Update - Read Chuck DeVore's comments to this article below!
It appears as if the right wing media has shifted gears to a new target- airport body scanners. Conservatives, who championed invasive legislation like the Patriot Act, fear that the body scanners go too far, sacrificing privacy for protection on America's airlines - you do recall how the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in 2001, right?
Well, it looks like conservatives have found their new poster child for governmental intrusion - John Tyner. To sum it up, Tyner refused to be scanned and also refused to be patted down, making a comment that warranted TSA supervisors to enter the equation. Here are Tyner's own words of the incident:
I made my way through the line toward the first line of "defense": the TSA ID checker. This agent looked over my boarding pass, looked over my ID, looked at me and then back at my ID. After that, he waved me through. SAN is still operating metal detectors, so I walked over to one of the lines for them. After removing my shoes and making my way toward the metal detector, the person in front of me in line was pulled out to go through the backscatter machine. After asking what it was and being told, he opted out. This left the machine free, and before I could go through the metal detector, I was pulled out of line to go through the backscatter machine. When asked, I half-chuckled and said, "I don't think so." At this point, I was informed that I would be subject to a pat down, and I waited for another agent.Tyner told the TSA agents that he would not be "subject to a molestation" in order to make his flight.
A male agent (it was a female who had directed me to the backscatter machine in the first place), came and waited for me to get my bags and then directed me over to the far corner of the area for screening. After setting my things on a table, he turned to me and began to explain that he was going to do a "standard" pat down. (I thought to myself, "great, not one of those gropings like I've been reading about".) After he described, the pat down, I realized that he intended to touch my groin. After he finished his description but before he started the pat down, I looked him straight in the eye and said, "if you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested." He, a bit taken aback, informed me that he would have to involve his supervisor because of my comment.
If you listen to the audio of the incident made by Tyner using his cellphone, the TSA agents sound very calm and try to explain airport procedures to a seemingly irate Tyner, who insists that he should be allowed to walk through the metal detectors and proceed without the preferred pat-down or body scan.
Reading Tyner's blog, it would be unfair to call him a conservative political activist - he obviously has a problem with airport screenings - but, what I found more interesting was not Tyner's response, but the right-wing response to Tyner's response, and I wanted to focus on none other then Chuck DeVore's comments, as made on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website.
You may recall that I had mentioned Chuck DeVore in the past - last September I had written an article about Fox News and Andrew Breitbart manufacturing stories, referencing a DeVore piece for Big Hollywood regarding California's drought problems and the matter of an endangered fish - the delta smelt. DeVore actually responded bragging about how he had represented 500,000 Californians while I sit 3,000 miles away, implying that he had a greater comprehension of the situation while I had none - I responded, but DeVore thought it was best to say nothing more.
It seems that I have another story to write about while sitting comfortably 3,000 miles away - Chuck DeVore is using Tyner's TSA situation for political gain with his right-wing base. Acting in the typical conservative manner, DeVore attempts to re-frame things by calling the Advanced Imagery Technology scan that Tyner turned down as a "naked body scan" and then calling the pat-down a "crotch grab" - Tyner explained that TSA agents stated the pat-down "involved running hands up the inside of [his] legs until they felt [his] groin." When was there ever grabbing of the crotch?
DeVore insists that these security measures should not be utilized because they have never stopped a terrorist, claiming "alert passengers and intelligence" have stopped terrorism in the past.
I wonder if DeVore is referring to post-September 11th terrorist attacks that have failed - Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded his flight in the Netherlands, not America, and would have succeeded had his bomb fully detonated, and another recent plot involving a mail bomb bound for the United States originated outside of the country as well. And shoe-bomber Richard Reid? Paris to Miami, and that plot also failed before he was apprehended.
Looking at September 11th, one could say intelligence did little to deter the attacks on the World Trade Center, although passengers were able to foil one of the terrorist plots that day - would increased security measures have helped prevent those attacks? Had Abdulmutallab entered a "naked body scanner," would his bomb have been uncovered?
DeVore lacks these answers but has no problems decrying the costs of airport security, and in typical teabag fashion, he moves onto America's long-standing war against "militant Islamism" by citing the conflict with the Barbary Pirates from 1801 to 1815. DeVore ignores the fact that a peace treaty with Tripoli prior to the subsequent Barbary treaties stated religion was not the pretense for war.
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.I wonder what DeVore would say about the modern-day Somoli pirates - Somolia is almost entirely Muslim, so would that make these pirates off the coast of Africa Muslim pirates? Should America wage war with Somalia for being the host nation for a marauding band of pirates who happen to be Muslim?
DeVore states that "the best defense is a good offense," implying that he would rather go to war with Iran or any other Islamic state to preempt a terrorist attack. He goes on to state that if terrorists are found in a nation, America should "kill them," and quite possibly that nation's leadership, too. DeVore doesn't stop there - if America is forced to kill and "topple" the targeted "terrorist-loving government," DeVore believes America should spend no time occupying or rebuilding that nation - isn't that what started this whole mess in Afghanistan? I am reminded of a quote by former Representative Charlie Wilson regarding the Soviet-Afghan war and America's involvement:
"These things happened. They were glorious and they changed the world... and then we fucked up the end game."Macho DeVore sums up his stance as so: "Bottom line: we Americans get to keep our liberty and the bad guys get to lose their lives, which, when you think about it, is doubly satisfying in an especially American kind of way."
Personally, I have no problem with increased airport screening methods - I realize that I am sacrificing a bit of privacy for increased safety, and if I desired to maintain some of that privacy, I can utilize other modes of transportation, like stepping in my car and turning on the ignition, but I guess should I be pulled over I can pull out my "Chuck DeVore Card" and tell the cops to not touch my junk and go pursue some terrorists or illegal immigrants or something. I might as well rip up my driver's license as well, being the photo is an invasion of my privacy. Constitutional conservatives, like DeVore, should realize that air travel is not a right, but a privileged. DeVore likes to claim the government has no place securing air travel but who exactly owns the airspace anyway?
Besides, why are people even listening to DeVore, anyway? He finished third in the Republican primary to unseat Democrat Barbara Boxer, who went on to win with 52 percent of the vote...