TSA screenings aren't just for airports anymore

Discussion in 'Railways, Highways, Waterways' started by Fisher1949, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    You know what? At some point you have to say 'no' and be willing to walk away from the train, the plane, or whatever, and take some other mode of transportation or just not go. Everyone has to do this. It's called sacrifice for the better good. I'm not trying to be snarky or anything, just realistic. If everyone resisted, and/or stopped going to events, this crap would stop.

    For me? I could have taken a plane to my destination yesterday. The flight would have taken an hour and a half. I just got here - after a 14 hour drive. And yes, in the morning I will be calling Alaska Airlines (following up with a letter as I always do) letting them know that I'm still not flying due to the TSA. I've been doing this a year now. I always remind them that I was an MVP Gold for the last 9 or so years so that they realize I was a good customer.

    I've walked away from events where I felt the search was too intrusive (usually at clubs). Sometimes I ask for a manager and talk to them. I'm always polite and the longer they keep me waiting, the longer I have to educate people in line with me. :) I do this when shopping too. Ask me for too much personal information and I will educate everyone in line about why we shouldn't give the company this info. I'm good that way. :)
    Mybodyismyown and Lisa Simeone like this.
  2. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

  3. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    This is an important discussion. Unfortunately, just walking away from the train or bus or ferry is not going to accomplish anything. The vast majority of people will not simply walk away because they see a TSA checkpoint. Some may even appreciate that they're being "protected". So while it's great to say, "If everyone resisted, and/or stopped going to events, this crap would stop.", it's not going to happen.

    From a practical sense, since the TSA wants to be able to show up unpredictably anywhere and everywhere there is transportation involved, walking away from train A may just get you caught up at a checkpoint on bus B or on highway C.

    There's only one way the crap will end: Cut the TSA's and DHS's budget, and poof, subway checkpoints and at bus stations and ferry ports will disappear.

    I hope that the TSA -- and not just at airports -- becomes a big issue in next year's election. Obama's quip in his State of the Union speech about high-speed rail letting you skip the putdown says all we need to know about his stance on the TSA.
  4. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Exactly, and like Sunny many of us are doing just that. My wife & were both Platinums on NW (/Elite Extra Plus) & Continental for years. When Southwest came to town I maintained Companion Pass status for 2+ years (still have one, actually). With a fanatical addiction to bump vouchers we were flying FREE on Southwest for over two years.

    Our annual mileage (counting award tickets) was 125-150K for each of us. Weekends in Europe or Australia were routine.

    That ended when my wife was groped very badly at STL on 1 Nov 2010. When I caught up with after the security checkpoint, the look on her face told me it was all over. We made one more trip that December -- a frequent flyer gathering in Athens that I had organized & couldn't weasel out of (although CO opened up a great weasel moment for me) -- and that was it. We haven't been on a plane since 27 Dec 2010. I had planned to recreate the Marrakesh Express journey this Christmas but aborted the plans as realized how much I preferred not being abused by goons in blue.

    My 2011 airline mileage: Zero
    My wife's 2011 airline mileage: Zero

    Tomorrow we will set out our 19th drive to St. Louis since the thugs at TSA assaulted my wife.

    Enough people are already doing this that it definitely is showing up in transportation industry data: Airline travel is down (don't be fooled by the pack planes -- they are packed, but there are fewer flights to pack), auto travel is up, and train travel is at record levels & growing.
  5. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    As I said, there are many ways to resist, not just one.

    But nothing unjust in life, anywhere in the world, throughout history, has ever changed without sacrifice. Of course I know most people won't walk away. And of course I know lots of people just love the TSA and would do anything -- and yes, I do mean anything -- as long as some authority figure told them it was for their own good.

    Most people don't have the courage of their convictions even when they're at little risk or inconvenience, let alone big ones. I know this. That doesn't change the fact that there also have to be people willing to take those bigger risks and endure those -- gasp! -- inconveniences. (Sorry, but I'm getting really tired of "convenience" being trumpeted in this country as if it's some God-given right. The rallying cry used to be, "Give me liberty or give me death!" Now it's, "Don't inconvenience me!")

    I'll quote Frederick Douglass, again: "Find out just what the people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
  6. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    It's great that people are giving up air travel because of the TSA. But the linked article in this thread was about the TSA popping up at all sorts of non-airport venues.

    Mike, that's awful what happened to your wife at STL. But what happens if during one of your upcoming drives to St. Louis, there is a TSA checkpoint where you are required to at least stop and let a blue-shirt peer inside your car? What do you do?

    Or if you decide to take the train or bus to St. Louis (if practical, I don't know your starting point), and there's a TSA checkpoint at the Amtrak or bus station?
  7. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Oh, and as for the TSA's becoming an issue in next year's election: dream on.

    Not that it would matter, as no candidate is going to do a damn thing about it. Obama cracks jokes about drones the way he cracks jokes about gropes. These people are out of touch. They don't go through airport security like the peons do. They don't give a (expletive deleted).

    And anyway it needs to be put in the context of the bigger picture -- increasing surveillance, increasing militarization of the police, increasing abrogation of rights, passage of the NDAA and the Patriot Act -- in other words, the entire apparatus of the National Security State. The TSA is only one part of it. It's a symptom as much as it's a disease itself.
  8. RB

    RB Founding Member

    The wife and I travel for pleasure several times each year, usually a couple of trips to Vegas and a couple of more to Florida to visit the Grand Kids. I travel for business once in a great while but nothing regular. Our next trip to Florida early next year is going to be by car. Now from Dallas to Boca Raton is a long two day trip. Along the way I will be stimulating the economy of restaurants, gas stations, probably a stop at the Beau Rivage for a night or two and likely some sight seeing along the way. But one thing I will not be doing is letting some TSA Pervert stick their hands in my pants or juggle my marbles. I have a couple 100 thousand AA frequent flier miles in my account and could likely make the trip for almost nothing but we have decided driving is the better choice.

    I can only hope that people at the various airlines are paying attention. TSA is going to destroy the air travel business one passenger at a time.
  9. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Scenarios like that are just fear mongering and don't add any useful dimension to the discussion. TSA (VIPR) can piggyback at legitimate state operations to do weight & safety checks on commercial vehicles at weigh stations. Stopping private vehicles is another matter.

    One pattern I've noticed is that the blue-shirted thugs don't show up at places where they would be harassing citizens legitimately carrying firearms. :D Think about it for minute. They never send they merry bands of misfits out into communities in states with "must-issue" concealed carry laws.

    Buses to STL won't work for us. Trains might work after they finish the high-speed rail corridor between Chicago & St. Louis, but connecting on rail through Chicago is unlikely to be any faster than driving. That also leaves us with the problem of getting to our actual destination. The Illinois terminus of the St. Louis metro rail system is in Belleville, about 30 miles south of our destination, so I'd probably have to end up taking the rail in the other direction towards the airport to get a rental car -- more time & hassle & expense.

    I drive a diesel VW bug that gets 47 MPG. It's hard for any mass transit to compete on price over that distance.

    In any case, I wouldn't take the train (or bus) if those hassles were present. I believe I've already made that abundantly clear. People can either take a stand and make their point and stick to it, or they can piss & moan forever.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  10. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    This is B.S. It's already having a profound effect on the airline business. Passenger enplanements are down, motor vehicle traffic is up, rail traffic is at record levels.

    It's about to the point where the airlines can't blame it on the economy anymore. The airlines LIKE having TSA scope & grope & poke you & steal your stuff because it relieves them of an enormous cost structure in their budgets -- their contributes to the TSA are fixed at the level of their 2001 expenses for passenger screening. It hasn't happened overnight. It's take 2 years (almost 16 mos. since primary scope & grope was announced) to get to this point, but effect is being felt.

    The same will happen with bus & rail transportation if it comes to that. People are very adaptable & creative. Setting up even a small commuter airline is a major effort (FAA licensing) & expense. Setting up a small commuter bus service is relatively easy: Look for an expansion of private express bus services that pride themselves on a goon-free transit experience. Believe me, it'll happen.
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  11. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    If the VIPR teams can show up and conduct screening of passengers at bus stations and train stations and at subway stations -- all of the MBTA Police bag checkpoints I have seen here in Boston have a "TSA Inspector" guy along for the ride -- why is it fear-mongering to suggest that the TSA could set up a checkpoint on a highway in cooperation with the local state police? I'm not saying it will happen, but ten years ago, who thought that federal officials would be setting up checkpoints at local transit facilities?

    In fact, it's really not until there is a VIPR operation that affects private non-commercial cars on the highways that people might start waking up to what's going on. A relatively small number of Americans fly every day or get on a train or subway or bus. A (expletive deleted) of a lot more Americans get in their car everyday. Until the TSA sets into the sphere of drivers' personal cars, and out of the public transportation realm, too many Americans will write it off as "the price we have to pay in today's world".
  12. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    I understand, and appreciate, that. But again, the lined LA Times article was about the TSA's VIPR teams (the worst government acronym ever) setting up camp unannounced at any mode of transportation.

    You know you'll have to deal with the TSA if you choose to fly. And it's relatively easy to say you will stop flying and not have to deal with the TSA's BS. My question is, how to you fight back against the TSA encroaching on all sorts of other non-aviation transportation venues?
  13. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Please reread what I posted. I aready replied to that, and there is no need to repeat myself.
  14. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Scaremongering is a waste of time when we have real issues to address.
  15. JoeBas

    JoeBas Original Member

    Very close to it already... see my commentary on this site about the goons using mirrors to peek under cars, having drivers pop their hood, looking into windows/etc of private cars boarding the Bolivar-Galveston ferry this past summer...
  16. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    Where's the scaremongering? In the days leading up the the 9/11 anniversary a few months ago, the NYPD set up checkpoints where drivers of private cars were required to open their trunks. I don't know whether DHS was involved, or provided some of the funding for the checkpoints, but nevertheless, "anti-terror" checkpoint searches of private cars have already happened in this country.
  17. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    But that's a ferry, not in the middle of a highway. And that would be an EXCELLENT place to make stand. Ferry ramps are usually crowded and difficult to back up from. "I'm sorry, sir, but I cannot consent to any search by same thugs who groped my wife in an airport. I'll be more than happy to leave if only you'll clear the way."

    If the ferry is privately or locally operated, I would not extend any informed consent to searches to include federal agents, including goons from TSA.
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  18. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    You're talking about TSA in the middle of Iowa or Missouri in one sentence and then citing local police in NYC as your example in the next. I don't have time for any more of this nonsense.

    Just spew away, I'll ignore this thread.
  19. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    Language is important. I'm not 'giving up' air travel. I'm protesting, therefore I'm refusing to fly until they scale back or are gone.

    Then you don't use the bus or the train. You drive. I know it's inconvenient, but lines have to be drawn.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  20. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    Again, the assumption is that there will never be TSA-sponsored checkpoints of private cars. Considering that the two terrorist attacks in the US prior to 9/11/01 involved vans, you would think that the TSA would be all over inspections of private vehicles.

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