For a Fee Fliers Can Preserve the 4th Amendment
There are many things that disturb me about American life but one of the most galling surely has to be losing the 4th amendment to fly.
I can understand having my bags searched for no reason other than it's luggage with the potential to hide serious trouble, but I still don’t like it. But just because one idiot crackpot tried to use explosives in his sneakers 5 years ago we all still have to go through the asinine, embarrassing evolution of taking off our shoes while we are searched and scanned, just to travel.
If there were good trains in this country I would never fly again, but since there aren't my rights get smashed in the land of the free. No, it is not that big of a deal to take off my shoes like some child while I’m searched. It is a very, very big deal to live in a land full of such scared pipsqueeks who take away our rights without thinking for no good reason.
Even after 5 years the paranoia and over-reaction of 9/11 will not fade. If some idiot really thinks he can get by security to blow up my plane with his shoes then go ahead and let him try, the fool will fail just as spectacularly as the first attempt. Meantime I’d get to live among real Americans who refuse to live in fear, and someday I might even get to travel in peace.
That’s why fliers hate taking off their shoes, it’s the stupidity and rank fear that rankles so. The message has obviously been getting through, for GE Security has actually made a machine that will scan shoes. For a fee and the hassle of a background check fliers can now leave their shoes on with a scan, and some of the machines will be at my home airport in San Jose.
San Jose International can take their background check, fee, and shoe scanning machine and shove it. This American does not pay for any part of the Bill of Rights. I have paid my citizenship dues, I continue to pay them, I have done nothing wrong and I try very hard to be a good person. After my belongings are pawed through, after I have been visually recorded and electronically scanned, after being looked over by armed security, go ahead, have the god damn shoes.
You can take my clothes while you take my rights and my dignity, but you will never take away my total, searing disgust at the ridiculous, manifestly irrational fear that makes it happen. How disgraceful, to be driven by so much fear after 217 years of stable government. As Americans we could have been so much better than this, and hopefully before I die I’ll be able to fly again without feeling disgusted at living in an irrational, fear-driven society, my shoes always comfortably on.