In 2011 the 85 year old Lenore Zimmerman was strip searched by the TSA all in the interest of public safety. Now almost thirteen years after 9/11 Americans have exchanged freedom from unreasonable search and seizure for a program that allows government workers to inspect your property without a warrant, to rifle through your pockets on a whim and to grope children and grannies to their hearts content. Surely such a program is worthwhile in stopping terrorists from boarding planes. So how many terrorists have all the invasive procedures stopped —- ZERO.
When I was a child and the cold war was still hot we were often told how in order to travel in Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union the person wanting to travel needed government papers before they were allowed to leave their home city. This requirement was portrayed as an oppressive limitation on freedom. Of course that would never happen here, or so we were told. Still today, in order to get on a plane, the government requires you to have your ID and to show your boarding pass. Further, the government can stop you for no reason other than whim and ask you questions strip search you or confiscate your property. This is all done without a warrant or any pretense of having probable cause for the action. It has happened here. The reason, or so we are told that this is allowed is to guarantee public safety.
What about the argument that we are safer because we tolerate this. The Boston bombers came to the US in a plane and Tamerlan Tsarnaev traveled back to the US from the Soviet Union. He freely boarded the plane leaving and freely boarded the plane returning to the US, terrorist training already provided. Did our loss of freedom protect us from the Boston Bombers? Not in the least.
If the possibility of increased public safety, (not real public safety) is enough to allow searches when we board a plane, at what point will check points be on the road. Cars are both weapons and potential carriers of explosives. Every road and every highway needs to be checked. The same excuse “that it is in the interest of public safety” is as valid in searching vehicles as it is searching luggage. In fact, there are already cases where the TSA has searched cars in the airport long term parking.
The constitution is clear, there are to be no searches, or invasions of people’s property or person without reasonable suspicion that a crime is taking place. In other words, no warrant, no search. Nevertheless, the government now captures phone data, geolocation data, interpersonal connection data (who you talk to) , emails, and texts with no warrant. According to the constitution, none of this is permitted. The people in Washington, even those that have their doubts about these programs are unwilling to give up the power and authoritarian rule that these programs represent. We are not stopping terror, only enabling the government future persecution of its own populace. The idea that “public safety” justifies any constitutional violation is ludicrous. We have almost open boarders to the south but our citizens are placed under constant supervision. Does this not smell of totalitarianism? We are living in the world that the government warned us against 40 years ago.