Outrage of the Day: Woman Removed from Plane, Detained, Allegedly Strip-Searched

The Atlantic has more. While I hope that this is an elaborate fiction created for some unknown purpose by an unassuming, educated, and established blogger, the outrageous behavior of the Executive Branch for the past two administrations gives me little reason to believe that the story is anything but true.

What good is the Fourth Amendment if it fails to prevent government agents from ignoring the natural rights of the innocent? What good is requiring reasonable suspicion when literally anything–even the unfounded suspicion of a peer–will meet meet that standard? And on what planet is it proper to conduct a warrantless strip search of a civilian who has been convicted of no crime?

When did our collective allegiance to freedom become so pointlessly theatrical that the government and many of its citizens could speak of it one moment and then openly, shamelessly destroy it the next? I will admit that I laughed when I first read of the TSA’s interest in using body scanners to view passengers’ nude bodies at airport security stations. The idea was so blatantly ignorant of the principles of liberty that it could only be parody–what American would possibly stand for a form of intrusion that even Orwell could not have imagined? I was stunned when the scanners rolled out, but I took solace in my belief that Americans would be outraged by the efforts of their government to see them nude, to strip their children and parents of their dignity and pride, to see the weak exploited and abused by the strong. It wasn’t until my countrymen responded with the yawn heard ’round the world that I realized how apathetic my nation had become and how easily its politicians could exploit their complacent constituents. It’s hard to be proud of your national identity when the government abuses its power like this, and it’s endlessly frustrating that I fully expect this young woman’s story to be verified to the last jot and tittle. I want to give you the benefit of doubt, America, but you just won’t let me.

I have invoked Arendt’s banality of evil and the Milgram Experiment more times than I would have liked, but it’s still shocking when human failings and cruelty make a home within legal and ethical systems that were expressly designed to exclude them.

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