Thursday, January 20, 2011

Silly Season For The TSA and the Fourth Amendment

I had hoped that the recent attention being paid to new TSA security measures would create an opportunity for education about the Fourth Amendment. I thought we were in a real Teachable Moment.

Further evidence suggests that the Moment is passed.

  • A 21-year-old University of Cincinnati student decided to protest TSA procedures by stripping down to his shorts at an airport. He had a portion of the Fourth Amendment written on his chest. He was arrested, but disorderly conduct charges were later dropped. My favorite part is that the guy apparently has a groupie:

    Tobey did not appear in court [when the charges were dropped], but someone who supports him, yet has never met him, appeared to show her support. Catherine Crabill says she drove down from the Northern Neck for the hearing.

  • A company is selling underwear with the Fourth Amendment printed in metallic ink, so that it (allegedly) can be viewed by screeners. Images can be found here. The TSA makes the classic mistake of parents of young children by engaging. In a blog post the TSA says:

    If there is something shielding an area and we don't know what's under it, we have to conduct a pat-down. So basically, passengers should be aware that the use of these types of products will likely result in a pat-down. Some might think this is TSA's way of getting back at clever passengers. That's not the case at all. It's just security.

I stand by my original thoughts. Most protesters of the TSA don't really understand the Fourth Amendment and people are trying to take advantage of a media frenzy to help themselves. That said, I do admire the sense of humor of some of the folks described above.



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