Kilroy Was Here
January 06, 2003
Defending Freedom?
Recently there have been a spate of articles in people's blogs regarding the Transportation Security Agency. One of the more famous being Penn Gillette's account of his experience with the Los Angeles division.

Penn Gilette grew upset when a TSA employee inadvertently touched his crotch.

Last Thursday I was flying to LA on the Midnight flight. I went through security my usual sour stuff. I beeped, of course, and was shuttled to the "toss-em" line. A security guy came over. I assumed the position. I had a button up shirt on that was untucked. He reached around while he was behind me and grabbed around my front pocket. I guess he was going for my flashlight, but the area could have loosely been called "crotch." I said, "You have to ask me before you touch me or it's assault."

This was probably accidental, but Penn quickly escalated the situation, first by accusing the guy of a crime and second by involving the police. Penn did this because " freedom is kind of a hobby with me, and I have disposable income that I'll spend to find out how to get people more of it."

When I first read this article, all I could think about was the poor TSA guy. Here's a low level government employee in a new agency. He probably has a family of his own. He probably has to deal with hundreds of passengers everyday, and I'm sure a large portion of them look down on him. This TSA guy didn't pass the law for airport security or design the procedures. In his heart, he probably thinks he's helping stop terrorism. And to tell the truth, in his way, the TSA guys are doing more to stop terrorism than I am.

And here's this big celebrity who's going to put this poor TSA guy through the ringer because the TSA guy didn't utter the right incantation before the TSA guy started the search, and he does this in the name of Freedom.

If Penn Gilette was truly concerned about freedom, he'd use some of that 'disposable income' to challenge the more onerous clauses in the Patriot Act, rather than hassle some working stiff who's just trying to do a hard job.

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