Pages of interest

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Terrorists say "Jump", do we ask "How high?"

By: George   

When the tragic earthquake in Haiti hit a while ago, it has managed to shift the spotlight of the media from the ridiculous to the tragic.  I am referring to the fact that at least momentarily, the media was no longer focusing on the "underwear bomber", but was instead highlighting the heroism of people from the civilized world in the Haitian rescue effort.

Since I was preparing to comment on the TSA security response to that latest "terror" attempt before the earthquake hit, I will revisit that topic now. After all, someone has to stand up and shout, "Open your eyes, America!"

When 9-11 dropped onto our laps, all of us were inspired by the response of our leadership to do something meaningful about it. Patriotism was rampant and we were determined to punish those responsible for the attack. Our efforts paid off in driving the perpetrators into hiding. They knew that if they showed themselves, let's face it, we would kill them.

Then somewhere along the way, the climate changed. We forgot our determination to seek and destroy, and replaced it with a self-flagellating Political Correctness. We suddenly forgot who our enemy was, and eschewed a spineless conciliatory tone towards our self-proclaimed undertakers. And in doing so, we have brought the greatest injustice to our own citizenry. With our repeated reaction to terrorist activities, we have taken Lady Liberty, and ripped asunder her garments of freedom.

It is not as if we don't know who our tormentors are, but the Liberal establishment (yes, I did use the "L" word) is more concerned that the World see us unbiased toward the people who invented the "suicide bomber", unbiased toward the only religion on this planet whose stated endgame is world domination by any means at any cost.  Our current administration would rather put our own citizens through daily harassment at airports and other ports of entry, with the traveling public suffering the ignominy of the TSA's random security checks.  And now with the latest "almost successful" terrorist escapade in the rear-view mirror,  the knee-jerk reaction seems to be to further burden the innocent traveler with more costly checks and regulations, while doing nothing to deter the terrorists.

Yes, I did say that it will not deter the terrorists!  That is because what we are doing is "reacting".  Reacting to what has already occurred, and will likely not happen in the same form again.  In the Stock-market, if you conduct your trading by reacting to what happened to stocks in the past, you would quickly lose your money.  In the drama of real life, the stakes are infinitely higher, since you are jeopardizing lives as well as money by simply reacting to what has already happened.  Getting those new scanners that can undress you electronically, will only provide entertainment for voyeurs, and perhaps for the TSA agents.  It will not make us any safer.  Oh yes, it will also have those terrorist "masterminds" rolling on the floor of their caves in stitches.  They will modify their next attempt, and when that happens, we will "react" again and the terrorist will laugh again, knowing that they are achieving their goals.  Their goals of stunting our Liberty, their goals of knee-capping our determination to live as free people, and their goals of forcing us to live in constant fear, will all have been realized.

So you will ask me, "What can we do?"

We all know what we have to do.  The question is whether the Administration wants to protect the American public, or do they want to bask in the glow of the Love of foreigners?  Is the administration serious about our safety, or would they rather play the Political Correctness game?  Are we, as Peace and Liberty loving Americans totally fed up with the weak-kneed, terrorist appeasing response from our Government, and are we determined enough to demand changes from our elected officials?  If the answer is "Yes", here is what has to be done.

Drop the random "Granny" checks at the airports, and start doing some serious Profiling.  

Having just returned from overseas, I have personally witnessed the methodology in other countries, and they were doing some intelligent - dare I say - PROFILING.  While my wife and I were standing in line to enter the secure area of the Brussels airport, I watched as the people in front of us were scrutinized and questioned for about a minute before given entry.  Fully expecting the same rigorous grilling, I stepped up to the inquisitor and handed him the passports and other papers.  He barely flicked open the passports, handed everything back to me, smiled and said "have a nice trip".  I would like to believe that it was my magnetic personality and infectious smile that disarmed my interrogator, but having watched him in action, he was a skilled professional who could read people's body language and facial expressions with ease.  Let's face it - I exude the lack of threat.

At another airport in the Middle East, there was the additional chit-chat that I was told was for the purpose of hearing the voice and speech mannerism of the traveler. (I am happy to report that I passed this test too).  And while we had to pass through the metal detector while our hand luggage was being X-rayed, we could walk through the detector with our shoes on and our pants supported by our belts.

So why is it that back home we are so afraid to do what needs to be done, and we settle for some robotic agents trained to confiscate liquids and nail clippers (though my wife's knitting needles made it through), who make us undress halfway (for now), and who pull my 82 year old mother out for a pat-down?  Why do we allow the ACLU and other special interest group lobbys (legal or otherwise) dictate how we may protect ourselves?  Why do we let politicians constantly react to even inept terrorist attempts by forcing ever escalating and more demeaning burdens on the traveling public?

I say that it is high time to do some serious profiling and let people know that we are doing it.  If you think that the public will resent it, I suggest that we put the question on the ballot for Election Day, and let the American Public have the final say.  I for one have nothing to hide and am not intimidated by the additional scrutiny.  I also believe that most Americans would vote to  initiate profiling so we can feel safer in our land, and thereby preserve our individual freedoms that we have always cherished, and which are lately perilously hanging by a thread.

Get the profiling going, and for once, make the "bad guys" feel uncomfortable.

What do YOU think?  Any TSA stories that you can tell us about?


  1. Great Article, George! I look forward to more!

  2. On the way to Seattle, my kids got patted down. Seriously.

  3. Absolutely. Profiling, maybe bomb sniffers, metal detectors. The current scanners are designed primarily to humiliate us. "A country which can prefer disgrace to danger is ready for a master and deserves one" - Alexander Hamilton. I can't believe how many folks are willing to accept this violation of their rights. And for nothing. The chances of being killed by a terrorist in the United States is about the same as choking to death on a ham sandwich. And the scanners don't even reduce risk, they increase it because of the radiation. How many people have died defending our freedom and we just hand it over, just because our government says we need to. Unbelievable.

  4. trea·son
    Violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one's country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.
    A betrayal of trust or confidence.
    Sounds like Obama, don't it?

  5. On the way out of Salt Lake City to Virginia, I was put through the X-ray machine and then taken to a room and made to drop my pants so they could wand my knee brace - totally humiliating and unnecessary. I am a 60 yr old Caucasian woman. They took three women off the line to wand the granny. I DO NOT feel safer with TSA in charge of security!!

  6. One of my first thoughts is...why wait so long to type this up? Honestly? In the wake of 9/11...and the cock-up of an investigation into that tragedy that has left the American people deeply shaken...and the development of the USDHS (I'll come back to that in a moment) ...

    ...see, what I saw following 9/11 wasn't "patriotism". What I saw was a superficial waving of flags and a *show* of what people think patriotism is about. But because it was superficial, it was also soon forgotten. The other thing that was soon forgotten, because Americans were rightly justified in anger at being attacked in such a way that all that was being sought was revenge - rather than looking at the root of the problem. Unfortunately, in business as in politics, such has been the case in the US of A for a very longtime...putting on series after series of bandaids - treating the symptoms rather than the source, which means the underlying infection is still there. We can talk about political correctness, and the frustrations with that - though I understand SOME of the need to adjust *certain* phrasing - but the guardians of political correctness (like most hardcore political activist take themselves too seriously and push the matter a tad too far). Meaning, I don't like denigrating terminology - racially disparaging names, sexist language, etc... but I also don't confuse someone who unknowingly misuses words automatically as either a racist or a sexist, if that makes sense.

    ...coming back to the other thought on the USDHS, which was enacted during the *previous* administration - that made my blood boil. Yes, we need to hold Obama accountable - FOR NOT UNDOING IT - but we can't ignore blithely that it was the previous administration that implemented it in the first place - a complete abridgement of our 4th Amendment rights. And don't give me "if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear" - because that is the argument I heard from the conservative end when I started gritching about the Patriot Act and the USDHS back in 2001 & 2002..."Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny." ~Thomas Jefferson -- bottom line, what Dubya's administration did was create an environment where innocent citizens had EVERYTHING to fear from their government. (Let me ask this - what do you know about Infragard & their Martial Law clause since 9/11?)

  7. (part 2)

    I frame the comments & questions this way, because you seem to be blaming Obama for something that was enacted well before he came into the presidency. I do NOT agree with profiling - never have. To bring that thought right to a very personal level, I'll offer up why I mentioned SB1070 in your other post, and why I have SUCH heartburn about it. This is kind of a hard story for me to share, because it hits so hard... dad is 1st gen American of Mexican parents. Yeah, he is dark. He could pass as Middle Eastern, come to it (and easily did when we lived in Saudi Arabia - until he opened his mouth lol). My dad, like me, doesn't do the hyphenated-American thing -- he's American, period. So am I. Difference is...I am *white*. With the passage of SB1070 in my home state, he's automatically up for suspicion and harassment. Not that he hasn't already endured it from Border Patrol for the last couple of decades already, especially given my hometown's proximity to the border...and he's endured some flagrantly disgusting harassment. Thing is, my dad responds a helluva lot more gracefully than I ever would - something about age, wisdom, experience. Me? I see injustice - my dad is a military retiree of 21 years, decorated war veteran, fine and honorable man, and a VERY proud American. He is not a loud, flag-waving, anthem-singing patriot. He is a quiet and reserved patriot, and he lives his life by example. He makes me proud to be his daughter (even when he drives me bananas). He is also a history major -graduated in 1957 while still in the military. When SB1070 passed, I told him WHY the law was crap. There is an EASY way to identify legals versus illegals in Arizona. Have the legals put a band around their arm - easy identifiers. Yes, I have read your bio, so I know that my comment will probably sit uneasily...but THAT is what profiling does. Period. My dad, in an airport, is also watched because he "resembles" what many of us would recognize as "Middle Eastern" -just because of his coloring. *heavy sigh* Bringing it even closer -- my dad has to drive through border check-points regularly between my hometown and Tucson...probably 4-5 times per week. He is stopped EVERY time. Asked for ID to validate citizenship. EVERY time, without fail. Why? Because he's BROWN. I went home last June for my high school reunion - and cos Dad's getting up there in years. Check this out. I'm *white* husband and kids are *white* husband is a legal resident in this country via Green Card - but is not a citizen. Every time we passed through those checkpoints, I was asked citizenship (I was driving each time). I said American. We were not asked for ID...simply waved through. Are all terrorists BROWN? Are all Mexicans BROWN? The answer to both questions is *NO*.

  8. (part 3 - yeah, I'm "Prosey" for a valid reason)

    The bad guys are not going to feel uncomfortable simply because of profiling. Think about how teenagers behave (and correlate the mentalities). If a teenager gets busted for bad behavior- presuming the kid is a good kid, a lesson is learned and the behavior stops. If the kid is a rotten apple, the only thing that kid is thinking is of better ways to not get caught. We are a nation of intelligent people - though we're heading down a road toward serious idiocracy. We need to get people on all sides of the debate talking and looking for ways to think *ahead* of those who would bring us harm. That means people who are able to think *like* them, rather than imposing restrictions on the entirety of the innocent population - which includes people of Middle Eastern descent, Hispanic descent, Asian descent, Caucasian descent, African descent - and ALL Americans.

    Where we are agreed is that TSA is a load of HOOEY - and is doing NOTHING to secure our liberties. Not a bloody thing. Glorified security guards with guns and power-trips. A friend of mine (white female) who had surgical pins & plates in her went through security, set off alarms, and almost got shot by a TSA agent who got nervous because the metal detecter was going nuts. This is security?!?! I don't mind having my luggage screened. I don't mind having my carry-on screened. I don't even mind the (extremely stupid) 3oz liquid limitation for the carry-on, come to it. I mind that the nature of the process is designed to intimidate - but it affects the wrong people. People with terroristic intentions are better prepared than that. Profiling isn't the answer. Bigger brains than mine have to get together and find solutions - perhaps by looking at other countries' succesful systems of security as examples and implementing the best of those systems ~ incorporating them into our own practices? I don't know what the answers are, George...but USDHS and TSA and profiling...those things bring us closer to police state-style fascism than anything that provides security.

    Though I wonder...what does any of this have to do with Haiti? I think that's the only part of this entry that has me a touch confused.... *grin*

  9. Prosey,

    Sorry about the bad experiences you have had with "profiling", but after I had written these articles, I realized that the word "profiling" has connotations currently that automatically get people's defenses up.

    So a while ago I have come up with a different terminology that I feel reflects somewhat closer what I was suggesting. I called it Psychological Motivational Screening, or the acronym of PMS. In short, do what the Israeli security people do. They have their people trained in psychological "profiling". The airport in Israel serves people from all countries. They observe the people while in the lines and note the body language, eye shiftings, hand movements etc... Then when the people get to the security screener, they are asked some seemingly innocent questions. The answers and the tone and inflection of voice is what they listen to. Then if they have someone who raises any PMS :-) flags, they get pulled out for additional screening.

    If you ever watched a show on Fox TV called "Lie to Me", the will give you an idea of their methodology. So no more Profiling, from now on it's PMS.

    I didn't write about this after 9/11 because I only started this blog last September.

    As for the Haiti question, just read the first paragraph again. It was a timeline and segue.

  10. "Lie to Me" is brilliant (I am so awful with celebrity names, but the lead actor is one I've long enjoyed and is so underrated!) ~ I like that idea better than profiling, yes...because the truth of the matter is that, while justice is supposed to be "blind", the eyes of the law are still human eyes. :)

    I was joking, George ~ trying to add a bit of levity after writing such serious content. :) I actually thoroughly enjoyed your post, and even while I kinda "went off", there was much within your content I appreciate and agree with *nod* ~ I have a special place in my cold, ice queen heart for the people of I figured that was as good a place as any to weakly attempt some funny.

  11. I like the helpful info you provide in your articles.

    I'll bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly. I am quite certain I will learn plenty of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!
    My web page The Jump Manual


Enter your Comment here...