[FRIAM] TSA, security technology, and opting out
Vladimyr Ivan Burachynsky
vburach at shaw.ca
Sat Nov 20 19:39:59 EST 2010
Supposedly it is easier to manage groups in the grip of fear than groups of
In fact I think the latter is an oxymoron. In order to get normal human
beings to accept being treated like animals we have to introduce excessive
amounts of fear and an icon for that fear. This practice works because we
are a mindless herd animal even if no one likes the description.
After recently objecting to a body search in Toronto and being as sarcastic
as legally possible some passengers suggested that I was frightening them by
objecting to the intrusion. That was interesting; the fear quotient was high
enough that members of "The Group" were willing to attack each other in the
absence of a clearly identifiable enemy. My threatening action was simply
to question the security guard as to whether stripping naked in the line up
would make him feel better, very loudly!. I then asked the crowd if they
would feel safer after seeing me publicly naked.
That did not amuse anyone, and sensing my over eagerness to strip my aging
carcass in public was deemed very offensive while a probe up my nether
regions was perfectly acceptable?
My brother, who had to endure my theatrics, later suggested that if Alcohol
was not recommended for anyone required to think or operate machinery, then
we should have found ways to prohibit the incitement of fear as even more
threatening to public safety. Yet we still protest that being in a state of
fear excuses all our inconsiderate actions. Personally no one should ever
make decisions of any significance if their minds are obscured by phantom
fears. Traveling is not as much fun as it used to be.
We live in a new society where it is normal to dehumanize everybody. We talk
about human rights all the time but in fact those few rights are about all
that we have left to distinguish us from inanimate things. We now have fewer
rights than at any time in the history of mankind. Perhaps that is why we
try so hard to guarantee the few that remain to us in Legal Proceedings.
All men are assumed to be guilty and attempting to prove otherwise makes us
appear even guiltier. This is exactly as life under a totalitarian regime
has been described.
On another note Bulgakov's "Heart of a Dog" has been set to music and opens
in London. Interesting that after all the talk of fiction, that our society
is reconsidering Stalin's Regime with some nostalgia. Believe me in the
depth of the darkest days of Hitler and Stalin, no one strip searched babies
and Nuns or cranky old men.
In some respects this excess of caution is an experiment to determine if
humanity has any remaining vestiges of personal dignity. It appears that we
have none by accepting willingly being treated like objects and being happy
complying with authorities, we deserve no better.
If we do not object then we deserve what we get. Now I understand how the
Jews walked into the death camps without protest. That always struck me as
out of character. Now our entire society is incapable of protest. The
psychology of human degradation is very intriguing.
Once upon a time people stripped naked and chained themselves to railings in
Trafalgar square protesting Nuclear weapons deployment in Britain. Public
nakedness has been a widely accepted form of public protest.
Nothing will change until a bus load of retirees strips naked for a junket
to Las Vegas.
I will lead the charge of the bare-assed geezers. Is it still acceptable
if I keep my cane? I'd feel naked without it.
Vladimyr Ivan Burachynsky
Ph.D.(Civil Eng.), M.Sc.(Mech.Eng.), M.Sc.(Biology)
120-1053 Beaverhill Blvd.
CANADA R2J 3R2
(204) 2548321 Phone/Fax
<mailto:vburach at shaw.ca> vburach at shaw.ca
From: friam-bounces at redfish.com [mailto:friam-bounces at redfish.com] On Behalf
Of Victoria Hughes
Sent: November 20, 2010 4:20 PM
To: The Friday Morning Applied Complexity Coffee Group;
discuss at sfcomplex.org
Subject: [FRIAM] TSA, security technology, and opting out
>From Bruce Schneier
link to great blog post, comprehensive with lots of links, useful for all
who travel by air-
Schneier on Security <http://www.schneier.com/>
first few paragraphs-
" <http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2010/11/tsa_backscatter.html> TSA
Backscatter X-ray Backlash
Things are happening so fast that I don't know if I should bother. But here
are some links and observations.
The head of the Allied Pilots Association
<http://www.cnn.com/2010/TRAVEL/11/11/pilots.body.scanning/> its members to
avoid both the full body scanners and the patdowns.
een.html> This first-hand report, from a man who refused to fly rather than
subject himself to a full-body scan or an enhanced patdown, has been making
the rounds. (The TSA is now
him.) It reminds me of
l> Penn Jillette's story from 2002.
A woman has a
a-chair-her-ticket-ripped-up.html> horrific story of opting-out of the full
this one about the TSA patting down a screaming toddler. And
Dave Barry's encounter (also
this NPR interview)......
Yesterday, the TSA administrator John Pistole
21.html> by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on
full-body scanners. Rep. Ron Paul introduced a
<http://www.campaignforliberty.com/blog.php?view=39468> bill to ban them.
(His floor speech is <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-N5adYM7Kw> here.)
I'm one of the plaintiffs in a
wsuit> lawsuit to ban them.
Book for kids:
<http://www.boingboing.net/2010/11/11/tsas-new-book-for-ki.html> My First
Cavity Search. Cover seen
<http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3584/3304306634_0a9e51503c_b.jpg> at at TSA
Michael Chertoff, former Department of Homeland Security secretary, has been
touting the full-body scanners, while at the same time
s_chertoff_on_scanner_promotion/> maintaining a financial interest in the
company that makes them."
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