The Illusion Of Safety

Get someone scared enough of everything and they'll submit to anything.

I saw a video this morning of a segment on Good Morning America. The story involves a 10-year-old girl named Vendela Brainerd-Payne at an airport in North Carolina with her father. A bottle of juice that she was carrying set them off and the next thing dad and daughter know she is getting the old TSA pat-down (which lasted almost 2 minutes.)

Apparently her cell phone went off during the whole ordeal also.

Now, I wanna make a point, but before I do, I will acknowledge one thing. In 2016, we should all, by now, be aware that the TSA will give you a hard time if you have liquids, at least over a certain amount. And we probably shouldn’t be surprised if they give us a hard time if our cell phone starts ringing or making noises. Personally, I prefer to go incognito. When I get to the airport, I take my belt off, remove everything from my pockets and put them in my carry-on bag and turn my phone off. I think it’s ridiculous and silly, but it minimizes my risk of being singled out for stupid reasons as forgetting to take my belt off. Or a few coins set the metal detector off now I have to be frisked.

So with that said, let me say this- the TSA as an organization, is highly suspect. What has happened in this country for us to “reasonably” suspect that a ten-year-old girl carrying a pouch of juice needs to be “violated” and made “uncomfortable” by being frisked?


There is nothing that has happened before or after the Dept. Of Homeland Security or TSA was created to REASONABLY warrant a little girl to be frisked for a carrying a pouch of juice.


On Good Morning America, Michael Strahan, the cohost says he wouldn’t mind his two daughters being subjected to the same treatment as Vendela because it’s better to “err on the side of caution.” Because “people could use a child to get things through the TSA.”

That is what I call the “illusion of safety.”

Americans have too often and for too long been willing to trade their liberty, rights and sovereignty for the illusion of safety. When one doesn’t have any (again) REASONABLE references for frisking a 10-year-old girl in public at an airport but does so, that is called major, massive, total defeat of consciousness and it’s happening on our collective watch. How does that father explain to his little girl why they did that? He can't tell her about the time a little girl smuggled lighter fluid in a juice pouch onto a plane and killed innocent passengers. 

The deeper fear roots itself into our minds, the further we will reach for safety by any means, at any cost, no questions asked, no other aspects to consider. Safety above everything. Get someone scared enough of everything and they'll submit to anything.

This experience alone isn’t the only landmark reference she’ll have going into her future. The discussion that she has with her parent(s) as to finding a meaning and explanation as to WHY it happened and why we live in a world where someone would physically violate her for carrying a pouch of juice onto an airplane.

This is the world in which our children are being born.

What does this have to do with Clearing Your Tracks online, in the digital world and the Illusion Of Safety? Well, there’s obviously the invasion of privacy factor. But furthermore, it’s a directly related matter because similar rules apply. In the physical world of the TSA, it’s just more concrete and visible. Except with the digital world, we go a step (or more) further. There is the NSA, which has tremendous abilities for spying and tracking. But virtually anyone, should they choose, could be a potential TSA-style invader of your digital self. Such invasions are happening in the physical and digital worlds. It’s just on a vastly larger scale in the digital world. And it’s getting worse. Largely because of complacent people that blindly trust their government or are too scared to act and speak out.

That works extremely well for the “powers that be” if one holds the correct perspective and iterates phrases of complacency like, “err on the side of caution” “better safe than sorry” “no harm, no foul” “they’re just doing their job”. These attitudes lack the careful and thoughtful attentiveness needed to improve these conditions.

What we need is a thoughtful and self-informed citizenry. As you’ve read this, I congratulate and thank you for being one in that tribe. I stand with you.


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