The Opposite of Irresponsible


“On the eve of a major national holiday and less than one year after al-Qaida’s failed attack last Christmas Day, it is irresponsible for a group to suggest travelers opt out of the very screening that may prevent an attack using non-metallic explosives,” said TSA Administrator John Pistole.

(Houston Chronicle.)

Pistole is responding to National Opt-Out Day, a nice little bit of civil disobedience in which people are being encouraged to exercise their right to opt out of intrusive and possibly harmful full-body scans and be groped by TSA mallcops instead. (I’ll be opting out by not flying out of any airport with full-body scanners unless I am paid a lot of money to do so.) In the first draft, Pistole probably wrote “irresponsible and dangerous,” the standard formulation; leaving out the “dangerous” part was probably smart—invoking Abdulmutallab’s attack conveys that message.

By telling TSA, “no thank you, we don’t care to play with your expensive toys,” isn’t what we’re doing taking responsibility for our own security?

“Al-Qaida’s failed attack last Christmas Day” was Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s failed underwear-bomb attack on a Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit—an attack that TSA did not stop, and could not have, since Abdulmutallab got on the plane in Amsterdam. Alert passengers and crew in the cabin of the airplane stopped that attack—proof that we can protect ourselves even when government doesn’t, and evidence in favor of limiting, rather than expanding, airport security kabuki.

If we don’t do so right now, when TSA has started taking naked pictures of and groping us and our children in the name of “good security sense” (TSA’s catchphrase of the moment), I doubt that we ever will.


3 responses to “The Opposite of Irresponsible”

  1. OK Mark, I’m bothered by this. Not enough to participate in Opt-Out day, but bothered by this and all the other TSA security theater. Bothered enough to kick in a few bucks. Can you suggest an organization that’s fighting this?

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