By on October 23, 2011

With TTAC’s editorial team rendezvoused in Georgia in preparation for our Southern Tour, it seems the state of Tennesse has been warned of the coming invasion of Niedermeyers, Langs, Schmitts and Baruths. According to Nashville’s News Channel 5 [via Robert Farago’s Truth About Guns], the Volunteer State has, er, volunteered to become the first state to bring a Transportation Security Administration presence to its highways and byways. Says Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons,

Where is a terrorist more apt to be found? Not these days on an airplane more likely on the interstate

What evidence is there, besides the imminent presence of some particularly depraved automotive bloggers, for this purported increase in terrorist activity on Tennessee’s interstates? Who knows? Not the point. And there’s no “opt-out” lane on the freeway…

The effort to patrol Tennessee’s highways is known as Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR), and the “awareness” and “safety enforcement” mission is being undertaken by Tennessee’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security on Tuesday in partnership with the TSA. So what does this mission entail?

Agents are recruiting truck drivers, like Rudy Gonzales, into the First Observer Highway Security Program to say something if they see something.

“Not only truck drivers, but cars, everybody should be aware of what’s going on, on the road,” said Gonzales.

It’s all meant to urge every driver to call authorities if they see something suspicious.

“Somebody sees something somewhere and we want them to be responsible citizens, report that and let us work it through our processes to abate the concern that they had when they saw something suspicious,” said Paul Armes, TSA Federal Security Director for Nashville International Airport.

And why is this necessary again? Oh right, it’s not: according to “officials,” the

 statewide “VIPR” operation isn’t in response to any particular threat.

And not only that, but get this:

The random inspections really aren’t any more thorough than normal, according to Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott

“Security Theater,” or the post-9/11 term for the public exercise of pointless security rituals that don’t actually make you any safer but make people feel safer, has taken ten years to metastasize past airports… and now it’s hitting the open road. For now it seems that truck drivers will feel most of the immediate impact of this shift, but expect this to be the beginning of a trend towards an ever-greater security presence on American highways.

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20 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: TSA Hits The Road Edition...”

  • avatar

    I’m getting confused. When was the last credible terrorist threat found? Was it even a major attack or just an attack to cause people to panic?

    So umm given the actual rarity of attacks vs real threats, (gangs, drug turf wars and other violent crimes) why are we being subjected to this by the TSA?

    I’m just confused, it almost seems as if life here in China is more free from this type of stuff. And if that isn’t the ultimate irony, I don’t know what is.

  • avatar

    Next up, internal passports.

    (bonus points if you can remember who else used to use them)

    • 0 avatar

      I know you’re trying to invoke godwin’s law but i’m going to cut you short and say that Arizona (i don’t remember if this was shot shot down by the courts or not), Georgia and Alabama have papers please laws on the books, I may have missed some. And a handful of other states had bills emulating those laws working through state legislators.

      do I get bonus points?

      • 0 avatar

        But them’s for those scary illegal types, not real Amurricans.

      • 0 avatar

        By simple definition and common sense, an illegal alien in the US is not an American any more than a US citizen living illegally in Mexico is a Mexican.

      • 0 avatar

        Godwin’s Law applies to the Third Reich, not the Soviet Union.

        The USSR used internal passports, and anecdotally, they’re easily in any Soviet expat/refugee’s top-5 list of reasons for leaving.

        Incidentally, Russia still uses internal passports, though I don’t know if they still require what amounts to an internal travel visa prior to travel from one city to another.

        “The random inspections…” hang on, what random inspections? Is “probable cause” the most recent entry in Tennessee’s Official Dictionary of Obsolete English, or what in tarnation is the Volunteer State getting on about?

        I guess TN becomes the most recent entry in my list of states to never drive through, right after AZ, OH, and VA.

  • avatar

    Notice how they slid this in there: “…checking trucks with bomb and drug sniffing dogs”. This is the Obama administration’s war on marijuana in full effect and yes stopping ‘terror’ would be a positive byproduct but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking the federal government is out to protect anyone’s interest but there own.

    • 0 avatar

      This has nothing to do with the Federal Government or the Obama administration. From what is reported this is a state initiative and last I checked Tennessee was a thoroughly Republican state.

      • 0 avatar

        Clearly federal cash at work and Obama is only democrat on paper anymore. The war on terror is a back burner priority… follow the money.

        Also, terror plots can happen anywhere there’s people so why Tennessee? And if so, why wouldn’t bombs be built near their intended site? The southern states are a major corridor for the transport of illicit drugs… both ways.

      • 0 avatar

        DenverMike – you need to calm down. This is a state issue and I haven`t heard of Republican governed states being receptive to Federal programs recently. Why Tennessee, good question? But nothing here about the Federal Government.

      • 0 avatar

        Remember the Good ‘Ol Days, when the “constantly angry/paranoid types” could blame everything on the Communists?

      • 0 avatar


        Is the TSA any less federal than the FBI? If this has nothing to do with the Feds, why was Paul Armes, TSA Federal Security Director on site? If this has nothing to do with the Feds, why did the reporter state: “… bringing all federal, state and local agencies together…” Why is this the first time any state, including Tennessee, has ever worked directly with the TSA if it’s a state agency? I am calm. You’re reading it too fast if I’m sounding angry to you.

  • avatar

    So what are they searching for; experts in controlled building demolition?

  • avatar

    I wonder when is the last time a Federal official actually read the document they swore an oath to uphold?

  • avatar

    Where’s the lunatic fringe dressing up like Paul Revere for this tax-paid boondoggle? Have to agree with DenverMike on this one. Sounds more like the DEA looking for illegal substances or the latest in American over-sensitivity to illegal immigration.

  • avatar

    Won’t be long now!

    The terrorists have won.

    Janet Napolatino is a man.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Just proves the point: if there’s money to spend (or even if there isn’t) your government (state, federal, local) will find a way to spend it.

    Especially if it has the collateral benefit of generating some revenue. (Speed cameras, “aggressive driver” enforcement, etc.)

  • avatar

    in the last 2 decades I can only think of two car related terrorist attacks. the Oklahoma city bombing (successful) and the times square bomber (failed).

    My guess as to the true purpose of this: drug enabled asset forfeitures. Next to actual state budgets asset forfeitures are the biggest source of revenue of LEO. Easy money with no actual crime required, mere suspicion works.

  • avatar

    This reminds me of the old joke:

    “I need three volunteers. You, you and you.”

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