TSA: Americans All Uppity All of A Sudden

Politics & Current Events

Via The Legal Satyricon and Nobody's Business — both of which are always worth your time — I see that the terrorists have won.

The terrorists have won because, apparently, Americans do not approach various elements of their government — from the highest to the lowest — on bended knee, with unquestioning obedience. So now we've gone and hurt the TSA's widdle feelings:

A passenger focus group conducted for TSA by New York City business consulting firm Blue Lime found that "unquestioning compliance has diminished."

The fact that TSA clearly regards this as a bad thing — that it regards an unquestioning citizenry as an asset in a struggle against people who want to kill us for, among other things, being the sort of folks who question things — illustrates how completely loathsome and moronic the government's approach to security is.

Passengers say they are more afraid of missing their flight than they are of an airplane being attacked, the 73-page Blue Lime report found.

Once again, the TSA clearly views this as a Bad Thing. Never mind that this is a perfectly accurate risk assessment in a country where there are 30,000 commercial flights every day, and that passengers run a vastly greater chance of getting mowed down by a taxi crossing the street in front of the white zone than they do of dying in a terrorist attack. Never mind also that citizens' willingness to endure delays may be informed not by arrogance or indifference or ignorance, but by their correct perception that the delays concocted by the TSA have no connection to actual improvement in security, thanks to the TSA's focus on its own abject incompetence, celebration of petty authority, and junk science, and security as theatre.

Fortunately, the TSA has reviewed the research into citizen response and taken it seriously. Top-level officials have convened, and they're coming up with an aggressive action plan. They're tightening hiring requirements for TSA staff, improving training, doing more and more substantive unannounced spot checks of security protocol and staff behavior, and firing deadwood and incompetents and the inappropriately entitled. They're also doing a floor-to-ceiling review of airport security procedures, asking probing questions as to each barrier, delay, or procedure: is this necessary? Does it work? Is it based on hard data or science? Is it a reasonable expenditure of resources and imposition on flier time, given the incremental amount of security it provides? Is it substantive, or merely for appearances? Are there more effective alternatives? In short, the TSA has taken citizen views to heart and is working to make security more responsive and more effective.

Naaaaah, I'm just shitting you. Basically, they're going to hire a muppet.

The group that created Smokey Bear and McGruff the Crime Dog has a new potential icon: Stephanie the airport screener.

A $1.3 million ad campaign launched this month teams the Ad Council and the Transportation Security Administration trying to change behavior of passengers who no longer automatically accept post-Sept. 11 airport security procedures.

Maybe they can come up with a jingle:

"Help Steffie tell this tale
Do what we say or go to jail
Get in line, shut up, obey
Dontcha know it's the American way!"

Last 5 posts by Ken White

3 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Eduardo  •  Nov 26, 2008 @9:26 am

    My friend got stopped here in Chicago and held overnight because her ID said she was female and her butch stature screamed man. At least to the TSA agent.

    And so, without any other reason, she was held overnight, without arrest, until they finally let her go with a "don't do it again," which was the funny part. Don't get confused for a man?

  2. Shell  •  Jul 13, 2010 @10:39 am

    Better late to the dance than not at all, I guess.

    When the formation of TSA was announced and the hiring began I applied for the job. 17 years in private security, experienced in all the things TSA wanted experience in except operating scanners, I thought I would be a prime candidate for hiring. So did one of my oldest friends, a career cop with 16 years on the streets, a boatload of certifications, and twenty years as an Army Reservist – Special Forces, Ranger School, lots of other high-speed stuff for Uncle Sam. So did one of his friends, also a Ranger, combat experience, many service schools, and a fifteen-year career cop. But the TSA, in its infinite wisdom, chose to hire not one of us. They did, however, hire someone else I knew, a fifteen-year employee of the IRS with no experience even remotely related to that required of the TSA. Who'd'a thunk it, eh?

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