TSA goes laissez-faire

The Loose Cannon Libertarian

In the ever-evolving war against airline passengers, the Transportation Security Administration continues to develop new weapons of mass dysfunction.

photo / arvindgrover Creative Commons licensed: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Austin-Bergstrom Airport 

Travelers have long been harassed with X-ray machines, metal-detecting wands, and inscrutable verbal vetting like “Did someone put something in your luggage when you weren’t looking?”

Then in 2006 the TSA began quietly testing two new anti-personnel weapons.

One is sort of an automated lie detector, a booth that interrogates suspects with damning questions (“Did someone put something in your luggage when you weren’t looking?”) while software analyzes feedback from biometric sensors busily monitoring blood pressure, pulse rate, and nervous tics.

Then there’s “The Israeli System,” agents trained to spot passengers engaged in “suspicious behavior” based on vocal timbre, gestures, or facial expressions that might mark them as terrorists.

Two old-fashioned weapons were introduced this year: Ultra violet (UV) black lights and magnifying glasses will help detect forgeries and alterations in passports, driver’s licenses, ID cards, and that teacher’s hall pass that permits you to go pee-pee.

And now reports, rumors, and ribald remarks dating back to at least 2005 have come true: “Millimeter wave imaging” scanners that can see through clothing, including thongs, bras, and Fruit of the Looms. The X-rated X-Ray is in use at LAX. As one technology consultant confessed, “It shows nipples. It shows the clear outline of genitals.”

Pop quiz: Do you think this machine will mostly be used on Swarthy, ugly, shifty-eyed, Middle Eastern males with nervous tics or handsome Hawaiian hunks and bouncing blonde bombshells?

All this, we’re told, justifies the six billion taxbucks that make the one-way trip from our pockets into TSA’s pockets.

In a libertarian society everything would be different. If free enterprise ran the operation as a business they’d change its name to Traveler’s Services of America and start running ads like these:

photo / ginsnob Creative Commons licensed: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 

TSA: Not just your father’s humorless old search for international terrorists, drug smugglers, and illegal immigrants anymore. Now you can have fun and convenience at the airport!

While we look for nervous tics you can look for a service fix.

Stop by the YooVee Rent-a-Light booth in the main concourse and check out our many Black Light Specials. Can’t remember where you partied last night before stumbling into the airport this morning? Find that invisible nightclub hand stamp with YooVee! Want to know how that cool party apparel in the outrageously overpriced Chic Boutique will look under nightclub strobe lights and disco balls before you splurge? Step into our YooVee booth. Want to know if your cat peed on the spare panties in your shoulder bag? Check it with YooVee and get a clear picture of ALL the action in your undies.

Packed your big suitcase-on-wheels in haste and now you can’t find a thing? Let TinStar Metal Detectives find your missing objects: coins, keys, jewelry, dental bridges, nose hair trimmer. Like finding buried treasure in your own backyard! “Find it with TinStar!”

Win Texas Hold ’Em every time! Learn “The Israeli System” from our great new DVD set. Every opponent has a “tell” (vocal timbre, gestures, nervous tics) that gives away his hand. It’s “All in” for you with “The Israeli System!”

Can’t read the fine print on your ticket? On your rental car agreement? On that sexy new battery-operated vibrator you just bought at the international duty-free shop? Magno-Man magnifying glasses can help. Magno-Man stalls are located throughout the airport. For just a small fee you can bring the tiniest objects into sharp focus.

Looking for that special intimate gift for your significant other? Surprise him or her with an erotic Millimeter Wave Imaging see-through X-Rated X-ray photo from The BawdyWorks. Perfect for birthdays, anniversaries, and Valentine’s Day.

In no time at all the TSA would be making a profit, and anyone asking the idiotic question “Did someone put something in your luggage when you weren’t looking?” would get terminated from the terminal.

About the author Garry Reed is a longtime advocate of the libertarian philosophy of non-coercion that espouses personal autonomy and individual responsibility, civil rights and economic liberty, maximum freedom and minimum government. His website is freecannon.com.