Friday 15 September 2017

Junior Officer of the TSA

Short blog entry this week, on account of jet lag. Back to normal next week.

Meanwhile, my son has been deputised as a junior officer of the TSA -- or to give its full title, the Transport Security Administration of the USA. They gave him an official sticker while we were waiting for our turn in the scanners.

The TSA has a reputation for unseemly and unprofessional behaviour. This may have grown out of the sheer absurdity of airport security theatre. They may overcompensate for the fundamental insanity of their job by carrying it out in the most rigid and inhumane way possible. Enforcing rules which make no logical sense, and exist largely to give the impression of doing something, does not strike me as a task which is likely to attract the best and brightest. This is unfortunate; last week we observed the sixteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and real failures in airport security are a serious matter.

To be clear, I don't think a sticker can possibly excuse any misbehaviour by the TSA. I'm more impressed that they are trying at all to be friendly, instead of relying on their overwhelming power to make your life unpleasant. It's as if the Uruk-hai offered the hobbits a nice cup of tea instead of threatening to eat them.

Maybe the sticker is part of some kind of public relations counteroffensive; or someone, somewhere in the humourless bureaucracy of the TSA has retained a sense of fun; or a two year-old could in fact handle airport security just as well as they do. Although my son is a US citizen, if he wants a career in law enforcement I think I'd encourage him to choose some other agency.

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