I just sat down to my morning coffee when I came across an article on CNN.com. There’s a bit of a commotion in Great Britain regarding the treatment of credentialed press photographers being stopped and searched without cause in the name of security. According to the article the authorities claim the need under Section 44 of Britain’s Terrorism Act of 2000. The unwarranted stop and search practices, already condemned by the European Court of Human Rights, continue in the name of the greater good prompting the photographers to come up with a clever slogan, “I am a photographer, not a terrorist”. I kinda like the slogan. The professional maritime community could easily adopt a form of the slogan by changing the wording to, “I am a Mariner, not a Terrorist, Dammit!” (I think “Dammit” would be appropriate for added emphasis) In spite of the USCG’s efforts, we’re seeing precious little progress on the access issues that showed up post-MTSA 2002.
It’s not a surprise we’re seeing such glacial movement on the issue. There are too many other issues distracting the good people in Homeland Security to worry about the minor concepts of personal liberty, the Bill of Rights and just plain common sense. I mean if a guy is trying to light his underwear on fire or some fellow self-polices himself because he has forgotten his bagful of shotgun shells as the plane is backing away from the gate, I get it.
But the one thing we should note is that even though Ms. Napolitano insists the “system worked as it should”, we know it’s not since regular everyday Joes and Janes beat the shit out of (I mean subdued) the “Underwear Bomber”. The shotgun shell guy turned himself in and the TSA still has egg on its face from a passenger just walking through a supposedly secure access and causing a mob scene in a major airport,. Then a teenager gets taken down for praying because some ignorant bastards thought his tefillin was dangerous stuff. Since the tefillin has only been around for few thousand years or so, I can see how that might be difficult to recognize. I’m thinking a bit more multi-cultural training is in order for the TSA .
So until they’re up to speed, regular everyday people will be doing the job our elected officials are supposed to be doing, I think that the title of this post is the slogan we could adopt, it might help the next time at the airport or even the next terminal on crew change day. Maybe I should start a T-shirt campaign