Hart: Government keeps fear alive to grow its agencies
“Since 9/11, foreign-inspired terrorism has claimed about two dozen lives in the United States. (Meanwhile, more than 100,000 have been killed in gun homicides and more than 400,000 in motor-vehicle accidents.)” — CNN
Government agencies exist to perpetuate themselves. If you think government can stay unbiased in its decisions, then you are lawful prey.
Our government police state is working frantically to keep fear alive in the minds of citizens. The TSA continues to grow, even without any increasing threats to our safety.
Bin Laden lives every day through the monster he created. He is smiling at our loss of freedoms, the indignities we have suffered, and the costs we have borne since 9/11. We continue to overestimate al-Qaida’s ability to sucker punch us once again on American soil.
Twelve years after Sept. 11, airline passengers are still instructed not to bring three things with them to the airport: more than three ounces of fluids, more than one carry-on bag, and even a shred of dignity. It is sad when the TSA makes families traveling for the summer feel awkward and uncomfortable, thus replacing the traditional role of the actual family reunion they are attending.
Allegations of misconduct by workers at this unionized behemoth, which range from stealing and bribery to substance abuse on duty, have increased by 26 percent. Four L.A. airport TSA officers were caught on camera snorting cocaine, marking the first time lines have gone that fast at LAX.
When put on suspension, TSA agents squeeze cantaloupes to stay current. Soon they will be allowed to ask passengers their names, destinations, turn-offs and turn-ons.
It is an agency accountable to no one.
If it is not about money, why did the TSA recently introduce a program to let "trusted travelers" undergo reduced security screening for an $85 fee (or, as al-Qaida would call it, “a good investment”)?
The TSA, which had that brilliantly understandable color scheme of terror threat levels (orange, mauve, and tangerine), also said we could bring knives “no longer than 6 centimeters” onto planes. First, what knife-toting American knows how long 6 centimeters is? And second, they confiscate 2,000 of these knives a day, and they have all they need now. So this was not about us; again it was about them. Maybe they thought whittling would calm the nerves of folks stuck in their long lines.
If authorities really want to assist the flying public, they should Taser seat-kickers. Flying is hard enough. I don't like being around kids on airplanes. With all the whining, drooling, fidgeting and childishness, I worry that I am setting a bad example for them.
Why are we so afraid to challenge the TSA? The high-handed, Obama/Pelosi/Reid/Bush “It's for your own good” attitude of the TSA somehow discourages inquiry into what the heck it is really doing. Ditto for the NSA. Such is the nature of a government bureaucracy or a corrupt church. Rule No. 1: Always advance your moral justification and superiority and let no one question what you do. Rule No. 2: Whenever what you do is questioned, refer your critics to Rule No. 1.
The TSA handled more packages this summer than FedEx and Anthony Weiner combined. Now it wants to unionize further, like the SEIU (Service Employees International Union). I suggest that TSA agents form a new union called the Service Hierarchy International Fraternity of Transportation Legion Employees Security Service, or SHIFTLESS, to replace its long-held nickname of “Thousands Standing Around.”
Now TSA agents want to expand their groping empire by plying their gentle craft at sporting events. Maybe San Diego Mayor Bob Filner could run that effort for them.
Government, which grows not out of necessity but by insisting upon itself, needs to be slowed down. Since our government won't rein itself in, we voters must. We need to revisit the balance among freedom, cost and security and not continue to double down on bad policies.
If there is a simpler, less intrusive and more efficient way to do something, we should try it. Our country was founded by a bunch of folks who thought there was a better way, based on freedom, to do things.
Ron Hart is a syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator. Email Ron@RonaldHart.com or visit www.RonaldHart.com.