I don’t consider myself a Democrat or a Republican. Although I believe it is important to help others, I don’t believe I should be able to make someone help someone else. I believe in marriage equality. But I also believe in our right to bear arms. The purpose of a gun is to kill, to end life. The bullet was specially designed to rip through flesh, be it human or other animal. It almost seems like something out of a science fiction story. The Second Amendment to the US Constitution reads “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. Even though a gun may be used for the purpose of hunting, the Second Amendment guarantees us the right to own guns in order that we may rise up against tyranny. Rebellion is an act of love. I believe in keeping ourselves safe, but not at the risk of loss of personal freedoms. I had the opportunity to interact with the TSA on my trips to and from Florida this past week. and, the more I interact with the Transportation Security Administration, the more I grow to understand their efforts as airport security theater (AST). Now, it’s not just that I don’t want pictures like these (http://cdn0.dailydot.com/uploaded/images/original/2014/8/21/Screen_shot_2014-08-21_at_4.13.57_PM.png) of me out there. Really, I have little shame and would likely walk through the airport naked if I were not under threat of arrest for such an act. But I refuse to lay down when I feel I am being violated. So, when I went through the TSA checkpoint both times, I opted out of the full body scan, which, according to the article tied to the picture above (http://www.dailydot.com/layer8/tsa-rapiscan-body-scanner-study/), doesn’t even work, if you know what you are doing. any time I’ve done this in the past, they TSA agents like to punish me a little bit for not complying. They know I am well within my rights to opt out, but I am creating more work for them by not simply doing as I’m told. So they have me stand aside for several minutes as I watch other passengers willingly forego their rights to “be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” (Taken from the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution). After a few minutes of my standing by, as though having to stand there and watch the others go through would persuade me to conform, I witness the TSA agent to whom I spoke originally, ask, for the first time, for assistance. I’m taken to a secure area, asked to spread my legs, and every inch of my covered body, with the exception of the spot between my genitals and buttocks, is felt by the TSA agent. The agent presses so hard against the front of my body that I almost lose my balance. I struggle to keep my balance out of suspicion that my stepping backwards will be viewed as uncooperative behavior. The agent places his hand on my inner thigh and raises up with force in an effort to ensure there is nothing hidden in my underwear. All the while, I smile, understanding that this low-level employee has little to do with the regulation in place. He is just a pawn, trying to earn a living. But, after all of this, my question is as follows: If they aren’t going to check every inch of my body, if the aren’t going to do a cavity search, what is the point in all of this? If I were planning on sneaking a banned item onto the plane, I know where to hide it, I know where they aren’t going to search. It’s not as though any person who supposedly hijacked an airplane on 9/11/2001 felt as though he was above taping a pocket knife to his perineum. It’s all bogus. It’s all there to make us feel safe. But, Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” It’s been fifteen years, and are we any safer? We would certainly seem to be more afraid… So don’t blame the AST (TSA) for these violations. Blame us. It was our fear that enabled Dubya to sign the PATRIOT Act into law. It is our fear that causes us to blindly follow the next person in line through the full-body scanner at the airport. It was fear that caused us to go into Iraq in 2003. We cannot let ourselves be so manipulated. Death is scary for many of us. Then again, so is public speaking. And many of us voluntarily do this quite often. We cannot let fear control us. Do we want to be ruled by fear or love?