The 4th Amendment states: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Before we break this down, it's important the people understand why we even have a 4th amendment. It comes from a case in the 1760s. There was a lot of smuggling in colonial Boston and British customs agents were given blanket warrants to search anyone, anywhere. Not only could they search anyone wherever they desired, but they had the power to force citizens to assist in the searches. Some merchants filed a losing lawsuit, but the fight empowered opponents to British rule. John Adams would call this case the birth of American independence. The government was out of control and needed to be contained. James Madison and John Adams would later fight hard to ensure that this right was included in the Constitution.
"The right of the people." The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence begins, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." What is liberty but the absence of outside influence over our lives, especially that of the government. The Constitution and the Declaration were written solely out of the belief that the government should have a LIMITED role in our lives, thus ENSURING liberty which is an essential right.
We have the RIGHT "to be secure in their persons…against unreasonable searches and seizures." What is our person? It's our bodies. Our selves! The question could well be asked by proponents of an ever-intrusive government what the meaning of "unreasonable" is. Is it unreasonable to fondle a 8-year old to surmise if he/she is carrying explosives or contraband? Is it unreasonable that ANYONE can be forced by the government to a virtual strip search or molestation at the hands of a government agent? Who holds the patent on what constitutes "unreasonable?" Hint: it's not the government! It's you and me! WE decide what is unreasonable, not the government. WE decide and the government enforces.
The problem is that too many people are too apt to completely dismiss their rights guaranteed under the Constitution in the name of "safety." Too many people have surrendered their rights, giving the government the belief that they are justified "unreasonable searches and seizures." The government only has authority and power to do what we, the people, give it the authority and power to do. The British goons of yesterday are the TSA goons of today. They are no different in trying to strip us of our "inalienable rights" to personal liberty.
The 4th amendment goes on say that "no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." The amendment places lists three limits of the government: the warrants must be supported by probable cause, they must define where the search is to take place, and they must define what the object of the search is—who or what is to be seized. There is no such thing as a random warrant anywhere but at the airport and yet no one seems to care about that? All in the name of secure flights, even though if a terrorist really wanted to blow up a plane, he wouldn't necessarily need to be a passenger on one!
This is where the government has failed the people. TSA agents are not trained to identify suspicious individuals. They are trained to randomly select innocent Americans and violate their rights. Where are the trained social observers reading the faces and mannerisms of every passenger wishing to use a plane to get from point A to point B? As an interrogator and debriefer, I'm trained to read people's actions, facial expressions, body movements and even how and what they write. I can spot a guilty person from across a room, which is why I was so successful as a retail store detective before joining the Army and as an interrogator in it. Where are the TSA's "social monitors?"
I'll tell you where they are – buried in political correctness! For some unknown reason, it's politically correct to remove the breast or spill the urine of a cancer survivor or feel up an 8 year old child than to watch people and make an educated guess about who is suspicious. Our government says, "we're only looking out for your safety" when in reality they're taking the easy way out by issuing the blanket warrants that gave birth to the 4th Amendment.
There are baselines that everyone has. If I ran the TSA, trained social monitors would be spread all over the terminal, identifying "suspicious" individuals the moment they stepped out of their car. The baseline observation would start from the moment they are visually picked up. Any deviation from their mannerisms while moving through different environments would tip off an agent for a screening. Standard questioning techniques would quickly identify a guilty party or alert the agent to an innocent citizen, preventing further violations.But, that's just too hard for our government. It's more important that our citizens be inconvenienced instead of our government officials.
Specialized training takes a back seat to potentially dangerous technology that allows government official to get their sexually deviant kicks. In legal jargon a "search" is any tactic that infringes a "reasonable expectation of privacy." A reasonable expectation of privacy is the kind of expectation any citizen might have with respect to any other citizen. This is the argument we are hearing all over the place today: "if I can't come up to you and place my hands on your private parts, the government shouldn't be able to either." The Supreme Court has upheld this standard (Mapp vs. Ohio – 1967), but our government trots along and I continue to hear people say, "I don't mind!"
The bottom line is that we have these rights so long as we're willing to exercise them. When we cease to care about being felt up by our government, we lose our rights. A false sense of security is no reason to violate those rights that our ancestors fought so hard to obtain. Benjamin Franklin famously said, "Those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither." Amen, brother!