Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Opus 2, Liberty, Law and TSA

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I was able to travel across country to be with family.  This gave me a chance to experience first hand the screening techniques used by our government to keep us safe.  They were there and they were there to help.

Let me first of all give the details that were the same on both flights:
    Same airline
    Large international airports:  LAX, BWI
    Two hours early:
        Luggage already checked
        Few people in line
    Wearing exact same clothes
    TSA employees were polite and professional

Flying from LAX was easy.  There were several lanes open for the final check of carry-on luggage and our persons.  All of the new, controversial machines were blocked with yellow tape like they use at a crime scene.  All passengers were going through the old fashioned scanners. 

Flying from BWI was a different world.  Only one line was open but there was no back-up.  Everyone was being directed toward the new, controversial machines.  I watched people being posed with their arms out wide.  Off to the left was one of the old machines with a TSA agent standing beside it.  It was being ignored.  When I stepped up to the gap in the barrier, I pointed left and took at step in that direction.  I was immediately approached by the agent on the new machine.  He asked me if I was aware I would receive a pat-down search by going that way.  I mentioned the lack of warrants, probable cause and due process.  I told him he had to do what he had to do and I had to do what I had to do.  I also expressed concerns about the radiation since I fly several times a year.  He ignored my reference to my Constitutional rights and assured me there was no danger from the machine.  I expressed a desire to not go through the new machine.  He called over to the work center for the agents.  Everyone seemed surprised that someone would believe the sign that said the radiation treatment was optional.

It took them several minutes of calling back and forth before someone came forth to do the deed.  He verified that I truly wanted to go through this.  Everyone seemed shocked at my decision.  He told me what it would involve, took me to the pad with the foot prints and began the process.  I had been a random choice for a pat-down several years ago at KCI.  What he did was a little more detailed, but nothing offensive.  It was not offensive if I had been a criminal or there had been any probable cause.  As a free citizen traveling within my own country I found it offensive.  I would occasionally mention that there was no warrant, no due process and no probable cause.  I did so in a mild manner that was not designed to raise antagonism.  Again I say that everyone I dealt with was courteous and professional.  All touching was done with the back of the hand and no genitals were searched. 

Then it got more interesting.  The agent took off his gloves and put them in a machine.  The machine beeped.  I was asked to sit inside a roped-off area while more agents were called and everyone looked worried except me.  At that point I pointed out that they now had probable cause.  Something was going on but I was innocent.  Evidently the machine had detected some offensive material on the glove.  All I could figure out was that I walked through the outer sales room of a firing range the day before.  I handled no ammunition and shot no guns.  All my clothes were freshly laundered and I had taken a good, hot American style shower.  But the machine had spoken. They went through all my carry on belongings and took me into a private room.  I was thinking, this is it:  Cavity search.  Actually all they did was the same search they had done outside, but this time they took a picture of my boarding pass and ID.  I was then told I could go.  I asked if that meant I was a citizen again.  They laughed.

If I had the least amount of guilt over anything I would have felt intimidated.  As it was all they did was delay me about 20 minutes.  Oh, and trample my rights as an American citizen.  Oh, and I may show up on a no fly list soon because of my ID.  No big deal, right?

Again, let me say, they were polite and professional.  There was no groping or excessive touching.  But that isn’t the issue.  The issue is the growing intrusion of the government into our daily lives.  Life has risk.  The government can’t make it safe for me.  They can take away my liberty.  That is my concern.  I am not hysterical or ranting.  This is a quiet concern.

One of the ways that we compromise our liberty is by giving in to the pressure of time.  When I fly I arrive at the airport in plenty of time to go through the process.  What if you were on a schedule that did not give you that luxury.  Do you stand by your principles or miss your flight?  Even giving people that excuse, how come they were surprised when I insisted on avoiding their machine?  I watched the gate for over 20 minutes.  There was a steady flow of people through the machine.  I was the only one who opted out.  Are we in that big a hurry?  Are we that afraid of our government?  It is scary.

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Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.