If you’ve traveled lately by plane, you probably have a tale to tell about your adventures going through security. Previously maligned for their general incompetence and rudeness, airport security workers making not much more than fast food employees finally have their moment in the sun, and in your bra. The YouTube “Don’t touch my junk!” guy set off a firestorm of public outrage just in time for the holidays. Vigorous pat downs, that some have described as pet downs for their gratuitous intimacy, have become the only way out of full-body scans, the radiation exposure of which remains undetermined. We are assured of their safety by the same people who can’t make up their minds whether mammograms are beneficial or harmful. So until the jury comes in on that, here’s some bonus radiation to tide us over.
It’s all extra aggravating because it reminds us that we haven’t won a war lately. Our knee jerk reaction to terrorist plots has been to put safeguards in place that guard against attacks already over. While we’re counting liquid ounces in carry-on bags, the people trying to kill us have moved over to cargo bombs hidden in toner cartridges. Have the full-body scans or pat downs exposed any panty bombs? Did removing our sandals and shuffling along fungal airport floors in bare feet reveal more shoe bombs? We do it all willingly, even gladly, hoping it will provide protection from the unknown, but here’s a scary scenario: If the next explosive device detonated turns out to have been hidden in a terrorist’s anal cavity, will we all need to bend over and spread ‘em for our next Florida Keys vacation? We’re following rules all right, they’re just not ours; and by ‘ours’, I mean America’s. We’re frantically dancing to the beat of the terrorists’ song.
And when we fight back, it’s in misguided backfires. It seems that all our frustration and anger over a war we can’t win and an enemy we can’t catch bubbles over in the first fissure we can find. Like the recent lower Manhattan Ground Zero Mosque spectacle/debacle. The furor has died down now and only time will tell what is ultimately constructed and where, but it is evidence of a dam looking to burst. We’re frustrated by our nation’s intelligence network that seems to miss the forest for the trees, and angered both by the sheer existence of Wikileaks, and the emperor wearing no clothes it is bent on revealing. We hunger for the ersatz safety we felt before the Towers came down and life as we knew it changed. Lost in the bureaucracy and immediacy of the next crisis, the heroes of that horrible day are now either dying because of their efforts or finding out in dollar amount payouts just what their sacrifice was worth. For the rest of us, what remains is a hollow pounding in the core of our being that not only is there no going back, but we may not even be certain which way is forward.
Cousin’s camera brings focus to Today’s Fotos