Air travel in the U.S. is going to become a whole lot safer. Sure, you may have felt a little uneasy after the senseless shooting at LAX back in 2013 targeting those brave men and women who make sure there are no bombs in our shoes and undies nor any shampoo in our carry-on luggage. Obviously, these are major threats, but since the TSA now makes us remove our shoes and pats us down to check whether we are wearing briefs or boxers, has there been one incidence of shoes or underwear blowing up? Not on their watch.
As horrible as this shooting appeared to be, there is a silver lining. As Rahm Emanuel said so poignantly and f-word free, “you never let a serious crisis go to waste.” Well, fear not, America. Now that the specter of TSA shootings has reared its ugly head, this crisis will be used to the fullest extent possible and things are definitely going to change.
Actually, change was already in the works before the shooting last Friday. It’s called the Secure Flight Program, which the TSA describes as “a behind-the-scenes program that enhances the security of domestic and international commercial air travel through the use of improved watch list matching. Collecting additional passenger data improves the travel experience for all airline passengers, including those who have been misidentified in the past.”
For those of you who are already OK with corporations and the NSA tracking and recording your every move, you will love this enhanced safety initiative, which an October 21, 2013 article in the New York Times points out will be able to access an extensive range of records, “including tax identification numbers, past travel itineraries, property records, physical characteristics, and law enforcement or intelligence information.”
Just to be on the safe side, we are all going to be assumed suspicious unless we can prove otherwise. That seems appropriate, don’t you agree? After all, there hasn’t been any terrorism involving domestic U.S. airports or airlines since 9/11, and we can assume this is because of thorough and efficient TSA screenings. Of course, the TSA has never caught a single terrorist, either. Remember, it was the incompetence and abject failure of both the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber that staved off tragedy. Those men gave themselves away only after getting on their respective flights unnoticed.
The TSA was created in response to 9/11 and Agent Hernandez was the first and only fatality in the agency’s 14 year history. That is a pretty good record, considering these folks are the front line of defense at our nation’s airports. Nevertheless, we cannot let a serious crisis go to waste. Accordingly, everyone from the TSA workers union, to former TSA Administrator John Pistole (ironically, the “e” is silent), to the officers themselves are calling for a typically American solution: more guns. Why call them officers if they don’t have license to utilize lethal force? After all, Jeffrey David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, says TSA officers are “subject to daily verbal assaults and far too frequent physical attacks.”
Certainly, arming the officers will solve these problems, not to mention make us safer. If another crazed individual decides to shoot at TSA officers, it’s only fair the officers be able to shoot back. Makes sense, right? Never mind that you and your family, on your way to Disneyworld or to visit Gramma Edith, will be caught in the crossfire. Just think of the stories you can tell back at the office! Your cell phone video of the shootout will get millions of hits on YouTube. That is, if you survive.