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I Am brave

“…for the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” America is dying, and I believe there is no greater proof than airports. Allow me to explain. Our country, the “land of the free and home of the brave,” responds substantially to terrorism and fear by removing personal liberties. We always hear the word freedom used to inspire us to patriotism, but what does it mean? To me, it’s the ability to go where I want, do what I want, say what I want, think what I want, believe what I want and do so with as little oversight as possible, so long as I am not interfering with the freedoms of others. At the risk of editorializing (well, nevermind, this is an editorial) I’d like to point out that I’ve yet to see how Al Quaeda blowing up 50 buildings will stop me from being able to say or think what I want. Actually, the actions of our government in response to Al Quaeda’s actions has removed more freedoms that Al Quaeda has (and killed more American citizens in Iraq), and it seems that through relationships with contractors such as Halliburton and KBR that they’ve profited supremely off of this chain of action, but that’s besides the point. The airport is the greatest example of freedoms snatched up in the name of freedom. The plane, a convenience which makes travel easier, used to be just that, a vehicle, but now it has become a symbol and a weapon. Ignoring the fact that cars are also vehicles that can and have been used intentionally (and accidentally) as weapons to end many more lives and damage many buildings is apparantly the business of the policy makers. But, planes are the new symbol so that’s where the government is acting. Close your eyes for a second, and think of what freedom means to you. Now, remove the ability to carry anything pointy and metallic. Now, imagine you have to be inspected, scanned, and potentially remove clothes for a government official to use something you paid for through a private company. Now, imagine that you can be arrested for saying the wrong thing, or even making a joke. Now, imagine that any time someone comes up with an idea to make something benign a threat, it gets acted upon with a dramatic overreaction, such as having to take off your shoes (even flip flops) when some dumbass tried to light his shoes on fire, and having to throw out toothpaste and shampoo since someone planned to use liquid explosives. I’m not sure what part of this scenario is resulting in me being more free, or even being the same amount of free, since the government is doing this to protect the freedoms we in theory already had. I’m certainly not sure which part of this is being done by the brave; for being brave we sure respond strongly to a lot of fear. My question is this…how come the billions of other ways to kill people haven’t been addressed by the TSA? If somehow stopping bad people from hurting people on planes is going to protect all of our freedoms, why aren’t glasses banned, or pens? I’ve seen “The Godfather,” a pair of glasses can quickly be used as a weapon. Also, anything glass can be shattered or broken and then be used as a weapon, why is glass allowed on a plane? I’ve seen plastic knives, not only is there a very sharp plastic lettuce knife which is sold that can bypass security, but once I tried to cut myself with a plasticware knife given to me in an in-flight meal, and I was able to do so easily with one swipe (get over it, I was trying to see how sharp it was, I’m not into hurting myself). We all know the movie snakes on a plane, and on the last flight I was on a woman snuck a parakeet on the plane in her pocket since she was afraid the flight attendants would take it, and it got out. How easy would it be to bring poisonous or dangerous animals onto a plane, especially since many cold blooded reptiles will hibernate if they get too cold and reanimate once they warm up. The point is, we can’t plan for every contingency, and shouldn’t have to. Yea, some people blew up planes, but it caused enough of a reaction that no plane full of people would ever let three guys with box cutters take over a plane again, especially if instead of box cutters they had a nail clipper, a lighter, and a can of aftershave. If this is the land of the free and the home of the brave, I’m not afraid of Al-Quaeda bringing planes down on my head and suddenly having every woman I know having to cover their knees when they go outside. I’m afraid of the government hijacking patriotism in order to satisfy personal agendas that give them more power and give me less freedom. Remember, the government bailed out most of the airline industry, and not only are taxes on flights now higher but I still have had a disaster in one way or another on 8 of my last 9 flights, and the government controlled FAA prevents airlines from operating their own better services outside the structure of the existing and defunct airport system. Welcome to the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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