Nov 232010
 
 November 23, 2010  Surveillance

Over on Business Insider, Henry Blodget tumbles headfirst  into the trap of “balancing” security and privacy based on the desperate hope that the new procedures might actually improve genuine security instead of just the appearance of security. In his commentary, “Sorry, Folks, We’d Rather Be Body-Scanned Than Blown Up In Mid-Air, ” he writes:

… If these new machines prevent one plane from being blown up or hijacked over the next decade, they’ll have been worth it. And the same goes for the pat downs. (It’s your choice, folks–pick your poison.)

And by the way, loud vocal minority, two-thirds of Americans support body-scanning. So maybe it’s time to pipe down a bit.

The choice is not between being body-scanned and being blown up mid-air, Henry. The choice is between running a risk of being blown up mid-air or running the same risk but suffering the indignity of current screening techniques on your way to being blown up mid-air.

No matter how shrill your voice, Henry,  the government doesn’t get to just abolish my rights and it certainly doesn’t get to do it  without actual proof that it’s necessary and effective. While terrorist intentions do necessitate security, these techniques are neither necessary nor have they been proven effective.  The new TSA protocols give new meaning to the phrase, “A wing and a prayer.”

Thinking back, a lot of World War II veterans were given lobotomies to address psychological and behavioral problems following their war experiences. I’m sure those lobotomies were considered necessary and effective at the time. They weren’t, of course, and often did terrible harm. Ever see a living zombie with a huge indentation in their head from a lobotomy, Henry? I have.

While you might argue that invasive scans and aggressive patdowns are not permanently harmful like lobotomies of the 50’s, I would suggest you cordially get your head out of your to-be-scanned buttocks and go read some research on the impact of degrading techniques on those subject to the techniques and those delivering them.

So count me among the vocal minority, Henry. And when the two-thirds who currently think the procedures are okay learn more and turn against the procedures, then what will you argue? Of course, if you don’t like our constitutional protections and feel that the airlines cannot  protect your security sufficiently without these techniques, you are free to not fly.

The risk is there.  It’s all over.  Attempting to justify security theater does not make any of us safer and only weakens our country while spending valuable resources on theatrics.

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