Thursday, June 16, 2011

No groping bill for good reasons

I hate it when things like this mess up my neat categories. Here's a guy who I am pretty sure is right wing nut, a Texas Republican state representative named David Simpson. I disagree with him about just about everything. But he's introduced a bill to curb intrusive TSA security theater at airports and on this, I think he's right. Here's what he told the New York Times:

Q. You call this an antigroping bill. Why is it necessary?

A. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizure of our person, not just our houses, and effects and papers. Right now, searches are proceeding under the object of preventing terrorist activities. But we’ve got to draw a line. You’ve got to have reasonable cause to touch people’s private parts. There was a parallel bill banning these full body scanners that allow people to see you naked. Both are violations of our dignity and impede law-abiding citizens’ access to travel.

Q. Without body scanners and pat-downs would travelers be less safe?

A. If you have reason to believe that someone is guilty of trying to commit a terrorist attack, then by all means investigate them and arrest them. But right now, everybody is having to undergo these searches. Use dogs, metal detectors, ask people questions. What’s wrong with using metal detectors? This is an issue not so much about security but about control. We’ve gone from prudent caution to ridiculous excess.

His idea is popular, though presumably the federal government can block it. But if we are ever going to get back any of the civil liberties flushed away in our post-9/11 panic, it will take a multitude of these eruptions.

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