Ron Paul: Prosecute TSA Agents for Groping
Ron Paul has introduced a law (the "American Traveler Dignity Act") that would punish TSA agents for groping and x-raying Americans.
Ron Paul has introduced a law (the “American Traveler Dignity Act“) that would punish TSA agents for groping and x-raying Americans:
A BILL – HR 6416
To ensure that certain Federal employees cannot hide behind immunity.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. NO IMMUNITY FOR CERTAIN AIRPORT SCREENING METHODS.
No law of the United States shall be construed to confer any immunity for a Federal employee or agency or any individual or entity that receives Federal funds, who subjects an individual to any physical contact (including contact with any clothing the individual is wearing), x-rays, or millimeter waves, or aids in the creation of or views a representation of any part of a individual’s body covered by clothing as a condition for such individual to be in an airport or to fly in an aircraft. The preceding sentence shall apply even if the individual or the individual’s parent, guardian, or any other individual gives consent.
He introduced the bill thusly:
I rise this evening to announce that I introduced some legislation today dealing with the calamity that we have found at our airports with TSA. Something has to be done. Everybody is fed up. The people are fed up, the pilots are fed up, I’m fed up.
You know, I’ve come to this floor many times over the past many years and complained about the terrible foreign policy we’ve had, the terrible monetary policy we’ve had, the excessive spending and the debt and also the tax policy. But what we’re doing and what we’re accepting in putting up with at this airport is so symbolic of us just not standing up and saying, “Enough is enough”.
I know the American people are starting to wake up, but our government, those in charge – Congress as well as the executive branch – are doing nothing. Yes, they’re talking about maybe backing off and allowing the pilots to go through. But can you think how silly the whole thing is? The pilot has a gun in the cockpit, and he’s managing this aircraft, which is a missile, and we make him go through this groping x-ray exercise, having people feeling their underwear. It’s absurd, and it’s time we wake up.
The bill I’ve introduced will take care of this. But we have to realize that the real problem is that the American people have been too submissive, we have been too submissive. It’s been going on for a long time, and this was to be expected even from the beginning of the TSA and it’s deeply flawed. Private property should be protected by private individuals, not bureaucrats.
But the bill that I’ve introduced will take care of it. It’s very simple, it’s one paragraph long. It removes the immunity from anybody in the federal government that does anything that you or I can’t do. If you can’t grope another person and if you can’t x-ray people and endanger them with possible x-rays, you can’t take nude photographs of individuals, why do we allow the government to do it? We would go to jail. He’d be immediately arrested if an individual citizen went out and did these things, and yet we just sit there calmly and say, “Oh, they’re making us safe”.
And, besides, the argument from the executive branch is that when you buy a ticket, you have sacrificed your rights, and it is the duty of the government to make us safe. That isn’t the case. You never have to sacrifice your rights. The duty of the government is to protect our rights, not to abuse them and do what they have been doing to us. The pilots hopefully will be exempted from this.
This is a publicity stunt — and a good one — rather than a bill with any chance of being enacted into law. But Paul makes a good point: Americans are too submissive to government, which is the price of expecting government to protect us from all possible harm. It’s time to take stock of ourselves and recalibrate.
Presumably, were such a law to go into effect, it would mean the end of federalized airport security, returning the responsibility to the airports and airlines. And that would be a welcome change. But only, as Dave Schuler keeps reminding us, if we actually hold them responsible. After 9/11, government stepped in and paid off massive settlements to the families of those who lost family members as a result of those four plane crashes — and exempted the airlines from liability. It has to be clear that we won’t be doing that again.