From an article in the Wall Street Journal we learn this depressing little fact: “Nearly one out of every three American adults are on file in the FBI’s master criminal database.” I have a notion about how some of them got there.
My partner and I recently made a trip to New England from California. Both going and returning, my checked bag was searched by the crime busters of the TSA. They were kind enough to leave inside a little note that reads, in part:
As part of this process, some bags are opened and physically inspected. Your bag was among those selected....
If the TSA security officer was unable to open your bag for inspection because it was locked, the officer may have been forced to break the locks on your bag....TSA is not liable for damage to your locks....
Notice that there is no requirement of probable cause.
Meanwhile, my actual person has been permitted to retain its belt and shoes through the Archway of Anxiety, where random bits of this or that forgotten in a pocket can set off an alarm that portends DefCon 4.
While in Maine we drove to the little bridge that connects the island of Campobello with the mainland. The problem is that the mainland is the US of A, while the island is Canada. The very polite Canadian chap was happy to welcome us to his country. The uniformed teenager who stopped us on the way back -- not so much. To my surprise, a US citizen now needs a passport in order to return home across what was once the world’s longest unguarded border.
Our attempt to do so earned us a stern lecture from the little lady, along with a note headed
which I gather we were meant to take home to mother, who would deal with us appropriately.
It was never the terrorists who were going to win; it was always the petty-ists.