I travel overseas frequently. One of my favorite airports is Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport. I like it because I can sit in a cafe waiting for my plane to New York, and I can listen to the PA make announcements for flights to Nairobi, Dubai, Singapore, Moscow, Pairs, and Sao Paulo. Istanbul literally connects to the entire world. And yet, there is only one gate in the entire terminal that has "secondary screening", the one for the New York flight. The thought that somehow the threat of terrorism is greater in the United States than anywhere else in the world is laughable to anyone who pays the slightest bit of attention to world events. Yet, it is only the United States that feels the need to have extra security precautions.
I wonder how many Americans see the TSA, the Patriot Act, etc. as evidence of the greatness of America. "Our country must be the greatest in the world if it requires so much effort to protect," I imagine them thinking. "Why would so many people be against us if it were not the case?" In reality, the rest of the world sees a frightened bully, and they're not falling for it any more. They go to places like Istanbul's airport, or any of the hundreds of other airports around the world that have extra screening set up exclusively for US bound flights, and they see weakness.
What's really almost funny about all of this, is that the 4th amendment is uniquely American. It is not at all uncommon in other countries for police (or the Gendarme) to be authorized to stop pedestrians and perform a search without cause. The mere existence of the 4th amendment has, traditionally, been a sign of strength. As if to say: "We're so confident of our security and the resolve of our justice system that we will give our citizens this extra right."
By reducing 4th amendment rights, the US is not gaining security, it is showing weakness...and that can be dangerous to the long term health of a country.
(warning: oversimplification ahead, but I think it's a reasonable model to start with)
With the subtlety of the political chess match, the parties first choose polarized candidates in primaries. That's because it's generally the party hardcore who vote in primaries, not the moderates. Then in the general election, they play capture the centrist vote. When they're both at top form, the election margins are going to be razor thin.
Because the candidates were chosen in such a polarizing manner, they will largely be toxic to those on the other side of our imaginary single left-right dimension of political discourse.
(of course, this breaks down in gerrymandered districts where the political machine has ensured a safe seat)
EDIT: Now, factor in the typical model for marketing most high-profile candidates (at least this is how it seems to me). It seems that most people don't have the opportunity to vote for candidates they like anymore. Instead they're frightened by the bogeyman on the other side. "If you don't vote for the guy from our party, look at who's going to get the post instead -- and that will tilt the majority in Congress toward that other party of anti-Americans". The result, I submit, is that most people despise the guy from the other major party, but they don't like the one they did vote for, either. So it's not hard to push that disapproval rating even farther.
They do not differ much, but i used Gallup as they are known to conduct good polls.
Here is info in the specific poll:
PEOPLE HAVE TO STAND UP FOR WHAT THEY THINK IS RIGHT. Even if the effect it has seems insignificant. It doesn't matter if your an ass for doing it. It doesn't matter if some people think you were trying to cause trouble. If you don't stand up for what you personally think is right what do you stand up for?
Was she right? Were the officers wrong? That's for you to decide but it doesn't really matter. She had a conviction to do what she thought was right, and hopefully inspired others to do the same. And I can't imagine not respecting her for doing so.
If the only time you could complain about SOPA was in airport security only the brave and scared would complain about SOPA. And you can bet others would find them annoying.
> PEOPLE HAVE TO STAND UP FOR WHAT THEY THINK IS RIGHT.
> Even if the effect it has seems insignificant.
I wonder what her court costs are going to be. I wish she had donated that money to the EFF. The EFF is in a better position to fight this stuff intelligently, and at the right levels.
A better choice would be the ACLU.
I hate the TSA as much as anyone, but when you do stupid things on purpose, stupid things happen to you.
The TSA has been guilty on numerous occasions of violating a person's constitutional rights. They have endangered the lives of some passengers and outright assaulted others. I really do hope that they are taken to task for the things that they have done, but I don't believe they were wrong to call the police. When you aren't sure what to do in a situation, it is best to defer things to a higher authority. If the police decided she should be arrested, they are the ones responsible for the decision, not the TSA. Whether or not what she did constituted a crime, I don't know, but she was disrupting the process.
When I was pulling guard duty in the desert, anyone who acted in an unusual manner would have been detained. I am aware that this event took place in the United States, but the bottom line is you don't mess around with safety. Until the day that the TSA is no longer in charge of airport security, they are responsible for making sure their job gets done. How easy would it be for you to remain focused on your work while someone is standing in front of you yelling out the words to the 4th amendment?
If we don't like the TSA, we need to go through the proper channels every time they do something that violates the law. Don't let them get away with anything. I know that it is extremely difficult to get the government to change anything, but the only way to get rid of the TSA is to put people in office that will side with the American people on this issue.
But pooh-poohing those who do do it? "Proper channels"? Yeah, I'm sure they're getting right on it.
How bad would it have to be before you stopped saying "Oh quit causing a disturbance"? I mean, this is already violating our most sacrosanct freedoms. Would I have to violate godwin's law to get you to agree with civil disobedience?
Her biggest accomplishment is that she managed to make one of the scummiest organizations in the United States appear to be in the right. Way to go freedom fighter.
Good move, considering the grounds of your argument and all.
I'll repeat my question.. how bad would it have to be for you to agree with civil disobedience?
I've worked for the federal government my entire adult life. If you want to convince them to get rid of the TSA, the side asking for the change has to appear blameless.
The way bureaucrats make decisions is not logical. If you give them 999 examples of the TSA breaking the law or violating basic human rights, they will simply shrug and say "remember that one time that woman went to that airport and purposely tried to get arrested? Yea, well these other complaints are probably from people just like her."
To make it clear, I don't like the corrupt, incompetent, abusive illusion of a democracy that we have built for ourselves in the United States. Unfortunately, the scumbags at the TSA has been put in charge of our Nation's airports. Unfortunately, if you want to board an aircraft in the United States, you have to submit to being processed through the security checkpoint. Unfortunately, if we want this to change it will be a long and painful process.
This woman's efforts will have no positive impact on the effort to get the TSA disbanded or reformed. Being able to recognize this doesn't make me a freedom-hating fascist. I would appreciate it if you didn't try to imply that I am.
A woman was terrified of the relatively minor consequences of speaking loudly in an airport. She did it anyway because she knew she should be allowed to. And we all learned a valuable lesson: our government and the airline industry allow innocent civilians to be subjected to abuse and detainment if they don't silently obey all commands regardless of how stupid they are.
This woman's efforts show everyone just how inhuman and wrong the system is. She can't change the system by herself. But if more people like her show up, maybe, just maybe, it can make a difference.
Rosa Parks has been mentioned before. Her civil disobedience was not the first of its kind in the fight for civil rights. It was not even the first of its kind involving the bus laws. She is famous for having been the last such incident before the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
I believe this woman's actions in demonstration against the TSA will be one of many that plant a seed. I also mention her because part of her story sounds eerily familiar.
"Two policemen came on the bus and one asked me if the driver had told me to stand and I said, 'Yes.' And he wanted to know why I didn't stand, and I told him I didn't think I should have to stand up. And then I asked him, why did they push us around? And he said, and I quote him, 'I don't know, but the law is the law and you are under arrest.'" - http://achievement.org/autodoc/page/par0int-1
Right there, you have your finger on the rot. First, why should there be sides? Second, why is it important to appear blameless instead of appearing right?
In any conflict, there are multiple sides, otherwise the conflict wouldn't exist. If the TSA had been designed with the intent of finding ways of protecting us while at the same time ensuring that the protective measures don't violate our constitutional rights, we wouldn't be having this conversation. If the TSA had been staffed with competent, compassionate human beings, there would be no conflict.
You and I may view things in terms or right or wrong, but bureaucrats don't. The government is rotten because we keep electing rotten people to rule over us. Isolated efforts to fight the TSA will do far less than an organized political movement.
People need to organize and take action as a collective. Just look at what happened to godaddy and you can begin to understand.
If 1,000 people did what this women did, it would still have no impact. 10,000, now you're talking. But you need the brave souls to get it started.
Like I said originally, I'm not saying you need to go out and do this. I haven't, shamefully. But hating on those who do it, really?
Is this workable? People, and specially governments, can find blame in so many ways that you can't convince them of anything unless they are forced or they realise it themselves. (In my country, protestors against massive corruption are framed for minor things they did in past and both media and government repeatedly use those points to distract masses from main issues.)
It appears to me that the lady was trying to convince others of the unreasonableness of the process. That is one of ways of democracy. Do you think "jared" will have something to think about? Do you think "the old goat" will be somewhat careful next time? Will somebody in public or those reading her blog see her point? I do think so and that is a positive impact, however small it is.
You have suggested other channels. The most obvious is voting, other is organised protest. The lady is trying to tell people that it may not be good idea to subject oneself to such procedures, and in a way creating a mass for the organised protests or cohesive votings to happen.
And for her personal courage I am inspired: she knows that she is going to appear a fool to others, she sweats, she knows that it can lead her to physical, financial problems, but she is risking because it is a step ahead.
ps: personally I don't think politicians take note unless there is a mass protest against some existing law, so to ask an individual to use other channels is unreasonable.
I thought she identified herself as a doctor.
But in any case, you're simply building a strawman argument. You don't, and cannot, have any idea what her actual motivations were. Deluding yourself into believing you know what other people are thinking is not a good way to get to the bottom of any conflict.
(sorry, but you've hit one of my hot buttons)
No wait, I just put words in his mouth AND made a straw man. Now I am confused.
You are correct that I cannot tell what another person is thinking. I formed my opinion based on the impression I got from reading her article. Due to the nature of the topic it should be a given that anything stated is an opinion unless someone specifically claims to be quoting a law or statistic.
The TSA fails at Safety, this is just bullshit security theater. If I could, I'd fly with absolutely no security screening before the flight. I'll take my chances instead of slowly losing my life waiting in their "security" lines.
I would love to see something like this happen, then every passenger after her refuse the scanner and recite the 4th amendment while being pat-down. Sadly, this will never happen, as 90% of those in line probably don't even know what the 4th amendment is, much less have the words memorized.
After having been accused of being opposed to civil disobedience, your post gave me a way to express how I feel civil disobedience is supposed to work.
If a large number of people started opting for the alternate method of screening passengers, it would bring the process of screening to a screeching halt, yet all would remain well within their rights. If these people complied with the alternate method, without attempting to provoke or harass the TSA, no one would have been arrested.
If you can piss the government off, without putting yourself at risk, then you have mastered the fine art of civil disobedience.
Perhaps this particular bit of symbolism, or the way it was deployed, won't end up being effective, but experimentation and iteration is key.
Suppose she had started reciting the 10 commandments or jabberwocky? Would you have had the same reaction?
If you go with "the US constitution is relevant" then she's got a problem. She claims that she didn't resist a search. That can only be true if she thinks that reciting US constitution clauses on search aren't relevant to the situation, namely a search.
So, which is it? Was reciting the US constitution her way of refusing a search or was it just words?
 She wasn't "reading" anything - she was reciting various parts of the US constitution from memory.
The 4th amendment guards against unreasonable search and seizure.
And you're saying "shame on her for refusing a search"?
No, I'm not. I'm saying that if you think that reciting the 4th amendment when going through TSA is relevant, that relevance would lead a reasonable person to believe that she was resisting the search.
I mention relevance because commenters are suggesting that reciting the 4th amendment is meaningful in a way that reciting jabberwocky would not have been.
If it's still unclear how the amendment is meaningful in this situation, I'm going to ask that you go re-read the original article, then "letters from birmingham jail" and the whole bill of rights.
I'm not claiming that the amendment is not meaningful. I'm pointing out how the amendment's meaning is relevant to what happened. The original article makes it clear that the reciter didn't understand that relevance.
BTW I haven't written anything about the legitimacy of TSA searches so your presumptions along those lines are unfounded and insulting. And, before you presume to teach me something, learn the difference between recite and read. (Hint - she did the former, not the latter.)
She misrepresented what she did.
BTW - Comparing what she did with King cheapens King.
I suspect she would have gotten the same reaction, or something very near to it. When being herded through a TSA checkpoint, the last thing they want you doing is yelling.
We can disagree with the ethics of such things, but is there disagreement that provoking a response can be a useful tactic?
I can also easily see this kind of behavior causing a panic in the screening line. Maybe this isn't fair, but this is how I would imagine a right-wing domestic terrorist to act right before they blew themselves up.
I'm all for civil disobedience, but this is just oblivious and antisocial to the extreme.
But I myself, as an American citizen, strongly object to the continued attacks on my natural rights and these "solutions" that consistently erode the limits placed on the State powers.
We had a revolution in this country precisely to determine the balance between natural "rights" and collective "laws". The United States of America has precisely ZERO input on what is "allowed" as far as Natural Rights are concerned. USA may provide privileges.
I myself, for example, was "sold" the following story before I elected to become a naturalized citizen of USA: "Inalienable Rights". That sounded (and still does) just right for me -- I happen to agree very strongly with the idea. But now, n years into this contract, and the USA (and some citizens such as yourself) are now telling me that I have no rights unless that it is "allowed" by the USA.
So, was I scammed (in your eminent "legal" opinion)?
Now, if you think you do have rights, I have one last assignment for ya. Next time you’re at the computer get on the Internet, go to Wikipedia. When you get to Wikipedia, in the search field for Wikipedia, i want to type in, “Japanese-Americans 1942″ and you’ll find out all about your precious fucking rights. Alright. You know about it.
In 1942 there were 110,000 Japanese-American citizens, in good standing, law abiding people, who were thrown into internment camps simply because their parents were born in the wrong country. That’s all they did wrong. They had no right to a lawyer, no right to a fair trial, no right to a jury of their peers, no right to due process of any kind. The only right they had was…right this way! Into the internment camps.
Just when these American citizens needed their rights the most…their government took them away. and rights aren’t rights if someone can take em away. They’re privileges. That’s all we’ve ever had in this country is a bill of TEMPORARY privileges; and if you read the news, even badly, you know the list gets shorter, and shorter, and shorter.
Yep, sooner or later the people in this country are going to realize the government doesn’t give a fuck about them. the government doesn’t care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety. it simply doesn’t give a fuck about you. It’s interested in it’s own power. That’s the only thing…keeping it, and expanding wherever possible.
The whole piece is just great: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWiBt-pqp0E
Have there actually been any right-wing suicide bombers? A quick google turned up only the fellow who flew his plane into an IRS office building as the closest thing to a "right-wing" suicide bomber, but I"m not sure that qualifies.
If, instead of doing this at the security checkpoint, she wanted to stand at the entrance to the airport speaking and handing out leaflets, she would be exercising her First Amendment rights, and I would hope they would accommodate her. (If they didn't, I wouldn't be surprised, but I would be angry.)
But what she chose to do was just pointless.
Yes, because we're British and GodForbidWeShouldCreateAScene(tm).
Also it seems that people can be arrested (held or detained) without being 'arrested'.
Here's a person who's memorized the 4th Amendment without actually learning what it means, yelling it at the airport in a one-person demonstration, and then doing a victory lap on a blog.
And here's us on HN competing with each other to see who can more stridently agree with her.
Flagged, of course. You should too.
But I don't so much care about ineffective vanity protests as I do about the fact that a DailyKos article about one was on the front page of HN. Which is why I flagged the story, and think you should too.
Stories like this are a trap. Most of us, being reasonable, logical people, have a litany of valid arguments against the TSA. A story like this confirms those beliefs and is conflated with them, so that pointing out that the story (a) sucks and (b) isn't germane to HN is taken as an argument against the beliefs, and not just the story.
I resent your smug sense of superiority. I am a reasonable, logical person but I don't have a carefully structured and researched legal paper to present as to why the TSA's policies should be reformed. I just know they're assholes and they fuck with me for no good reason. Clearly this woman realized that too and she decided not to stand for it. The fact that she didn't do it well enough does not discount the action in itself, nor does it prove or disprove any other argument against the TSA.
Furthermore, by flagging this story with the reasons you listed you're basically saying the HN readership is so stupid that by reading this article it will debunk any other arguments they have heard or will hear. That basically you're protecting the brainless HN readers from the ideas presented therein, or are protecting people from reading this and forming a negative view of "valid" TSA arguments from "reasonable, logical people."
There is a deeper lesson to take away than just whether her argument was legally valid. For example, take the reasons that you feel are right and take a stand the way she did.
I think you should also analyze the fact that this story got you so emotionally invested that the site guidelines didn't occur to you, and that you managed to feel threatened simply because someone questioned the story --- which, again, is pretty obvious vapid. What you're saying in this comment is, "The TSA is bad, so why bother thinking?"
That stories like this tend to have that effect on message board communities is the reason they're proscribed in the site guidelines. There are other communities where a story like this would find a more receptive audience, like Reddit Politics.
Your comment was very articulate thanks.
Unfortunately, she did not simply read the constitution. She yelled it out loud so that others could hear, thereby causing quite a disturbance. Several times she mentioned that people were staring and I imagine all security processing had come to a halt at that point. I think they had no choice but to remove her from the area because of the disturbance. Also, if somebody nearby was planning on doing something, she would have created the perfect time to do it. She could have become an accomplice in a serious crime.
I agree with all of the statements she was yelling out, and it is unfortunate that things have come to this. But please be careful when considering this kind of action. Especially if you have loved ones at home who are going to worry about you.
This. As a tourist, I've found the US to be quite nice and I would like to visit more often.
However, all this theater makes me want to avoid flying as much as possible. I have been treated well so far, but I wonder how much of it boils down to sheer luck.
How do you come to such conclusion?
> But it was dangerous.
In what way? Dangerous as in her constitutional rights might be violated?
> As far as I'm concerned, once you step into an airport (especially an american airport) you are no longer a citizen of any particular country and have no rights.
That is just sad. What's the next step? You don't have any rights in a railway station? Subways?
> ...I imagine all security processing had come to a halt at that point.
On a single line perhaps, not all.
> Also, if somebody nearby was planning on doing something, she would have created the perfect time to do it.
How so? If a simple delay on a check point creates a "perfect time" and it is an actual big risk, then there are bigger problems on that airport.
It was dangerous as she could have been injured, detained at length, and possibly put on some kind of "harass this troublemaker anytime she steps into a security line" type of list. That her constitutional rights might be violated is almost a guarantee, although that wording is perhaps incorrect since you don't have those rights in an airport.
I agree the situation is sad.
It wasn't just a simple delay. It was a public disturbance. She was yelling out, causing a scene, being dragged around, etc. Seems to me that people planning mischief often set up a decoy disturbance. This seemed like exactly the type of disturbance one would plan deliberately as a decoy for another operation.
And, surely you meant "this woman," as she does say she has a husband in the article.
(I agree about the gender of the author, though.)
Actually that was Ben Franklin. But otherwise, bravo.
For all the talk of moving your domains on the 29th to boycott godaddy's support of SOPA, I wish an 'assert your 4th Amendment right while flying' day would work, but I don't think it would because the vast majority of people (even those who are supposedly activist-minded) are only willing to protest when the cost to do so is very low.
That's why godaddy is a whipping boy and the TSA is more powerful than ever.
Should the author have expected to have the glamor of martyrdom without the inconveniences attached? This question is left as an exercise for the reader.
If you rewrite this to make sense, I'll give it a go :)
You can't possibly believe that. First, she read the freaking Constitution and was treated like a terrorist, and there's a name for that - and it's not security. Or American. Second, that "heightened security" is - with the exception of keeping cockpit doors closed - 100% pure, unadulterated bullshit. Liquids in a plastic baggie? Give me a break. I get so tired of people not willing to think for a minute.
The expected cost of a unwanted event should be less than or equal to the expected cost of preventing that event. The choice to implement a security policy should be a rational one.
Sadly, I'm not sure how we can change this dynamic. Will we ever punish politicians for being too hostile to civil liberties? Most people/voters simply don't care.
Also, if you would like to let someone look at your possessions, that's your right. But, a government official cannot, without reasonable cause, demand to look at your property.
I'm not saying I would have tried to pull this off, but there is something to be said for her continuously asking "do you have a warrant."
If she disgrees then she should organize and conduct a legal protest.
The law is not about technicalities. It's about reason and sense, and sensible is that when someone is behaving like a crazy person, then take the person and find out why. Technical law is when a fixed sentence is applied for a particular crime (like marijuana possession), that is then applied without sense.
Smile and go through the scanner. There is nothing strange about being seen naked by strangers, most of evolution we've been naked.
> If people are not searched, there will be more plane attacks and global transport will decline.
Damn right, brother! I say we take this a step further, and start searching people when they enter the mall. I mean, a terrorist in the mall is just as dangerous. Especially during the holidays.
Or hell, let's search everyone going to the new years bash in Times Square. Just make 'em strip. As you say, nothing strange about being seen naked by strangers.
And we should also start using these scanners at schools. Clearly, with all the school shootings going on, gotta protect the innocent kids, right?
We can also take the same approach online. Have everyone register their computer's OS with their ISP, and only those registered computers can use the internet. I mean, if you are innocent, you have nothing to worry about, right? This can help stop child pornography, you know. And people distributing files they don't have the right to distribute.
Personally, I'm afraid of dying in cars. Did you know, more people die in an automobile accident then a terrorist attack? Clearly, we need to rid ourselves of these terrorists of the road. Make every car require a breathalyzer. If you've had a drink, you can't drive. Keep it simple. Keep it safe. Save lives! It's reasonable. I mean, I'm afraid of other drivers, and they are just disturbing my peace. I mean, the only people that would disagree are terrorists, child pornographers, drunk drivers, and pirating thieves!
Let me put it this way. There are thousands of mechanical and electronic pieces on a plane, most of which were assembled by private enterprise. You trust them with your life to fly your ass miles through the air, and to land on a strip of tar -- safely, timely, and efficiently. Yet, they're not capable of keeping you safe from "terrorists"?
If this manufactured image of terrorists were actually a real threat to airliners, they would be addressing it themselves, just like they would any other life-threatening safety flaw on their plane.
We don't want to do that because it's expensive to do it right. So we have the TSA, which is just a jobs program for the most unskilled folks in the population, and creates an illusion of security without having to provide real security.
Prior to 9/11, I went to Japan on vacation. The security made it look like it was a domestic flight, not a 24-hour one. Me and my sister got pulled from the line and led to a small room, with dozens of people.
We were only let go 4 hours later (after 27 hours flying, that wasn't exactly pleasant). And that's only because they were checking our story with out uncle, who was a native Japanese and went looking for us when we didn't show up at the airport.
And don't even get started on their multiple-page form, in Spanish. I asked for an English version because I couldn't figure it out (I am Brazilian, so they probably figured it was ok).
Also, my posessions got searched and I even got inquired about my religious beliefs - there was a postcard from my grandmother to my aunt which had a christian image. I guess that sort of thing would not happen in the US - at least not to a citizen, anyway.
Needless to say, while I loved the country, I hate the screening to this day.
In the US, a couple of years ago, something similar happened. I got pulled to the "yellow room", because my fingerprint didn't match the Visa (my brother's went on the record insted, probably due to confusion, as our names are similar). In any case, I was let go in a couple of minutes, after the officer inquired who the guy showing on the monitor was, and I pointed to my brother waiting a few meters from us. No idea what would have happened if I wasn't travelling with him tho.
He also mentioned I will always have that problem (until the Visa expires, that is). But, even with all these "enhanced measures", I'll still rather take my chances with the US if I have a choice.
Disclaimer: that was before the full-body scanners and the enhanced patdowns were in place at the particular airport I went to.
There are still doubts about the safety of the scanners. They have not been tested.
What about being bombarded by ionizing radiation? The millimeter wave machines don't bother me so much, but there's a reason they cover you with a lead vest when you're at the dentist. Full-body x-ray scanners are banned across Europe due to cancer concerns.