Fighting Back

Austin, Texas, Forming Solid Resistance to TSA

by Kelly Holt, NA

Austin, Texas — known for Longhorns, live music, and legislative lollapaloozas — is poised to be the subject of a different kind of notoriety. The nationwide undertone of opposition to the TSA is surfacing in the state’s capitol city. Austin is developing a downright defiance of the agency’s shocking treatment of American air travelers into a cohesive defense of liberty.

Criticisms hurled at TSA from abused would-be air passengers and sympathetic media have taken the form of organized and well-thought-out resistance in Austin, and it could soon be the first American city to turn its dissent into airport relief for beleaguered flyers.

On Dec. 14, 2010, The Austin Airport Advisory Commission (AAAC), tasked with advising the Austin City Council regarding policy at Austin Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA), voted unanimously to oppose the full-body scanners being installed at the city’s airport.

BE IT RESOVED THAT THE AUSTIN AIRPORT ADVISORY COMMISSION:? Recommends the City Council oppose the installation of AITs at ABIA and further oppose the practice of invasive body searching and encourages the City Council to inform the TSA, and State and Federald elegations of such opposition.
Each council member and a group of Austinites who showed up in opposition to the TSA expressed concern about privacy invasions, radiation delivery, and violations of the Fourth Amendment.
Robert Torn, Austin Airport and Advisory Commission board member, spearheaded the resolution, “For every scientist that says it’s safe, I can find three or four who say it’s not safe. I think it’s an incomplete technology. I don’t think it’s ready for public use on legal grounds or on health grounds.”
Then, on Dec. 22, Austinite Claire HIrschkind was arrested at ABIA, as reported in The New American.
When she showed up for a flight and simply asked a question about the presence of scanners, her inquiry prompted the TSA to require her submission to a pat down. Her objection caused the TSA to become hostile and resulted in a public treatment of Mrs. Hirschkind that horrified Austinites. The incident ended in her arrest and banishment from the airport for six months. She has retained counsel and is currently seeking legal redress. Her story gained national attention and rallied the support of others who had already had enough of TSA assaults.
And on Jan. 4, the Libertarian Party of Travis County (of which Austin is the county seat) passed a resolution to support the AAAC’s Dec. 14 resolution.
They were joined by the Travis County Republican Party, which chimed in with a national press release on Feb. 2 to oppose the scanners.
The Party’s firm stand on this issue has given considerably more weight to Austin’s dissent.

Read the rest at this link.