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A View from the Altar / My take on the TSA
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My take on the TSA

I think the TSA is mostly just trying to do its job within the context of a society that has a wild superfluity of lawyers like Mississippi has kudzu.  TSA can’t do what’s obvious because giant swarms of lawyers are waiting to pounce.  So it does what every over-lawyered society inevitably does — it kicks into blame avoidance mode and acts dumber than dirt.

Like any bureaucracy, TSA is staffed with all sorts of players, some well intentioned public servants (like this one), some just putting in their time because this is the gummint job they stumbled into, and always a few power trippers who get a uniform and a badge and now have something to prove.   The ones in the last category are responsible for the outrages we’ve seen, and they appear to be controlling way too much of the TSA.

The now-famous woman in the Phoenix airport (take blood pressure pill, then watch video part one here and part two here) appears to have been the victim of retribution and harassment by TSA agents getting even with her for a previous unfavorable encounter.   On this trip she was detained until she missed her flight. If you can watch the videos without flying into a fury, you are either a traitor or a vegetable or perhaps a traitorous vegetable.

What needs to happen?  Obviously Congress should make TSA agents civilly liable for their enforcement actions just like the cops in your home town.  The woman in question presented the offending manager with a printed copy of the TSA’s rules governing her situation, and he appears to have ignored the law.   If he knew he could be sued for that, he’d have backed down. There’s no substitute for personal accountability.

Second, and just as obviously, the DHS job is far beyond the capability of Janet Napolitano.  To get Big Sis to understand this, GOP house members should subpoena her to explain these outrages. The subpoenas should include the perpetrators, such as the Phoenix TSA manager who appears to have intentionally made this woman miss her flight.

Third, and again just as obviously, the TSA needs to start looking for terror suspects and not just looking for weapons such as the thrice-evil nail clippers and bottles of breast milk.  Screening out killers by looking for such objects was stupid to begin with — which is not TSA’s fault; it’s what the PeeCee enforcers in the legal profession have driven us to — and besides, it’s a risible failure. Had the TSA been looking for suspects instead of weapons, the panty bomber who was on the no-fly list would not have gotten by screeners.

So, TSA folks everywhere, you have my sympathy.  Our litigious society has made your job impossible.  To make it possible, Congress has to act and Janet Napolitano has to act.  I wish I could say something more encouraging.

otherbrothersteve@gmail.com

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