Mental vs. physical

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on November 21, 2010

I just got done watching “Fox News Sunday” and the consensus on the panel seemed to be that the new TSA scanners and pat-down procedures are much ado about nothing. Tell that to Thomas D. “Tom” Sawyer of Lansing, Mich. For the parade of horribles, check out the voluminous links at the bottom of this post.

Look, I’m sympathetic to the vast majority of the TSA screeners. I’ve got a family friend who is a TSA screener at a Central (California) Coast-area airport and I’m sure he’s not thrilled to have to do this sort of stuff.

But, as I’ve said before, this is too far. President Obama’s “let them eat cake” attitude certainly doesn’t help.

Which brings us back to today’s “Fox News Sunday.” Liberal panel member (and Islamaphobe) Juan Williams seemed to take an anything goes attitude.

WALLACE: I was going to say, a lot more people are going to be flying this weekend.

Juan, you famously talked about your fears about who's getting on planes. Where do you weigh in on all this?

WILLIAMS: If it makes us safer, I'm all for it, because I get on planes a lot. And I have been patted down. I've been through the new scanner. I've been through the old scanner.

But, you know, if it makes us safer post-9/11, I'm very sympathetic to the government's position, especially -- and I asked Janet Napolitano and John Pistole about it this week. I said, "Would you have discovered the Christmas Day bomber who had this explosive material in his underwear with the new scanner?" And they said yes.

Now, not absolutely yes, when I went back and said, you know, well, exactly how is it going to detect it? But they said any kind of aberrant possession on your body -- liquid, whatever -- they think they have a better chance with this device than without it. So, I tend to be sympathetic to that position, because if something happens in this country, we're going to hold those elected and appointed officials responsible.

So their job is to prevent another terror incident, and that's what they have got to do.

The next logical question would be: If a terrorist attempts to use a suppository bomb would Williams be OK with everyone being required to undergo a full body cavity search as a condition of flying?

There appears to be a fundamental disconnect with conservatives and many on the left.

Liberals, seem nonplussed by undergoing a virtual strip search or getting to third base with your TSA screener as a condition of flying commercial. Yet, the howls of outrage that the government was data-mining international electronic correspondence (and occasionally catching domestic communications unwittingly) to help track down terrorists was deafening.

I don’t know about you, but I could care less about the U.S. government reading my e-mails or listening in on my phone calls. The law protects me from the government taking action against me for holding unpopular or contrary views.

And, I have a blog, so why bother with the other stuff?

But the graphic computer scans and the touchy-feely stuff (all without probable cause – or any cause for that matter) are a different matter.

Why the different attitudes? Why the outrage that someone might read an e-mail about Aunt Trudy but the nonchalance about some stranger, under color of authority, groping around Aunt Trudy’s private parts?


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November 2010



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