David R. Henderson  

TSA: A Slight Glimmer of Hope

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And please, don't tell me in the comments how I'm making a big deal about this: I'm making a small deal. I report bad things; I also like to report good things, even slightly good things.

I fly out of Monterey airport, a small airport, a lot and so I've gotten to know a number of the TSA employees. This morning, on my way to Miami [I'm writing this from LAX], the "gatekeeper" who asks for ID told the man in front of me, after looking at his ID, that he didn't have to take off his shoes. When it came my turn, I asked her if I had heard correctly. She said, "Yes, as long as you were born in 1937 or earlier." "I'm not there yet," I said. Then I ended up behind him in the next line where you put your items on the conveyor belt. "Well," I said to him, "I know something about your age." He grinned and said, "Yes, it seems as if there's a little common sense sneaking back in." The TSA guy, whom I also recognized and who also probably recognized me, grinned and said, "Shhh, don't mention the c-word." We all laughed. A nice little moment.


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CATEGORIES: Regulation



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TrackBack URL: http://econlog.econlib.org/mt/mt-tb.cgi/6931
The author at Samizdata.net in a related article titled Samizdata quote of the day writes:
    "I fly out of Monterey airport, a small airport, a lot and so I've gotten to know a number of the TSA employees. This morning, on my way to Miami [I'm writing this from LAX], the "gatekeeper" who asks for ID told the man in front of me, after looking a... [Tracked on November 2, 2012 10:20 AM]
COMMENTS (13 to date)
Ken B writes:
She said, "Yes, as long as you were born in 1937 or earlier."
"I'm not there yet," I said.
When do you anticipate being born before 1937?
Trespassers W writes:

My five-year old was randomly selected for additional security screening this weekend. They patted her down, swabbed her hands, shoes and stuffed animal, and searched her luggage.

You can go ahead and put that glimmer right out.

Jon Murphy writes:

It is nice to hear a little story of some humanity. Stories like this always make me smile and are a subtle reminder that we are all people.

MikeP writes:

There's no one more willing to lay down their lives for a fanatical cause than those about to lay down their lives for a natural cause.

Am I too close to the airport to make that joke?

Mr. Econotarian writes:

Are you sure that the passenger was not part of the TSA Pre-Check program?

"Eligible participants use dedicated screening lanes for screening benefits which include leaving on shoes, light outerwear and belts, as well as leaving laptops and 3-1-1 compliant liquids in carry-on bags."

MikeP writes:

All TSA lines now have a sign that says if you were born before this date in 1937, you can keep your shoes and light jacket on.

Methinks writes:

Sorry to be so cheerful about this, but it is nice when the thugs show some kindness to the hostages. Makes it so much easier for the Stockholm Syndrome to blossom.

[and for the record, I've had plenty of warm fuzzy moments with TSA workers. That doesn't change the vileness of the organization or the sort of person it attracts.]

David R. Henderson writes:

@Mr. Econotarian,
Are you sure that the passenger was not part of the TSA Pre-Check program?
Yes, and if you read my post carefully, you'll figure out why.
@Methinks,
Sorry to be so cheerful about this, but it is nice when the thugs show some kindness to the hostages.
It wasn't mainly kindness. He was undercutting his own organization. So if you want to make it analogous to the Stockholm Syndrome, it would be the kidnappers who start questioning what they're doing.
@Trespassers W,
My five-year old was randomly selected for additional security screening this weekend. They patted her down, swabbed her hands, shoes and stuffed animal, and searched her luggage.
That sucks, and if you look at my past posts on TSA, you know I think it sucks.
You can go ahead and put that glimmer right out.
No, I won't.

Ted Levy writes:

Some overseers were likely more kind to slaves under their dominion than were other overseers, and some may in fact, while they flayed one in thrall for an infraction, have mused philosophic about the justice of the entire system.

Of course, I am glad David found a TSA agent who had a rueful appreciation of the institutional absurdities under which he works, and if David thinks that's worthy of a glimmer of hope, I won't disagree, but simply note that Professor Henderson's penchant for optimism is well known.

Myself, I'll withhold the glimmer until I see a few TSA agents loudly quitting in disgust, unwilling to any longer torment and dominate their fellow citizens solely to create an illusion of safety, or to steal from their luggage, or to obtain a government paycheck.

Methinks writes:

David,

I get it, I get it. Before posting, I deleted part of my comment that said something about how I joke around with them when I travel and sometimes even the agents can't believe the **** they have to put people through. But, the foot soldiers don't make the rules and the people the TSA attracts are mostly not so filled with common sense, basic humanity and a sense of humour.

I'm not letting your little ray of sunshine penetrate my dark cloud [insert appropriate emoticon here].

Il Falcone writes:

Miami?

Any chance you're giving a talk open to the public?

guthrie writes:

I feel it appropriate for this...

'And there was much rejoicing... yaaaay.'

Seriously, however, every little bit helps!

Joe Cushing writes:

I don't think it offers any hope at all. To me a tiny glimmer of hope would be the outright elimination of the TSA. There is such a large foundation for tyranny built in our system over the last couple of decades that nothing short of a total elimination of a government organization such as the TSA would offer any hope for me at all. I think the US is doomed. I'm can't be certain exactly what we are doomed for but we are doomed. This is why militias are becoming popular again, guns are flying off shelves, and there is a whole community of people who are storing food, fuel, and bullets for a coming collapse of rule of law or other scenario were order and commerce breaks down. Luger's sales are up 86% in recent years.

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