR techniques to persuade the people that he was fighting for Germany, against the evil 'other' who dared to threaten national security and sovereignty.

H

Once the population became scared, they acquiesced - or at least did not protest - at the Jews being hounded out of their homes, put into camps or, as time went on, executed. They considered the Jews what we would today call "terrorists".

The German people didn't go along with all this because they were inhuman. They had been brought to a peak of fear by believing they were living in singularly threatened times and encouraged with sophisticated propaganda to believe a certain race of people were responsible for ruining Germany's peace.

And Hitler didn't start out with his extreme ideas. The slow drip, drip, drip - what Hannah Arendt called "the banality of evil" - allowed the breathtaking inhumanity to hide behind a facade of nationalism, patriotism and protection of the homeland.

Who was it who said "Those who do not learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them"?

 
At 9:40 AM, Blogger MajorDad said...

You're right to quote George Santayana there...

And I choose to not forget:

1. The slaughter of innocent Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.

2. The countless acts of terrorism committed by both parties in the Israeli/Palestinean conflict.

3. Over 3000 of my countrymen (and many from other nations as well) lost on 9/11 and the days after as they perished without food, water, and in unbearable pain under the weight of the concrete, steel, and rubble they were buried under.

4. People that attempt to thumb their noses at America and her laws by SNEAKING into my country because we're afraid to offend.

If you can tell me that there are non-Arabs conspiring against the West...please tell me. At this point, that's who fits the profile...so that's what we ought to be looking at.

As far as rounding people up into camps for the purpose of extermination...you're trying to draw a parallel that just doesn't fit. We might round them up, we might put them into camps, but I think that the solution that the US as a compassionate nation would simply put them onto an aircraft or ship and send 'em home.

I guess I'm becoming more and more an isolationist, but an expeditionary when it comes to stomping out the threat of international terrorism. The "evil doers" must go!

Have a happy Thanksgiving...and be thankful that you are not as big or lucrative a target as we are in the US.

See you on the high ground!

MajorDad1984

 
At 9:58 AM, Blogger the urban fox said...

I fear that plenty of terrorists are likely to be American nationals, and white American nationals at that. Not exclusively, and perhaps not even predominantly, but no ethnic group should be ruled out. Timothy McVeigh, anyone?

It's very dangerous to slate an entire race as "the people who become terrorists", given that 99.9999% of them would never dream of taking a human life. You know this. We all know it.

Why doesn't America target and profile white Catholics? After all, most of the recent terrorist activity in Britain - including horrific loss of life - was done by the IRA, an Irish separatist organisation. I happen to be sympathetic with the cause of Irish reunification, like many people, but we all condemn terrorism wholeheartedly. A woman I know was in an IRA bomb attack while pregnant. She doesn't call for intrusive screening of Irish Catholics, and nor does anyone who can appreciate the difference between extremist criminals and the enormous majority of ordinary peace-loving people.

The IRA received the bulk of its funding from Americans, by the way. This is why Londoners laughed when we heard about the clampdown on terrorist sympathisers and funders of terrorism. As far as I know, no American IRA funder has ever been arrested in this grand sweep.

See how dangerous ethnic generalisations are?

 
At 10:12 AM, Blogger MajorDad said...

I simply do not agree with your theory of American nationals joining ranks with the terrorist movement we're currently fighting.

While it's comendable of your pregnant friend who got caught up in an IRA bombing to turn the other cheek and not want to "target" the Catholics for special treatment...it's her choice to turn the other cheek.

You keep wanting to make the "racial/ethnic" profiling issue a very, very grave one. I am NOT advocating rounding up every Arab and burning them at the stake. What I am saying is that while this war on terror is hot, we use additional measures to protect our citizens from attack here at home. I apologize if you happen to have an arabic surname...or you happen to favor a middle eastern appearance, but we're simply going to ask you a few additional questions. We might even want to "feel you up" in a pat down inspection before we let you on one of our airplanes.

This "we can't offend" mentality is offensive to me...a combat veteran, holder of multiple security clearances, and 24+ years of faithful service to my country. I'm small potatos...are you telling me that if you were a TSA screener you'd want to do a pat down search of an elderly, matronly great grandmother type with Christmas presents in bags for her grandkids?

If you say yes...shame on you...and shame on a nation that's allowed us to get to this point.

From the high ground.

MajorDad1984

 
At 10:33 AM, Blogger the urban fox said...

It's not about the fear of offending. It's about avoiding dangerous, inaccurate, inflammatory prejudice which can actually have the opposite effect from the intended one, e.g. by increasing racial friction to the point where terrorism is actually increased.

Political correctness is not the issue; the causes of international disquiet and extremist terrorism are deeply complex and cannot be found in simplistic race-based analysis.

Incidentally, I don't believe in the "network of terror" myth either. As anyone who's studied Middle Eastern affairs known, the concept of a large organised terror network with cells in different countries is simply untrue. Dangerous fanatics may be anti-US, but the idea of egomaniac rich boy Osama bin Laden being in control of all these fanatics is laughable. Did you know he hired extras with guns to appear in one of his promotional videos, to make it look like he had a team? This is well documented in the field. He's a great big fake who'd just love to take the credit for what is essentially a much more bewilderingly disparate conflagration of anti-US grievances. That doesn't leave us with answers, but it's just as valuable to be left with new, better-informed questions.

To summarise this rambling comment: I believe race-based profiling will only inflame an already delicate situation and would amount to illegal harassment of a single racial group. America is a country built on immigration, and its constitution rightly protects this unique diversity. Tampering with it can only cause harm, even with the best will in the world.

 
At 1:38 PM, Blogger Jenni said...

Major:

Thanks for the "well wishes" you posted to me on Urban Fox's blog, but I'll pass if that's alright (I am hoping you were joking and not really wishing that on me?) I read that somewhere in Europe (I believe it was Europe) they have added x-ray machines which can actually see thru your clothes to what you are carrying in your pockets or under your clothes.

I agree that our security at the airports has gotten a bit out of hand and has not always become more effective for doing so. For example, while flying home from DC last year, the friend I was traveling with was randomly selected at each security gate for additional security checks. This meant that we waited while security went thru his bags completely...3 times at 3 different checkpoints. After we got thru the first checkpoint, wasn't it unlikely that he would need to be searched again, unless we bought something IN the airport, which in that case they shouldn't be selling? We assume he was actually targeted for extra searches because he had bought a multi-destination ticket rather than round trip, which is apparently considered to be suspicous. Whatever the reason, it would have been much more effective to cancel him out from the pool of possible random searches after the first one, as then they might have actually spent their time doing something useful...like searching someone who hadn't already been searched.

Also, at the airport I usually fly in and out of, they have a poster of what items are not allowed past the security check point...one item pictured is a bomb. Who would think that a bomb would be allowed BEFORE the security checkpoint, let alone beyond it? And if you were the sort to carry a bomb, I am assuming that a poster would not be enough to deter you into saying "Oops, I didn't realize I couldn't bring my bomb into the airport...let me just go put it back in the car"? Apparently logic escapes the TSA in some instances.

While the poster was somewhat amusing, the situation is not. Security on the airlines is a serious concern and one that needs serious results, not people feeling up my grandmother if her bra sets off the metal detector. On the other hand, if the TSA truly had reason to believe my grandmother was engaged in terrorist activity, I would want them to do what they could to stop her (or quickly realize how wrong they were). I do agree to some extent with Urban Fox that racial profiling can be dangerous to our security, because it may lead to underestimating the threat from other racial/ethnic groups. Even given that the largest threat of terrorism right now is from individuals of Middle Eastern descent, there are plenty of upstanding U.S. citizens of Middle Eastern descent as well, and they shouldn't have to be humiliated at security checks because of the horrible actions of a few. It's a balancing act, and not an easy one. I want everyone to be safe and free from unnecessary humiliation, including the thousands of minorities living in the United States.

I guess for the rest of the day, I'll being thankful I haven't yet been subjected to the new screening methods to my list of things to give thanks for!

 
At 1:57 PM, Blogger Jenni said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 1:58 PM, Blogger Jenni said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 5:50 AM, Blogger Jim said...

I'm in a conundrum with this issue. I've said all along that 9/11 was an IMMIGRATION issue...the terrorists came here legally. I suppose while US Citizens are certainly capable of horrid things (a-la-McVeigh), there are definate red flags for domestics. Our domestic nuts usually fall into two categories:
1)Religious cults- Jim Jones, David Koresh, The New Vrindaben Hare Krishnas
2)Racist/Survivalist nuts: Neo Nazis, KKK, McVeigh and his ilk.

The government has done well in keeping these groups under control, though too heavy handed in some cases (Waco, Ruby Ridge)

I would think it's not unresonable to give extra attention to visitors from troubled anti-American places, though I've now heard the terrorists are planning on using Chechyen Muslims because they are white.

I'm currently at a loss- I agree with the Major and I agree with Fox & Jenni.

 
At 6:39 PM, Blogger MajorDad said...

Well, I'm glad to see that there are plenty of opinions on this one...

One of the problems I have is in our quest to be gracious hosts for those people that want to visit our country, live in our country, and work in our country...but remain citizens of wherever it is they came from, we are putting the REAL Muricans (that's the way they say it here in Texas) through more hassles than we generally should be put through. I don't seem to recall being bothered like this in the late 80s/early 90s traveling through Europe on the rail system. No checks at all if I recall (NOTE: At that time...flying was an entirely different thing. Thought a German Polizei was going to ask me to the prom after going through the security checkpoint leaving Munich)

1. Domestic terror groups have so many people watching them in and outside the government, I really don't see them as a threat. Okay, Oklahoma City was our wakeup call for domestic terrorism and 9/11 was the one for international terrorism. Sad to say we had to lose that number of people for the government to wake up...but it's history. Let's learn from it.

2. Cowtowing (I think that's a real word...guess I don't use it enough to know for sure) to the ethnic/racial groups that have the track record for conducting international terrorism is ludicrous. MajorMom spent half the day just to find her social security card so that she can get her driver's license renewed on Monday. Riddle me this Batman, how come she has to go through all sorts of gyrations in order to get her driver's license renewed...and someone that hops over the border can seem to find people actually helping him get his driver's license without at social security card? Hello....McFly.....

3. Again, I'll have to address the concern about the slippery slope. Inconveniencing people that fit a certain profile is a bad thing...but we're not talking about rounding folks up and putting them into internment camps....prisons....marching them into showers...executing them...then carrying them into ovens.

I am just advocating rather than inconveniencing people allegedly at random...why don't we concentrate all our efforts on folks that fit an agreed upon profile. If you raise some flags based on your race, gender, age, spending patterns, passport entries, watch listing, falsified credentials or whatever...we just want to spend a little more time talking with you, searching your baggage, and maybe passing your description and seat assignment to the sky marshall on your flight. Bet we wind up catching a sh*t load of 'em.

I believe that I've earned the right to travel freely in my country without the Mickey Mouse systems I go through each time I hit an airport. I'll have to let you know what happens next time I try to go through security. Maybe we'll find out if Big Brother's watching the blogosphere.

See y'all on the high ground....

MajorDad1984

 
At 6:42 PM, Blogger MajorDad said...

Guess I should have done this first....

From Dictionary.com:

kowtow: intr.v. kow·towed, kow·tow·ing, kow·tows

1. To kneel and touch the forehead to the ground in expression of deep respect, worship, or submission, as formerly done in China.
2. To show servile deference. See Synonyms at fawn1.


n.

1. The act of kneeling and touching the forehead to the ground.
2. An obsequious act.

 
At 5:56 AM, Blogger the urban fox said...

"Real" Americans? The ones who were there before the white people arrived, or the ones who are there because of immigration?

 
At 7:58 PM, Blogger MajorDad said...

No, guess I'm talking about the palefaces....and the natives that assimlated successfully into our society...

 

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