Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

A Paul to Revere

A Paul to Revere
– or –
Three if By Air

©2012 Ross Williams

Senator Rand Paul, son of Texas faux-libertarian Congressman and current Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, was detained this morning by TSApes in Nashville for triggering an “alarm” which they sought to resolve by means of pat-down. Rand Paul refused to allow it and he was sent off to a corner to sit by himself to “think about what he’s done”. He missed his flight to DC where debate is scheduled to convene at 2pm and votes by 4:30.

Of course, this event has spawned a great number of people making wildly idiotic claims.

The first of which is: He wasn’t detained.

Incorrect. Detention [at the hands of the government] is the act of restricting the movement of a citizen under color of a government agent’s lawful authority to restrict movement. You are detained by definition at TSA checkpoints while they conduct their warrantless searches. You are detained by definition on the side of the road when a cop pulls you over for speeding.

He was not taken into custody, no. He was still detained. A detention by the government is an arrest.

The next claim [made in the form of a question] is: What makes him so special?

The Constitution does. Article I, Section 6:

They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

As he was on his way to DC to attend his Senate session, he is exempt from any interference in fulfilling that duty, which includes detention by TSApes after he triggered his “alarm”, and – technically – from questioning him [by remote electronics] in the first place in order to gain that “alarm”. If you want to arrest a Congressman on his way to the office, it has to be for a crime already on the books.

As a US Senator, he’s exempt.

The next outrage identified is: flying still isn’t a right.

This is still flat wrong, for all the reasons previously identified. The Constitution is the upper limit on government power, not the starting point. Without a specific authority within the body of the Constitution to allow interference, flying and contracting with airline companies is indeed a right.

Following closely is this: WE still have to go through it!

...but we shouldn’t either. We have the right to move from place to place in this country, by any means we choose to use, without undue government interference. If the government wants to interfere, it needs to go to the effort to explain – rationally – why each individual it wishes to interfere with deserves to be interfered with. This is our freedom from unreasonable search.

And that leads to this: but it isn’t unreasonable to search people for being terrorists.

Yes it is, when it doesn’t come with a warrant. The word warrant means reason; we are free from “unreasonable search”. We are free, therefore, from unwarranted – warrantless – search. You cannot separate “unreasonable search” from the lack of a warrant, based on Probable Cause, defining it. They are the same thing.

Then, naturally, comes: but TSA doesn’t really “search” unless you’ve triggered an alarm.

This is just a huge duck-n-cover for idiots. The electronic technology TSA has is more effective as a search agent than virtually anything else, and can see model numbers printed on hairdryers inside a carry-on without opening it. And serendipity being what it is, the US Supreme Court ruled this morning that installing a passive GPS locator on a suspect’s car without his consent constituted a search. When the mere tracking of possible ne’er-do-wells is a search requiring a warrant and the active electronic searching of improbable terrorists is not ... then it’s time to hop the slow boat to communist China. At least the ChiComs are becoming more capitalist instead of less.

Not to mention, by the time the US spends itself into oblivion by stimulating our economy with more and better electronics for TSA, the Chinese will own the US anyway and may simply foreclose on us. Moving to China will be just another term for ‘coming home’ before too long.

Until then, here’s hoping the Senator will push back at TSA.


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