On an episode of South Park taking aim at the airline industry, Mr. Garrison (still a man at that point) invented a mode of transportation where riders had to have a metal prod inserted into their backsides in order to avoid falling off the vehicle. The response of those enduring such discomfort and humiliation was that it was still less than what passengers had to endure at the airport. While the bit might have been a bit over the top in terms of propriety, it was pretty much on target in terms of how most Americans feel regarding the bureaucratic procedures implemented in the name of “transportation security” since September 11th.
As fairly good natured people content with the social order even if they don’t like the way the process is handled, most Americans deciding to utilize this form of transportation simply keep their comments to themselves and bear with the frustration. However, according to a McClatchy newspapers article titled “New Airport Check For Danger In Fliers’ Facial Expressions“, it may no longer be enough to stoically endure these indignations but one must also have a smile on one’s face about it.
A new specialty within the Transportation Security Administration known as Behavior Detection Officers (one could not devise a more Orwellian sounding division of the government if one tried) has been given the mandate to scrutinize those exhibiting unapproved facial expressions
If proponents of the theory get their way, certain facial expressions revealing whether an individual is feeling anger or disgust and, when taken together with heart rate, body temperature, and verbal responses, will be enough to get passengers shunted aside for further forms of interrogation such as having their baggage rifled through or being asked where they are going.
While one may make a case as to why some voyeur with a badge may need to run his hand through your underwear bag, beyond the destination on the ticket it is no security officer’s business where anyone is going. Frankly, such intrusions into private affairs are enough to get anyone’s heart rate rising and a look of disgust scowling across their brow.
Though this technology is promoted as a way to make terrorism prevention more foolproof, from comments made as to its accuracy, it sounds as if it will be yet another tool to curtail the liberties of everyday Americans while doing little to catch real terrorists. The article notes, “Different cultures express themselves differently.”
In other words, 86 year old grandmothers holding their heads a certain way as they are ordered to hold their arthritic arms over their heads will get pulled aside for additional harassment even if they don’t make a single peep. However, if certain minorities more prone to violent geopolitical outbursts comport themselves in the same manner it can be dismissed with a “that’s just the way those people are anyway”.
If the government is intent on stopping terrorism, there are signs to look for other than whether or not people have a giddy brainwashed look on their face. However, since political correctness has been deemed more important than survival, it is doubtful this great nation will survive much longer anyway.
Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic. Frederick holds a BS in Political Science/History, a MA in Apologetics/Christian Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary, and a PhD. in Christian Apologetics from Newburgh Theological Seminary.