Protection before a problem arises

By Desmond Saisitthidej

Although there are some things that I do not like about the TSA like the limit on liquids rule, I have never hated or resented them because I could never know the amount of pressure they have to go through. They are under constant review and scrutiny not only from supervisors but also from the American public.

Until you have had to pat down the opposite sex or a child’s genitalia, you should not mock or criticize the TSA.

This is disconcerting for most people despite their job description including pat downs. If anyone has ever been patted down or has performed a pat down it is still an uncomfortable experience.

Some may say it is unnecessary to pat down kids, however this is an incorrect assumption; there is an old Chinese proverb that goes, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me.”

During the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong would use children holding fruit baskets filled with explosives to kill American soldiers. This creates a legitimate reason for the TSA to screen children, just because the United States doesn’t use children in war doesn’t mean that others won’t.

The TSA is a valuable organization, not only because it catches terrorist threats but also because it prevents them. Many people assume the TSA hasn’t done their job because they haven’t “caught” someone. The opposite is true, the TSA acts as a deterrent and as an active procedure for terrorist activities, and simply by existing it helps to secure transportation in the United States. The TSA’s mission statement is to “Protect the Nation’s transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.”

The TSA has a more silent than overt effect; if someone is caught then the deterrence factor has not succeeded. Give the TSA some credit because even though you may not like the way they do things, they are doing it for your safety and the safety of the thousands who fly every day. For people that fly one or two times a year, the procedures that the TSA use may appear extreme. But on the flip side, if you are a frequent traveler, someone who travels every 2-3 weeks, then the TSA’s security procedures are much more likely to be seen in a positive light. If you were to compare three minutes of extended searching to death, extended searching would without a doubt be more desirable.

The amount of criticism the TSA receives compared to criticism the FBI or your local Police department receives, the TSA receives much more, even though there are thousands of unsolved murders. People may justify the methods the police or the FBI use because they must receive warrants from judges, which involves bringing in another authority, however TSA agents could get warrants to search people, but the amount of time required could be days depending on the judge. This isn’t feasible as there are hundreds of people waiting in line to leave the airport or enter the terminals. There is no time to call a judge and get a warrant; the TSA agent must decide using the best of their abilities then and there what to do. Being a TSA agent is a high stress job, because if you miss one thing it could mean the end of hundreds if not thousands of lives.

The TSA may be criticized but it seems that the more criticism your airport receives the safer the airport. The most secure international airport in the entire world is Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, the capital of Israel. Ben Gurion Airport is the only international airport in Israel and it is also the most heavily criticized airport. They constantly are accused of racial profiling and abuse of power, yet Ben Gurion has not seen a terror attack since May 30, 1972. That is more than 39 years ago. Israel only declared independence in 1948. This means that Israel has been safe from airborne terror attacks for more than half of its statehood.

Representative John Mica of Florida says that the United States should just adopt the Israeli method of psychological profiling, but it is not possible in the United States, as the judicial system has banned all uses of profiling as a method of screening. Psychological profiling is to have a trained professional who is well paid and under constant review to interview persons entering the country. If the professional screener determines that a person may be a threat, the person can be taken aside for additional screening; these interviews can last anything from a minute to an hour. However, until the U.S. judicial system alters its viewpoint, there will be full body scanners and pat downs instead of profiling.

The TSA is like China’s great wall, there are soldiers behind it, but the point of the great wall was to keep people out so that that army doesn’t have to fight.

Next time you go to the airport, plan ahead and don’t blame the TSA for your missed or late flight, because if they weren’t there, your next flight could very well be your last.