Saturday, June 27, 2009

Artist detained for writecrime

In another reminder of why individual suspicions can never be used to justify detention or arrest, artist Mark Sable was detained last week at LAX for a script to a comic found in his luggage. That's right - not a weapon, not pepper spray or an incendiary device, but a script.

Considering our First Amendment protections the content of the script is immaterial, but it involved terrorism and a burgeoning government police state. Regardless of whether the uncreative minds of the TSA agents thought this an appropriate subject for a script, or even subversive is also immaterial - printed words represent no threat to a plane or my nation, while using personal suspicions and biases as an excuse for oppression and harassment does incalculable damage to any civilized nation and to its values.

If you in opposition to the Fourth Amendment allow mere "suspicion" to be a suitable cause for a search or detention, it will be used inappropriately and it will result in further First Amendment violations as the subjective judgments of sometimes-corrupt, sometimes-stupid agents become law and trump any semblance of due process.

Comics artist Mark Sable detained for Unthinkable acts (SFScope)


  1. As I recall, the TSA/DHS lately claims to right to search and copy all electronic media carried by international travelers, even if there is no suspicion of any kind.

  2. I sent the TSA for a few of our busiest airports messages asking their policy regarding detention and seizures and TSA agent authority. All of them assumed that I had a specific personal incident in mind, and told me that only the FBI has the authority to detain suspected trrists or criminals, that TSA agents work with federal agencies in these matters.

    What a tangled web we naïve.


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