Perspectives: Goodbye friendly skies, hello ‘Quiet Skies’

Stock image, St. George News

OPINION — There was a time when flying on an airline was adventure. Lately, it’s become more like an ordeal.

Anyone who came of age prior to Sept. 11, 2001, may still recall what it was like when people dressed up to travel. We walked our loved ones right up to the gate, watched them board the aircraft and fly away.

Sure, there were security screening measures in place. Following a number of hijackings in the 1960s and ’70s, passengers were screened for weapons by walking through a metal detector.

Even as recently as the summer of 2001, I remember watching a friend go through security with a switchblade knife that was simply handed back to him by the screener along with his car keys and coins. It just wasn’t that big of a deal.

Passengers were still treated as customers rather than just another load of human cattle to be transported.

The terror attacks of 9/11 provided sufficient emotional leverage to create the Transportation Security Administration. Fueled by a combination of fear and anger, most Americans embraced more stringent screening as a necessary response to the threat of terrorism.

But since that time, even as terror attacks have remained extremely rare, the TSA has continued to press for harsher and more intrusive screening of passengers.

Metal detectors soon were accompanied by random physical pat-down searches and then augmented with electronic strip-searches via backscatter radiation machines.

It’s probably just a happy coincidence that these new scanners were manufactured by a company with ties to former Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff, who also co-authored the so-called PATRIOT Act.

Isn’t it great when things work out so well for political appointees and their stockholders?

Going to the airport quickly became a more dystopian experience than before, with ominous signs and recorded security warnings at every turn. Even worse, TSA agents were afforded broad authority to delay, deny and harass travelers for a litany of new violations covering everything from toiletries to personal electronics.

Complete and utter submission to every instruction was required of every passenger. So much as a raised eyebrow or a weary sigh could trigger a newly empowered TSA agent to start flexing his or her authority in order to humiliate and punish those who failed to submit quickly enough.

People who are not suspected nor have been convicted of any crime have found themselves added to the so-called “no-fly list,” which prohibits them from traveling by airline. In some cases, they’re allowed to fly after undergoing multiple shakedowns, pat-downs and only if accompanied by an air marshal.

Meanwhile, the noose continues to tighten around the neck of would-be travelers.

In March of 2017, the TSA standardized its pat-downs by making them even more prolonged and invasive of personal privacy. Anyone who has had to watch their spouse or children be molested – in the truest sense of the word – can attest to the violating nature of these searches.

The idea that we are to regard those engaging in this molestation as heroes because they work for the state is intolerable to anyone with a functioning moral compass.

Even when someone finally has had enough, there is no meaningful method of recourse for when TSA screeners cross the line. The system protects its own.

A federal appeals court earlier this year ruled that TSA employees are immune from being civilly sued for misconduct because they are government employees rather than law enforcement.

The most recent development of official depravity involves the exposure of a new warrantless surveillance program known as “Quiet Skies.” This program tasks air marshals with following dozens of people who are not known threats and taking notes on their behavior before, during and after their flights.

Even the Air Marshals Association has complained that Quiet Skies is taking them away from pursuing verifiable security threats and ongoing investigations. We are left to wonder how much further we can be persuaded to give up our most basic human rights.

Truth be told, the TSA has had a lot less to do with actually thwarting security threats than we were led to believe. The proof in the pudding was an 80 percent failure rate to detect explosives, weapons and drugs when the front-line screeners were subjected to random competence tests.

So what purpose is this agency serving?

Whether it was intended to or not, the results of the past 17 years of TSA security theater have been a powerful tool for conditioning the population to be submissive. Anyone who enters a U.S. airport knows that they must submit – without hesitation – to the demands of anyone in authority, no matter how unreasonable it may seem.

We’re being trained to obey whatever depraved demands are being made by government agents pretending to protect us.

We were far better off when our society recognized and denounced immoral aggressors for what they are rather than pretending that they were doing us a favor.

Bryan Hyde is an opinion columnist specializing in current events and liberty viewed through what he calls the lens of common sense. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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8 Comments

  • RVer August 6, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    It’s called “Security Theatre”. It’s designed to make people FEEL safe so they keep spending their dollars flying. It’s not real safety, but it makes people FEEL better. Since FEELINGS are what matters, it works. I think part of it is an experiment too. How much will the average person put up with?

    We stopped flying entirely. We go where we want and don’t have to put up with any of the TSA garbage.

  • Craig August 6, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    In our ignorance, we willingly give up freedoms for claimed security.

    I think we are wrong. Fear and retreat will not solve a problem.

  • voice of reason August 6, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Aww, poor Bryan.
    Are Cliven, Ammon and Ryan are having trouble getting around? Did your work with them get you caught? I guess buying into the web of lies they have been spreading has consequences.

    How big was the “fee” they paid you for this piece?

    • John August 6, 2018 at 5:02 pm

      And you’re talking about crybabies? You are not only on the wrong page you’re completely delusional..

    • Utahguns August 6, 2018 at 5:05 pm

      Holy cow Man….

      What lit you’re fuse?
      Bryan is just highlighting the things we flyers have to go through now in today’s security environment.
      Yeah, I know about waiting in security lines, going through pat downs and having my checked baggage scrutinized, especially on hunting trips.
      It ain’t fun, but at least my chances of going down in a passenger jet because of some wacko with a box cutter, is slim. Now, maybe sitting next to you on a flight…that might be a different story altogether.

      Listen, Here’s a few suggestions:
      If you’re stuck too long in the traffic jams on Bluff Street, pull over and breathe deeply into a paper bag for a few minutes.
      Secondly, don’t yell “Fire” when someone lights a cigarette.
      Lastly, If you were potty trained as a child at gunpoint, seek some help.

      Bryan’s comments in this story, tell like it is.

  • comments August 6, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    You’re not kidding about the molestation. One time, just out of curiosity, I decided to opt out of the body scanner. Boy oh boy do those nice TSA fellows put their hands all over you. In any other context you’d be filing a police complaint for “sexual battery” hahahaha. I had a pair of them basically rubbing my crotch. The first guy is like “now I’m gonna use the backs of my hand” and I guess the search wasn’t satisfactory because the second guy was like “I’m gonna do the same search as he did but I’ll be using the palms of my hands”. It was so absurd I couldn’t help but giggle a bit while this was going on. All this, and I don’t look the least bit “Araby” or “Musimy”. You mighta though I was Osama’s baby brother because of how thoroughly they molested me, hahaha. Just wait, a few years from now it’ll be standard for them to have the authority to do forced strip searches and forces cavity searches. Then let the real molestation begin, huh. I know most of you people buy into the official gov’t narrative/mythology of 9/11 like the good little sheeples that big daddy gov’t wants you to be, but the cherry on top with all this TSA BS is that elements of our own gov’t likely made 9/11 happen. Brian is dead on with this one. Big daddy gov’t is training us to be nothing but human cattle. That’s what it feels like every time at the airport–like a bunch of sheep headed right for the slaughter. So if it really was ol’ Osama Binladin that did it, well, I guess the terrorist really did win after all, because each and every one of us going to the airport gets to be body scanned and felt up by those wonderful cheerful TSA employees. Should find a way to incorporate the ol’ king bogeyman’s name into TSA in order to honor him with his “accomplishment”. Maybe call it OBTSA…

  • carol.marrs@yahoo.com August 7, 2018 at 9:57 am

    Bryan writes the truth. If our safety were the issue at airports, they would be using dogs which have been proven to be more effective than people at finding explosives. It’s all for show to let us know who is in control. Anyone who has seriously studied 9/11 knows there were no box cutters & no phone calls and the buildings didn’t come down because an airplane crashed into them. Building 7 wasn’t even hit by a plane and it was demolished. Don’t believe our government/controlled media. Question authority. Use your brain, if you still have one that functions.

    • comments August 7, 2018 at 11:24 am

      Life is a lot simpler for the sheep when they just swallow the official govt/media mythology. Sheep will be sheep.

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