Friday, September 16, 2011

Government Inept at Catching "Terrorists"

From The Market Ticker -

Dear Fellow Libertarian,
Who is she?  She's a suburban housewife from Ohio who was flying to Detroit. 
A SWAT team stormed her plane as it sat in a remote part of Detroit airport, where she was removed by them along with two indian nationals she did not know who sat next to her.  She was interrogated, strip-searched, and eventually released without charges because the flight crew thought she demonstrated "suspicious" behavior.  According to the news, during the flight, one of the other two indian men went to the bathroom, took a long time, and the other got up to wait outside.  Shoshana remained seated.  For the aircrew, that was the clincher.
According to Frontier Airlines, an F16 shadowed the airliner ready to shoot it down.
"Who cares?", you may ask.  Better safe than sorry.  This is just another day in the battle against Al-Queda, dontcha know.  Besides, there must be more to it than what we hear in the news.
I don't like encouraging paranoia, and this is paranoia writ with the power of government behind it.  
Out system of law grew from the tradition of stopping this kind of mindless, lawless interference in our lives, but now it seems that doesn't matter at all.  
Think about what happened to this woman, and the two foreign men next to her. 
For no discernable criminal behavior, she ran afoul of the system.  You might say she was considered guilty until proven innocent. 
Just to get on the plane, by law, she, and all her fellow passengers, had to get permission from the DHS.   She was searched before boarding the plane.
She was not ever informed of what she was being "detained" (arrested) for, and she was not secure in her papers and effects.
Her fellow passengers had to watch, and cower, as a SWAT team did the risky business of removing her from the plane at gunpoint. 
An airliner with hundreds of people ran a greatly heightened risk of one of our jets accidentally shooting it down.
She had her clothing forcibly removed, and yet many of her fellow citizens throughout the USA think it's perfectly alright to be strip searched by a government agent without cause.
Her name will forever be in the "terrorism watch list."
As terrifying as this experience was for all involved, a lot of these same citizens rationalize the crushing of her individual rights with the thought the government must have secret info the rest of us don't know about.  To them, this is both OK and justifies their actions.  
Worse yet, the vast majority of people are completely convinced this will never happen to them, so it the abuse of this one person doesn't matter.
And think of the money wasted for the airline delays, the fighter jet, and the SWAT team.
Is this the way we want to live?
For my part, I'm going to make it a special point to never use Frontier Airlines again, that is, if I ever get back on board an airliner.  
I'm also going to remember Ms. Hebshi's name.  It reminds me that this is all real, and not just some paranoid fantasy.
And my list of names is getting longer every day.
Ed: Pete Blome is the chair of the Okaloosa County Libertarian Party in Florida.

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