23
Nov
10

Security is about tradeoffs. Also sexual assault, according to the Left.

I have the key to keeping America safe.  Not just from terrorists, mind you, but from criminals and illegal immigrants and orbital mind-control lasers and global warming.  This is some seriously powerful mojo I’m about to blog about.

It’s also simple.  Here’s what you do: you chain everyone to hospital beds and keep them doped up on Thorazine for the rest of their lives.  Bingo!  No more deaths from traffic accidents (no more drivers), no more deaths from airliner hijackings (no more passengers and no more people working in skyscrapers), no more deaths from criminal assault (all the potential assaulters are, de dicto, chained to hospital beds and doped up on Thorazine).  Paradise!

Oh.  Yeah.  I suppose there’s no-one actually raising crops or assembling cars or building hospital beds or producing Thorazine, either.  But what a small price to pay for eliminating crime and accidental death!  Right?

So why don’t we live in Thorazine Paradise?  It’s facepalmingly fucking obvious that we’re willing to trade off at least a little freedom for at least a little risk.  Which is why I find it impossible to take people like Kevin Drum at face value when they spout off bullshit like this:

I am so going to regret writing this post.

That, sir, was not an auspicious beginning.

I hate the TSA screening process. Everyone hates the TSA screening process. You’d be crazy not to. It’s intrusive, annoying, and time-wasting. It treats us all like common criminals even though most of us are just ordinary schlubs trying to get on a plane and go somewhere.

But guess what? The fact that you personally are annoyed — you! an educated white-collar professional! — doesn’t mean that the process is idiotic.

I’ve seen this pattern before from leftists who’re looking to get annoyed about rightists getting annoyed by the TSA.  It goes something like this: “Thuh Gummint (under Bush 43) has been infringing upon our 4th Amendment rights for the past eight years, and you didn’t care!  Now it’s affecting you, and you do care!  Therefore the 4th Amendment is a lie! Nose, get offa my face!”

Note in particular that Drum’s calling out “educated white-collar professional”s (hereafter EWCPs) and implying really hard that they’re the only ones affected by TSA handjobs.  I suppose that includes me.  Well, yeah, I don’t like the idea of either being pornographed by a skin-cancer machine or felt up by some second-rate rent-a-cop in Hands Of Blue.  And while we’re on the subject of Me, I don’t particularly like the fact that Kevin Drum, Professional Blogger and Educated White-Collar Professional himself, is trivializing my privacy rights.

But that’s far from the entire point.  Kevin Drum may imagine that only EWCPs are (a) offended by the TSA’s junk-fondling and (b) objecting to said junk-fondling, but some of us outside of the giant internet cluster-wank actually give a shit about people besides our good-goddamn-selves.  Drum conveniently forgets that children exist, for example; he also neglects to consider people with disabilities, rape survivors, cancer patients, and transgendered people.  But I guess these are all sacrifices we — or at least people who’re much more vulnerable to institutional abuse than EWCPs — have to make for the common good!

And that “common good” is pretty fucking good: isn’t it, Kevin?

All the crap that TSA goes through actually seems pretty clearly directed at improving the security of air travel.

Well, that’s comforting.  So is the Thorazine drip and the leather restraints.  And while we’re on the subject, here’s what Kevin Drum thinks is asinine about the TSA’s present procedures:

Some of the stuff they do, like the penknife and nail clipper bans, really is stupid.

Never mind that the 9-11-2001 thugs managed to hijack three airliners with what were essentially penknives.

He’s right, though: the penknife ban really is stupid.  What’s changed since September 11th is that passengers will now fight back.  Every single terrorist-in-the-cabin event since then has been thwarted by active passenger interdiction.  Disarming passengers merely makes the people who’re best placed and best motivated to murderize detain attackers before they can take over an airliner less effective.  That’s just fucking brilliant.  No, no it isn’t; I was being sarcastic.

But later on in the article we discover why Kevin Drum really supports the TSA in everything they’ve ever done since, oh, January 21st 2009:

And now for a political note: this is GOP catnip.

I must admit that I’m pretty much soaking in schadenfreude since Obama’s inauguration, when every Republican neoconservative nationalist security hawk did a double-take and shat their collective britches.  Oh, but now they’re Very Concerned about civil liberties and government overreach!  Welcome to the party, pals!

But let’s get back to talking about tradeoffs for security, because fuck knows Drum’s getting back to that to justify his Donkey-party scrotum-sucking:

But what about our civil liberties? Maybe you think that even if TSA’s procedures are slightly useful, they aren’t useful enough to justify all the intrusion. Instead, we should just accept the risk of an occasional plane falling out of the sky. Think again: if a plane comes down, you can just kiss your civil liberties goodbye.

All the more reason to go for leather cuffs and Thorazine, amirite?

Seriously — and this applies to the spittle-flecked National Security conservatives, too — if airports require unConstitutionally high security measures because the Enemy is just That Evil, why stop there?  We’d be fools to imagine that al-Quaeda is dumb enough to attack the targets we fortify most heavily.  Fort Hood and Fort Dix showed that attacks from within against non-airport targets are more than simply plausible; it’s not as though teh ebil Muzlims (oh, sorry there, Kevin Drum; I didn’t mean to imply that you were getting racist with your security alarmism!) are only capable of entering our continent through aluminum wings that slip the surly bonds of Earth.

Why not fortify ballparks?  What could be more American than an afternoon at a Yankees’ game — don’t answer that — and what could be a more inviting target than a stadium full of half-drunk suburbanites sedated by hot dogs and in-the-shell peanuts?  Let’s start scanning and groping people at the turnstiles.  For security’s sake, of course. What about hospitals?  An assault against the sick and vulnerable would surely be a PR victory for movie-plot villains like AQ, right?  Well, let’s start backscatter-scanning everyone who dares to enter an emergency department; okay, so some melanoma patients will die a bit early, but that’s a small price to pay for National Security! What about public transit?  Shall we have blue-gloved agents at every bus stop?  Nonsense!  Oh, wait….

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