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Posts Tagged ‘TSA’

A Dot Is Not A Trend

November 5th, 2013 No comments

link Arming TSA officers hits resistance on the Hill – Kevin Robillard – POLITICO.com.

In case anyone has missed it, the never ending clamor to reign in the ability of law abiding citizens to possess and carry firearms continues unabated and in fact rises in volume anytime someone gets shot.  Strange then that in the wake of the shooting of a TSA officer in Los Angeles recently, there is a push by the union representing the TSA for arming their rank and file.

Through the years of the existence of the TSA, this is the first such incidence of such violence occuring against an employee among the thousands of them staffing the nation’s airports.  While it is of course sad that the unfortunate employee was killed at work, the job is not really a dangerous one.  Despite the official uniforms, badges and surly demeanor, the TSA staff are essentially a layer of ticket checkers for passengers in advance of them boarding a bus.  While their jobs capture the scorn and contempt of many travellers, they are only performing a job that someone higher up in the command chain thinks is useful.

If we’re going to consider arming people because of violent attacks, there are many other constituencies in society that should also be eligible.  Statistically, operators of 7-Elevens, liquor store employees and pizza delivery people are far more likely to encounter gun violence while simply peforming their jobs than a TSA employee.  In fact, a quick check of recent news incidents tells you that if you were sitting in a movie theater, a student at school or just shopping at a mall, you were just as likely to encounter gun violence as a TSA employee.

In the wake of all of those other newsworthy incidents, the immediate knee jerk response was to re-ignite the gun control rhetoric.  As far as I can tell, the only difference seems to be that all of the other victims of crime weren’t wearing uniforms.  It’s not clear why they wouldn’t be better off being armed as well.  The point here is not to ascertain who should or should not be armed.  It is to point out that mental cases will strike without predictability in a free society.  If one segment of the law abiding population is entitled to be armed, then everyone should be.

If they decide to arm TSA staff, the experience of travelling will be even more fun than it is today.  Being told to remove shoes, belts and articles of clothing by an armed person so that they can grope you… isn’t that the quintessential bad date?

 

Categories: Culture, Politics Tags: , ,

The Suspense Was Killing Us

December 14th, 2012 No comments

link Judge Clears United Airlines in a 9/11 Collapse – NYTimes.com.

Really?  We needed the measured wisdom of a judge to determine that United Airlines was not responsible for the twin towers’ destruction? Didn’t anyone have a newspaper?  It’s this kind of clear legal thinking that separates us from chaotic third world countries.  The fact that only 11 years have passed since the event is irrelevant, at least now we have the final, official word on culpability.  For the 11 years leading up to this verdict, I’m sure the world was on pins and needles awaiting the conclusions.  It’s quite possible that this learned judgement was the result of thousands of hours of sifting through documents, affidavits and reports.  It’s also quite possible that this task was given to the junior judge as a test, as in “let’s see if he can get this one right”.

As a society, the west has fallen irretrievably into the rathole of the legal blame trap.  Everything that happens whether natural or orchestrated is seen to have some kind of root cause, which most importantly have  legal and therefore financial consequences attached.  The most pedestrian events are now subjects of legal rulings, edicts and compensatory consequences.  The most obvious events are the subject of interminable scrutiny and post mortem analysis.  Let’s not forget; someone pays for all of this high level thinking.

As people cede more and more of their activities to various government proxies , they open the door for more and more idiots to get into the business of managing them.  In fact they encourage them.  We used to assume that anyone elected to positions of public responsibility would, at the very least, have some measure of common sense whatever their partisan biases may be.  That assumption is tossed out a 20 storey window when one observes the headlines that pass through on the newswires.  Exhibit A:

“Montreal By-law requires dogs understand commands in both official languages”  a proposal put forth by councilor Benoit LaDouce of that city.  http://www.cbc.ca/thisisthat/blog/2012/12/12/montreal-bylaw-requires-dogs-to-understand-commands-in-both-official-languages/

Or, getting back to the 911 events, the ongoing tragedy which are the ‘security’ measures surrounding airport security and the TSA:

“TSA detains ‘explosive’ laced girl in wheelchair”  http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2012/12/14/tsa-detains-explosive-laced-girl-in-wheelchair/

A theory was offered as to why the very basic human trait of common sense is now a resident of milk cartons and missing posters.  A Stanford study posits that:  “…we are losing our intellectual and emotional capabilities because the intricate  web of genes which endows us with our brain power is particularly vulnerable to  mutations – and these mutations are not being selected against our modern  society because we no longer need intelligence to survive…”  see article here:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2231924/Are-getting-stupid-Researchers-claim-longer-need-intelligence-survive.html

Whatever the reason, the declining use of common sense while being replaced by what passes as intelligent analysis in people’s lives will only lead to a society in which everything is governed by some official edict.  May as well be fans at a Madonna concert.  When mass exodus of common sense occurs, we wind up with a population that would allow someone like a Benoit LaDouce to be elected to office….or much worse.   Getting back to our learned judge at the top of the article, he’s looking forward to his next big case.  The OJ Simpson mystery.

His Hoodie Was Ralph Lauren, Who Knew?

December 8th, 2010 No comments

link Taxi advocate to hacks: profile your passengers – am New York.

Boy this should be fun party conversation.  This is interesting because the issue is exactly the flip side of the TSA grope and feel regimen being employed at airports today. 

The head of the NY taxi union, Fernando Mateo,  is taking the outspoken position of publicly declaring that cab drivers should profile in picking up their fares.

“…Profile your passengers,” that’s the surprising message that a top taxi advocate is sending hacks after a livery cab driver was shot by a Hispanic suspect.  You know sometimes it’s good that we are racially profiled because the God’s-honest truth is that 99 percent of the people that are robbing, stealing, killing these drivers are blacks and Hispanics,” said Fernando Mateo, president of Hispanics Across America and the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers…”

Naturally, the politically correct knee jerk uproar ensues, including of course the canned outrage from Mr. Fair Play himself, the articulate ‘Reverend” Al Sharpton.  Actually if anyone cared to listen closely to what Mr. Mateo had to say, he wasn’t advocating racial profiling per se, he was advocating for drivers to be alert and aware of fares that were potentially dangerous.  It’s purely a coincidence that, “99 percent of the people that are robbing, stealing, killing drivers are blacks and Hispanics”.   The key point is:

“…so if you see suspicious activity, you know what, don’t pick that person up…”

Apparently this advice is too radical and extreme for the PC world.  As usual, people who have no stake in the game are telling people on the front lines what to do because of fanciful theories.  It’s reminiscent of idiots criticizing soldiers who shoot before being absolutely certain that the target was an enemy.  In doing a google search, I am unable to find the following headlines:

“Well dressed middle aged woman holds up cabbie at gunpoint for $20″

“Businessmen force cabbie to drive at gunpoint to Waldorf Hotel”

“Tourists in Hawaiian shirts rough up cabdriver in Midtown”

“Grandmothers beat up helpless cabdriver in Queens”

One of the oldest cliches is “you can’t tell a book by it’s cover” which is mostly starry eyed delusion, especially when it comes to sizing up people in an urban setting.  They’ve obviously never been to the south side of Chicago trying to ask for directions from some fine looking young men in hoodies, baggy jeans and over-sized sneakers.  Very few gangsta wannabes run around in khakis and polo shirts for some reason.   So the PC crowd insists that cabbies expose their lives to pick up a $20 fare in satisfaction of some PC principle.  Cabbies are not allowed to be leery of shady looking characters because feelings would be hurt.

This presumption of innocence only works in the safe confines of the streets.  If you enter the gritty world of airports, that’s different.  In this bizarro world the assumptions are turned upside down.   If you happened to be the middle aged woman, the well dressed businessman or the gaggle of grandmothers, you would be subject to the scrutiny of the beady eyed TSA agents ever alert for signs of nefarious intent.  In fact you would be treated with gloves, not kid gloves, but the blue latex kind.  Here, profiling is reversed: you are actually singled out for extra scrutiny the more innocent you look.  If you are old and in a wheelchair, good luck catching your flight.  You really can’t make this up.