Happy Opt-Out Thanksgiving
Our family tree research goes back to Valentin and Catherine Russwurm and slams into a wall. Because when these paternal ancestors emigrated to Canada, around 1840, they were completely cut off from the world they left behind. At the time, although crossing an ocean was do-able, it was a biggie. I imagine there was correspondence, for a time, but none survives as far as we know. Letters took a very long time back then. But those were the choices people had. Back then, if you decided move far away from your family, for work, or a better life for your own children, you very likely will never see them again.
Contrast that with today. The methods of transportation have become better and faster and cheaper. Travel is easy. Communication can be instantaneous.
So making the decision to go to school or take a job thousands of miles away or on the far side of an ocean have been made with the understanding that you will be able to go home, you don’t have to say good bye to your family forever.
The problem is, the TSA scanning issue clearly shows just how drastically “they” have changed the rules.
People who do not comply with invasive searches can be faced with being cut off from their families forever as a direct result. Legally.
Because the government assumes everyone is a terrorist.
I’ve just written about Human Rights and the TSA in my Oh! Canada blog. Although I should be writing my NaNoWriMo novel, I’ve been following the issue on boingboing, and of course, being me, making comments. (Who’d have thought that a website devoted to neat stuff and adult toys would end up being one of the 21st Centuries most vocal advocates for democracy?)
There has been a call for people who are flying to be with family for Thanksgiving tomorrow to opt out of the BS Scanner process in protest. We’ll have to see what happens but there are a couple of comments I read on boingboing that bear repeating, so I wanted to include them here. And because boingboing (unlike, say, CBC) publishes under a Creative Commons License I can happily and legally reprint the words of others.
Lots of people have ideas about disruptions, as part of the opt out, but it seems to me that this is
the best advice on Opt-Out
It is clear that the TSA are changing the rules at the last minute so that the traveling public are uncertain (FUD factor). Additionally, the ‘blame’ for delays will be passed on to anyone who, for whatever reason, refuses the porn scanner and, should they also object to having their personal areas groped, to be labeled as potential terrorists. The onus being placed on you complying and not spoiling other people’s travel plans by them having to close a security area should you attempt to go through again.
There is a simple solution.
1. Refuse the x-ray as there is uncertainty regarding their safety – a simple check on the interwebs will show this differing opinion.
2. In a normal voice, but sufficient for those in proximity to you can hear, emphasis should be placed on point 1 above.
3. Opt for a pat down IN PUBLIC. Do NOT go to a private area.
4. Ask questions. This is important. If you are about to be touched by a stranger it is important that you understand the WHY and the HOW of what they are proposing.
5. Ask for the person about to pat you down to put on a new pair of gloves within your sight.
6. Ask for a copy of the rules to ensure that you are both complying properly and also that the rules are being properly enforced. How can you comply if you do not know what the rules are and are?
Above all, be polite and do not be embarrassed or made to feel at fault for ensuring the TSA are able to do their job properly and protect the traveling public. Similarly, if you are clearly complying and being nice there is no reason for the bottom inspectors to detain you. You know it make sense…”
They might not like it, but it’s not against TSA policy as long as you’re not shooting their video monitors or holding up the line. From their site:
“TSA does not prohibit the public, passengers or press from photographing, videotaping or filming at security checkpoints, as long as the screening process is not interfered with or slowed down. We do ask you to not film or take pictures of the monitors. While the TSA does not prohibit photographs at screening locations, local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances might.”
It might be handy to have this printed out in case an agent tries to demand otherwise.”
flatfive in reply to Anonymous
#232: Ask for a law enforcement officer to witness the search. They abide by different rules than the TSA (the Constitution, for example), and they often don’t much care for their assignment to hang out with the government Rent-a-Cops. And by all means, if something happens you don’t like, tell the cop you want to press charges, then and there.”
Also, probably a good idea to have a lawyer on speed dial, with whom you’ve talked to about this prior to the day of travel.
flatfive comment on “Don’t TSA me, bro: Boing Boing open thread, and new rules for those who refuse patdown”
how far is too far
I agree with most of what lectroid and a few other commenters have said concerning better ways to react to the TSA officers and the policies they are being told to carry out.
“I’m so turned on” and fake boner jokes may get attention, but they are also more likely to get you, and your valid concerns, written off.
It is always a good idea to speak with passion, listen with respect, and assertively but humanely broadcast your message. I really do appreciate the stunts some people have pulled to bring more attention to the issues (naked protests, etc.), but in the long run treating everyone–your fellow passengers, your frisker, your congressman, and your mom–with respect and consideration will help ensure that your message won’t be thrown out with all the other jerks and bad jokes. Respect and righteous anger really can coexist. I want the TSA officers and my political representatives understand and hopefully agree with me. They are less likely to do that when I’m mocking them. You don’t have to degrade or mock someone to vocally disapprove of or try to arrest their actions.
I’m having a hard time imaging the effectiveness or longevity of Gandhi’s or Thoreau’s messages of civil disobedience had they been carrying exaggerated sex toy, feigning orgasms, or dehumanizing their assailants. Even when they themselves were being dehumanized. Nonetheless, you are free to do any of these!
I want my foes to know I see them as human beings, which is exactly why I am so disappointed in their actions. Be angry, be articulate; just don’t be a huge asshole.”
“The correct definition is this: terrorism is a tactic. It is force applied with the primary goal of causing fear among a population in order to affect political change.”
This seems to accurately describe what the TSA is doing (albeit by order of a third party). American citizens are being terrorized by their own government.”
I may be old fashioned, but I think human rights and freedoms are very important.
A friend of mine who would like to remain nameless says,
There’s a concept called “seasoning” used to refer to how a pimp breaks the will and reduces the ego of a woman in the process of coercing her into prostitution. It could be considered brainwashing, or thought reform, or, in other words, the steady creation of a holographic crisis in her brain, developed with the intent that she reach a breaking point. Increasingly terrible things happen to the woman at the hands of the perpetrator of the violence. Eventually, the woman comes to think of the abusive relationship as “normal” (with normal being whatever doesn’t require identifying adjectives.)
Seasoning is also used to describe the process someone goes through in abusing a child. He practices hurting her. He gets better at it. Eventually, hurting her is normalized for him, and possibly for her.
A third application of this notion happened in pre-WWII Germany. In anticipation of violence in the streets – to which it was in the interests of the government that people were inured – pornography became more and more violent. Individual acts of violence became normal: and, indeed, people became inured. Because of a combination of this inurement and their inculcated fear, most people kept walking when someone was being beaten in the street.
Now, people stand in long lines at airports and watch while other people are publicly humiliated by being sexually fondled. They stand, passively,listening and watching while children scream in protest with their parents standing by helplessly or even holding them while they’re molested.
To me, this looks like another kind of seasoning; the beginning of the process of normalizing acts of brutality carried out by government authorities, unencumbered by interfering members of the public.
Just a little theory. I don’t think there’s a conspiracy. There doesn’t have to be.”
On the lighter side (!) I will end with a link to:
Robomonkey’s awesome music video:
Have a safe Thanksgiving.
EFF: Common Sense and Security: Body Scanners, Accountability, and $2.4 Billion Worth of Security Theater
Acknowledgment: Thanks to Xeni Jardin and boingboing for using
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