Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Boycott Commercial Air Travel!

It has been nearly a decade since Leonidas has refused to travel by commercial air. It happened one day in 2000 when an airline declined to allow him to board a flight from Eureka, California to Los Angeles while in possession of his legally permitted Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver.

He relented one time in 2007 at the entreaty of Mrs. Leonidas for a flight to Antigua in the Caribbean and was only prevented from decking a surly and arrogant Walmart reject TSA "officer" in San Juan, Puerto Rico by his better judgement.

Since that time "alternate" modes of travel have been chosen and it now appears the idea is gaining traction.

THIS IS A NATIONAL BOYCOTT CALL.  

Specifically:
  • We will not consent to be sexually assaulted as a condition of getting on an airplane.  A virtual strip-search is no different than a physical strip-search, and a "grope" is a sexual assault.  Period.  Such a "Custody Search" is only permissible under US law when one has been arrested with probable cause to believe one has committed a crime and is being taken into custody.  We refuse to accept being treated as literal Federal Prisoners as a condition of boarding an aircraft.
  • We assert that virtual strip-search machines do not in fact, and cannot in fact, detect things such as an explosive device inserted into the anus, which has already been done by a terrorist in an attempt to kill a Saudi Prince.  The so-called "purpose" claimed for such searches is thus in fact a lie.
  • We understand that flying carries risk - including the risk of a terrorist attack.  But a terrorist can do just as much damage exploding a device in the security screening line, which of course, a scanner and intrusive grope will not prevent as they haven't been encountered yet.  Again, the claimed purpose of said procedures is a lie as any terrorist intending such an action can simply explode himself while standing in line.
  • You are more than 100 times as likely to die in a car crash then from a terrorist attack on US soil.  About 42,000 people die annually in a car crash.  3,000 people died on 9/11, and a few in other terrorist attacks since (e.g. Ft. Hood.)  The odds are clear - under 4,000 people have been killed in terrorism attacks on US soil since 2000, while over 400,000 people have died in car accidents.  While terrorism is horrifying it does not rise to a risk that justifies abrogation of our Constitutional rights - especially when the proffered claims of "safety" against said attacks made by the government are in fact intentionally false and misleading.
  • We assert that metal detectors are sufficient to detect weapons such as guns and knives. Armed pilots, marshals and even armed citizens with concealed weapons permits would and will stop armed assaults.  In point of fact, United Flight 93 was stopped on 9/11 without any weapons at all by the passengers once they determined the terrorists intended to use it as a bomb.  In short, other than by means of explosive, arming pilots, marshals and/or citizens is more than sufficient to prevent terrorism on board.  Further, claims that gunfire on board would cause "explosive decompression" are intentional lies - the average aircraft intentionally bleeds off massive amounts of air from the cabin to balance cabin air inducted from the turbine bleed as a routine part of pressurization for high-altitude flight.
  • We further assert in defense of our position that no prohibited item was brought through security on 9/11.  In point of fact boxcutters were permitted items on board aircraft at that point.  There was no breach of airport security on that day.  No guns, no bombs, nothing but permitted items and determined individuals who were willing to both kill and die.  The reason 9/11 succeeded was not due to "lax security" by the airlines but rather because the government refused to act on reports of suspicious activities at flight schools in Florida and also refused to run down and remove persons in this country on expired Visas!  That is, 9/11 happened due to government incompetence, not due to airline security breaches - and that's a fact.
  • We do not, and will not, consent to being under effective arrest just for setting foot inside an airport.  The position that the TSA takes that one cannot refuse screening and decide not to board - that is, you cannot determine what you are to be subjected to in advance and elect to give or not to give consent.  That is, once apprised of the nature of the screen to be performed you cannot then refuse and not fly.  This is an arrest when one has committed no crime.  It is our position that this procedure constitutes unlawful detainment and felony kidnapping.
    ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ!!
 

18 comments:

Howlsatmoon said...

125% agreement. I had a little phot-chop posted at my place this morning. I am no where as talented as you in the turning of words....but you'll get the picture.

Be well and 'drive' safe!!

Solaris said...

I too agree with this, and in the past five-six years have only flown either as part of a military movement or when I was on leave from Iraq and didn't have time to drive.
I've found I enjoy taking the bus. You meet interesting people that way.

Nick Rowe said...

You make a very persuasive case, but the fact remains that terrorists love aircraft the way dogs love trucks. Even with the heightened security after 9/11, there have been several attempts to bring down airplanes. If aircraft weren't prime targets, then why wouldn't they go after easier targets?

Prior to Lockerbie and 9-11, the most frequent assaults on air travel were skyjacking incidents. They became a mobile mass kidnapping. Most of our security developed to stop that, not bombing.

The targets of a terrorist attack are NOT the victims, but the survivors. Terrorists create fear which paralyzes our daily activities, and airlines are a major mode of commerce.

Even though air travel is safer than driving, people feel less control and hence more fear while flying. Passengers on a plane cannot escape, and any damage to the plane can cause certain death. It's the visceral reaction of considering not just the probability of failure but the loss given failure.

Plane crashes get lots of media attention, which is what the terrorists want. They disrupt travel for extended periods of time. There is a huge psychological toll on the population.

You could argue that shopping malls, sports arenas, and music festivals are better terrorist targets. They have large concentrations of people and are only slightly defended. They are major ports of commerce. Frankly, I don't understand why terrorists haven't attacked those venues, but I'm not a terrorist. The fact of the matter is that we have to defend their objectives, whatever they are.

Many sports venues and concerts prohibit bags, search bags, and conduct pat down searches. Are we paranoid there too?

Maybe we developed this intrusive security on aircraft as a reaction to the multiple hijackings and bombings of previous decades, and now our resources are misplaced. Your arguments, though, give me no comfort that eliminating aircraft security would prevent hijackings and bombings. I think that as soon as x-rays, scans, and pat downs are stopped, there will be several terrorist attacks soon thereafter. I don't want to be on those planes.

One objective of terrorist operations is to make the government appear ineffective. This is precisely what the Madrid Train Bombings did. Even if you made an ironclad case to reduce ineffective airline security, a subsequent attack would raise the perception that the reduction permitted the attack. No politician would ever sign on to that.

Another objective of terrorism is to prompt a government overreaction, and perhaps there you are correct. But if you boycott air travel, then you basically let Janet Napolitano boss you around. Boycotts are RARELY effective and are usually childish tactics employed by liberals. It would be better to get rid of Napolitano and find representatives more amenable to privacy concerns.

I don't find airport security to be very intrusive. The body scanners can be tweaked to make the images less voyeuristic.

In the past year, I have been through SFO, DFW, IAD, EWR, BOI, LAS, PHX, LAX, SNA, PDX, and DEN and nobody has ever "grabbed my junk." Am I missing all the "groping" airports or are a few peevish Paulites exaggerating their pat-down experiences? Just wondering.

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Nick,



Can you cite ONE instance in which the airport jail-like hassels have resulted in the apprehension of a terrorist suspect? On the other hand, there are scores of reports where "contraband" has been smuggled past the Barney Phyfe TSA drones.



"Many sports venues and concerts prohibit bags, search bags, and conduct pat down searches. Are we paranoid there too?"



Private venues do not threaten "uncooperative" patrons with fines and jail time.



"Your arguments, though, give me no comfort that eliminating aircraft security would prevent hijackings and bombings."



Check out the cartoon at the header if this posting.



"But if you boycott air travel, then you basically let Janet Napolitano boss you around."



Big Sister will not be groping me if I choose to avoid air ports.



"I don't find airport security to be very intrusive. The body scanners can be tweaked to make the images less voyeuristic."

"Tweaking" the system is like frosting a turd. 

You are free to submit voluntarily to the procedures I used to perform on inmates during my stint in the Los Angeles County jail. As for this "peevish Paulite", Screw Napolitano!

Howlsatmoon said...

Nick...no disrespect intended whatsoever, but, "Maybe we developed this intrusive security on aircraft as a reaction to the multiple hijackings and bombings of previous decades, and now our resources are misplaced"....

Two words I have a problem with, "reaction" and "misplaced".

Neither has any direction at you. It has to do with our....well, remember, I wrote myself that I don't parse words well.....

The TSA is reactionary indeed. When we were attacked by boxcutters, everything "sharp" was banned, then the Liquids, the shoes........

Now the TSA is looking at us "nekkid" on the scans or doing a "palms up" pat down.

Bravo Sierra to that. Simply get rid of the PC and do "profiling" and 'friendly' questioning by the agents......when was the last time an Israeli aircraft blown up, or a three year old American white child, or a Grandmother guilty of terrorism?

The demographic is quite clear.

Find them, grope them if necessary, and the skies will be safer.

Leave me alone. I've fought and bled for my Country, I'm willing to do it again, I happen to be a 'white' guy.....and don't even think about touching my kids or my wife.

I will go to jail. The TSA agent will go to the hospital. The blog world will support my defense.

I win. Because I am an American, and I will not submit to either the terrorists, OR the Statist beaurocrats.

*see....that's why I just post a picture rather than writing*

Semper Fi

Nick Rowe said...

@Leonidas:

No, I cannot name any instances of apprehended terror suspects, but I also don't keep up with police blotters anymore. But you're raising the bar: an apprehension isn't necessary to prove effectiveness.

Have the security measures prevented any attempted attacks? Perhaps, but I can't prove that any more than I can prove that our ICBMs prevented a Soviet invasion through Mutually Assured Destruction. The absence of proof is not proof of absence.

The lack of skyjackings and bombings on US aircraft tells me that either our security is working, there are no more terrorists, or the terrorists no longer have interest in attacking our domestic airliners anymore. I don't believe the latter two cases.

I haven't done any studies nor do I have any data at hand, but given that there are many countries with varying levels of security and observations of skyjackings and bombings elsewhere, there is at least some evidence of security effectiveness here.

9/11 may have been committed by men armed with legal instruments, but they get away with that only one time. Prior to 9/11, it was SOP in the Anti-terrorism community to instruct people to remain calm and do nothing to attract attention during a skyjacking. This changed after 9/11. I think that if another box cutter attack took place, the airplane would look just like the cartoon, except without firearms.

On an airplane, I am not worried about explosive decompression from firearms. I'm worried about missed shots and excessive penetration.

But that said, I'm not overly concerned in general by private citizens with firearms, even in bars, but I wouldn't necessarily want to be locked in a cabin with them for five hours. In WWII, when Allied aircraft mistakenly bombed friendly forces, the ground troops frequently shot back. A simple misunderstanding can easily become a self-reinforcing catastrophe.

Like I said, I haven't been groped at all in at least my past 28 airline flights from more than 10 different airports. I'd like to know where all this groping is taking place and whether it's SOP or rogue behavior before I pass judgment on it.

@Howlsatmoon:

I'm in favor of random checks plus profiling. By profiling, you can ease the security burden by eliminating white-haired old Nebraskan ladies from searches. But you have to have some random element so the bad guys can't game the system by finding a sympathetic white-haired old lady.

I'm not sure that libertarians would or should agree with profiling even for the terrorist looking types.

I do believe our security has been reactionary and overblown. I'm not opposed to deep consideration of any and all of Leonidas' proposed reforms. I think each must be studied carefully, not merely adopted on a principle with lives hanging in the balance. I think there is a reasonable basis for all the security measures, although their necessity, implementation, and effectiveness may be in serious doubt.

As I said, the moment we revoke a security measure and that becomes the next breach, it will be back forever. If I were a Congressional committee chair and good Congressman Leonidas came to me with these proposals, I'd hold hearings and co-sponsor the final bill. Please don't confuse my hesitation and skepticism for an outright rejection.

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Nick,

Read the link in my previous comment.

Pogo said...

After the 9/11 attacks, when 19 Muslim terrorists – 15 from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates and one each from Egypt and Lebanon, 14 with "al" in their names – took over commercial aircraft with box-cutters, the government banned sharp objects from planes.

Airport security began confiscating little old ladies' knitting needles and breaking the mouse-sized nail files off of passengers' nail clippers. Surprisingly, no decrease in the number of hijacking attempts by little old ladies and manicurists was noted.

Ann Coulter

Anonymous said...

May I have permission to use the bullet points in this post to start a Facebook group calling for a boycott?

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Anon,
Please do. This needs to go viral. Please check the link just above the entire quote for additional accreditation.

Chris Palmer said...

I'm commenting because I, like many travelers, want to send the message that I'm sick and tired of TSA and feel like a rat in a trap. I can live with the item scanners and I don't mind walking through a metal detector, but it is plain ridiculous to pat down with open hands, an 80 year old lady or a 6 month old child. I am a 60 yr old regular person. Flying has become just a trial to get from A to B. TSA is way over the top on their tactics. They are completely misguided on what can be smuggled and how. The point about not being able to detect something hidden in someone's anus is a perfect point. All that money and there's still a perfectly easy way to get powdered explosives onboard. So let me know when we can organize a one week boycott or anything else that would be effective to stop TSA in their tracks and come down to earth. They've taken their mission to ridiculous heights; caught up in ways they can stop something that is pretty hard to stop. I feel sorry for the airline companies, they are slowly closing the gap between profit and loss, but their staff take the brunt of grumpy travelers gritting their teeth after simply 'getting through security'. TSA needs a major reality check.

Nick Rowe said...

Leonidas:

I'm sorry I did not see your link from earlier. I'm traveling and using only the browser on my phone.

OK, you've provided me one grisly anecdote from one person at one airport from one security officer.

If true, I have strong sympathy for this woman's plight, but an isolated incident is not just cause to uproot an entire security system. There are millions of people flying and there are not millions of complaints.

Has this woman filed a lawsuit or a criminal complaint? Has her story been verified by video camera footage at the airport?

I stand by my original point: To what extent is there "groping" in airports?

Is it nationwide TSA policy? If so, then there are lots of officers not doing their jobs because they have failed to grope me on every flight I've ever taken. Maybe I need to spend more time on the Stair Master to get a more grope-worthy ass.

Is it a local TSA procedure at specific airports? Well, it didn't seem to be the policy at the 12 airports I've been through lately. If it is local, then TSA needs to monitor those airports.

Is it from over-exuberant security officers? Then they need additional training. Cops grope people during otherwise lawful searches every day; this is not a good reason to ban cops from frisking people.

Is it from officers using lawful searches as an opportunity to sexually assault people? Then it's a crime to be investigated.

If you believe that any pat down, even with sweeping motions and open hands is a violation of individual liberty, that's an opinion I respect. Take that position and defend it. But relying on exaggerated anecdotes for their shock value is unbecoming of prudent discourse on the topic. The pilot who appeared on Hannity claiming, "they wanted to see my penis" sounded like a complete moron.

The searches are either reasonable or they are not, and that's the tack I recommend you take with it.

Please don't take away the idea that I'm hostile to your ideas. I wouldn't have linked my blog to yours if I didn't like your ideas. I was an Antiterrorism Instructor in the Army, and I look at this issue from a different angle. I'm not insensitive to the libertarian principles we share.

ASM826 said...

I have been waiting since at least July 2008 for everyone to join me.

http://randomactsofpatriotism.blogspot.com/2008/07/freedom-versus-security.html

Welcome to the Random Acts of Patriotism boycott. It's good to have you aboard.

location espagne said...

Thanks for sharing this informative stuff and totally agreed with the post.

Nick Rowe said...

OK, I've been out of the loop for a while. I finally got the scoop.

So the "junk" situation relates to a NEW policy regarding baggy clothing. I haven't been groped because 1) it's new and 2) my clothes were sufficiently tight due to excessive cheeseburger consumption.

The woman in your article was apparently wearing something loose.

I now get the who, what, where, when, how, and why.

And I was planning to wear my sweats home tomorrow. :)

Anonymous said...

If you are in uniform like iam Navy i dint get gropped either you are exempt

Jet Airways Flights said...

Thanks for the post..I was not aware of this news and I am glad to visit here and gather information about air planes..This will be helpful in my project..

Estelle Edwards said...

A nationwide boycott of air travel will put pressure on the airlines to lobby Congress to get rid of the TSA. I started a Meetup group for this purpose. Visit the link at the end of this comment. It doesn't matter if you don't live in the same state where this Meetup has originated [New York]. I am looking for huge membership. There are no required meetings. Just join, RSVP 'yes' to show you are boycotting air travel. The homepages have all the information. Post your TSA stories on the message board. Tell your friends about this Meetup. Thank you.

www.meetup.com/National-Boycott-of-Airline-Travel-2011