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Taking Sense Away: Confessions of a Former TSA Screener

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the why-do-they-hate-america? dept.

Government 354

OverTheGeicoE writes "TSA gets discussed on Slashdot from time to time, usually negatively. Have you ever wondered about the TSA screeners' perspective? Taking Sense Away is a blog, allegedly written by a former TSA screener, offering insider perspectives on TSA topics. For example, there's the Insider's TSA Dictionary, whose entries are frequently about the code screeners use to discuss attractive female passengers (like 'Code Red,' 'Fanny Pack,' and 'Hotel Bravo'). Another posting explains what goes on in private screening rooms, which the author claims is nothing compared to screener conduct in backscatter image operator rooms. Apparently what happens in the IO room stays in the IO room. Today's posting covers how TSA employees feel about working for 'a despised agency'. For many the answer is that they hate working for 'the laughing stock of America's security apparatus,' try to hide that they work for TSA, and want to transfer almost anywhere else ASAP."

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TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352209)

Why is it so many people who deride the TSA as being ineffective against terrorists think that same government can stop mass shootings by making guns illegal?

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352287)

They're great against lions too. When is the last time you've heard of a lion attack at a terminal?

We're wasting over $8,000,000,000 per year on them when we could be spending it on other things. That's 42% of NASA's current budget. Add it up over 11 years, that's a boatload of cash.

You're not thinking of the children. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352295)

Can we please be a bit rational and think of the children?

Please?

He is thinking of the children (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352327)

Can we please be a bit rational and think of the children?

He is, he noted that the TSA is 42% of NASA's budget. With that kind of increased funding we could send the children into space!

After all, in space no-one can hear you scream.

Re:He is thinking of the children (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352687)

one of the sillier comments I've ever seen. why are you wasting people's time, to appear clever?

Re:He is thinking of the children (1)

garaged (579941) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352763)

I just dont know why are you even reading slashdot, that kind of comments are what is worth here, you notice that in just a few days of reading notes here

Re:He is thinking of the children (1)

Sabathius (566108) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352779)

You must be new here. Welcome!

Re:He is thinking of the children (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352785)

Ditto?

Re:You're not thinking of the children. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352339)

The way the TSA creates jobs for kiddie fiddlers who couldn't even find employment with the Catholic Church?

Re:You're not thinking of the children. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352361)

Think of the children? What the fuck are you, a pedophile?

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352449)

What does NASA use the other 58% of their budget on?

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (3, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352809)

What does NASA use the other 58% of their budget on?

Hookers and Black Jack, or so I've heard.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352929)

Hookers and Black Jack, or so I've heard.

And blow....

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352813)

Child molesting.

They're trying to perfect it for the TSA.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352345)

I keep asking if this is so true then why does every nationality and US state that has stricter gun laws have a lower rate of gun death?

No one has ever answered me.

It's a correlation that is hard to get around, but as usual people on that side of the debate ignore the facts.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352453)

The reason people don't answer you is because it's a narrowly-focused leading question designed to produce only one possible rational response, when the rest of us know that in the real world, the issues are decidedly more complex than how you are seeing them.

Translation: you are part of the problem.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352551)

The reason people don't answer you is because it's a narrowly-focused leading question designed to produce only one possible rational response, when the rest of us know that in the real world, the issues are decidedly more complex than how you are seeing them.

Translation: you are part of the problem.

Translation: FUCK YOU, I'm keeping my gun!

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352707)

Also, because his statement is false.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (5, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352523)

I would say that is basic statistics.

Eg, the rate of vehicular related deaths among 3rd world, uncontacted jungle villages is amazingly low. It doesn't mean they are safer drivers, it means nobody drives, so nobody dies while driving.

It's like saying there is no disease, and no starvation on mars. Of course there isn't, nobody lives there. It doesn't mean mars is a utopian paradise.

Rather than looking myopically at "gun related deaths", you should look at overall "deaths by violent crime".

The percentage of those deaths via firearms is a function of availability. The rate of deaths overall by violent crimes is what you are really looking for.

But it doesn't sound as sensational when you say "sure, your chances of being killed in a violent crime are 3x higher, but your chances of being shot are nearly nonexistent!", instead of "almost nobody gets shot here!"

The question to ask is not "do less people get shot", the question to ask is "is there less overall violent crime?"

(This is especially important whe you consider that part of the ascribed deterrent effect [if it exists], is the implication that violent criminals will themselves be more likely to BE shot. As such, if said violent criminals *are* being shot, they will contribute to the "gun related deaths" statistic.)

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (3, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352605)

Maybe it's just that the people in states with high levels of general crime/gangs/drug culture are the ones demanding the right to own guns...it's not surprising there are more murders in those states.

correlation != causation

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (1)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352747)

Mod parent up. There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. Always be cautious when someone tries to get to a preconceived result by excluding data.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (5, Insightful)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352525)

[citation required] DC has gun laws but a high homicide rate. North Dakota has few laws but a low one. I know Mexico has strict laws that simply don't work.

The reasonable question I would ask is "What is the complete impact of stricter gun laws on crime." You then need to decide what mix of gun deaths, crime, cost, laws and civil liberties you want to go with. Just saying gun death rate reduction is the only acceptable goal is not a reasonable way to consider the whole question.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (0, Flamebait)

bit trollent (824666) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352597)

Do people really not understand that guns can be taken across city and state boundaries?

There is no border between a retarded state like Texas and a sane one like New York. Somebody can simply buy a gun in Texas (using the gun show loophole if necessary) and drive it to any other state.

That means that effectively the entire United States has the same gun laws as the most permissive state.

I mean.. are people really so fucking stupid that they don't understand this??

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352643)

New York????

Get a rope.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (5, Funny)

runlvl0 (198575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352897)

Your argument is predicated on the notion that someone would travel from the great state of Texas to a retarded backwater like New York.

Enjoy your small sodas.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (3, Informative)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352915)

[citation required] DC has gun laws but a high homicide rate. North Dakota has few laws but a low one.

Or, same population size living in vastly different population densities.

D.C.: Population: 617,996, Area: 68.3 sq mi
North Dakota: Population: 683,932, Area: 70,703 sq mi

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (3, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352537)

historically, the Founding Fathers put the 2nd Amendment into the Constitution so that if the government was not taking care of the people they could rise up like the American Colonists did against the British.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352691)

if the government was not taking care of the people

Not exactly a "Founder Fathers"-compatible view of the role of government.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (2)

Samalie (1016193) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352803)

And keep in mind that the readily available firearms at the time were single-shot muzzleload rifles. I'd really be curious what the founders would think of the 2nd in the semi-auto hi-cap magazine world we live in today?

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352559)

It's a correlation that is hard to get around, but as usual people on that side of the debate ignore the facts.

I suspect your correlation is weak, and correlation is not causation.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352925)

I keep asking if this is so true then why does every nationality and US state that has stricter gun laws have a lower rate of gun death?

Hmm, have you looked up what "every" means? At least, you appear to be mis-using the word in your assertion.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (5, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352969)

I keep asking if this is so true then why does every nationality and US state that has stricter gun laws have a lower rate of gun death?

No one has ever answered me.

One: it's a meaningless question. It's not the gun deaths that matter; it's the total deaths. If you reduce guns deaths by 2,000 but knife deaths rise by 2,000, you haven't gained anything.

Two: It's not true. Jamaica has much tougher gun control than the US. It also has a gun death rate almost five times the US's.

There's your answer.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (4, Informative)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352373)

Because the evidence, say, from Japan, that an almost complete prohibition of firearms will make the murder rate very low. Even if you look at say, germany and the UK, who have much higher violent crime rates than the US, their murder rate is much lower.

There should be a TSA, it should try and prevent dangerous shit from getting on aircraft, trains, airports etc. It's not that there shouldn't be a TSA, it's that the TSA as implemented is unlikely to efficiently accomplish any of the broad goals it has.

You're right that stopping the occasional mass shooting is extremely hard. That's actually the wrong target for the US, the real target for the US should be handguns and work from there. Despite the occasional mass shooting the US averages about 40 murders a day, whereas the equivalent rate in the EU would be more like 10.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (1, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352413)

Because the evidence, say, from Japan, that an almost complete prohibition of firearms will make the murder rate very low.

Right - because as we all know, correlation == causation.

That, or there's a whole fuck-ton of other factors you're discounting, because they don't mesh with your anti-gun agenda.

gun control, and mass shoutings (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352593)

Right - because as we all know, correlation == causation. That, or there's a whole fuck-ton of other factors you're discounting, because they don't mesh with your anti-gun agenda.

Being that there is a 'fuck-ton' of other factors, please enumerate them and list your estimated correlation values that we can debate them in a proper fashion. Otherwise, I will have to assume that you simply have a pro-gun agenda and discount your statement as an opinion and disregard it.

Or, we can just go around accusing other posters as having an agenda here all day long without making any real progress in the discussion.

Re:gun control, and mass shoutings (2)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352805)

Well, I'd start by actually visiting Japan - the culture there is incredibly different than anything you can find in the US. I mean, just all the judeo-christian crap that we all take for granted here, is just completely absent. And make no doubt - it's not all good either, there's a pernicious racism there and a great deal of misogyny, but you simply cannot look at that culture and assume that you have controlled for its effect in crime.

But if you want an enumeration:

1) homogeneity - literally, no "eye color/hair color" on driver's licenses. fix that correlation by only comparing to other homogenous populations (excludes a *bunch* of the US, although there are certainly enclaves here and there)

2) judeo-christian background. fix that correlation by only comparing non-judeochristianmuslim populations (excludes a *bunch* of the US again)

3) height and weight. Just for fun to see if there's any sort of relationship between crime and either size, or proportional size.

I know, it could be that American exceptionalism means that there is no good comparison in other countries (either with more guns or less guns), but there you have it.

Re:gun control, and mass shoutings (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352867)

Off the top of my head, how culture views human life, availability of help for mental distress (ie if someone feels they're going to do something dangerous, can they actually get help without being treated like a murderer), society's view of the mentally ill (will they see you as someone responsible enough to get help for a disease, or 'get this fucking crazy away from me'), how pervasive classism is, quality of life, number of people living in poverty, how poor that poverty actually is, etc.

Re:gun control, and mass shoutings (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352961)

Off the top of my head, how culture views human life, availability of help for mental distress (ie if someone feels they're going to do something dangerous, can they actually get help without being treated like a murderer), society's view of the mentally ill (will they see you as someone responsible enough to get help for a disease, or 'get this fucking crazy away from me'), how pervasive classism is, quality of life, number of people living in poverty, how poor that poverty actually is, etc.

That's true.

Aside from peoples' rants on here about not being 'free health care in the US for mental problems'....if the person has any sanity left, they do NOT want to seek mental health.

Talk about a serious blot on your record. It can keep you out of many jobs that you might need. Forget a security clearance....but even shy of that, likely hits you on insurance rates, if you can get a loan, etc.

Even if you get better, or it was something temporary....if you ever had to be treated for mental health issues, that shit will follow you around for the rest of your life, just like being branded a sex offender will do.

Except the damages and discrimination will be a little more covert.

Re:gun control, and mass shoutings (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352889)

Right - because as we all know, correlation == causation. That, or there's a whole fuck-ton of other factors you're discounting, because they don't mesh with your anti-gun agenda.

Being that there is a 'fuck-ton' of other factors, please enumerate them and list your estimated correlation values that we can debate them in a proper fashion. Otherwise, I will have to assume that you simply have a pro-gun agenda and discount your statement as an opinion and disregard it. Or, we can just go around accusing other posters as having an agenda here all day long without making any real progress in the discussion.

Culture, religion, population density, square mileage, demographics, media, finances, employment, etc, etc, etc.

Really, if you have to have all this obvious stuff spelled out for you, you are probably not qualified to make such comparisons to begin with.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352697)

What is an anti-gun agenda. One that tries to reduce the number of guns, so that the government can become more totalitarian and control its population with the guns the military owns? Because I cannot see any other anti-gun agenda. He makes is pretty clear why he does not like guns, and there doesnt seem to be a hidden agenda.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352931)

What is an anti-gun agenda. One that tries to reduce the number of guns, so that the government can become more totalitarian and control its population with the guns the military owns? Because I cannot see any other anti-gun agenda. He makes is pretty clear why he does not like guns, and there doesnt seem to be a hidden agenda.

Whoever said it was hidden? Seems pretty blatant to me - GP says, essentially, "Japan has a low murder rate because guns are banned, so we should start banning (hand)guns." Also, GP makes a number of logical leaps, comparing apples to oranges, as if the US taking a Euro/Japanese approach to gun control will magically make serial killers disappear.

How could that not be construed as anti-gun?

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (4, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352601)

Because the evidence, say, from Japan, is that an almost complete prohibition of firearms and a very low murder rate are not mutually exclusive.

FTFY.

Or did Japan used to have a high murder rate until they took away the guns?

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (5, Insightful)

Entropy98 (1340659) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352675)

Japan also has a suicide rate 2-3x times higher than the US. It's a different culture, if you gave everyone in the US a katana I doubt we'd have a seppuku epidemic.

A big part of our high murder rate is the drug war. You can try and take away everything besides rocks and pointy sticks (and fail miserably) but the drug dealers will keep killing each other. Nothing besides complete legalization is going to end it.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352733)

I have no problem if the drug dealers want to kill each other. It's the collateral damage from their shootouts that is an issue.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352729)

No but look at Switzerland. (They have loads of automatic weapons in civilian hands and no gun crime either).

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352849)

Well, not NO gun crime. but .5/100k population.
Whereas the US is 6/100k population.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352967)

Yes, look at Switzerland. Where those weapons are in the hands of a well-regulated militia (sound familiar?) as a substitute for a standing army, whose members receive extensive training in weapon safety, and understand that those weapons are for national defense, not to kill whomever they find personally threatening.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352895)

There should be a TSA, it should try and prevent dangerous shit from getting on aircraft, trains, airports etc.

OK, let's start with the most dangerous thing commonly brought onto a transportation system: cars. Yes, cars, they kill thousands of travelers each yeah. The automobile lobby likes to point out that plenty of responsible car drivers practice good car safety and don't go around killing people, but the rest of us know how dangerous cars are.

See, the best part about dangerous things is that nobody wants to lose the dangerous things they personally like to own, use, and play with. Like firearms. Like knives. Like the lithium ion battery in your laptop.

the TSA as implemented is unlikely to efficiently accomplish any of the broad goals it has.

The TSA is accomplishing its goals, just not the ones they make known to the public. The TSA is showing people who's boss, which was the only goal that ever mattered.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (1)

RoTNCoRE (744518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352939)

Japan's criminal underworld is also almost exclusively controlled by the Yakuza, an organized crime syndicate that has an honour code and prefers not to dispute publicly. The homogenous population, level of integration with broader society, and even the relatively small geography of Japan plays to their advantage.

Might not be a good comparison.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352979)

Because the evidence, say, from Japan, that an almost complete prohibition of firearms will make the murder rate very low.

On the other hand, based on the evidence from Japan, prohibiting firearms will send the suicide rate skyrocketing. Because, you know, correlation equals causation.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352981)

Japan also has a mafia so powerful it has influence over the government, and while we were telling the English king to go fuck himself, they were living in feudal aristocracy that was utterly submissive and caste-ridden. Even for the supposedly macho samurai, it was considered a point of honor to die like a little bitch for your lord, and to fail him required suicide. They were also the only people allowed to carry weapons and they could and did murder peasants with impunity. (I guess when your lord could ass-rape you if he wanted, you tend to take it out on the little people. Come to think of it, the Spartans did the same kind of shit, and they were big on ass-rape too.)

So, does Japan not have a lot of murders because they lack guns, or do they lack murders (and guns) because they've always been a docile, subservient people, violent only when allowed to be in the service of their betters?

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (5, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352447)

I believe it's a coping mechanism. See, people love power, but they hate responsibility. So life is mostly a game of musical chairs / random shuffling of the deck in the attempt to better your position -> does your new job have more power, and less responsibility? Then you win. Does it have less power and more responsibility? Then you lose.

By crying out to their government to 'make those things we don't like' illegal, they place the future responsibility for any failures firmly on their government's back. We all know that the government can't be everywhere, at all times, but that doesn't prevent some people for blaming it for not being so. So, in this case, the power to be f*cking idiots is retained by the people, while the responsibility for their actions is left to their government. A wonderful recipe full of fail.

Think of it as being a war between individual responsibility versus group responsibility. In the former, all power is retained by the individual, but also all responsibility. In the latter, well...how many people here have worked on group projects before? How many would do so again? The point being, in any group, some members will work harder, others will slack. The person representing the group may have more power than others, or less so; responsibility for group actions may be placed on the whole group, or just one person. Being in a group means, typically, giving up some of your power, but, as I pointed out earlier, can be considered a win if more responsibility is offloaded onto others than the power lost.

Of course, modern society, as you have seen, can be a little insane here. There are people out there, earning $7 / hour, on whom all the responsibility for a business is placed, while there are some earning $100,000 / hour, with no responsibility save getting dressed in the morning.

That and, for some odd reason, a fair portion of the human race seems completely unaware that inside each of them is a MacGuyver, that, when pressed into a corner, occasionally pops out to do 'uncertain' things. 'Tis easier to wash a cat than convince a creative human not to strike back at their aggressors, real or imagined.

Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352947)

That and, for some odd reason, a fair portion of the human race seems completely unaware that inside each of them is a MacGuyver, that, when pressed into a corner, occasionally pops out to do 'uncertain' things. 'Tis easier to wash a cat than convince a creative human not to strike back at their aggressors, real or imagined.

Aha, someone finally argued it (not that I read every possible post). Pistols are a weapon of convenience, and a fairly low collateral one at that. If those were not available, some would use bows, crossbows, throwing knives, shivs, multitools, or just a carefully thrown rock. However, they might also use chlorine gas, fuel air explosives, difficult to extinguish incendiaries, anthrax, or other weapons with even less precision.

Blaming an act on the tool chosen is laziness, and the one thing humans have gotten VERY good at over the centuries is learning what things can kill eachother quickly or brutally. Looking at my desk, I think a stickynote is the only thing that I can not determine how to use as a debilitating/deadly weapon, and that's probably a lapse in imagination more than a trait of the stickynote.

Republicans, the Tard Party, and mass shootings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352527)

You've come up with a nonsensical straw man argument because you are retarded.

I have to admit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352233)

Hotel Bravo is a winner, and I'm keeping that one.

Glad to hear they're ashamed (5, Interesting)

Philotomy (1635267) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352253)

I'm pleased to hear that at least some of the people working for the TSA are ashamed. They should be.

Re:Glad to hear they're ashamed (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352471)

Unfortunately, though, the people who are ashamed are for the most part not really in any position to do anything about it. They're the low-paid extras hired to act in the security theater, not the playwright, production company, or theater owner...

Re:Glad to hear they're ashamed (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352759)

Unfortunately, though, the people who are ashamed are for the most part not really in any position to do anything about it. They're the low-paid extras hired to act in the security theater, not the playwright, production company, or theater owner...

Yeah, they're really missing out on a promising and exciting career as a Mall Cop or Rent-a-Cop.

Re:Glad to hear they're ashamed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352863)

Or any production line job anywhere.

Re:Glad to hear they're ashamed (5, Interesting)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352791)

The airlines need to address this. They have the resources.

I suspect that the beancounters in airlines are the ultimate cause of the financial issues of US airlines. Travelling by air has become much less pleasant than it was, what with the lack of food, extra fees, less legroom, etc.. On a recent trip to Asia, it was clear that the standard of service on Asian airlines is much better: hot food provided free on short flights, baggage limits applied loosely, more attentive flight attendants, etc..

I think that the beancounters think that the unpleasantness from security and all the other nickel and dime changes affect travellers on all airlines equally, which is true, but the real problem is that the number of air travellers has dropped. Perhaps if travelling by air were more pleasant, more people would travel.

The airlines should lobby to make security less intrusive and focus on real threats, followed by providing better service on-board.

Modern Shunning (3, Informative)

resistant (221968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352263)

One wonders what would happen if an ad-hoc, "name and shame" reputation network were to identify TSA agents everywhere they went. It's easy to imagine the near-universal environment of hate stares, extreme rudeness and occasional violence from victims of the TSA's Orwellian tactics putting direct pressure on TSA employees themselves to drastically reform their arrogant policies.

Re:Modern Shunning (5, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352319)

One wonders what would happen if an ad-hoc, "name and shame" reputation network were to identify TSA agents everywhere they went. It's easy to imagine the near-universal environment of hate stares, extreme rudeness and occasional violence from victims of the TSA's Orwellian tactics putting direct pressure on TSA employees themselves to drastically reform their arrogant policies.

That will just weed out the thin-skinned ones and leave the psychopathic "I love the TSA!" types. The ones who relish the power given to them. And being named just makes them "famous" and even prouder.

It's just like police officers - it's easy to say "we need to increase the number of officers by 50", but quite a lot harder to actually do so (finding the right people is very difficult, and it's a rather thankless job that doesn't pay that well for the risks). So the good people don't generally go into policing, and since you need 50 officers, you lower the bar of entry until the bottom-of-the-barrel folks get in. Which is what we have now - people who'll gladly violate your privacy and screw you over because they've got the power to do so.

The more rational among them say "screw it" and quit, leaving a position open for someone else who wants to be "powerful" to join the ranks.

Re:Modern Shunning (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352485)

Exactly. It'd be a self-reinforcing death spiral, and the people who would pay the price would be everybody else.

It'd be like if everybody believes politics to be a dishonest mud trough, we'd just end up with a bunch of greedy pigs who like to wallow in it.

Re:Modern Shunning (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352441)

You would probably be charged with a federal crime for threatening a federal employee.

As Tlhlngan says, it would just further the selection pressure to bad people. It's like scientists who go and work for banks as quants. you basically lose your science credibility, but fuck it you get easily double the pay, so you don't care anymore. And you could make the same argument about banks 'you work as one of those greedy bastards? Ewwww...' and yet they wear their MBAs Business consultant and financial manager titles with pride, oblivious to how stupid they look to anyone with a brain.

Re:Modern Shunning (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352607)

It's like scientists who go and work for banks as quants. you basically lose your science credibility, but fuck it you get easily double the pay, so you don't care anymore.

Why would they lose their science credibility? Productive applications of scientific ideas should be the primary basis for science credibility not hiding in an ivory tower. And yes, I'm not a big fan of science for science's sake.

Sure, I'm aware that a lot of these businesses hire people for the prestige of the degree not the knowledge or experience that the employee might have to offer. But colleges often operate that way as well.

And you could make the same argument about banks 'you work as one of those greedy bastards? Ewwww...' and yet they wear their MBAs Business consultant and financial manager titles with pride, oblivious to how stupid they look to anyone with a brain.

Reminds me of just about everywhere I've ever worked, including several universities. Most places are quite insular and there is no opportunity to compare small accomplishments to a bigger world. But keep in mind, almost nothing you will accomplish will look as impressive to an outsider as it would to you, who actually did the work.

Re:Modern Shunning (5, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352507)

If you want to harass someone, get to the root cause: the politicians who created the TSA and who approve, even demand, its invasive practices. Blaming the TSA employee for the abusive system is like blaming a hospital orderly for the high costs of health care.

Re:Modern Shunning (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352917)

If you want to harass someone, get to the root cause: the politicians who created the TSA and who approve, even demand, its invasive practices. Blaming the TSA employee for the abusive system is like blaming a hospital orderly for the high costs of health care.

I think you need to back up just a bit further, to the voters.

Re:Modern Shunning (5, Insightful)

kinkozmasta (1140561) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352953)

Blaming the TSA employee for the abusive system is like blaming a hospital orderly for the high costs of health care.

This is not an appropriate analogy at all. Regardless of the cost and efficiency of healthcare, the hospital orderly is still trying to help you. The same is not true for the TSA employee. They, as individuals, have made a choice to take a job that they know in advance will be violating your rights. While I agree that we should also be blaming, writing and harassing the politicians who implemented these programs in the first place, but the TSA employees should not be immune from any criticism and grief that comes their way..

Re:Modern Shunning (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352903)

Surely the solution is to mount a public campaign for any politician (and their family and friends) to be subject to detention for several hours, interrogation, strip search on camera, a dose of radiation, and/or groping of their genitalia, performed by any member of the public who doesn't like the look of them, any time they are on their way to or from work or any other important journey. Every few weeks, someone should also take away all their electronic devices for an extended period and be entitled to publish any data found on them.

However, voting against giving the analogous powers to the TSA should be an absolute defence, available to any politician who prefers to maintain their dignity and go about their daily lives without all the unpleasantness and disruption.

It all sounds perfectly reasonable to me... ;-)

I have a relative who works (5, Interesting)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352269)

for the TSA. It's the only job he's ever been able to hold down.

He's stupid and lazy, but at least he's arrogant. Almost killed my cousin, his wife, by convincing her that chiropractic should replace her insulin.

He's fiercely proud of the TSA.

Re:I have a relative who works (1)

JestersGrind (2549938) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352423)

I should refer my brother-in-law. Sounds like he would be perfect for the job!

Re:I have a relative who works (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352469)

The primary competitor for the bodies applying for TSA jobs is WalMart.

Draw your own conclusions.

Re:I have a relative who works (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352545)

Almost killed my cousin, his wife, by convincing her that chiropractic should replace her insulin.

Sounds like they have an attribute in common.

Re:I have a relative who works (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352615)

Many people don't realize how valuable a trait arrogance is. Sounding self-confident despite not knowing anything will get you far in life.

Re:I have a relative who works (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352919)

Well it will help you get girls at least. Very few can sense the difference between arrogance and genuine confidence resulting from proven abilities. Of course most 'confidence' that girls admire comes from the confidence that a good looking person has that they are good looking. And of course that confidence is genuine. They aren't faking that. It's really amazing our species has gotten as far as it has.

Not that unpopular (4, Interesting)

Improv (2467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352297)

For as much as the technolibertarian parts of the geek community loves to rage against the TSA, they're not actually that unpopular with the general public. There's some good poll data on this.

Re:Not that unpopular (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352357)

Does that poll data break it down between people who do and don't travel?

Re:Not that unpopular (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352491)

This poll [gallup.com] does, and strangely enough doesn't find much difference.

Re:Not that unpopular (5, Insightful)

Jeng (926980) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352627)

I can see why the answers are favorable, they don't ask the right questions.

Do you think that the TSA has gone overboard and needs to scale back some of their policies?

Do you approve of having a nude image of yourself displayed for complete strangers?

Do you think that the TSA's policies on liquids is irrational?

etc...

You ask

How effective do you think the TSA's procedures are at preventing acts of terrorism on U.S. airplanes?

Well, they are effective, but that is not the issue. The procedures that the Israeli use are more effective, but less intrusive.

It's like there is a complaint about bullshit in McDonald's burgers, so they put out a poll that asks about how fast you get your burger, and since no one can complain about the speed they get their burger the poll results are positive.

The issue is we need to get the bullshit out of the TSA, what they scored positively in the polls doesn't need to change, what needs to change is what was not asked in the polls.

Re:Not that unpopular (4, Insightful)

0111 1110 (518466) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352927)

You actually think TSA's procedures are effective at preventing terrorism? The same way that having a magic rock can protect you from tigers?

Re:Not that unpopular (1)

Jeng (926980) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352963)

Hey! I have not seen a single tiger since I bought that rock.

Then again I have never seen a tiger.

It's hard to say their procedures are not effective if there hasn't been another successful attack.

Re:Not that unpopular (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352465)

Broadly speaking I think the public understands there's a role for a TSA. They just think the TSA as implemented actually does that on top of all of the stupid things they do, rather than being almost exclusive a collection of stupid things.

Re:Not that unpopular (1)

Jeng (926980) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352529)

There's some good poll data on this.

You can get a poll to show anything depending on whom you ask.

Re:Not that unpopular (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352839)

And how you ask it.

Re:Not that unpopular (4, Insightful)

berashith (222128) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352571)

Just because the general public is rather stupid, does not mean they are right.

Re:Not that unpopular (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352609)

Windows
Prime-Time TV
Justin Beiber

I'll take "why popularity is a bad metric for anything other than popularity" for 100, Alex...

Re:Not that unpopular (1, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352611)

There's some good poll data on this.

No.

Such.

Thing.

"Poll Data" == "The opinions of the small handful of pre-selected individuals residing in a particular geographic who have a landline phone and are home to answer it at 1 PM on a weekday."

That's not even accounting for the weaselly way they word poll questionnaires.

Re:Not that unpopular (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352885)

For as much as the technolibertarian parts of the geek community loves to rage against the TSA, they're not actually that unpopular with the general public. There's some good poll data on this.

That's because the general public has been convinced that the threats the TSA supposedly prevents actually exist.

If you assume that every day there are of terrorists trying to blow up planes and that the only reason no planes have been destroyed in terrorist attacks since 9/11 is that they are stopped by airport security. Than the question "Is the TSA (or something like it) a necessary evil?" would usually be answered "yes".

The disconnect is that the reality is the TSA exists to fight a non-existent threat, and if you stop assuming that there are actually "terrorists" planning to blow up planes lurking behind every corner suddenly the TSA seems like a real waste of resources at best, and a criminal organization at worst.

There is going to be a day when... (3, Insightful)

dryriver (1010635) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352391)

... America wakes up to the fact that measures like intrusive TSA screenings are all about keeping the ordinary American scared of "bad guys", and not about improving security tangibly. There are many countries around the world that don't have the equivalent of the "TSA", yet manage to get through year after year without a major incident. Americans, however, are not supposed to wake up, ever. That's what you get when a handful of ill intentioned lobbyists and gatekeepers control virtually the entire media, most large corporations, and a lot of the government decisions and lawmaking in a country.

Re:There is going to be a day when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352583)

measures like intrusive TSA screenings are all about keeping the ordinary American scared of "bad guys"

I don't believe this at all. Quite the contrary; the TSA exists because the ordinary American is already scared of bad guys.
See Security theater. [wikipedia.org]

Re:There is going to be a day when... (2)

RoTNCoRE (744518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352971)

And you need to maintain this fear to keep the funds rolling, and the critical thinking low. What do you think the Terror Alert Levels (Red, Orange, etc) were all about? Do you really think the public at large can do anything meaningful with that information?

No sympathy from me (4, Insightful)

Kwyj1b0 (2757125) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352405)

While I understand that people have to feed their families and need a job, the people working at the TSA employees get no sympathy from me. Yes, you have every right to hate your job and still do it. But if you are in a "service" industry (or more generally, where you interact with a large number of people), you shouldn't do a shitty job just because you hate it. Most TSA people seem to try the experience unpleasant for passengers. And with a myriad of changing rules, they don't seem to grasp that people will make mistakes. Even a slight deviation from routine gets you the "deluxe" treatment (like the woman carrying a bottle with breast milk being held up for hours).

Case in point - I got a belt that has an buckle that can be removed because I got tired of pulling my belt on and off each time I flew. And I have been through the all types of scanners without a problem in most airports. But one day a new type of scanner seems to have a problem with just the belt "blocking" the view. So rather than just make me remove the whole belt and pass through, they need to do a pat-down that takes much longer. BTW, what happens if my trousers fall down because I need to keep my hands on my head while being scanned? Do I need to register on some type of list somewhere?

No matter how bad a day a waiter is having, he shouldn't spit on food. And TSA employees should treat people like people, not like a piece of meat on a slaughter line.

Worse than rent-a-cops (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42352459)

"TSA gets discussed on Slashdot from time to time, ALWAYS negatively..."

Ftfy. The TSA is always discussed negatively here -- and rightfully so. Take the entire body of evidence as to TSA's effectiveness and procedures, then toss in a million or so anecdotes about TSA's harassment & sheer stupidity, and no wonder they are so looked down on.

Yet another anecdote: in August, I was told I'd have to go through a backscatter or be patted down. I _politely_ said no, I'll opt for the patdown. The fifty-something TSA rent-a-cop (Keystone Kop?), in a half-assed attempt at condescension, "explained" to me that "this machine is not harmful, it uses millimeter wave technology that is the same technology in your cell phone -- it's just as safe as your cell phone." I resisted calling him a dumb fuck, and I _politely_ said that I'll opt for the patdown. He became aggressive and persisted with his bullshit reasoning, and I _politely_ said based on what I've read, I'll opt for the patdown. The dumb fuck yelled at me "WELL EVERYTHING YOU READ IS WRONG!" I know, I know, whilst in the presence of a TSA rent-a-cop I was wrong to say that I actually read. So there you have it, slashdotters, I have solid evidence that everything we've read --and I suppose written-- is WRONG. That fascist fuck will be head of TSA some day. And the patdown is a memory I will always cherish!

  Guess who's avoiding airports and instead driving from CO to PA this holiday

Re:Worse than rent-a-cops (1)

jasper160 (2642717) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352579)

I was just following orders...

Re:Worse than rent-a-cops (1)

Ichoran (106539) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352581)

He told you first that the machine was X-ray backscatter, and then that it was millimeter wave? Or you read the signs that it was backscatter and he said it was millimeter?

Re:Worse than rent-a-cops (0)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352769)

...a million or so anecdotes about TSA's harassment & sheer stupidity, and no wonder they are so looked down on.

They have a million or so anecdotes about passenger harassment and sheer stupidity. Neither is an excuse for bad behavior. I'll take your word that you were polite, but given the general framing of your post you might have sent some unintended signals that escalated the situation.

watch the movie The Lives of Others (5, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352505)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lives_of_Others [wikipedia.org] This is what the US is working to. I hope making tsa employees miserable will push things back the other way. We use to make fun of communists and their "show me your papers" paranoia.

flying sucks (2)

Alien Being (18488) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352669)

If god had meant for man to fly then he wouldn't have created the assholes in the TSA, the thieving baggage handlers, bogus chinese airplane parts and overbooking. I have no desire to ever travel more than 1000 miles from home and I can drive that far in a day. To hell with air travel. I hope they all crash and burn in desolate areas.

Re:flying sucks (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352951)

The thing is, flying remains the safest way to travel. You are more likely to die in a car crash than by all airplane incidents combined. Trains are next up on the list of safe ways to travel. Cars are near the bottom of the list, next to "bushwacking through a rainforest."

It also helps that flying is faster than other forms of transportation, at least over long distances. That is why the TSA gets away with their program. If you had to go through TSA-style procedures to drive a car, so many people would stop driving cars that the petroleum and automobile industries would tear their politicians apart until the TSA was disbanded. Unfortunately, people live so far away from their families, and businesses have so little patience for travel delays that other modes of transit just cannot compete with flying. Amtrak is great along the costs, and can really compete with flying between Boston and Washington, DC, but for a cross-country or trans-ocean trip, it's flying or bust.

Bad Press (2)

mk1004 (2488060) | about a year and a half ago | (#42352873)

And what are the chances that the TSA will now require current and future employees to sign a contract stating that they can never divulge the inner workings of the TSA? A transparent government organization such as the TSA will, of course, want to keep its stellar reputation intact.
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