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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Post 9/11 America...Baring Everying 

I'd like to share with you an interesting portion of a recent lecture from one of my classes. We went off the topic for a brief time but I thought it was something to consider.

Of course, we all know that these security checks at the airports were a direct result from the 9/11 crash into the Twin Towers. Well, ok...we had security checks before but they were not strictly enforced. We used to be able to bring an entourage of family and/or friends to come all the way to the gates to see us off. A lot of "used to's" were done but have since ceased since the 9/11 incident.

When these security checks were strictly enforced, of course we all had reacted negatively, for a variety of reasons. I remember some of the women were like..."ohmigawd, they have to search my purse?!?" People who loved to bring weed on the plane were complaining because of the loss of profits and having to resort to other modes of transportation. The majority of us were like..."what? we can't carry on our razors, nail clippers, nail files?" or whatever other things we like to bring with us but are now forbidden. However, the complaints were short lived. We've pretty much accepted the "rules" and just lined up, like cows waiting to be butchered, to be checked by security.

Nowadays, there are even random strip searches. Yeah, we all freak out but again, it's short lived. When we get checked, we have to take our hats off, unbuckle our belts and take off our shoes and reach out for those endless coins in our pockets. (Why is it when we're at the airport, you suddenly have like $20 dollars worth of coins, in your pockets?) I mean really...that's a hassle! After your things have been scanned on the conveyor belt, you hurry to grab your things out of those gray trays, otherwise you'd be holding up the line and get rude stares from others. And you give them the look like..."well, fuck you too!" Then, you find an empty seat and put on your hats, belts and shoes. That is...if you haven't been randomly selected to be electronically scanned by a guard with those black paddles.

But again, we complain at first and then just accept it as a part of the ritual of going to the airport. There hasn't been a huge protest or boycott of this practice. There hasn't been a lawsuit, with the hope to put an end to this practice or at least reduce the activity. Many people have rationalized that at least they feel safer going to the airports with all these security checks. Do you really feel safer?

Anyways, we've pretty much shut our mouths and just do what the security guards want us to do. Open up our laptops, our purses, our manbags, our backpacks, our carry-ons and hope not to be set aside for further searches. Open and shut: zip, snap, click. Then, on to your merry ways.

Perhaps the reason for this acceptance is because this isn't a new thing. You might think so but let's go back a little in time and technologies. Prior to 9/11, reality shows have been on the rise on television. There were Real World, Road Rules, Survivor and a few others. Believe it or not, after 9/11, you are blind not to notice that reality shows have skyrocketed! Of course, there isn't a connection between 9/11 and these shows. However, my point is that we love watching what's going on with other people's lives. You can practically find a reality show, just about anything! Cops, Biggest Loser, Trading Spouses, Extreme Makeovers, The Swan, The Apprentice, Amish in the City, Big Brothers, American Idols, and millions of others.

Let's move on other things. Surveillance cameras are everywhere! ATM's, banks, stores, parking lots, schools, and many other places. Heck, you can buy a hidden camera and spy on your babysitter or maid! Cameras everywhere and we don't freak out. Safety is the reason we utter. I'm not saying that's a bad thing.

The Internet is a wonderful thing. Is it? You can be your own private investigator and buy classified information on some people for mere bucks. Profiles are publicly displayed. Blogs for the world to read about you. Which is why those people, whom I had a mini blog drama some time ago, are stupid for thinking that their blogs are private and not for the world to see.

After 9/11, Homeland Security was created. HS came up with the Patriot Act, giving the government the right to gain access to information for reading materials you have been researching in public libraries and other such actions. We've griped and bitched, yet has that stopped us from checking out books or whatever? No.

I could go on and on. My point is that we've become a nation of voyeurs and have pretty much accepted it. While we might not have a camera following us 24-hour, yet when we're pried on or ask to reveal our contents, we usually comply without causing a scene.

So, really...was it really a surprise for us when the Patriot Act was enacted or when the security checks at the airports have been enforced?

What's next?