Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Stripping our most compelling 4th and 14th Amendment rights -- all for nothing

The curtain between government and our most private privacy has been raised from ocean to ocean: 3 million men and women everyday exposed naked to the eye of an unseen stranger (maybe even sneaky peeks in those back rooms) and 100,000 more men and women have their most-privates groped by a stranger in view of strangers (family and friends could feel worse). All for nothing.

Well; not for absolutely nothing: it will make it a bit less likely any home-grown shoe or underwear bomber will take down a domestic flight -- and more likely they will destroy a flight originating in Europe or Africa or Asia or South America (the only attempts so far). Or a home-grown will need a "martyr" big or obese enough to tape plastique comfortably inside their butt-cheeks with whatever little wires and switch hidden from a metal detector in an adjacent cavity; batteries not included, can be carried in a little flashlight. Or buy a round-trip ticket. All for nothing.

If an eccentric millionaire offered $50,000 rewards to all who could cross screening with equivalent size devices he might go broke in a month. Anybody see how the New York Detective smuggled a pistol (what we Bronx kids would have called a "zip gun" in the '50s in Russia in the "Gorky Park" movie. All for nothing.

Personal privacy doesn't worry you personally? Being regularly frisked by police without probable cause might not irk many people. In our worst neighborhoods such frisking of young males could bring an end to gang violence and the worst crime; freeing residents to roam outside their homes again -- to me that would be something worth considering. In the three months after 9/11, 1,000 more Americans died in traffic accidents avoiding air travel. How many "hidden" airline crash equivalents (if we count 200 extra highway deaths as one domestic airliner load) will sacrificing our most fundamental 4th and 14th Amendment rights -- the latter would invoke Roe v. Wade's compelling interest test? -- cost every year. All our privacy gone (police would never think of going so far) -- all for nothing.

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