As any American who has flown in the last five years knows, the TSA, whose staff harass everyone who desires to board an aircraft, is rightly the butt of ridicule. From causing insufferably long lines (Thousands Standing Around) to their keen eye for lethal weapons (Taking Scissors Away) and fascination with modern jewelry trends (Tits Safe Again), America's newest bureaucracy has become famous for Thoroughly Senseless Activities that contribute nothing to our actual safety in the skies.
Now, after years of research, the TSA has realized what a kindergarten graduate could have told them in two minutes for free: everybody thinks they are Totally Stupid Americans.
Well, nobody likes to be thought a fool, least of all bureaucrats who probably know that most of what they do is, in fact, pretty foolish. Top management at TSA pondered long and hard as to what they could do so that their minions would get some respect from the general public.
Stop patting down aged grandmothers; stop making toddlers remove their shoes? Never!
Get rid of the nonsense of showing your paperwork when you enter the line, and having to hand-carry your papers through the scanner instead of putting everything safely back in your carry-on? No, couldn't have that!
Knock off the stupidity of making people throw away their drinks and other liquids? After all, you can still carry through baby bottles, and the British Muslims who wanted to use liquid bombs intended to disguise them as... infant formula. Perish the thought, that would make too much sense!
No, the TSA has decided to boost its credibility by using a time-honored governmental technique: If nobody treats you with the deference you think you deserve, start carrying a badge.
The USA Today reports:
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is starting to equip its 48,000 screeners with 3-inch-by-2-inch, silver-colored, copper and zinc badges that will be worn on new royal-blue police-style shirts. The attire aims to convey an image of authority to passengers, who have harassed, pushed and in a few instances punched screeners. "Some of our officers aren't respected," TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe said.
Now we learn why the general public holds TSA employees in contempt. It's not because the TSA is dumb, or rude, or lazy, never that. No, their people were simply wearing the wrong clothes! Magically, by repackaging the same old screeners with a blue shirt and badge, they will suddenly all become Officer Strong, friend to small children and little old ladies and enemy of evildoers everywhere.
One little problem: Real police are crying foul. The article continues:
Actual airport police, who carry guns and have arrest powers, worry that their own authority will be undercut by screeners who look like police. Every major airport has its own police department or is patrolled by local police. "A lot of cops at airports are not real thrilled about it," said Duane McGray of the Airport Law Enforcement Agencies Network, an airport police association. "It's another way of saying (to airport police), 'You're not important.'"
Without stating it in so many words, Mr. McGray has hit upon an important truth: Inflation doesn't just apply to money.
When the Treasury prints too much money without our economy growing to require it, each individual dollar becomes worth less. When teachers hand out As and Bs to students who in the past would have earned Cs and Ds, it makes the As awarded to students who actually earned them less meaningful. And when the government hands out cop-looking uniforms to people who lack the training, discipline, authority, or courtesy expected of actual police, it won't result in people respecting the disrespectful.
No, the opposite will take place: the good name of the police will be corrupted by the stupidities of TSA buffoons who're now wearing police uniforms, and passengers will stop respecting real police (who have actually earned respect) because they can't tell them apart.
Remember Mom's advice? "Respect must be earned!" What was true in grade school is still true in the airport.
If the TSA wants their people to be treated as intelligent, competent, rational, and sane, then the upper management needs to make sure that their employees, and the rules they have to work under, are... intelligent, competent, rational, and sane. Up until now, they've been anything but.
Playing silly games with uniforms is just putting lipstick on a pig. The American people are smarter than that. Let's have a new acronym for TSA: Thousands Sacked Already!