Thursday, December 31, 2009

Privacy and Bombs

I'm sure everyone has heard about the failed terrorist attempt that happened on Christmas at least a thousand times by now. (Cause if there's anything American media likes more than a celebrity or politician's extramarital affairs, it's a good terrorist story.)

I obviously find any attempt of violence to be reprehensible, but at the same time I don't find it necessary to lose all my shit over what could have happened. Not to diminish this clusterfuck of a situation, but all the horrible violent acts that are actually happening deserve more attention in my opinion. For me this situation is more about the obvious failure on the part of our intelligence people and should be used as a learning experience instead of a way to bash President Obama.

As usual, Glenn Greenwald sums up the relentless fear mongering perfectly:
What this actually illustrates is that many people are addicted to the excitement and fear of Terrorist melodramas. They crave some of that awesome 9/12 energy, where we overnight became The Greatest Generation and -- unified and resolute -- rose to the challenge of a Towering, Evil Enemy. Armao is angry and upset because the leader didn't oblige her need to re-create that high drama by flamboyantly flying back to Washington to create a tense storyline, pick up a bullhorn, stand on some rubble, and personally make her feel "safe." Maureen Dowd similarly complained today that Obama "appeared chilly in his response to the chilling episode on Flight 253."
The more I think about it the more I'm against the routine use of full body scanners idea as well. As the ACLU has said, people expect privacy underneath their clothing. Unless the scanners are only used in situations that warrant more invasive security screenings, I can't help but feel like this idea violates our right to avoid unlawful search. (It's hard to think of these scanners of anything less then a strip search after seeing these images.) I also wouldn't be so concerned with the idea if the cost wasn't so high (it's got to be astronomical) and if our transportation options in this country weren't so pathetic. The fact most people will have no choice about having their body scan (because they have to fly) makes this all the more uncomfortable for me.

It's situations like this one that bring the quote, "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety," to mind. (Especially after reading this.)

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