TSA as the Berlin Wall

There are many obvious parallels which could be draw between the TSA and Berlin Wall. The restrictions on travel, freedom, and of course the infamous “Papers!” line from movies about Nazi Germany.

But I want to point out a less obvious parallel—the way the Berlin Wall fell.

On November 9, 1989 there was a misunderstanding between the politburo and their spokesman about a change in travel policy. This was amplified by the media getting the message even more messed up (don’t they always?). The media ended up saying, “The borders are open to everyone” instead of some East Berliners will be allowed to cross if they have proper permission (presumably if they were politically connected and had close relatives to stay behind as hostages).

Crowds of people gathered at the wall and demanded the border guards immediately open the gates. The guards were overwhelmed (no injuries as far as I know) and let people through with little or no checking of papers.

The same thing could happen with the TSA. The only reason they have power over us is because we give them that power. We could ignore their demands for our papers, push their scanning machines aside, and walk straight to our gates and board our planes. If 10s of thousands did it all on the same day the game would be over in a matter of hours.

The guards at the Berlin Wall had machine guns. The TSA just have their uniforms and our timidity.

14 thoughts on “TSA as the Berlin Wall

  1. “The TSA just have their uniforms and our timidity.”

    And their list. Can’t forget the list. I suggest we start one of our own.

  2. I like that! Walk through, get the names of every agent that had anything to do with your groping, write it down, and we create a list or database in on our interwebs where we can compile a list of every single TSA agent we come in contact with.

  3. The key is numbers. They can arrest one or two or ten or twenty people per day, but not everyone. The other key is not being violent or smashing things, or there will be a massive outcry & the governor will send in the National Guard (he might anyway, at first). Then it really gets ugly.

  4. None of these TSA protests will work.

    The reason why they won’t work is because you are relying on the general flying public to enact them. The general flying public just wants to get on a bomb-free plane and fly to their destination.

    If everyone over-ran TSA, there would be some folks who would refuse to get on the plane because “everyone wasn’t screened.”

  5. “If everyone over-ran TSA, there would be some folks who would refuse to get on the plane because “everyone wasn’t screened.””

    Fine. Better they be left behind than the folks with the stones to just say no to the TSA. Stay home sheep.

    But the cycnic in me says not many Americans don’t live here anymore.

  6. Bill,

    In this case, I think that ubu raises a valid point. There are too many sheep for this to work–sure, some of them may follow us, but not all of them. The FedGov is a pretty powerful shepherd, which they are accustomed to following–even unto slaughter.

  7. “The general flying public just wants to get on a bomb-free plane and fly to their destination.”

    And these scans and molestations will find bombs how? They’ve worked so well up until now….

  8. I find it hard to see the TSA as a total failure since we haven’t had a plane hijacked or blown up since 9/11. If you have evidence to the contrary of this, I’d like to see it. TSA would be a failure if we had an aircraft blown out of the sky at least once a year — but that isn’t happening.

    I knew someone who died on Pan Am flight 103, so I happen to think that TSA is doing a pretty good job compared to what airport security used to be.

  9. UBU52 once again demonstrates that Google is too hard for her.

    Here. Let me help. (Each of those words are individual links.)

    The only reason we have not had a plane “hijacked or blown up since 9/11” is the incompetence of the terrorists attempting to do the blowing-up, not the TSA. Thank God for stupid terrorists. But using your “logic”, I could claim that my statue of Shiva in my front yard is a “success” because I have never once had an elephant try to rip up my roses.

    I am sorry for your loss, but if you genuinely believe that the TSA could prevent something like that from ever happening again, you are deluding yourself… not as though that is anything new for you.

  10. Linoge,

    Do you honestly think that the government puts everything on the internet so you can Google it? If so, I’d like to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge…

  11. UBU52,

    Do you honestly think that if the TSA had actually managed to stop a single, solitary, honest-to-God terrorist from boarding a plane, that they would not be crowing it to the high heavens in order to preserve their funding, expand their power, and otherwise increase their influence?

    If so, you are a bigger moron than you have already lead me to believe.

  12. Before 9/11, if a passenger plane was hijacked, the passengers had a reasonable expectation that the hijackers intended to land the plane somewhere and eventually free the passengers, probably in exchange for a ransom. The assumption was that if you were calm and cooperative, you would live.

    After 9/11, the assumption is that anyone trying to hijack the plane or ignite something on the plane intends to kill everyone on board. A passenger that would have been docile in a dangerous situation ten years ago will now fight for their life.

    While the TSA may have stopped some terrorist threats (although none I have heard of and I expect that any victory by the TSA would have been used to boost their repuitation), and most certainly have forced would-be terrorists to be more creative, ultimately they are playing catch-up. They are and always will be one step behind the terrorists. The two things that have kept us safe are the incompetence of the terrorists and the vigilence of passengers who have subdued them.

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