A few days ago, the Tenth Amendment Center posted this facebook status update

BREAKING: Feds actively lobby on a bill in Austin – AND issue direct threat to Texas over TSA nullification bill today….Texas appears to have crumbled. More news and details coming soon…

When this article posts tomorrow, there will be more details available, but right now I don’t know the entire situation.  I have learned, from the Lone Star Report that the US Department of Justice sent a letter to the Texas legislature saying,

“If HR [sic] 1937 were enacted, the federal government would likely seek an emergency stay of the statute… Unless or until such a stay were granted, TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of passengers and crew.

“We urge that you consider the ramifications of this bill before casting your vote,”

As a result of this “arm twisting”, Dan Patrick, the sponsor of the TSA nullification bill pulled it – saying, “I will pull HB 1937 down, but I will stand for Liberty in the state of Texas”.  While I can appreciate the pressure that Representative Patrick was under, this was a mistake.  He may like to think so, but on this occasion, he did not stand for Liberty.

Let’s think this through.  The TSA tells us that in order to fly, we have to perform for the strip search camera and get groped on demand.  The state of Texas tries to tell the TSA that this requirement is improper; that it is unacceptable to subject Texans to sexual assault as a condition for travel and that the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution still means something.  In response to this reasonable grievance raised by Texas, the federal government threatens harm to the state’s economy.

Sadly, I am reminded of these excerpts from the Declaration of Independence.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.

What does an abuser do when his victim resists his demands?  He threatens (or delivers) harm until the victim is finally broken down and compliant.  Does acquiescence by the victim ever solve the problem of abuse?  Does an abuser ever cease to abuse under his own initiative?  In fact, acquiescence by the victim usually leads to escalation by the abuser.  The abuse becomes worse.  That’s what is going to happen to Texas and it is what will happen to the rest of us if we tolerate it.

Today, King Georgethe TSA wants to strip search us and grope 3% of us in air ports.  Next year it will be 5% – or 10 – and they’ll move into train stations and shopping malls and even high school proms.  And then what?  Just walking down the street?  In our offices?  It is a fact of life that somewhere, somehow, another threat will be found.  Are there any limits to the indignities we will be asked to suffer in the name of security theater?

Here in Pennsylvania, we have the opportunity to say “no”.  Representative Tallman has submitted HB852, which recognizes the obvious fact that sexual assault is sexual assault, even when it is performed by the TSA.

Is the federal government going to try to turn Pennsylvania into a No-fly zone if we pass this legislation?  Maybe.  But what is the price of our dignity?  Resisting sexual abuse is usually hard, but it is always better than the alternative.  If Pennsylvania stands up for a righteous cause like this, we can count on support from other states.  With morality on our side, the federal government will have to stand down.

On the other hand, if we don’t stand up, we can count on things getting worse.  And guess what- saying “no” later, after the abuse escalates, isn’t going to be any easier.  Over the last century, we have allowed the federal government free access through the Constitutional fence which once tamed it.  With the fence gone, the domesticated service animal has become feral.  The beast roams free while its keepers are caged.

But there is some reason for optimism.  Along with the intimidation, this letter from the DOJ also tells us two very important things.  First, the federal government is afraid of this legislation.  Second, and more importantly, the DOJ has just acknowledged that the states are the controlling authorities on this matter.  They didn’t threaten to ignore the law.  They threatened consequences if they were forced to follow it.  Domesticating the beast again is going to be hard, but the longer we wait, the harder it gets.  The time is now!

Steve Palmer

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