Last year when the TSA hoo-ha was first starting, I made a post about this, in which I said it was unlikely we'd get body scanners here because of our privacy laws. beagl responded thus:
"Our privacy laws will be no defence against body scanners and the like - we're already deep into the idea that Customs/Security can do whatever they like at the border.
After all, we've got to keep air travel safe, right?"
Seems his words were prophetic, in a way - although this isn't using scanners to check people for bombs but instead for drugs. As Customs spokespeople say, "There are lives at stake."
Lives at stake? Whose lives, exactly, are at stake? Do they mean people who might die if those drugs that traffickers carry into the country in their jeans pocket get here? Or do they mean people who will find out what Customs' methods are, decide they don't want to be seen naked by those who are above the law and go out on a shooting spree in protest? I really don't understand that comment.
Yes, I know, people die because of drugs. Lets have a look at who dies because of drugs.
1. People who overdose, or do stupid things while under the influence. For example, contracting HIV through use of dirty needles, or running down the middle of the motorway (does anyone know of anyone who's actually done this?).
2. People who die through activities in association with procuring drugs, such as armed robbery or prostitution.
3. People who die through the activities of the black market that's grown up around drugs - turf wars, snitches, people who just happened to be in the way.
4. People who die in the transportation of drugs across borders - everyone's heard the 'burst bag of heroin' story in one form or other.
Now, I could create a big ranty argument about how every single one of these ways of dying can be traced in an almost direct line to the consequences of prohibition of drugs. One of my biggest reasons for spending thousands of dollars and a bunch of years of my life getting educated on this topic so that I can do research in the hope that people will listen to me, is that people die every fucking day because of prohibition, and they are preventable deaths. I hate that the illegal drug trade has made so many countries dangerous to live in. I hate that people dependent on heroin are treated like criminal lowlifes instead of being given help for what I believe is a health problem. I hate that dodgy-as fuckers are able to live the high life off money that often comes from poor people. But mostly I hate that despite the evidence that prohibition has created more harm than it's solved and that the evidence for this is spelled in death, governments the world over continue doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
*stops, takes breath*
But instead of indulging myself in venting about that, I will ask one question:
Exactly what kind of drug trafficking will be prevented by body-scanning people?
I really want to know because my limited understanding of trafficking tells me that the people they'll catch with body scanners are not the folks importing kilos of drugs. If I'm wrong about this, please tell me and explain where I'm wrong, becase as far as I can tell the only people likely to get caught by this are people who are either carrying small quantities for personal use, or are not even intentionally carrying at all. I've no doubt it'll boost their statistics of seizure and allow them to say "See? We do an awesome job of keeping your country safe from the scourge of stoned hippies!"
But saving lives? Fuck off.
The Forest was pretty cool. I danced less than I thought I would, instead opting to relax and enjoy the company of friends, indulge in some hooping, and meet the locals. One of whom was quite up front about how he was there to 'get a root' and asked Will if his chicks were available - in front of us. Will handled this question with aplomb while rivet, happyinmotion and I bit our tongues. Because it was funnier that way.
This week's mission: make presentation for nerdnite. I may be plaintively emailing geeks at various points during the week.