Dear readers, you will have to forgive me if today’s article is a bit more rambling than usual. But you see, I’ve gone rambling. As I type this, I’m sitting in a high-speed train enjoying the benefits of wifi in a sci-fi world come true. Screw the hippies: technology is amazing! It’s allowing me to make money even as I am in the midst of doing tremendously irresponsible hobo-style wandering.
What’s prompted me to write on today’s subject was the moment when I suddenly realized I could have walked onto this train with a duffel bag full of anthrax (or cocaine) without so much as being inconvenienced. And then realized that honestly, that’s a good thing.
I’m going to a lot of places, but one place I won’t be going (I guess especially now, after mentioning the word ‘anthrax’…hi NSA!) is the United States. In fact, I’m so not going to the U.S.A. that I’m actually making an extra effort and going out of my way to not even have to pass through the U.S.A. on a stopover basis.
Why? Is it that I’m one of those anti-American foreigners who hates your freedom? Not at all! In fact, I love the U.S. and what it stands for. What I hate is being rectally probed by a minimum wage employee to just get on a plane.
For a country that is concerned about others hating you for your freedom, you Americans sure have bent over (in the case of the TSA, literally) and given up a ton of your own freedom. And your dignity. And what have you gotten back? Pretty much nothing. You’re not actually more secure. You’ve allowed yourselves to be fed a bunch of lies so that you can FEEL vaguely more secure.
Photo: imgflip.com via YouViewed.com
You could argue that there hasn’t been a plane hijacking. Alright, sure. But I think that’s got a lot more to do with locked pilot compartments, air marshals, and the collapse of Al Qaeda’s organizational infrastructure forcing terrorists to pick targets that require less planning than elaborate plane hijackings. I don’t think it actually has anything to do with the fact that if I go through your security I need to take my shoes off and be fondled by a functional illiterate that failed hairdresser college but is somehow contracted as the first line of defense against ISIS.
Think about it: how is it that I am forbidden from taking a tiny bottle of mouthwash on the plane, because it could KILL US ALL, except of course if I put it in Ziploc baggie? If it’s in the baggie it’s obviously impossible that there could be any danger from this tiny bottle of liquid, because a thin layer of plastic and a seal that often just opens by itself is an impenetrable protection against what would otherwise be an inescapable liquid apocalypse!
So contrast this to the train I was on when I started writing this article (now I’m somewhere that speaks a whole other language than where I started, sitting in a cafe smoking a pipe; still unable to believe my life and that I get to make money while living it). That train had literally ZERO anti-terrorism measures. There was a guy who checked my ticket as I got on, another who checked it after each stop, but absolutely no one checked my luggage. I went through no x-ray machines or expensive gamma radiation MRIs, didn’t take off any footwear, didn’t have to put my lip balm into a plastic bag, didn’t need to surrender my lighter. None of that. In fact, I didn’t even get a label on my bag. I just put it in a big storage spot at the front of the car I was traveling in.
It occurred to me that, this being a train, and having multiple stops, some wily mujahideen could have gotten on board with a bomb with a timer, gotten off on the next stop leaving the bag, and not even have to go meet his 72 virgins this time around. It also occurred to me that it was much more likely that someone could just decide to take a bag that wasn’t his when exiting the train. What surprised me, though, was that I caught myself thinking, “Well this is just TOO unsafe!”
It was only a second later I realized how stupid and wrong that kind of thinking is. How even a freedom loving libertarian guy like me can end up being programmed by 15 years of idiocy into asking to give up some personal liberty for a totally fake and meaningless pretend security. Sure, some terrorist could bring a bomb onto the train. But me having to go through another lineup and face an unqualified idiot getting to root through my stuff and waste my time will in no way prevent that. That’s the thing about terrorists: they really really care about what they’re doing. Terrorism is not a crime of opportunity. You don’t have Joe Taliban walking calmly through life not thinking of harming a fly, and then he sees that there’s a subway station without a metal detector and says to himself, “You know what? I totally wasn’t planning to before but this is just too good to pass up… I think I’m going to blow up some crap for Allah!”
It just doesn’t work that way. A terrorist is gonna terrorize. It doesn’t matter what you do, because he really really wants to die for his god. No amount of Ziploc baggies is going to change the fact that this will happen. So your illusions of security are really just that: a fantasy. If he doesn’t blow up a train or a plane he’ll shoot up a marathon or an army recruitment center (where at least he knows they won’t be firing back). Or a Dairy Queen. Or just stab some guy on the street.
Choosing to put our sense of safety in the hands of government is as dumb as choosing to let the government decide what our kids will get taught or choosing to let the government decide what food you should be allowed to eat or not, for your own safety. Screw that.
You know what does work? Revenge. Not “invading a country” style revenge; just systematically going after their money and systematically assassinating their leadership. Like I said at the start, Americans probably ARE safer against the risk of an air hijacking today, but because Al Qaeda has seen its leadership get killed one by one and had their sources of money ruthlessly hunted down. Use government to do that: have it track down the money links and not spy on its own citizenry. Have it send hit men after radical clerics, and not waste millions on a bureaucracy that slows commerce and treats people like cattle.
Yes, if you don’t have TSA security lineups you will be insecure. But no more insecure than if you do have them. You’ll just be insecure and free instead of insecure and stupid.
And maybe then I’ll be able to stand visiting your lovely country again.
Top photo: Creatas / Getty Images
Kasimir Urbanski doesn’t write on a specific subject; he’s EveryJoe’s resident maniac-at-large. A recovering Humanities academic and world-traveler, he now lives in South America and is a researcher of fringe religion, eastern philosophy, and esoteric consciousness-expansion. In his spare time he writes tabletop RPGs, and blogs about them at therpgpundit.blogspot.com.
Read more from Urbanski by clicking through the gallery below.
Gun ControlRead about what other countries can teach us about the gun control debate.
Photo by Elrepho385/Getty Images
Election 2016Find out about how Trump's fake Christianity might help him win the election.
Photo by Branden Camp/Getty Images
CensorshipBelieve it or not, millennials are begging the government to censor them, and all of us.
Photo by Ferenc Gerak / Getty Images
Climate ChangeFind out more about the history of climate change and what you can REALLY learn from it.
Photo by Getty Images
SocialismA primer on how to rate your socialist craphole.
Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images
Right vs LeftNever mind why the Right stands up against censorship, why doesn't the Left?
Photo by Nomadsoul1 / Getty Images
CensorshipFundamentally, the claim that only government can censor is a cheap way to weasel out of admitting that you’re pro-censorship.
Photo by StockWithMe / Getty Images
ComedyLiberals claim they are funnier than their conservative counterparts, but is that really true?
Photo by Brad Barket / Getty Images