I was motivated to write this response post after seeing a video of a ‘protester’ who stripped down to her underwear and filmed herself going through the checkpoint at Sea-Tac airport on Sunday.
This is just the latest in a week filled with very emotional responses to the TSA’s enhanced security screening at airport checkpoints. While I can’t say whether or not the enhanced security screening is actually doing any good (I think time would be better spent screening cargo….) I do have to say that filming yourself making a spectacle and bashing TSA screeners probably isn’t the best way to effect change.
If you don’t like the new TSA guidelines, call your elected officials! It always frustrates me to see people who think that their misplaced acts of protest are going to do any good – who are they protesting to? The TSA guy at the gate? He’s not the one who sets policy – our government does. Call your elected officials! Call TSA, go to the people who can actually make change happen. It looks like a lot of people are doing that on the TSA blog – good for them (both TSA for blogging and commenters for posting).
The thing that struck me about the video (yes, I watched the boring 10+ minutes of it) was how darn noisy the checkpoint is. I would lose my mind if I worked there. I thought the TSA employees were trying to do their best to be polite and do their jobs in a confusing new environment, filled with noise and hostile (and smelly) travelers.
Yes, there are a few bad apples in the airport screeners, just as there are a few bad apples in the military, the police, our government, society at large, etc….but in large part most TSA employees, like most people, are decent. Put yourself in a TSA screeners shoes and gloves – do you want that job? I’d recommend remaining calm and actually wishing them a nice day instead of slinging a drop-dead glare. I obviously haven’t been through the enhanced screening, so I can’t speak from experience about how it is, but again – the employee at the gate isn’t the one who makes change, it’s the leadership. Engage the leadership with your concerns and you’ll have a much better chance of success.
And now – why I think it’s a bad idea to film security checkpoints. Having worked at the intersection of security and public relations for seven years now I can say DON’T MAKE IT EASY FOR THE ‘BAD GUYS’ TO GET INFORMATION! Yes, you can go through the TSA checkpoint yourself and see how it works. Good – make the ‘bad guys’ go do that. Don’t film it for them and put it on the internet so they can check it out in the comfort of their home – make them work for it.
I’m not trying to defend the new screening procedures, or scaring little kids, or causing flashbacks for sexual abuse survivors. I’m just saying call your elected officials if you don’t like it. They are the ones who can change policy (and avoid screening).
I’ll get off my soapbox now. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!