On Monday, Senator Rand Paul got caught in a contretemps with the TSA. He was not in transit to or from his work in Congress, so he couldn’t enlist constitutional protection from being detained.
And detained he was.
Well, the TSA insists that he was not “at any point detained,” but what he says is this:
I was detained by the Transportation Security Administration . . . for not agreeing to a patdown after an irregularity was found in my full body scan. Despite removing my belt, glasses, wallet and shoes, the scanner and TSA also wanted my dignity. I refused.
I showed them the potentially offending part of my body, my leg. They were not interested. They wanted to touch me and to pat me down. I requested to be rescanned. They refused and detained me in a 10-foot-by-10-foot area reserved for potential terrorists.
Both Senator Paul and his father, Congressman Ron Paul, have criticized the TSA. They echo those 19th century classical liberals who had a word for the kind of treatment that modern security-obsessed governments inflict upon a (too willing) populace: “regimentation.” What’s more regimenting than being forced to wait in lines, holding shoes in hand, emptying the contents of pockets into institutional-gray trays, submitting to a variety of scans and gropes?
There have got to be better ways of securing big ol’ jet airliners. Why not apply greater legal liability to airlines for safety, and let them figure out more customer-friendly methods of keeping terrorists out of cockpits?
Any government security effort ought to focus on spotting and stopping terrorists . . . without sacrificing everyone’s freedom and dignity.
It’s Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.