Wednesday, December 13, 2006

TSA's "Registered Traveler" Shakedown

New technology has been approved by the US government that will allow airline passengers to keep their shoes on while they are being scanned for shoe bombs, but it will only be made available to persons who become Registered Travelers. To do that, you must fork over $100 a year, undergo a background check, and submit biometric data.

Who in their right mind would sign up for this? Sure, it's unpleasant taking off your shoes at the airport, but it's not nearly as intrusive as background checks and biometrics. Also, there's the matter of that $100 a year.

Do you have that kind of money? I don't. If I did, I would fly more. Why, I can barely scrape together enough money to fly every five years. Where am I supposed to get an additional $100 to become a Registered Traveler?

Why, even if I could afford the $100, and didn't mind the background check and biometrics, I still wouldn't pay it because it's a shakedown. Never give in to a shakedown. Once it starts, there's no end to it, and the price always gets higher. Pay a hoodlum a hundred dollars today, tomorrow he wants two hundred. Pay two hundred, next time it's three hundred, and so on.

Of course, as the price goes up, so does the level of coercion. Today it's a bloody nose, tomorrow it's a broken arm. Next time it's a busted skull ...

Similarly, today, it’s the privilege of keeping your shoes on at the airport. Tomorrow, it will be the privilege of avoiding a cavity search.

Mark my words, in the near future there will be a butt bomb scare. It will be a manufactured crisis, of course, and it will result in a new rule: Everyone passing through airport security will be required to drop trou, bend over, and spread 'em for a rectal probe to see if they’re carrying any unauthorized liquids—everyone, that is, except Registered Travelers whose butts will be scanned in a more high-tech, less obtrusive fashion.

Avoid long lines and a rod up your butt! Become a Registered Traveler today …