A journalist who belongs to the Guardian writes about her horrible experience at the Los Angeles International Airport.
As it turned out, I was to spend 26 hours in detention. My crime: I had flown in earlier that day to research an innocuous freelance assignment for the Guardian, but did not have a journalist’s visa.
So they started requiring a special visa for a journalist, allegedly out of stupidity.
- A "journalist" is not much of a profession anymore. It has changed into a vague definition of truth-telling writing styles. Anybody can become a journalist as long as he has the right attitude and a broadcasting tool. Access to the latter had been the difference between traditional "journalist" and us, but now the tool is available almost anywhere. What does emphasizing a "journalist" ID mean from now? Maybe showing off a ticket to enter the backstage of a concert, celebrity party, secret underground casinos.
- Asking for a visa reduces the chances of catching the real threat (if there is such a thing). Counter-measurement is easy: simply state that the purpose is to visit Disneyland or pay salute to Donald Trump’s legacy. The digital camera is only for taking portraits, and the MP3 player is only for listening to music. The tiny recording mic is just one of the nice-to-have features which were put by Marketing people who believes the number of features only tend to push up sales.
- And yes, the journalist’s mission is to tell others what (supposedly) really happened, which is what she did. Sure, nobody knows what REALLY happened. But that’s exactly why targeting the "journalists" is a stupid idea.
My take is that the authorities, trying to protect their faces, already are startled and discussing what to do. Maybe it is too late. What really moves these nasty behaviors is not the top level guy. It is the workers in the lowest level. The security officer, the baggage claim lady, who thrives on a minimum wage have realized for long that they have real power over the "high-class". Sit here. Shut up. I’m the boss. Take off your clothes.
Is it easy to forget these tastes and get back to the previous life? Without substantial pay increase and respect from others, both are practically impossible?