A while ago, after yet another outrage by the TSA, I wrote (boldface added):
But the real question is why did no one else do anything to stop it. Why did no one say anything? I’m sure some people just didn’t notice–you would be amazed at what people can miss. And I’m sure some people thought it was funny (again, assholes among us). But there were probably some people who were scared to speak up. Maybe the TSA agents would give you grief. Maybe they would make you miss your flight. Maybe you would be detained or even put on the Kafkaesque threat lists (the government doesn’t even have to confirm that you’re on the list, let alone tell you why) and always given the third degree. Better off keeping your head down and just avoiding trouble.
Turns out that I wasn’t being over the top (boldface mine):
Data in the Automated Targeting System is used to decide who is placed on the no-fly list — thousands of people the United States government has banned from flying — and the selectee list, an unknown number of travelers who are required to undergo more in-depth screening, like Mr. Darrat. The T.S.A. also maintains a PreCheck disqualification list, tracking people accused of violating security regulations, including disputes with checkpoint or airline staff members.
So if TSA personnel call someone “a fucking deafie” or terrifying a small child with cerebral palsy for no reason, and you decide to act like a decent human being, you might be put through the ringer from thereon out. Simply for expecting that people should treat others with respect.
This is how a security state, bit by bit, corrupts a republic.