September 3, 2002

One the way to Chicago last weekend, I was singled out for extra security screening. In the process, the screener carefully ran his thumb across the delicate screen of my TiBook. I mentioned that some people might find this upsetting, as screen repairs are costly. He snapped back, "We've never had any complaints."

So, I asked him for the name of his employer so I could write a complaint, and he summoned the police to "deal" with the "situation". The police came, the screeners searched everything again (but this time they didn't fingerprint the screen), and I didn't quite miss the plane.

Is this how police states gather momentum? With a "reasonable" intrusion, but one without responsibility or accountability or recourse? With summoning the police to punish anyone with the temerity to question an employee of Globe Services -- the private company who, I learned at last, is responsible for these imperious, ill-trained, and ignorant screeners? (How long before we hear about theft rings at security checkpoints? It would be easy to palm small valuable or cash, people must leave valuables behind every day, and we're all being trained never to question a screener, never to ask them for identification or to see a supervisor)

In the end, this is Dubya's fault. Decent leadership would set a better tone and a better example. But he's busy chopping down the forests to prevent forest fires, and busy trying to finish his Daddy's quarrels.