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Monday, April 18, 2011

Theatre of the Absurd: How Terror Wins

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety
deserve neither liberty nor safety."  --Benjamin Franklin

Call me old-fashioned, but I think an essential liberty worth defending is the liberty not to have our under-aged children extensively groped by some anonymous hired goon in a uniform.

A reasonable assertion, surely, yet this is a freedom we apparently no longer have. Witness:

If you were the parent, the grinding indignity of watching this forced upon you, what would YOU do? 

It took me about a nano-second to realize that, had my very beautiful 14-year-old daughter been in this little girl's shoes, I would now be sitting in jail on multiple security and assault-related charges. Why? 'Cause I'd have broken their arms. Which is why THESE parents are way smarter than I: they filmed it in all it's stark, damning Auschwitz-ness.

I do not think I overstate. The guard is an ordinary person "just following orders/procedures", very professionally. Anyone with an ounce of sense knows that the child poses no actual threat to the Reich. The helplessness of the parents having to witness their innocent offspring being man-handled by the state is a key part of the control mechanism: "If we can do this to kids (and we can, see?), imagine what we can do to YOU if we feel like it." A non-consensual violation of a child's body--something that would meet with the harshest penalties and the sternest social disapproval in ANY other circumstances--is allowed to pass as normal, necessary and right, as banal as ticking a box. It's that banality, the casualness of the cruelty, that is for me the most crazy-making aspect of this. "It's all in the interest of the greater good, so what are the parents so upset about?

"When they came for the 6-year olds, I said nothing because I was not a 6-year-old."

Nothing new to see here, citizens. Move along.

And let's be clear: transport security is largely theatre, creating the feeling of improved security without the reality. Oft-quoted stats from the absolute height of security paranoia in the six months immediately following 9/11 indicate that the following passed through un-detected:
  • 70% of knives
  • 30% of guns
  • 60% of fake bombs
But they never fail to notice your damned water-bottle. Nice work, team. Bet you sleep like babies at night.

And do remember that the 9/11 hijackers initiated all this mayhem with box-cutters.

Conclusion: That's right, your kids being clumsily groped buys not one iota of safety. So the humiliation, loss of liberty, and probable psychic damage of a child were for nothing.

My old pal, writer and wit Dave Belz says:

"I've got a clean driving record, no criminal convictions, a stable job and a permanent residence in the U.S. I should be able to have a sticker on my driver's license or passport that says: "OK to Fly." Talk about where we could cut spending..."

Anyone capable of irony is probably NOT the dude you're looking for.

Similarly, 6 year old American kids are so unlikely to be hiding bombs in their pants (watch the video if you haven't already and if you can stand it), that the CERTAIN damage to people, to simple justice, to human rights, and to common sense certainly outweighs the POTENTIAL threat.

What strikes me as particularly absurd about all this, is that the defenders of post-Patriot Act security are usually the same people cozily assured of  heaven and their place in it. Those who croon sentimentally about death--"Don't worry, honey, Nana's gone to a better place."

Strange, is it not? If the after-life really is better than this veil of tears, if there's pie in the sky when we die, if it's all in God's hands anyway, why the paranoia over being killed by some vicious evil-doer? At least it'll be quick. But no one who ever thought carefully about their theology embraced an injustice in the name of something so provisional.

Quick is, I fear, NOT what will be this child's recovery time. Nor will be quickly relieved the parents' sense of impotence at the bizarre injustice of a 'freedom-loving' country.

By such small increments does hard-won, man-made freedom die.


  1. Great Blog Rob ... but I can't help but notice the 'ads by Google' below. Oh the irony!
    A short time ago I sent an email by G-mail to my husband and mentioned a Bobcat digger. The next day my email account was adourned with ads for Bobcat diggers. I kid you not. Google has its advertising hands groping around in all of our pants.

  2. Thanks Nat. I don't know what ads you got. They change with every click. But as the algorithm no doubt goes by key words, I can imagine...