Exactly one year ago, on November 15, 2011, TSA News launched. The first post was by journalist and longtime consumer advocate Christopher Elliott.
Since then, we’ve assembled a stable of writers from all over the country. We come from diverse personal, professional, and political backgrounds. We’re especially all over the place politically. But one thing we all share is respect for civil liberties. And we’re not about to sit around dumbly and watch as those civil liberties are ripped out from under us.
Since 9/11, this country has lost its collective mind. And the denial about that fact is profound. When 1/3 of Americans say they’d be willing to undergo a body cavity search to get on a plane, you know they’ve gone crazy. The overreaction to 9/11 has been brutal and unrelenting. Most of us, in fact, have no idea just how brutal and unrelenting. But people like Saadiq Long and Shoshana Hebshi do.
An American citizen who grew up in Oklahoma and a U.S. Air Force veteran, Saadiq Long has been placed on the no-fly list. He doesn’t know why; he doesn’t know how, when, or if he can get off; his years in the Air Force mean nothing; he can’t fly home. Why? We don’t know. We’re not allowed to know. And he’s hardly the only one.
Another American citizen from the heartland of the country, Shoshana Hebshi, was taken off an airplane in handcuffs, and strip-searched in an American prison. Why? Because she “looked” a certain way. She “looked” “Arab” or “Muslim” or take your pick of whatever bogeyman you choose. In other words, she has dark curly hair — like me, as it happens. Two other passengers on that plane, whose names we don’t know, were similarly abused that day.
The Bill of Rights doesn’t exist for Saadiq Long or Shoshana Hebshi or those other passengers anymore.
It doesn’t exist for any of us. You might object, and claim that the fact that I’m writing these words without being hauled off to jail means that it does exist. But that’s a very narrow, and narrow-minded, qualification.