Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TSA Rant

If you believe, like I do, that the TSA has outgrown its charter and is turning into little more than a organized group of thugs who believe that travellers have no rights, or have given up those rights by the simple act of purchasing an airline ticket, then you are excused from reading this. But if you believe the TSA is performing a necessary service, then please read on.

First, I refer you to the Milgram Experiment. The Milgram Experiment was first done in 1961 to test the willingness of subjects to follow instructions from an authority figure. The testimony of Adolf Eichmann provided the basic idea for the experiment. Briefly, test subjects were told to administer an electric shock to another person for every wrong answer they gave during a quiz. The severity of the shocks would escalate with each wrong answer. What they found was that normal people were more than willing to administer the shock, without questioning the morality the action, as long as someone in authority told them to do so.

The Stanford Prison Experiment was carried out in 1971. Test subjects were divided into two groups - prisoners and guards. The guards were given authority over the prisoners and allowed to use psychological methods to control them. The guards became so abusive that the experiment had to be stopped after only 6 of its originally planned 14 day duration.

Go read about these and subsequent experiments of a similar nature. Then think about the recent stories regarding the TSA. Then think about Germany in the 1920s. Then you may understand why some of us resist the TSA.

Some people are advocating a national "opt out" day to force the TSA into pat downs and slow down their system. I have another suggestion: Use TSA's own web site to submit complaints about your treatment or the security system in general. Copy your congress critter, too. If enough people send in complaints, it will overwhelm their system.

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