24 November 2010

On hiatus

It would appear that my "15 minutes" has just about come to an end, and I couldn't be happier about it. When I stood up to the TSA two weeks ago, I had no idea that the story would become national news and that people would call me a "hero" because of what I had done. I am simply a guy who reads way too much news, likes to ride his bike, and generally tries to maintain a low profile.

For many of you, the statement that I try to maintain a low profile probably flies in the face of my having posted about my ordeal on the Internet. I've explained already why I filmed it. The reason I posted it, though, as I've explained in a few interviews, was to try to generate a stir, locally, in the hopes of dissuading the government from suing me and levying the fine with which I was threatened. I did not ask for the celebrity that this has brought me nor am I particularly enamored of it. I will admit that it has been a real honor and privilege for me to speak with people that I consider celebrities including local radio personalities and even national bloggers. I also appreciate the thousands of people who have written to express support and thank me for what I did.

I also appreciate the people who took the time to calmly and rationally write to me expressing disagreement with my views and what I did. I have a tremendous amount of respect for people who are able to disagree without being disagreeable, and I am sorry that I have not had more opportunity to correspond with them. They are the very reason that I started writing this blog in the first place. I wanted to generate discussion so that I could be better informed, so that I could learn about how other people think about issues, so that I might have my mind changed when I am wrong.

Doing what I did though has also elicited some of the most vitriolic responses that I've ever witnessed, let alone been the target of. Someone even took the time to find my home address and send me a piece of hate mail (anonymously, of course). It's one thing for people to hurl insults at me over the Internet. It hurts, to be sure, but I realize that the "cost" of doing so electronically is low, so I can dismiss it to a certain extent. To actually receive something in the mail, however, is unnerving. So, to all of you who have called me a loser, a moron, who have questioned my patriotism, the size of my genitalia, and who have called me an attention-seeking whore: you win.

I believe that standing up for the rights protected by our constitution, in particular those protected by the 4th amendment, and for my dignity was the right thing to do, and for that reason, I would do it again. Was it worth it? Up until now, I've been somewhat evasive in answering that question. What I did has ignited a real debate about how much liberty we are willing to give up in exchange for (perceived) security, and that is definitely a good thing in my mind. On the other hand, what I did has brought me a lot of attention, which I would rather do without. In the end, though, I have to answer to myself for what I've done, and on that front, I have to answer: yes, it was worth it. I'm proud of what I did, and I hope it inspires others who also believe that the government's primary and overriding responsibility is to protect liberty and freedom to do the same.

And with that, I'm officially on hiatus from writing. For those of you who couldn't wait for my "15 minutes" to be over, cross your fingers that this is it. For those of you who are interested in or wish to have a discussion about what I have to say, stick around, and I'll probably return to writing in a few weeks when I am no longer in the spotlight. Comments are disabled for the time being, but I will do my best to respond to respectful inquiries about my story, thoughts, and/or opinions.


  1. have you read this link?


    you should. i really liked watching that youtube video. me and my husband agree. there is a line and tsa has crossed it. you did a good job standing up foryour right.

  2. Interesting to note how quickly you have faded out of the "lime light"

    it seems like the more you said you were not against security in its entirety and you had nothing against the people doing their jobs, the less interesting you were.

    People saw a "hero" in you. That hero that they saw was an interesting event in their lives, which they found to be less than interesting the more reasonable you seemed.

    As I've said in my other posts, keep telling the truth as you know it. It's a hard quality to find, and I enjoy reading it, despite how much it makes me hate living in this country in this age.

  3. @Bolt: I'm not really sure what people wanted from me. I'm note sure that people, in the general sense, ever saw me as a hero. Everywhere I went and talked to people, I encountered people who thought I was some kind of anti-government lunatic who loves terrorists and wants to see planes fall from the sky. One of the local stations even ran a story saying as much using a blog post in which I pointed out that people fear the government when their party is out of power to support its narrative.

    I know that there are those who saw me as a hero, but where did they go? I'm one guy; I can't fight the "system" alone. Unfortunately, many don't internalize that silence is assent.

    It's unfortunate, but I think my story got more play because I used the word "junk" rather than because I pointed out people's rights and dignity being stripped away.

  4. The Constitution and Toothpaste.
    by Bob Daniel on Monday, February 7, 2011 at 11:01pm

    I wish I could brush my teeth tonight. I realize this is an odd topic to post on Facebook, so allow me to explain.

    I traveled from Long Beach Airport to Las Vegas on a business trip this morning and the TSA "seized" my toothpaste. It was a small tube but not small enough apparently. Thus, my toothpaste was seized and I was so busy today with meetings that I didn't have time to buy another one.

    A tube of toothpaste is a small thing but the principle is important. The Forth Amendment says Americans are to be free from unreasonable search and seizures and my toothpaste was seized. They asked me "are you surrendering this" and I said no. How is anyone safer now that I can't brush my teeth tonight? Is that reasonable?

    Our elected officials need to stop the TSA from taking old ladies knitting needles, middle aged mens toothpaste and engaging in similar farcical security activities.
    The TSA and their outlandish policies are not effective. Not even if TSA statistic gatherers count seizing my toothpaste as stopping a terrorist threat.

    Clearly the TSA and their current policies are ineffective. All of the airline terrorist attempts I've read about over the last 10 years had one common factor, they were stopped by motivated passengers and not the TSA.

    Articles in British,Canadian & Israeli papers have mocked the confiscation policies the TSA enforces.

    I urge you write your Congressman and Senators and tell them to stop these silly policies, it's our money that is being wasted and our constitution that is being marginalized.

  5. Are we so weak and feeble as a citizenry that we are willing to be sexually harassed and then scanned with radiation in order to "fly"?

    Some sheep appear to be headed to the guillotine. I will not.

    The TSA needs to reform NOW.


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