Niagara Gazette

Columns

December 4, 2012

CONFER: Opting out of the TSA

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — So, I’ve opted out. Not out of scanners, but American air travel entirely. I haven’t flown in the states since our honeymoon. I should be attending trade shows and visiting customers. I should be looking ahead at Disney with the kid in a few years. But I’m not. Travels have been kept to anywhere that I can drive to with ease or flying across Canada, where they actually know how to treat travelers with class and respect.

Either way, the government infringed on my rights: If I flew, I wouldn’t be safe from government in my person as the Constitution requires and by not flying because of that, the feds seriously inhibited my right to travel freely about the country.

In discussions about TSA, I am always asked, “what are the alternatives?” The alternatives are those that should be the answer for anything of questionable purpose and horrible implementation in government, and actually, should be the dominant way of doing things in our nation: Reliance on individual choice and private sector solutions.

To put it into perspective, taxpayers, whether they travel or not, are burdened with the $8.1 billion annual cost to keep TSA alive. That makes it, in essence, a subsidy for the airline industry since the government is handling the security and oversight of the industry’s assets (planes) and customers. That subsidy – and everything that it funds – should be eliminated in its entirety and security should be left solely to the airlines themselves. Gone should be the mandated screening lines and overzealous inspections that no traveler has any true choice over.

Instead, choice should be paramount. The airlines should have the duty to manage threats and charge their clients accordingly in their ticket prices. It would be up to them to develop the means. Southwest might use scanners. US Airways might use pat-downs. United might use the Israeli method. Delta might utilize metal detectors only. It’s their choice. And, it would be up to the consumers to choose the company and the safety measures that they have the most desire for and comfort with. Travel and all its inconveniences would be a free choice. If someone wanted invasive procedures for peace of mind so be it. If another wanted the least hassle possible, more power to him.

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