I am not generally given to positing conspiracies of any kind but the actions of the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) in their use of full body scanners and pat downs of airline passengers got me thinking.
Sherlock Holmes said, “[W]hen all other contingencies fail, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Of course, in my youth, it was a neck and neck race for supremacy between Holmes and Dick Tracy for best detective, and Tracy never said anything half as profound but was a better brawler and wore a much better looking hat. Then again, Dick Tracy wasn’t a coke addict, and had the misfortune of seeing Warren Beatty play him in the movies while the legendary Basil Rathbone was one of the original Holmesian thespians. (Robert Downey, Jr. doesn’t count because he didn’t portray Sherlock Holmes as written, as imagined, or as dreamed in Conan Doyle’s worst nightmares.)
What, then, can we deduce from the TSA’s absolute stupidity in riling up the public with their nudie scanners and “gropes?” It is my firm belief that there is more than meets the eye with this gambit. In fact, I have come to the conclusion that the scanners, the groping, the drastic slowdown for passengers going through security, the maniacal pat downs of 3 year olds, and the manner in which this has all been foisted on the traveling public leads me to believe that there is a conspiracy afoot to benefit someone or something else.
Consider the fact that these measures are not designed to make us safer. They are not used to make it less likely a plane will be hijacked or blown up in mid air. Israeli security expert Rafi Sela, the former chief security officer of the Israeli Airport Authority, says that they are, in fact, a gigantic waste of money:
“I don’t know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines. I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747,” Rafi Sela told parliamentarians probing the state of aviation safety in Canada.
“That’s why we haven’t put them in our airport,” Sela said, referring to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport, which has some of the toughest security in the world.
There hasn’t been a hijacking that originated in Israel for almost 40 years. But what do they know?
So if the machines and groping won’t keep us safe, or lessen the likelihood of an attack, and if the machines don’t add to efficiency in getting passengers through the security checkpoint, “whatever is left, however improbable, must be the truth.”
What’s left is a conspiracy to make Amtrak profitable and force the public to beg the government to build high speed rail.
All of these actions by the TSA are designed for one reason: to drive people away from flying and put them on Amtrak trains to get to their destination. And once people realize how inefficient and just plain slow Amtrak trains are, the high speed rail boondoggle will start looking mighty good to a public desperate to move faster than a 1953 East German Trabant.
Think about it. Would any sane, rational government agency open themselves up to such unrelenting, hostile criticism without an ulterior motive? I mean, really – who pats down terrified three year olds who are screaming “Don’t touch me?” This kind of thing terrifies parents and starts making Amtrak look like a damn fine option at this point.
Then there is TSA’s relentless pursuit of Mr. “Don’t touch my junk” Tyner who not only refused a nudie scan but balked at the leering TSA employee who wanted to pat down his genitals. The agency wants to talk to this guy – while making the not so subtle allusion to the idea that if you fool around with TSA, be prepared for the consequences.
After reading this, I had to look around and assure myself that I was still in the good ole USA and not some post modernist’s idea of a gulag:
Tyner, 31, was on his way to South Dakota on Saturday to go pheasant hunting. He was chosen for a full-body scan and opted out because he thought it was invasive. He was then informed that he would be subjected to a body search. He told the TSA agent, “”You touch my junk and I’m going to have you arrested.”
Tyner likened the proposed search procedure to a “sexual assault.”
When he tried to assert his rights, Tyner was told by a TSA supervisor on tape, “By buying your ticket you gave up a lot of rights.”
According to Aguilar, Tyner is under investigation for leaving the security area without permission. That’s prohibited, among other reasons, to prevent potential terrorists from entering security, gaining information, and leaving.
I wonder if Tyner’s cell phone video hadn’t gone viral if the TSA would be looking for the guy at all?
This is just more evidence that something else is going on with TSA. You can’t tell me that any government agency can be so stupidly vulgar and overbearing that they would track down the inoffensive Mr. Tyner in order to send the message that you don’t mess with the TSA’s “junk.” Nobody is that dense, right? Therefore, after eliminating all contingencies like stupidity, cluelessness, arrogance, corruption, and just plain loutishness, we must deduce that a conspiracy has been hatched in the troubled bowels of our government to redirect travelers away from airports. And logically, what other means of transportation can people use except trains? No one really wants to drive from Chicago to Orlando; trust me, I’ve done it and if you’ve got two screaming kids in the car, suicide becomes an option about the time you hit the Tennessee border.
Nope, it’s Amtrak for sure. As the most recent data for the passenger rail outfits shows, they desperately need an infusion of cash paying customers.
In 2009, 41 of 44 Amtrak routes lost money. The New Orleans to Los Angeles route – the “Sunset Limited” – was subsidized to the tune of $462 per passenger. Other routes were not so free and easy with the taxpayer’s coin but all told, Amtrak subsidies amounted to an average of $32 per passenger. Now suppose a couple of million more passengers were to hitch a ride on “The California Zephyr,” (Chicago to San Francisco) or the wistfully named “Twin Cities Hiawatha” (Chicago to Minneapolis). Suddenly, Amtrak starts turning a profit. It becomes a going concern. And most importantly, it proves that it can run the coming high speed rail system that President Obama dreams will make us all forget about airplanes anyway and ride the bullet trains to glorious energy independence and green jobs.
One problem; the ignorant galoots who currently can’t make Amtrak a profitable venture will still be in charge when high speed rail rolls around – or their equally hopeless successors. Nothing succeeds like success or fails like bad management. Amtrak has not been lacking in that department.
There may be another explanation for TSA’s curious behavior but I’m not seeing it. Given all that we know, what are you going to believe – that the TSA is terrorizing passengers, violating our Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, pushing the boundaries of modesty and propriety, and acting like arrogant bullies because they don’t know any better?
“Whatever is left is the truth.” All Aboard Amtrak!
Graphic from graphic artist Jenny Holzer’s archive.