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November 19, 2010

Krauthammer Doesn't Want His Junk Touched Either

Even RINOs, now.

That riff is a crowd-pleaser because everyone knows that the entire apparatus of the security line is a national homage to political correctness. Nowhere do more people meekly acquiesce to more useless inconvenience and needless indignity for less purpose. Wizened seniors strain to untie their shoes; beltless salesmen struggle comically to hold up their pants; 3-year-olds scream while being searched insanely for explosives - when everyone, everyone, knows that none of these people is a threat to anyone.

The ultimate idiocy is the full-body screening of the pilot. The pilot doesn't need a bomb or box cutter to bring down a plane. All he has to do is drive it into the water, like the EgyptAir pilot who crashed his plane off Nantucket while intoning "I rely on God," killing all on board.

But we must not bring that up. We pretend that we go through this nonsense as a small price paid to ensure the safety of air travel. Rubbish. This has nothing to do with safety - 95 percent of these inspections, searches, shoe removals and pat-downs are ridiculously unnecessary. The only reason we continue to do this is that people are too cowed to even question the absurd taboo against profiling - when the profile of the airline attacker is narrow, concrete, uniquely definable and universally known. So instead of seeking out terrorists, we seek out tubes of gel in stroller pouches.

The junk man's revolt marks the point at which a docile public declares that it will tolerate only so much idiocy. Metal detector? Back-of-the-hand pat? Okay. We will swallow hard and pretend airline attackers are randomly distributed in the population.

If you were in yesterday's comment thread, you may have noticed me coming closer and closer to the "Don't Touch My Junk" position. At some point I said so.

I was moved to that position by a few arguments:

1. First, I really thought this was a lot of internet-noise claptrap, since most of the links I'd seen had gone to Prison Planet, and the pat-downs being discussed were like the ones I'd had previously. I now have read enough to know that's not true.

2. It's different for girls-- there is a level of modesty there that really can't be breached absent seriously strong reason. It's like Elaine Benes said-- a woman's body is a work of art, while a man's is like a Jeep. It's just for gettin' around. But whether it's different for girls or not, there are sensitivities that must be respected, no matter what the situation. People are people -- either they will accept a security regime, or they won't. There is no point positing that they are other than they are and will suddenly just decide to accept naked body scans and the touching of genitals. There is a certain governmental arrogance in just assuming people will bend to the new rules. Apparently when drafting these new protocols they didn't actually bother to focus-group people to see if people were actually willing to accept them. They just figured they'd announce "This is the new policy" and that would be that.

People don't work that way in democracies, and especially in America.

3. As one commenter said (sorry, forget who) -- this is the wrong time to take the position that they won't change anything, because this is precisely the sort of, ahem, Teachable Moment when large numbers of the public are exposed to the direct consequences of PC silliness, that actual change can be had. No one thinks too had about being blown up in the sky -- it's too big a thing to contemplate; that risk is so abstract and unimaginable it doesn't register. But being invasively felt up does.

Perhaps we'll never have real, Israeli-style security -- but now is the best time to push for it, instead of meekly conceding the field, as I was doing.

4. It seems to me that this option was chosen because it was cheapest (and also the most politically correct; but cheapest too) and more expensive regimes, like having lots of chem-sniffing dogs at checkpoints and hiring lots of retired cops to do profiling/interviewing of travelers, were rejected (or actually not even considered) due to questions of cost. This being just a matter of money, then, it sure seems like people are telling them they won't accept nominally-cheap airfare at these very high costs. If it costs an extra $60-$100 per ticket to have real security, so be it.



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posted by Ace at 01:43 PM

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