As if there wasn't enough to worry about these days.

29 July 2008

Some days, I cringe when I page through my list of newsfeeds at the things going on in the world right now. For starters, the US Transportation Safety Agency, a government organization charged with watching over points of entry and egress to this country has been a thorn in the side of many a passenger since its inception. Have a piercing or two under your skin that sets off the magnetometers? There's an excellent chance that you'll be forced to remove it regardless of the health risk. If you've had it for a while, I hope you packed hand tools to assist in their removal. Drop a couple of k on a brand-new Macbook Air, a laptop computer so small and light that you can store it in a shipping envelope? The screeners might not have seen it before, and could cause you to miss your flight as they figure out what it is. Maybe wearing a shirt that has a giant robot on it will intimidate security enough to force you to change your shirt because "other travelers might find it offensive". Now, just maybe, if you criticize them for their actions you might wind up on the watch list and be hassled for the rest of your life every time you try to fly, just like Drew Griffin, who is a reporter at CNN. Griffin did a story on the TSA a couple of weeks ago which cast a critical eye upon the agency and its list of suspicious people (which the ACLU says tops one million people but the TSA itself says has less than a half-million (no direct link to the TSA website lest I wind up on the same list - search Google for it)). Now, every time he tries to clear security at an airport he has to present his ID at the counter; occasionally, whomever is working the counter has to call the TSA for authorization to give him his ticket. As if that weren't enough to make you wonder if it was safe to leave your house (for some value of 'safe'), it's come out that local police in some areas (like Nashville, Tennessee) are authorized to sedate people with the drug Midazolam, which is an intravenous sedative that can adversely effect the short term memory and suppress the respiratory reflex if misused. Ostensibly it's used to control people when tazer guns can't be used or are ineffective (or when the heat is on due to an incident or two). This makes one wonder where the oversight of this protocol is? Who makes the determination that someone must be sedated? Who decides the dosage? Who keeps tabs on the sedated people to ensure that they're not in any medical danger? What's on the form that Dameon Beasley was forced to sign when he was out of it?

What the hell's happening to the world we live in that these things can happen without anyone being called to account for, or even explain the reasons behind them?