I thought about calling this post “What Kind of People,” because the real question here is “What kind of people would do this sort of thing?”

But the truth is, we all seem to be the kind of people; it’s just a question of style.

What am I talking about?

Over the last couple of weeks, at least, there has been a lot of discussion of things like government-sponsored perverts who ogle naked children in airports and aggressively fondle, or otherwise harass, people who complain. Or maybe it’s photographing naked women and fondling children.

And if TSA can’t fondle our children, they’ll just terrorize them.

But it’s not just the TSA.  Over the last few days, there’s talk — mostly in the form of complaints — about the Wikileaks exposure of government-sponsored crimes and criminals. Today, Scott Greenfield writes about the government-ensconced criminals who wish to leave ordinary criminals sitting in feces for days on end without proper medical treatment.  And a couple of days ago, a California court approved the idea of unshackling those criminals in a case that pretty much eliminated whatever was left of the Fourth Amendment.

The Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court says that he believes the United States has an obligation to follow the law, to enforce constitutional rights.  “But,” he asks, “what is a state supposed to do?”

After all, just because you believe the United States has an obligation to enforce constitutional rights (and you’re the leader of one branch of the government of those United States), well, that doesn’t mean that you should actually enforce constitutional rights.

Hell, no!  There’s “safety” to consider.  A noisy clothes-dryer in a house you really should not be entering in the first place bothers you?  Open it up and look inside to find the cause of the noise.  Quickly! Before some government agent gets hurt! Or maybe a child!

After all, if something happens to the children, who will TSA ogle? Who will they fondle?

The truth of the matter is that the United States is no longer a nation where the Law is King. It’s not even really anymore a Nation of Men.  What we are is a Nation of Whiny Allegedly-Scared Crybabies who need to search anyone, anywhere, anytime for potential dangers.

Here’s an interesting question, though: when we’re no longer safe in our persons, houses, papers, and effects, how can we continue to argue that it’s really about safety?  When we are sexually assaulted by our own government in public, how can we say we’re safer? Our “public servants” say the magical words as they violate all of our rights: “it’s for safety reasons.” (In courtrooms across the country, rights violations are routinely excused as being for an even more narrow purpose: “officer safety.”  We don’t even pretend much anymore that it’s for safety generally.  It’s just for the safety of the very people who are trampling the Constitution.)

It would perhaps be one thing if the goal of safety were actually achieved.  Or real.  But it’s not.

Ordinary criminals, they commit their crimes without bothering to explain.

When it comes down to it, the difference between sex offenders behind bars and sex offenders in government, between thieves in prison and thieves in the State Department, between criminals from the oppressed classes and criminals from the ruling class — well, it’s just a matter of style.

2 comments

  1. The Real Pat-Down Outrage
    If the media want to focus on embarrassing frisks, they should look at what black and Hispanic Americans routinely deal with, courtesy of the police department.
    By: Cord Jefferson | Posted: November 29, 2010 at 12:43 AM http://www.theroot.com/views/pat-downs-america-should-be-outraged-about

    John Moore/Getty Images
    .
    cord.jefferson
    If the media want to focus on embarrassing frisks, they should look at what black and Hispanic Americans routinely deal with, courtesy of the police department.
    11/29/2010 00:43
    As the fevered pitch around the Transportation Security Administration screenings gets even more fevered on the busiest travel days of the year, it’s worth noting that, for some Americans, embarrassing frisks are de rigueur.
    The man who first pointed this out to me is New York Times reporter David Carr, who tweeted, “White people aren’t used to having the hands of state on them. Black folks know all about stop and frisk.”
    Carr is right about that, at least as far as New York City goes. According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactic, in which officers stop citizens on the street and search their bodies and bags, was used on 149,753 New Yorkers in the first three months of 2010. Of those frisked, 85 percent were black or Latino. Even more shocking is that 87 percent of those stopped were completely innocent.
    Juxtapose New York’s stop-and-frisk nonsense with the TSA’s new “pat-down searches,” which many people are calling invasive. In many ways, it would seem more important to ensure that a flier doesn’t have a bomb than to ensure that a New Yorker doesn’t have an unregistered gun — yet you wouldn’t think it from the relative outrage among citizens and the media.

    John Tyner, a traveler who warned a TSA agent not to touch his “junk” during a routine search, sparked a nationwide call for airline passengers to refuse full-body scans and force the pat-downs — thus causing massive delays at the airport-security lines — while heading home for the holidays. Ultimately, the call to boycott was largely ignored, but the issue of TSA boundaries is one that’s surely set to divide the nation during the next several weeks of busy holiday travel. In fact, it’s already taken up space in most, if not all, newspapers, magazines and blogs of record, with pundits of all stripes attacking the issue from every angle imaginable.

    I personally think that people should deal with it. Vigorous searches related to air travel are the price one pays both to live in modernity and to enjoy the convenience of flying around the world on planes. Avoiding airport pat-downs — the likes of which bouncers give at nightclubs all the time — has never been a right, just as flying home for Thanksgiving instead of driving isn’t a right.

    But what’s more interesting, especially amid all the TSA madness, is the dearth of attention given to the stop-and-frisk searches taking place across the country every single day. As Carr notes, invasive searches are a fact of life for many blacks, who can work to put themselves through Harvard and yet still be misidentified as “local gangbangers” by their neighbors.

    In the end, Charles Krauthammer couldn’t care less when it’s a black kid from the Bronx getting pushed against the wall and having his pockets emptied by the NYPD, but when he and his friends are faced with the indignity of being treated like criminals, he’s livid:

    Don’t touch my junk is the anthem of the modern man, the Tea Party patriot, the late-life libertarian, the midterm-election voter. Don’t touch my junk, Obamacare — get out of my doctor’s examining room; I’m wearing a paper-thin gown slit down the back. Don’t touch my junk, Google — Street View is cool, but get off my street. Don’t touch my junk, you airport-security goon — my package belongs to no one but me, and do you really think
    Cord Jefferson is The Root’s Washington reporter. Follow him on Twitter.

    Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

    Gloria H/Fresno

    “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive
    out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King,
    Jr.

  2. The Real Pat-Down Outrage
    If the media want to focus on embarrassing frisks, they should look at what black and Hispanic Americans routinely deal with, courtesy of the police department.
    By: Cord Jefferson | Posted: November 29, 2010 at 12:43 AM http://www.theroot.com/views/pat-downs-america-should-be-outraged-about

    John Moore/Getty Images
    .
    cord.jefferson
    If the media want to focus on embarrassing frisks, they should look at what black and Hispanic Americans routinely deal with, courtesy of the police department.
    11/29/2010 00:43
    As the fevered pitch around the Transportation Security Administration screenings gets even more fevered on the busiest travel days of the year, it’s worth noting that, for some Americans, embarrassing frisks are de rigueur.
    The man who first pointed this out to me is New York Times reporter David Carr, who tweeted, “White people aren’t used to having the hands of state on them. Black folks know all about stop and frisk.”
    Carr is right about that, at least as far as New York City goes. According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactic, in which officers stop citizens on the street and search their bodies and bags, was used on 149,753 New Yorkers in the first three months of 2010. Of those frisked, 85 percent were black or Latino. Even more shocking is that 87 percent of those stopped were completely innocent.
    Juxtapose New York’s stop-and-frisk nonsense with the TSA’s new “pat-down searches,” which many people are calling invasive. In many ways, it would seem more important to ensure that a flier doesn’t have a bomb than to ensure that a New Yorker doesn’t have an unregistered gun — yet you wouldn’t think it from the relative outrage among citizens and the media.

    John Tyner, a traveler who warned a TSA agent not to touch his “junk” during a routine search, sparked a nationwide call for airline passengers to refuse full-body scans and force the pat-downs — thus causing massive delays at the airport-security lines — while heading home for the holidays. Ultimately, the call to boycott was largely ignored, but the issue of TSA boundaries is one that’s surely set to divide the nation during the next several weeks of busy holiday travel. In fact, it’s already taken up space in most, if not all, newspapers, magazines and blogs of record, with pundits of all stripes attacking the issue from every angle imaginable.

    I personally think that people should deal with it. Vigorous searches related to air travel are the price one pays both to live in modernity and to enjoy the convenience of flying around the world on planes. Avoiding airport pat-downs — the likes of which bouncers give at nightclubs all the time — has never been a right, just as flying home for Thanksgiving instead of driving isn’t a right.

    But what’s more interesting, especially amid all the TSA madness, is the dearth of attention given to the stop-and-frisk searches taking place across the country every single day. As Carr notes, invasive searches are a fact of life for many blacks, who can work to put themselves through Harvard and yet still be misidentified as “local gangbangers” by their neighbors.

    In the end, Charles Krauthammer couldn’t care less when it’s a black kid from the Bronx getting pushed against the wall and having his pockets emptied by the NYPD, but when he and his friends are faced with the indignity of being treated like criminals, he’s livid:

    Don’t touch my junk is the anthem of the modern man, the Tea Party patriot, the late-life libertarian, the midterm-election voter. Don’t touch my junk, Obamacare — get out of my doctor’s examining room; I’m wearing a paper-thin gown slit down the back. Don’t touch my junk, Google — Street View is cool, but get off my street. Don’t touch my junk, you airport-security goon — my package belongs to no one but me, and do you really think
    Cord Jefferson is The Root’s Washington reporter. Follow him on Twitter.

    Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

    Gloria H/Fresno

    “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive
    out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King,
    Jr.

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