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Searching Kafka

This is how it happens. Pettiness is the most subversive enemy of freedom.

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6 Responses to “Searching Kafka”

  1. If ever had a reason not to fly, or give the stupid industry any of my money, this would be it.

  2. But the point isn’t that the airline industry is bad. If you avoid flying, you won’t avoid this kind of intrusiveness. Want to go to Times Square to celebrate New Years Eve? Prepare to be searched. No large bags allowed. The attitude that we have to give up some of our liberties in exchange for security is increasing, and it’s not just the airline industry where it’s manifested. It will show up in more and more places if we don’t stop it, and you won’t be able to avoid it just by not flying, or not driving, or not eating.

  3. Was I the only one who thought that this guy was a hothead who created his own problem? If you get pulled over by a cop for a tail-light being out, is it a good idea to start yelling at him? What might happen next in that scenario?

    Given the choice between being frisked at the ariport or having my government pre-emptively murder inncocents overseas I’ll take the friskings thanks.

  4. It wasn’t simply that he was rushed away as if he were brandishing a weapon. The rest of the story gets more Kafka-esque. His crime was not being completely docile. That’s what living in a police state is about: the police have total and arbitrary power, unbounded by law or common sense.

    Further, I have no confidence that the current procedures will stop a terrorist who wants to bring down a plane. It exists to give us the illusion that the gov’t is “doing something.” If we’re going to live in a police state, I at least want to get my money’s worth.

  5. America was founded by conflict, and has, throughout its history, defined itself by conflict. Without an effective enemy, America must either create a new one or cease to exist.

    Thus, the collapse of the Soviet Union was possibly the worst tragedy to befall Americans, as it necessitated the (re-)creation of a new, stable enemy. Unfortunately, the recreation of a Soviet-style regime this time around seems to have its capital in Washington D.C.

    As painful as it might be to allow oneself to actually see this sad reality, compare the de facto actions of police and other security authorities, and arbitrary suspension of various aspects of America’s constitution, to the actions of, for instance, Stalin. (Of course, this predilection has been demonstrated previously: viz. Joe McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover, and former U.S. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer.)

    The line that separates democracy from dictatorship is a thin one indeed. The would-be dictator always cloaks himself in the nominal garb of peace, security and truth.

    Happy 83rd anniversary of the “Palmer Raids!” (yes, today.)

  6. David – I’m with you on your lack of confidence in procedures. We’re very lucky that there just aren’t that many sane people who are angry enough to conduct terrorism (there are plenty of nuts who get caught by our lackluster security, but I guarantee that an even half-sane, middling IQ terrorist could breach our cocoon easily).

    That said, I think that it’s possible to overreact to what happened to Nick Monahan. You don’t have to be totally docile with a cop, but I guarantee that if yell at a man or woman with a gun who is waiting all day for an altercation (that’s a cop’s job), you’ll get one.

    A friend of mine was an EMT while we were in college. He was always on guard for trauma to deal with at parties, bars, sporting events. If someone fell down and skinned their knee, he went into action. This is what cops are like — just with violence, not bandages.

    I agree that “authorities” are taking advantage of post 9/11 fear to erode our civil liberties. I think we should be up in arms (so to speak) at the government’s new assertion of powers to invade our privacy and trampling on the Fourth Amendment. We should be vexed about the detention without charge or trial of more than 600 non-US nationals in Guantánamo Bay. But some guy can’t control his anger at an airport screener’s lack of empathy and he gets detained? That stuff was happening well before Ashcroft starting ripping away at the Constitution.

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