For the past few days, I’ve been a bystander in a ridiculous email discussion about airport security and decided that, once I’d spent the entire drive up University Boulevard from County Line to Evans composing a rant in my head, that rant needed to be freed from my head and posted on the blog.
Airport security is a pain in the ass. But that’s all it is. Buck up, folks. I always choose the pat-down because the nude photo thingy creeps me out. It’s not fun, but it’s not, say, dental surgery. Hell, it’s not even flossing. Yup, I’d rather go through airport security than floss. Life is full of annoying things. Get over it.
And the thought that — to avoid this mild pain in the ass — we would sacrifice core American values is just beyond me. I am constantly baffled by what it is conservatives love when they say they love America. It was the question addressed at fabulous verbose length by this guy.
What I really wanted to ask is this: Proud American? Really? What is it exactly that you’re proud of? You say you love your country? You say you love the United States? Really? Which part? What is it that you love about it? Specifically, what exactly do you love about America?
Because, see, so far as I can tell, people like you seem to hate just about everything that makes the United States what it is.
And so on for like 45 paragraphs or so. It really is hilarious, but I recommend skimming.
I’ll tell you what I love: I love the Constitution. I love the 14th Amendment, the one that promises equal protection of the laws. Do we really want to violate one of the most fundamental American principles to save 15 minutes at the airport? Really?
Oh and another thing: it doesn’t work. If we start profiling, we would be sacrificing our values for nothing.
[P]rofiling creates two paths through security: one with less scrutiny and one with more. And once you do that, you invite the terrorists to take the path with less scrutiny. That is, a terrorist group can safely probe any profiling system and figure out how to beat the profile. And once they do, they’re going to get through airport security with the minimum level of screening every time.
As counterintuitive as it may seem, we’re all more secure when we randomly select people for secondary screening — even if it means occasionally screening wheelchair-bound grandmothers and innocent looking children. And, as an added bonus, it doesn’t needlessly anger the ethnic groups we need on our side if we’re going to be more secure against terrorism.
But more than that, how would it work? As another security expert noted,
But what do we go by? Name? Appearance? The vast majority of Arab Americans, for instance, are not only innocent of sympathy for terrorism, they’re actually Christian. To profile Muslims you’d have to target blacks, Asians, whites and Hispanics (remember Jose Padilla?). How could that work, and would it really help identify those who are intending harm or would it simply divert resources that could be better used on investigations?
So we set out to profile Muslims, but we can’t use name or appearance. What then? Seriously, profiling advocates, if you want to target Muslims, you have to figure out a way to do it. Religious identity cards? A quick religious catechism with the TSA dudes? I’m loving the idea of small-government conservatives authorizing the Federales to investigate individual religious beliefs to determine whether you get groped in the security line.
But ultimately, of course, it’s not just Muslims who commit terrorism:
The biggest terrorist attack in U.S. history prior to 9/11—the 1996 Oklahoma City bombing—was carried out by a white ex-Marine with a crew cut. The only major WMD attack of the “war on terror” era—the 2001 anthrax mailings—was apparently the handiwork of a white, Christian microbiologist angry that prominent Catholic politicians were pro-choice. And who stormed the Holocaust Museum last year, killing a security guard? Ayman-al Zawahiri? No, neo-Nazi octogenarian nutcase James Wenneker von Brunn.
I have to wait in line to take off my shoes, start up my computer, and step through a metal detector every time I go to court because Christians like to shoot at, blow up, and threaten federal buildings and officials. That’s right, Christians. Oh, right, of course, not Christians like you. Bad Christians. Maybe people calling themselves Christians who do not remotely have the values you would call Christian.
Exactly my point.