September 7, 2011
TSA Searches: "Obedience Training For The American Public"
That's how Zahir Ebrahim, of Project Humanbeingsfirst.com, rightly termed the TSA searches -- in his comment on the blog item that led to TSA agent Thedala Magee's demands of me.
Magee is looking for me to pay her $500K, apologize to her, and take down my blog item about her -- because I had the nerve to exercise my First Amendment rights and complain after she jammed her hand sideways into my vagina four times. (Unfortunately for Ms. Magee, I've always made a pretty crappy victim.)
What the TSA searches themselves say about where we're going as a country is the larger issue here, and one I'll be home writing about all day today (I'm doing on op-ed as step two of this. It's not only an explanation of what went on, but a call to action.)
I grew up reading books about Russia and thinking how great it was that no authority figure in America ever demanded our "papers" without reasonable suspicion that we've committed a crime. This is no more the case, and that is tragic and terrible.
I have the Cato Institute copy of the Constitution and Bill of Rights on my phone and read them often. I see that the Fourth Amendment guards us against unreasonable and warrantless search, but that is exactly what millions of Americans are being put through daily, sans probable cause.
Our country was started by people who were fiercely opposed to blind obedience to authority. Oh, how disappointingly -- and dangerously -- far we've fallen.
In recent years, there's been an overreach of government into many areas of our lives -- telling us what kind of lightbulbs we're allowed to use, and the lady in Oak Park, Michigan who faced 93 days in jail for growing vegetables where her front lawn was "supposed" to be.
Encroachments like the light bulb mandate may seem minor compared to the vile TSA searches in the name of "security," but they are part and parcel of the whole.
Every time we relax and allow Big Government to rule us a little more, every time we let one more Constitutional right be taken from us without so much as a peep, it makes it that much easier to take the next one and the next one, until we wake up one day and wonder how we ended up living in a police state.
And finally, thank you to everyone expressing support for me here, by email, and on other websites.
It's been a tough few months (it's scary to possibly be on the hook for the rest of my life to support this woman when I was the one victimized here).
But, I was lucky in that I have an absolutely wonderful guy behind me -- First Amendment lawyer Marc Randazza, who took my case pro bono, and who just asked that I pay any costs (which he said he'd try to keep really low, and which, at this point are maybe just postage. As in, a 44-cent stamp!).
I don't like to not pay people for their work. When I told him I was sorry that, well, this wasn't exactly the golden age of newspapers (or book-authoring), he told me, "Some cases are too important to need to get paid for." I wanted to hug him through the phone.
Marc and two of his associates (Jason A. Fischer and J. Malcolm Devoy) have put in a substantial amount of work on this, and he, himself, personally challenges the "officers," verbally and otherwise when he goes through these checkpoints.
My absolute favorite thing he does when he gets a patdown is stick out his middle finger on each hand. It's his way of showing these people -- people earning a living violating our rights -- the respect they deserve.
I hope some of you will follow his lead, and mine, and those of others who've spoken out. If there's any message here, it's this: Don't go quietly as they yank away your rights.
UPDATE: Even though Marc and his associates are being gracious with their time, there is a bill, and somebody (who understands that legal fees are hundreds of dollars an hour, and that they've spent many hours) just asked if he could donate, which is wonderful.
If you wish to contribute to my legal defense fund, please mail checks to:
Randazza Legal Group
PO Box 5516
Gloucester, MA 01930
Note on memo line, Alkon LDF