Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The snakes have been very busy lately

Mother Jones magazine reports that the tactical gear-clad goons who comprise the TSA's attempt-to-be-intimidating VIPR teams (Yes, intimidating.  It's right in their name - Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response) have lately been ramping up their warrantless searches of innocent passengers on subways, ferries, trolleys and buses (and in at least one instance forcing people disembarking from a train in Savannah, Georgia to submit to a so-called "screening"): 

"Currently, the TSA only has 25 VIPR teams doing these impromptu searches: in 2012, it wants to get 12 more."

Coming soon to a public transportation system near you - the elimination of your right to travel without being interrogated and/or molested by an agent of the government.

Want an example of how much of a ridiculous farce this kind of exercise really is?  These VIPR teams have been seen operating on the light-rail system in Phoenix, Arizona:

The carrying of firearms without a permit by law-abiding citizens on the light-rail system in Phoenix, Arizona happens to be perfectly legal.  Precisely what, then, are those teams looking for, and how many innocent citizens are going to be unlawfully detained or even placed in danger by an "operator" over something those people have every right to do?

The story also links to the first reported instance of that agency searching the private vehicles of citizens entering and leaving a public facility:

"Random car and truck inspections are wrapping up at the Port of Brownsville [Texas]


A spokesperson says TSA is checking all private and commercial vehicles coming in and out of the port."

(How can such a process be considered "random", by the way, when all vehicles are forced to submit to such unlawful snooping?)

Ask them politely for a warrant.  If they can't produce one, or if they don't have reasonable suspicion of a crime being committed, they have no legal right to search either you or your car.  Don't let the TSA violate your basic Fourth Amendment rights without challenging them.

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