The Transportation Security Administration's job is to keep traveling safe for Americans in America and on planes leaving America. They must check for any chance of a terrorist acts both domestic and foreign on American soil. They are our friends, neighbors and relatives and the first line of defense in finding bombers in airports, train rail cars and subways. (TSA.com, 2009)
The first amendment grants all Americans the right of freedom of speech and religion regardless of race, color, sex or religious background. The fourth amendment says that there will be no illegal search or seizures by any officers of the courts or any agency of the government. This means any officer of any department needs a search warrant issued by a legal court judge or magistrate.
Also the 6th amendment is right to speedy trial and this has taken to also mean someone can not be held without due process. As I and many other people have felt in history and modern times that these are the rights of American citizens and not the whole world whether or not on American soil. Many of the special interest groups have tried to give these rights to all people of the world and everyone that visits the USA.
I feel this is wrong and is the main problem we have in doing our jobs to keep America safe. When American citizens do not follow the laws passed by government then they lose these rights. We need to get the understanding across to all people of the US that violating laws of city, county, state and federal governments means they can lose these rights at certain moments of time, such as forcing a running felon to lay down the ground to be Handcuffed.
This is considered by most people justified, but these same people think it's not right to stop someone to ask them to open bags at airport. If only they could stop and think about it in a sane way. It's really just the same thing as the fleeing felon who needs to the tackled for the safety and rights of all people. So the person being ask to open a bag is just the same its for the safety of all people. As Transportation Security Administration officers and agents we need to be nice but be strong in our jobs. After all it's for the safety of our children as well as the children of the angry people who you have stopped.
The main to 2 complaints that have come up are racial profiling and violation of freedom of speech. Many groups like the ACLU have filed lawsuits against Transportation Security Administration and agencies we use. Looking at racial profiling first, they have accused the agency of Islamic profiling and the ever popular "Driving while Black" excuse. If either of these is done without due cause then it would violate the 4th and 6th Amendments. Stopping to search someone can be considered a 4th amendment violation but what people need to understand with the terrorism in the world today these searches must be looked the same as searching a car of a suspected drug dealer.
There have been cases of people being stopped for shirts that they have on with Islamic writing and for dressing in full Islamic clothing. (ACLU.com, 2009). To address this first we need to make people understand wearing an Islamic shirt saying certain things is just like a Klan member wearing a shirt with a burning cross on it both would be stopped but in the eyes of many people the Islamic person is being profiled but The Klan member is not.
We have to get the American people to understand that any negative actions well be treated the same way no matter the race or ethnic background. It's just like yelling fire in a theater if you endanger or anger the major then you must be at least stopped and talked to. Also on our part we must try to treat all people the same and give some thought to the words we use when stopping some people as well as our body language and tone of voice. There's no way of making everyone feel at ease with searches at airports and subway stations but this must be done and it's our job to get it done with the least amount of conflict.
Now as for the freedom of speech as stated earlier negative writing on clothes, signs, buildings and even the human body must be looked at as a possible problem. If we can get the public to understand this by talking in schools, churches and city meeting we may start to get them to understand why this is done. Many people think the first amendment lets them say whatever they want but it has been ruled that community standards apply to speech and pictures. Wear a shirt that says down with America must be looked the same as one with a hang mans rope on it. Both violate standards of most Americans and it's to majority that rules.
To conclude if we try little harder to be more understanding as well as getting out into schools and in the public to talk to groups to let them understand our problems and how we must deal with them. I agree we have had some bad actions taken by a few officers and we must deal with them swiftly and harshly.
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Michael A Harris