The TSA and their blatant disregard for personal liberties is at an all time high. Their enhanced screening initiative was first met with overwhelming criticism, but has since declined into demoralized acceptance. On my last trip, even I abandoned the hopeless cause of liberty after standing in the radiation machine instead of “opting out” as I normally am one to do. However, after reading Senator Rand Paul’s new book, Government Bullies, I began to realize once again the importance of promoting liberty. Rand’s new book highlighted the rampant attacks on our liberties, as perpetrated by the government, through the TSA, on its own citizens. Many people may be willing to trade their liberties for a false sense of security, but as Benjamin Franklin once said, “he who would trade his liberty for security deserve neither and will lose both.”

Senator Rand Paul and his father, Congressman Ron Paul, have led the effort in disbanding the TSA. Rand Paul doubled down on those efforts after he was detained by the TSA in January of this year for setting off the body scanner. He refused to accept a pat down and instead asked to be permitted to walk back through the scanner. The TSA agents explained to him that since he set off the machine, he would need to submit to a pat down before he would be allowed into the secure area of the airport, despite the fact that Senator Paul had been allowed to walk back through the machine in the past. The Senator refused, but was eventually allowed to walk back through the scanner, of which he didn’t set off. Due to the whole ordeal, Senator Paul ended up missing his flight to Washington DC, and was re-booked on a later flight.

After the debacle, Senator Paul explained that he was told by a TSA agent that the machine going off doesn’t necessarily mean that it has detected something hidden on one’s person. Instead, the machine was programmed to go off randomly so that TSA agents would have to still pat them down. So even someone that has not legitimately set off the machine, still runs the risk of receiving the TSA groping.

If groping and harassing the American populous wasn’t bad enough, the American taxpayer pays the TSA $7.85 billion a year for the opportunity. With such a ridiculously high budget, the TSA has more money than it knows what to do with. For about a year, the TSA was storing millions of dollars worth of screening equipment in a warehouse less than 20 miles from where I type this column. They had so much equipment that they had to put it in storage!

A late night comedian once joked that TSA stood for “Thousands Standing Around.” He couldn’t have been more right. However, as of late, they’ve found work for them to do. The TSA’s excessive budget, coupled with the high caliber individuals that they employ, afford them the opportunity of persuing other frivolous endeavors. Late last year, it was reported that TSA was setting up highway checkpoints in Tennessee in a program called VIPR (Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response). TSA agents were installed at weigh stations in order to search trucks and other vehicles with drug and bomb sniffing canines. This clearly seemed unnecessary since it was not designed as a response to any particalar threat, yet there they are.

Similarly, there are so many TSA agents standing around at the airports that they have turned these excess mall cop wannabees into clandestine trouble makers. They have been secretly entrapping airport employees who have done nothing wrong. Airport employees, whether they work at the McDonald’s or for one of the airlines, are being targeted by the TSA as potential threats due to their security clearances. Due to the fact that these employees work in the airport, they have a special door they use that allows them access to the secure area of the airport without having to subject themselves to the TSA’s invasive screenings. Once these doors are opened by the employee, they are designed to close by themselves within a few short seconds. However, they often times never get a chance to close because the TSA agents will catch them before they close completely. At this point, the TSA agent has “caught” the airport employee for allowing someone to piggyback off of them into the secure part of the airport, despite the fact the employee didn’t allow the TSA agent to do anything. Also, that TSA agent never actually entered the secure area of the airport. The framed employee is then issued a citation by the airport police, which can end up costing several thousand dollars. This entrapment scheme is clearly one of the TSA’s greatest accomplishments, as it has time and time again prevented its own employees from gaining access into the secure area of the airport. Never mind the fact that they already have access to the secure areas. TSA is on the job!

There’s really no need for the TSA to be touching our children and our grandmothers. There is also no reason for banning water bottles and skin lotion. None of these things make us any safer; they are just the building blocks of the security theater. To truly protect the airports and airways, the TSA should adopt a system of profiling, much like the Israeli’s do. The Israeli’s pull certain people of interest aside at the airports and ask them quick questions that would be difficult to lie about. If you’re not telling the truth, they will find out. And that is what makes them the counter terrorism experts of the world. Unlike the TSA, the Israeli’s don’t groin-grope our travelers, or ask them to step into the cancer bath that is the x-ray screening machine. They spend their time concentrating on the individuals that stand out as potential threats, instead of wasting their time on the woman in the wheelchair. You see, the TSA is not so worried about traveler safety, but they are more committed to being politically correct. This results in treating everyone equally at the airport, which is a complete waste of time. Since 99.99999% of travelers have no intention of harming us, and we give everyone the same amount of scrutiny, then we spend the overwhelming majority of our time concentrating on those who would never hurt us.

It’s time that we, as liberty-loving Americans, stand up to the TSA for infringing upon our most basic of liberties. Their searches are uncalled for, and really don’t make us any safer. Taking the water bottle of a soldier in line behind me doesn’t make me feel any safer. In fact, it disgusts me. For those of us that know others who don’t mind the TSA’s molestation, ask them the question that Rand Paul recently posed to all of us: Next time you’re at the airport and the TSA asks you to step into the screener and hold your hands above your head, ask yourself, is this the pose of a free man?

Jeff Max |Texas Wesleyan University | @JeffreyMaxxx