National Safety or Personal Rights? That is the Question

September 11, 2017

by Christopher KimChatsworth Charter High School 11th Grade

At Philadelphia International Airport, Roger Vanderklok, an architect, was suspected of possessing a bomb in his luggage, although that suspicion was only an electronic heart monitor. When retaliating to TSA official Charles Kieser, Vanderklok was arrested for disorderly conduct after threatening to bring a bomb. However, after being acquitted, Vanderklok sued Kieser for violating his first amendment rights by retaliating against him for saying that he will file a complaint. Vanderklok’s testimony was rejected at court, with the mentioning of the 9/11 attacks as a reason to bring about sensitivity in national security.

Vanderklok is at major fault in this whole incident. The TSA has all the right to search for any suspicious content in his luggage, simply for the safety of US citizens. 9/11 was an event that has done enough damage to the nation. The government did the right thing to reinforce national security, such as the TSA at airports. Up to this point, the TSA has done a great job in making sure that threats to the nation do not reoccur.

In the current world, threats of terrorist activity have grown massively around the world. Take the attack on France in 2015 for example. Seven members of ISIS were able to massacre a total of 137 people on November 13, 2015 in Paris, France. Airports may not even be the safest of places after all. On February 13, 2017, Kim Jong-Nam, the half-brother of North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-Un, was assassinated by two women at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia.

My point being, in today’s society, we don’t know who is lurking among us, ready to make the next move in creating civil unrest. The TSA should in fact further improve its current efforts in ensuring safety in air travel and the nation as a whole. Terror is the most unpredictable action in the world. We simply cannot expect terrorism to occur… the nation has to be ready.

Furthermore, Vanderklok should have simply cooperated with the TSA as they searched his luggage. He had the “right to be silent” at such a situation. Perhaps Vanderklok’s first amendment rights were violated by Kieser, who may actually have come off as disrespectful and aggressive in the search and seizure. Vanderklok was reported to even threaten to actually bring a bomb to the airport. Should Vanderklok actually have claimed the threat, this is just enough reason, along with retaliation against the search, to arrest Vanderklok.

Through personal experience, Vanderklok should also understand how his “incident” is not the most serious case of search. The TSA will take airport commuters aside to be checked for simply having a mere tissue in their pockets. Vanderklok’s electronic heart monitor is worth checking. You never know what form terror will be delivered in. As mentioned before, the nation must be ready for any source of terror in times like this.

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