Tuesday, November 23, 2010

They're just dogs, right?

We're about to travel for the holidays, a short trip flying within the USA. Which has me thinking about the TSA scanning/patdown issue. If you watch any news at all you cannot have avoided this - the anecdotes, the hyperbole, the lies, the statements of policy, and I am sure there's some truth in there somewhere.

What strikes me the most is the incredible amount of energy and resources being spent, and by some arguments the rights that we are giving up (see Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution), for absolutely no positive outcome beyond the Theater of Security. TSA's measures have been responses, not proaction, to various failed attempts to harm American travelers and aircraft. Shoes, then pat downs, now full body scans. As one comedian said recently, they tried to assassinate a Saudi ambassador by putting an explosive device in nether regions - so, body cavity searches next? Fortunately the would be assassin died, and the ambassador was only slightly injured. The sad truth is that NONE of the new measures in place today would have stopped the 9/11 attacks. Not one. Did you know that the personnel who service the plane - food, gas, cleaning, supplies, etc - do NOT got through those security procedures?

So why rant about this in a dog rescue blog? Well, because of the energy that is put into a completely ineffective and highly obtrusive program. Contrast that to the years-long effort, that has been thwarted every year, to strengthen the laws in NC that deal with animal cruelty, with preventing puppy mills, that deal with hording and neglect, that push for spay/neuter and responsible breeding laws, and that beg for humane euthanization of companion animals in our shelters. The opponents are loud and effective - they decry the gubment intruding in their bidness. Two powerful men continually thwart these effort every year, by lying to pig farmers that any such legislation will affect them (because animal welfare, including companion animals, is an affair of the Department of Agriculture), and by playing the TwoFace card with no embarrassment (the man in charge of the Ag Dept area of animal welfare sells gas-based euthanization equipment and makes bank on teaching shelters how to use them - Conflict of Interest anyone?).

We spend billions as a nation putting Security Theater into play, intruding on our rights with searches without probable cause, and most security experts agree that it provides practically no additional protection. However, we cannot muster the humanity to pass legislation that will stop the problems that lead to thousands of dogs having to be rescued from cruel neglect and puppy mill slave status, and that lead to millions of dogs and cats being euthanized - gassed to death - in shelters every year. Every year. Millions.

They're just dogs, right?

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