Knee-jerking our way into dictatorship


I got felt up on Thursday, and not in a good way.

Don't think this is a lewd or lascivious column; this is about rights, and dignity, and things of that nature.

I had occasion to travel to San Diego on business. Leaving from Austin (I like smaller airports), we of course went through airport security, and it was actually a breeze. But most of you have a horror story or two about the TSA and what's been done since the signing of the Patriot Act.

Coming back, though, was a different story.

I make it a point to make my trip through security easy by wearing simple fabrics and slip-on shoes, and the only metal outside of my body was my wedding ring.

So I go through the extra-special scanner, which shows the presence of metal in, not to be to indelicate, my business.

I've been a citizen since birth in 1963. I was born on a military base. I'm registered to vote, reluctantly registered with Selective Service, have pretty much every kind of ID known to man, and I had to be frisked like I was a felon.

In my own country.

Many of you have had this happen before, but this was my first time, and it was pretty outrageous. And it got me to thinking about the slow, but inexorable, stripping of our liberties by a government that does such things under the guise of security - doing what's best for us.

Throwing a blanket of extreme searches over our country because of the actions of a few is typical government over-reaction. You can see that being played out today, and in the last few years, in regard to the gun-control debate.

In what can only be described as a knee-jerk pandering, President Trump said that people should be stripped of their firearms, and that the authorities can worry about due process later.

That is a perfect example of what has happened to us - our liberties have been eroded piece by piece, search by seizure, all because a tragedy happens and we decide "something must be done!"

Once "something" is done, though, it stays done, and we're that much less free that before.

The tragedy that befell the students in Florida was executed by one person, not the country. That's where the focus should be, and not on the decent, law-abiding citizens.

oThis week, our Headline of Note takes us down under, where a safety video has become the latest flogging horse in the sensitivity wars: Air New Zealand's new in-flight safety video is 'arrogant and disrespectful,' says family of crash victim.

Seems the video in question evokes memories of a 1979 crash in Antartica, and is shown on the airlines flights. But some folks find it anywhere from disturbing to "gutting."

The movie doesn't reference the crash, yet the howling hasn't ceased.

Tony Farkas is publisher of the Madisonville Meteor.