Friday, November 19, 2010

AFP: Don’t touch my junk! Protest out-of-control government bureaucracy.

Dear Arizona Taxpayer,

Please join members of AFP Arizona and ASU Students for Liberty at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport this Wednesday, November 24, from 1:00 to 6:00 pm for the National Opt Out Day protest against the use of intrusive body-scanning technology by the TSA (“Thousands Standing Around”).  We will have AFP/SFL “Don’t touch my junk!” t-shirts available.  (Protest details at the bottom of this email.)

TSA is a microcosm of the gigantic, costly, incompetent and obnoxious federal bureaucracy.  Despite creating long lines and subjecting many travelers to strip searches, the TSA failed to catch the Underwear Bomber last year.  And now, the TSA is subjecting travelers to invasive body scans and physical pat-downs--methods that still would have failed to catch the Underwear Bomber.

Charles Krauthammer has a great take on the wider message of Wednesday’s protests:  “Don’t touch my junk is the anthem of the modern man, the ‘tea party’ patriot, the late-life libertarian, the midterm election voter.  Don’t touch my junk, ObamaCare – get out of my doctor’s examining room, I’m wearing a paper-thin gown slit down the back.”

Here is a link to the Krauthammer op-ed:

Here are the solutions AFP Arizona is advocating:

1)  Phoenix Sky Harbor should fire TSA. 

Phoenix Sky Harbor should contract with private companies for airport security.  Airports are currently allowed to opt out of using TSA personnel, as long as they comply with TSA regulations.  That's a step in the right direction.  Private contractors are generally more sensitive to customer demands than government workers are.  TSA workers are often bossy and surly—traits that don’t fly (so to speak) in the private sector.  Private companies have successfully conducted airport security at San Francisco International Airport for several years now. 

2)  The U.S. should privatize airport security.

Contracting with private companies is a good first step.  But what we really need is vigorous competition among security methods, so that firms can discover and use the methods that provide the most security with the least harassment of customers.  Instead of relying on TSA and top-down government harassment to supposedly provide “security,” Congress should turn over security provision to airlines and airports, and then use a much smaller airline security agency, with undercover government agents, to attempt to infiltrate private airport security systems.  The agency could then publish regular reports on which airports and airlines have the best (and worst) records of preventing infiltration by TSA agents.  It would be up to flyers to decide whether or not to use airlines or airports with low security ratings.  In cases of gross security negligence, the agency could temporarily shut down airports if they pose threats to the wider public.  Under a mostly private system of airport security, airports and airlines would compete to provide the best security system, and to do so in ways that are most customer-friendly.

Sky Harbor Protest Details

The demonstration will take place at Terminal 4 (appropriately, it’s the Barry M. Goldwater terminal!), outside on the curb where departures are dropped off.  We will be there from about 1:00 to 6:00 pm on Wednesday.  Feel free to show up at any time.

The ASU Students for Liberty protesters will gather at Hayden Lawn at noon, and will take light rail over to the airport (to avoid parking hassles on a busy travel day). 

SFL organizer Jewel Loree will be having a sign-making party at her house on Sunday afternoon. If you are interested in coming to that, call or text her at 425.232.0080, or email her at for more details.  If you can, please bring your own sign-making materials, or be ready to donate a few bucks to SFL’s sign-making fund.

Thanks to Jewel’s communications with the Phoenix Police Department, we have some helpful suggestions for our protesters:

--The entire airport is Phoenix PD domain except for the security checkpoints, which are TSA territory.  Phoenix PD will support our right to demonstrate as long as we keep it peaceful and lawful.

--In order to ensure that we aren’t too disruptive, we have been advised to stay at least 10 feet away from ticket counters, stairs/elevators/escalators, and the security checkpoint.

--Sky Harbor has policies against solicitation.  To lawfully hand out literature, they want three days’ notice and permits, so be advised that your ability to hand out pamphlets may be limited.

--We are doing this as an educational campaign to inform people of TSA’s abuses of our liberty.  We are not going there to start a riot or to scare people.  Our fight is with the TSA, and with Sky Harbor’s use of TSA, not with the Phoenix Police.  

For Liberty, Tom

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director
Americans for Prosperity

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