Ok, so as I said in my last post we traveled to Saint Louis last week. Travel these days implies going through security. Yup, the good ol’ TSA. Always something to look forward to. Luckily our airport security experience went as smoothly as is possible with young children. In line, however, Weasley wanted to know why we had to go through security. He wanted to know why we take our shoes off, he wanted to know why we have to put our bags through the x-ray machine, he wanted to know why we can’t take large amounts of liquids or our water bottles through security. My husband told him we don’t talk about those things in the security line (never say bomb on an airplane).
I wondered if he’d remember to ask again later. Well, he did. The answer? Fear. My husband explained that every hoop we are put through in the security line is because of one person that tried to hurt people in a particular way. Why do we take our shoes off? Because of one man’s attempt to blow up a plane with his shoes. Liquids? One man’s attempt to blow up a plane with a bottle of liquid explosive. And we all know the reason security is so tight in the US to begin with.
But where does it stop? Crime happens every day all over the world. At what point are we prisoners of our own fear and no longer prisoners of the criminals? At what point are we too afraid to question our own government? At what point does it go to far? Has it already?
We do not question. We cannot argue. This is where the first amendment turns into “freedom of speech except when you are told to shut up.” As is the case in the security line, if my husband had told my son “we have to follow these rules because of fear of bombs” would we have been targeted by security? You absolutely know that if we had argued with security about something we would have been targeted. A few months ago a women in Phoenix got targeted by the TSA for telling them she didn’t want her breastmilk x-rayed. She got put in a glass “holding cell” and missed her flight. (You can read about it here: http://exm.nr/gdk9NG) And thus the TSA earns our silence. Why question when it’s just going to make your life harder? Point made.
But it goes beyond that. See, I was raised in a world of minimal security as a kid. I have now become used to airport security but it isn’t normal. I have become accustomed to following the crowd, doing as I am told, teaching my kids to follow the airport security rules. But here’s what really set me off…
When we visited Saint Louis I took my family to see the Arch. It is a fun childhood memory for me and my kids and husband hadn’t been there. It was a beautiful day and we were in great spirits. Until we walked into the arch that is. As soon as we opened the door we were met by security. Really? Security? Again? Here? 15 years ago when I was here this did not exist. We would waltz right in and enjoy the monument. Not this time. Everyone is a suspected criminal these days.
But here’s the clincher…
It took us a good deal of effort to get Wiggles into her stroller before heading toward the arch. My first thought at having to take her out of the stroller so they could x-ray it? “There goes seeing the museum–we’ll never get her back in the stroller. She’ll be running around in toddler joy now!” Not so. She took one look at that conveyor belt and knew exactly what to do. She got out, sat on my hip and went right back into the stroller.
Then it hit me.
After three flights in her sixteen months of life, my daughter had been completely brain washed. She knew how to follow security guidelines better than she knew how to feed herself.
Next, we bought our tickets to go up into the arch. We were then escorted through the ticket line. After handing in our ticket stubs we were asked to stand up against a concrete wall to have our picture taken. No, you could not refuse. And no, it wasn’t a money making scam for them to get you to buy your family portrait. If fact, they didn’t really sell it at all. It was a record. A record of every person who walked into that portion of the building. Our family picture taken up against that cold wall was now part of the governments record database. Remind you of something? It did me.
The problem is that I am freaked out by this. For my kids it is normality. Is my generation the last one to remember a world without security? Is my generation to last to remember when the constitution meant something? My kids are going to have freedom of speech except when the government tells you that you don’t. (Did you see this? http://huff.to/g9NIL3 ) My kids are going to have the freedom to bear arms until the government says they can’t.
I usually stay completely out of politics. But I wonder at what point the bully becomes the one “protecting” the people from the bullies. Some people are expecting marshal law at some point in the near future. You know, that thing that happens some times in the movies where the government basically puts everyone under house arrest and mans the streets with tanks? Yeah, it’s always so dramatic. I don’t think that is the kind of marshal law we are heading for. I think marshal law is taking place slowly. In the airport, in the Arch, in our towns… Something is wrong. My kids won’t know what it is. I do but what am I going to do about it? I’m certainly not going to argue… that would make my life… well… miserable….