tsa4n-3-web

Accur81’s recent post on the topic of the rendering of full honors to the TSA agent who was murdered at the LAX airport got me thinking. I can certainly appreciate his law enforcement officer’s perspective. I’m not a cop and as such will never be able to see things the same way as a cop. That said, from where I sit, I don’t see the problem with rendering honors to Gerado Hernadez. Mr. Hernandez was a federal agent and is the first person from that agency to fall in the line of duty. When Mr. Hernandez took the job of TSA screener, I really don’t think that he considered that his life may one day be on the line, but it was thanks to the actions of a mentally disturbed individual. Mr. Hernandez was shot and killed simply because he worked for the TSA . . .

The TSA takes a lot of (often deserved) crap from this website and many other sources, but I want to offer a slightly different perspective.  For every TSA agent who has a mall cop attitude, there are probably ten more who are professional and who do a job that is important.  They meet with nothing but derision from their fellow citizens and that is wrong.  I don’t travel as much as I used to, but every single time I have traveled, the TSA agents I have met have been nothing if not polite, professional, and courteous.  The rules for transiting the security checkpoints are clearly posted and if you follow them, you will usually have a smooth experience.  The people working the security lines don’t make the rules, but it’s their job to enforce them.  Granted, some act like jerks, but every barrel is going to have a few bad apples.

Recently when traveling with my family, we approached the checkpoint which was using the full body scanners.  I asked the agent if there was an alternative to the scanners for my kids (both under 10).  The agent informed me that kids DO NOT go through the scanner; rather they go through the magnetometer.  My wife was told that she could also skip the scanner so that she could remain with the kids.  Even when a bottle of water was encountered in my young son’s carryon (he slipped it in there without our knowledge), the screener was professional and simply removed the offending item without any comment or issue.

I’m not saying that the TSA is not without its flaws.  We should continue to complain about the ludicrous restrictions that are imposed from on high and the preferential treatment they give celebrities, cops, and fellow TSA employees, but we do need to remember that the TSA like the private airport security screeners who worked the checkpoints prior to 9/11 does serve a vital function.  Most people are probably too young to remember air travel before security screening became ubiquitous.  From 1969-1972, airline hijackings and bombings were in their heyday.  More than a few flights were hijacked to Cuba, hijacked in the Mideast, or blown out of the sky by bombs smuggled aboard.  Airplane hijackings were one of the reasons that Delta Force was created in the early 1970’s.   In 1974 mandatory security screenings went into effect and terrorist incidents against U.S. aircraft went to nearly zero.

Sure, some of the rules seem silly – remove your shoes, remove your laptops, no water bottles, no liquids in larger quantities than 6 ounces, etc. but remember that these rules all came about as a result of actual incidents where people tried to blow up planes.  I’m not wild about the full body scanners but I suspect that those will be done away with as more research is done into their effectiveness and risks.  Besides, they are not used 100% any more.  I’ve been on flights recently in several major airports when they were not being used at all.  Anyway, I don’t mean to turn this into an apology for the TSA in total but rather a reflection that the TSA performs a necessary function.  I’ve traveled for more than three decades and can honestly say that aside from some of the newer minor annoyances I mentioned above, traveling through security checkpoints is not that much worse than it was twenty years ago (it really all depended on the airport).

Back to Mr. Hernandez – if they want to send him out with honors, I don’t see a problem.  Just because he did not carry a gun or was ostensibly in harm’s way as much as a police or fireman is not the point.  The fact that he was killed by someone specifically targeting TSA agents because of who they worked for certainly would suggest that perhaps the job of TSA agent is not quite as safe as we thought it was on October 31, 2013 (the day before the shooting).  Although he is not considered a police officer, he was a Federal Agent and was killed in the line of duty.  What I do have a problem with is the potential politicization of this act by the President, Holder, and others.  This death should not be handled a like a political event.  It should be an opportunity to offer respects to a man who was killed in the line of duty – a duty that helps to keep America’s skies just a bit safer.

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123 Responses to Random Thoughts On TSA Agents

  1. He was not a federal agent. He was a federal employee. He did not carry a weapon, had no investigative authority, and had no arrest authority. He was not a law enforcement officer. To say he was a federal agent also makes the local postal carrier a federal agent.

    • The challenge with using English (or any language) is that words don’t mean only what you wish they meant. The contracting officer that pays construction companies with federal funds IS an officer. The ticket agent collecting fares for my state ferry system IS an agent. The man who drives my city bus IS an operator.

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agent

    • FBI agents are called special agents because they are armed. All other federal agents are simply agents. No doubt there are bureaucratic exceptions to this classification, and no doubt calling all of them agents with the armed ones being special agents is akin to garbage men being sanitation engineers. But unless I have been hearing wrongly all these years, agent is the proper term.

  2. I disagree with almost everything you have said. He deserves no more honors than if you and I were killed. The TSA is not law enforcement. They are thugs. They do not deserve honors, they deserve to be disbanded. It’s a shame that guy got killed, but no more so than anyone else killed in any other shooting. I think the publicity surrounding this guy is purely political with the end game being more power for the TSA and less rights for you and me.

    • And who would you have police the air? Some private contractor making minimum wage? Perhaps you should review Israel security on El AL and see who provides their screening. Clearly you’ve never flown internationally. Or you don’t know the definition of a thug.

      • Governmentally regulated firms would be far preferable to federal employees who think they have more authority than the Bill of Rights.
        Rather than hire grouchy old women or gangbangers who steal iPads why not go for retired police or military? Based on the employees I see at airports, the TSA clearly does not pay well. You think private companies would be worse?
        By the way I don’t give a shit about Israel or any other country. This is the USA.

        • The argument about government versus private security has surfaced before on there. Private competition can be a good thing. It can spur innovation, improvement, and better customer service.

          But a fully fueled 747 isn’t quite the same thing as a taxi-cab. It’s a cruise missile and lives were lost proving that they can be used to kill a great many people or threaten national security. The TSA was created in response to that and so were the rules they enforce. I don’t get why they’re the target of so much hatred. Granted, some do fly more than I have. I only flew about 33,000 miles last year, but every single TSA employee I interacted with was courteous and professional.
          If there are problems with the system that’s in place, and the experience of Chip and others indicates that there are, then those problems should be fixed. But blaming the guy who’s checking your carry-on for weapons isn’t an effective way to address those problems.

        • The chance of being killed by a terrorist in the US is about the same as being killed by a comet, and much worse than hitting the Power Ball number.

          “…remember that these rules all came about as a result of actual incidents where people tried to blow up planes.” No, the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber were real, failed attempts. The liquid restriction is based upon a flawed report about liquid explosives from the UK a few years ago, at the height of the terrorist hysteria. The rest of the “precautions” are countermeasures to aptly-named “movie plot” threats which have little bearing on reality. Knitting needles? Nail clippers? Really?

          And as for your happy scanning experiences, just wait until you get older and begin to collect weapon-sized metal prosthetic devices surgically implanted within your body. You WILL get “the business” each and every time you try to board an airplane. I for one do not enjoy a hernia exam, even by my doctor. The “Enhanced Patdown” serves absolutely NO purpose other than to teach fliers a “lesson” for complaining about the TSA.

        • H.R.
          Like a lot of things, the answer is complicated.
          1. The TSA is a symptom of a general trend in government toward more complexity, more restriction, less efficiency, all for little to no gain. To those of us in the pro-2a community, it is the face of the busybody state at work—very much a reminder of the mindless entity that too often seeks to marginalize our peer group.
          2. Most of our contact with the TSA or that of those we know is at best neutral and usually negative. They confiscate property at a whim, put six year olds on terrorist watch lists, and create Rube Goldberg-esk systems of regulations that the average traveler can fall afoul of even when attempting to comply with said regs. I’m glad you’ve been treated well, but many of us aren’t so lucky.
          3. We question the value-to-benefit ratio of having to get to flights two hours early, leave most of our EDC at home, get searched and scanned, and then maybe take off on time. I believe the word is hassle.
          4. We hate having our crap taken on a whim. Try buying a bespoke flashlight, pocket computing device, or other entirely harmless personal item and watching an agent decide that it might be dangerous. You’re out $200+ with no way to recoup your loss and the TSA will probably sell the item on an auction sight or pocket it outright. Anything even mildly associated with firearms is completely blacklisted on principal…often with no real logic or supporting research.
          5. Since it’s creation, the TSA has grabbed a lot of authority. Ranging from expanded search/detention powers, jurisdiction far beyond the airport proper, and lately asking for the power to go armed. This translates into an outsized sense of self-importance, one that seems out of proportion with their mandate…

          Those are the big ones I can think of off hand. I don’t really have a strong feeling about individual TSA agents—they’re doing a job and I recognize that they aren’t responsible for policy. They are however the person who is going to take my stuff, make me late for my flight, grope me, scan me, and suck more of my hard earned tax dollars for the privilege. It isn’t personal. I just can’t find anything positive to say about the experience.

      • I suggest you go look into the pay and training of the TSA screeners and you will realize they have no arrest powers nor investigative powers and lack the training in many cases to be a sworn officer.

      • “…And who would you have police the air?”

        How about a privately owned company.

        Let me give you a specific ‘ferinstance…..

        The FAA regulates the service and operation of aircraft in the US. The provide the licensing for the pilots and for the mechanics. They do not, however, fix or fly the planes themselves.

        Why can’t the TSA do the same thing? Set the standards that private companies must follow but not actually provide the agents?

        It would keep the standards where the TSA claims they should be AND it eliminates the Constitutional Rights violations of actually providing the check points.

        • If you would like to be screened by a non federal employee, working for a civilian contractor then fly out of San Francisco. Kansas City, Greater Rochester, Tupelo, Key West, Sonoma County, or Jackson Hole. You will still be required to undergo the same processes as anywhere else, because they are required to perform screening functions by the same rules as everywhere else. Same mandate, same rules, different patches on the sleeve. Are they still thugs?

      • Let the airlines themselves keep their own airplanes from getting blown up.

        <macabre humor>
        Since they started molesting 6-year-old girls and harassing wheelchair-bound grannies there has not been a single hijacking or other terroristic incident committed by a 6-year-old girl or a wheelchair-bound granny.
        </macabre humor>

        • If their airplanes didn’t have a tendency to cause plenty of damage to the ground, I’d agree…

        • Don’t you see a difference between airline employees, who have a vested interest in happy customers, keeping their own airplanes safe vs. some federal employee who’s “only following orders,” counting the days until he can start collecting his lavish taxpayer-funded pension? The crash would certainly be indistinguishable.

        • Don’t you see the conflict of interest generated by bending security rules to keep a customer happy the same way they bend their own rules to accomplish the same?

        • “Don’t you see the conflict of interest generated by bending security rules to keep a customer happy the same way they bend their own rules to accomplish the same?”

          I’m not talking about “bending security rules.” I’m talking about the unconstitutionality of rules that mandate body cavity searches in the name of some nebulous “national security” pie-in-the-sky.

          If “national security” were really what the Washington DC thugs were interested in, they wouldn’t be molesting people flying from Tupelo to Keokuk to see Aunt Tilly, they’d be checking incoming international passengers at Customs.

    • frankly, if you think the guy’s a thug because he works for the TSA, and nothing more… then why are you sorry he got killed?

  3. I’ll be honest I have never had a bad experience with the TSA, and even with the one incident where I forgot to take my laptop out of the case when they had to inspect it they were very polite with me. But as Federale says they are just employees and sometimes they do really idiotic things and those things pile up. What I would prefer is that they don’t treat anyone checking a firearm like a terrorist in many of the unfree states of America.

  4. “Mr. Hernandez was a federal agent and is the first person from that agency to fall in the line of duty.”

    Today I learned that sexually assaulting people (including children) is considered a “duty” and is on par with a police officer being killed while trying to apprehend a violent criminal.

  5. OP – you are not a LEO. You are probably not a vet either.

    Please STFU.

    This is like someone totally divorced from the issue trying to relate to holocaust survivors or people who deal with overt racism.

    It doesn’t make you a bad person, but you are talking about things you have no context to understand.

    Just stop.

    Those of us who are offended this TSA guy got full honors don’t hate him. We don’t think he’s a bad guy.

    But it’s like giving a congressional medal of honor away to a mall cop or a lifeguard.

    Some things are special because they are reserved for special things or people.

    So once again, please stfu.

  6. Thanks, Jim. While I don’t appreciate all the TSA policies, I have never had un unprofessional experience with an officer. And yes they are officers/agents, that term doesn’t only mean peace officers (law enforcement).

    • They are Agents.

      They are Agents of the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA, by virtue of the A, can only have Agents.

      The basic order is thus: Agents of an Administration, Officers of a Bureau, and an Agency can choose one or the other but not both.

      There are other alphabet organizations that don’t follow this general set of rules, they don’t have to. But the ones who don’t follow the rule are made fun of by all the ones who do.

      • What? Are you serious? So the Federal Bureau of Investigation is screwed up by having Special Agents? The Department of Agriculture has some of each. The CIA is an Agency. It doesn’t have “CIA Agents.”

  7. Work Place Violence
    The FT Hood Victims have yet to even receive a PH
    I refuse to side with Progressives under any circumstance

  8. Honestly, if I were a LEO I would be pissed that they were trying to treat the TSA like law enforcement. Giving “honors” to this guy and saying he was “killed in the line of duty” belittles cops who actually are killed in the line of duty.

    • I’ve stood in formations for police funerals, and I’m not going to begrudge them this if it’s what they think is appropriate.

      I can understand the idea behind doing it to bring some closure and camaraderie to the group. There’s always this feeling of exclusion… the military probably looks askew at LEOs getting what is very similar to a military funeral. If a civil servant- and that’s what LEOs are as well- is killed in the line of their duties, whether law enforcement or not, I don’t have a huge problem with some sort of honor for the sacrifice they and their family made.

      • I’ve got a problem with any (civilian – cops are civilians) government employee getting special treatment like they’re somehow more equal than the rest of us.

      • There should not be one dime of tax money spent on police funerals. That includes wearing of uniforms and driving government owned cars.

  9. ” I’ve been on flights recently in several major airports when they were not being used at all. ”

    Oh yay, more wasted taxpayer money for toys.

    • Possibly because they were on the way to the warehouse where all the others are due to their possible health and personal privacy [pr0n] issues.

      • I am an x-ray tech. I would not stand within 15 feet or let my children go through one of those things. I have an associate degree in radiology. The thought of a high school drop out with a GED running a scanner he does not understand scares the pookie out of me. I am glad that these scanners are being warehoused.
        The TSA is security theater at best, brown shirts at worst.

    • Its called Pre check, and Managed Inclusion. TSA is trying to be more sensitive to the needs and convenience of the passengers by offering expedited screening on a random basis to passengers who are considered low risk. People who fly often and meet other criteria. they are not required to remove shoes or laptops, and are sent through the magnetometer instead of the imager.

  10. I don’t travel as much as I used to, but every single time I have traveled, the TSA agents I have met have been nothing if not polite, professional, and courteous.

    I can say that TSA hasn’t been a problem for me except in Chicago. At O’Hare I have three out of three times found that the TSA people could not speak standard English, and could not readily understand it. I was stunned. I had to have my son speak with them. He had enough urban experience to understand the dialect and speak to it. (I’ve avoided O’Hare for decades. I only end up there when it offers the only connection to the place I’m going.)

    Salt Lake? No problem. Boston? No problem. Philadelphia, no problem. As for the “Agent” bit, you must be kidding. Do we have “full honors” funerals for Federal Meat Inspectors? Postal Employees?

    There is something special about Chicago. I guess it’s becoming obvious.

  11. Mr Barrett, I am happy your experiences with TSA have been pleasant and professional. I know that most experiences with TSA are reasonably pleasant and professional.

    None of mine have been, however, but I understand the system and why my experiences are not either of those things. You see, I share the same name with, until recently, three other people who are alive. I am a Third, named for my Father and he was named for his father. We all went on a trip together and the system nearly choked on having three people with the same name on the same flight. Since that particular flight, every time I fly my boarding pass has the dreaded SSSS on it so before I even get to security I am being watched or followed or something. I can tell you that the pat down is very intensive and if you’ve never had one you are in for a surprise.

    Anyway, to your contribution….

    I have to disagree very strongly with one item in your article….

    “…For every TSA agent who has a mall cop attitude, there are probably ten more who are professional and who do a job that is important.” Emphasis mine.

    The TSA is not important. It does not serve a purpose that is important. It is feel-good security theater. Look up the story of the TSA inspecting bags of the people getting *off* of a train.

    Agent Hernandez’s death is tragic, all deaths are.

    Should Agent Hernandez receive full honors for his funeral?

    I say no and I say no for reasons that have nothing to do with Agent Hernandez.

    I say no because it sets a precedent. It sets the precedent that Federal Employees killed in the line of duty are more special than they really are. I have friends who work in the various alphabet organizations in and around DC, all of them in administrative roles and all of them have a title that includes Agent. If we are to provide Agent Hernandez with full honors for being killed while on duty, why aren’t we going to offer full honors to every other federal employee killed who had the title of Agent?

    No. Full honors is a military honor and should be reserved to those in the military.

    In my opinion at least.

    • I would go further in limiting “full honor ceremonies” with motorcades and speeches to only those circumstances where in the line of duty meant duty involving regular exposure to adverse, life threatening situations and that the civil servants death occurred during direct exposure to such danger while on said duty. The events surrounding the civil servants death should be the primary guide determining the size of the event, level of honor and ceremony bestowed.

      I think being a passing pedestrian employed in a low risk position does not meet this test even if this TSA Agent was targeted for the uniform he was wearing.

      As to ANY formal ceremony whatever the size, there should be absolutely NO politics involved, period. The purpose of the ceremony whether it be a small agency event or a full blown motorcade procession is to honor the life and contribution of the deceased civil servant to the country or community for service he undertook in a known dangerous profession for the betterment of the community. It is NOT a platform of opportunity for disingenuous idiot politicians to further their political agenda about ANYTHING…no exceptions.

      Personally, I don’t stand on formalities and ceremony and would be embarrassed to see anything more than a small tribute in my name for doing my job. You know the risks going in. Any ceremony should be for the family in any case; why prolong the grief.

    • Sad to say this, but LAPD had the shooting scene in their hands. If it were a LA copper, they would have bashed doors and smashed windows to get their fallen guy out’ta there right now and run him to a LAPD unit or a waiting paramedic unit then escorted the unit directly to emergency trauma.

  12. “I’ve traveled for more than three decades and can honestly say that aside from some of the newer minor annoyances I mentioned above, traveling through security checkpoints is not that much worse than it was twenty years ago (it really all depended on the airport).”

    So, in your opinion nothing has changed in terms of what the TSA has done for our country. If that is the case, then I fail to see why this man is deserving if full honors.

  13. TSA – Thousands Standing Around. They are a giant union created to funnel money from the federal coffers in an effort to transform us into a police state on the contrived notion that we should search 10 and 80 year olds and make wheelchair bound individuals with prosthetics go through embarrassing scrutiny. We do this because we are too weak politically to only look for the actual problems (Muslim terrorists) as somehow profiling is unacceptable. You have had a few encounters with a few TSA agents that were just folks doing their jobs. Like librarians demanding you check out your books in an orderly cue.

    They do NOTHING to make us safer. They will use the power of their union to demand to be armed, not for the public’s safety, but for their own. They are yet another example of the two Americas. The general public and the ruling class. The ruling class likes its pawns to keep us serfs in line.

      • You don’t if you’re on a private flight. There’s no checkpoint.

        Our company has a jet, and I’ve been a passenger a couple of times. There really are two air transportation systems – one for the haves and one for the have nots. If you have enough money to afford a chartered flight, you get to dispense with all the TSAs BS.

  14. I have no problem with a funeral. People are sad a guy died. Fair enough.

    But . . .

    “For every TSA agent who has a mall cop attitude, there are probably ten more who are professional and who do a job that is important.”

    I disagree whole heartedly with that. Underwear inspectors are not professional by definition. If they had any self-respect they would all quit tomorrow. They have done nothing for the safety of our travel and have not caught a single attempt to attack a flight.

    Furthermore, if the water bottle that your child carried were so dangerous that it can’t be brought into the airport, why can it be so casually tossed in the trash? Shouldn’t they have a bomb squad inspect it first? It is kabuki theater run by underwear inspectors. I despise the job and the people, and I won’t apologize for that.

    • I agree. I have no use for people who apply to the TSA. I would love to see people shun TSA employees to the point that no one would be willing to work there.

    • The water bottle thing… that is a valid point. If they’re concerned that every water bottle that makes its way to security could be that dangerous, why are they just setting them aside in an area that’s almost always packed with a huge crowd of slow-moving people?

      • The technical answer is the liquid prohibition is to prevent someone from bringing liquid chemicals that can react with other liquids or some solid elements to form explosives or poison gas. In and of itself, in a bottle, it would likely be inert. The logistics of the situation make it impossible to call the bomb squad for every water bottle, but it’s a pretty small sacrifice to have to avoid bringing them aboard.

        • That’s still an absurd attempt at an explanation. Supposing that the liquid, when mixed with another substance, can be explosive, who’s to say the various components will not accumulate in the trash? What if the containers leak? What about when the containers are emptied into the trash truck that often compresses the trash?

          If the item is dangerous, it should be treated as such. It’s not dangerous, everyone knows it, and that is just a way to exert power over us and make us feel like we are being safeguarded.

          If someone wanted to smuggle substances onto a plane, they would just bring in 3oz containers of whatever they wanted. Three or four passengers can accumulate quite a lot of liquids that way.

          Here’s the rules on liquids in planes:

          The latest information on liquids and carry-on bags can always be found at the TSA’s 3-1-1 webpage.

          In general, travelers are allowed to bring on most liquids, gels, and aerosols (from shampoo to hand sanitizer gels) as long as they’re in 3.4 ounce (or less) containers and all the containers fit inside a 1 quart clear plastic zip-top bag.

          You can also put liquids in your checked luggage (as long as they’re not prohibited items).

          Special Liquids/Larger Quantities

          Travelers can also declare larger containers of selected liquids, such as baby formula or medications at the checkpoint. Screeners will generally allow them in moderate quantities. Declared liquids don’t have to be in zip-top bags.

          Medications, baby formula and food, and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint.

          Examples of liquids that can be in excess of the 3.4 once rule include:

          Baby formula, breast milk, and juice (for babies)
          Both prescription and over-the-counter medications
          Liquids or liquid nutrition for people with disabilities or medical conditions
          Specialized medial liquids
          Frozen items, if they’re frozen solid
          Medical or cosmetic items with liquid or saline.

          So, if you freeze your liquids, then it’s okay. If you have something white and call it baby formula, it’s okay. If you have a prescription label on it, it’s okay.

          But if it’s a clear bottle with a colorless, odorless liquid inside, it is “DANGEROUS” and must be put in a trash can next to the body scanner.

        • Skyler: Your argument is circular and going in the wrong direction. We know that there was a plot to detonate liquid explosives on board eight international flights traveling over the Pacific in 2006. There is a real credible threat. So your point about several passengers with 3.4 Oz bottles and all the exemptions being ridiculous is valid. What is the solution, disallow any liquids at all? Im sure you would think that was even worse.

  15. I disagree with pretty much everything in this article.

    Full honors indicates the recipient did something very honorable, something worthy of great respect, what did he do that was honorable?

    • Exactly. He did every teenager’s dream job: groping people, and getting paid to do it. He was not a hero killed in the line of duty. Now, if he’d thrown himself onto a bomb and suppressed the blast, then I could understand.

      P.S. I’m not saying he was a bad person, or that he deserved what happened to him, but we might as well be giving out Purple Hearts to mailmen who have been bitten by dogs.

  16. Some TSA people are horse’s asses and some are nice, but all of them have one thing in common: they have a carbon footprint, while Hernandez has none. I feel bad that he was murdered, and I feel especially bad for his family. So if the Feds turn the poor b@stard’s death into a political statement, I can live with it in the hope that it will somehow help the family.

    But if the Feds want to use this episode as an excuse to arm TSA, I’m totally and completely opposed. We already have enough douchebags with badges and guns. We don’t need more.

  17. I don’t regard any federal bureaucrats, regardless of their “law-enforcement” status, as deserving of honors, especially when they’re “just following orders” that degrade human dignity and destroy individual liberty.

  18. Nothwithstanding my previous thoughts on the matter, I’ve had TSA agents

    -confiscate nail clippers from both grandparents
    -confiscate nail clippers from my wife
    -dump out Starbucks coffee purchased at the airport
    -attempt to confiscate protein shots that were 2.7 ounces
    -confiscate gun wipes in a sealed foil wrapper which were in a Pican gun case, and log the “issue”
    -issued my wife a written warning for using the 1st clas bathroom when the coach bathroom was blocked, when we were on an international flight, and she really needed to use the bathroom for woman reasons
    -tried to confiscate my work flashlight, which I was able to work out when another police officer arrived
    -attempted to confiscate a Surefire U2 Ultra flashlight because it had a “suspicious” amount of electronics inside

    I could probaly think of more things, but I put TSA agents below postal employees and the secretaries of CIA agents. Also, there will be considerable taxpayer expense with this funeral in order to bestow the honors. I must sincerely express my condolences to the family for the loss, but I still disagree that federal honors are appropriate for a TSA funeral, especially when they have been denied to the Ft. Hood victims.

  19. Murder victims like at the Colorado theater and Sandy Hook “[were] shot and killed simply because he worked for the TSA” they were there. TSA agents, or cops or FBI agents are human beings like everyone else. They deserve no more honor than anyone else.

  20. The term “Special Agent” and “Agent” have specific legal meaning. Both generally mean anyone who acts on behalf of the government. It is not specific to law enforcement powers granted to federal employees, but is germain to their area of responsibility. The “Special Agent” term is used by OPM as a position title for zcertain investigative positions. Legally, it describes that the has employee has a focus, investigative, enforcement or regulatory, for specific chapter of the US Code. The term “Agent” is the same, but for a much broader subset of US Code. A TSA employee can be an Agent of the government in a legal sense in that they preliminarily investigate and enforce US transportation and terrorism code relating to air travel security. However, TSA Special Agents, assigned to an internal Office of Investigation, are generally limited to investigation of criminal acts that occur in violation of internal TSA policy and result in criminal prosecution, usually by corrupt TSA employees.

  21. The TSA is just Security Theatre. It is meant to amuse them and entertain nanny-state advocates. Nothing they do and nothing they will do can impart real security to the US commercial air or common carrier system.

  22. He did not deserve anything other than a decent funeral. He was not in a dangerous job. Neither are cops or firemen. Their professions are not in the top ten most dangerous jobs. I’ve never seen a roofer get military honors or a commercial fisherman and their jobs are more dangerous than cops or fireman.

    Of course you all realize that if TSA is armed, their pay goes up. Wonder if that is part of the motivation.

    I’ll say it again, where is the Newton report? Not the photos, the timelines and the actions taken by our gallant first responders? The haven’t even released it to the State Commission. . . and they won’t, either he used a semiautomatic pistol (not the Bushmaster) or they responded and set up a “safe” perimeter. . . .”safe” for whom, the kids in the school or the responders?

    Truth is cops and firefighters don’t get enough training. . . . . in how to think. At one time in NY state, Troopers had to qualify with 25 rounds . . . per year (correct me if I’m wrong).

    Why do you think the cops and firefighters show up from all over for a funeral of their beloved fellow? …….to get OVERTIME.

    • Police and firefighters have made the top 10 most dangerous jobs, and are currently in the top 20, if memory serves. I don’t consider a near miss of the top 10 most dangerous jobs to be a “safe” job, and never have, especially since I’ve had some near death experiences in my time on the road. If I had a “safe” mentality, I probably would not be here to share with y’all. For what it’s worth, the close call required a trip to the ER after firefighters cut me out of my destroyed patrol car. I’m sure many firefighters would echo those sentiments, and I bet a lot of people saying cops and firefighters have safe jobs work in a cushy air-conditioned office.

      Be that as it may, the loss of a single TSA agent out of thousands, definitely does not make their job a dangerous one.

    • You’re a fool if you think police and firefighters show up at a line of duty funeral for overtime, and an ass if you don’t believe that but are just saying it to make a point.

    • This whole meme of how cops and firefighters don’t have a job that’s in the top 10 of dangerous jobs is dishonest. I’ve lost people that were close to me to naural causes. I’ve lost them to accidents. and I’ve lost them to acts of violence.

      An act of violence is much harder to understand and accept than the others. More fisherman, or roofers or whoever may die in their jobs. But how many of them were murdered? Murder is what a cop faces every time he goes to work. It may not happen, but it’s still a fact that he has to confront.

      As for cops only going to a cops funeral for the overtime. Nigga Please.

      • It’s about numbers of people killed and not how. Far more people die in other professions than police in firefighters. Sorry but the facts aren’t going to conform to your view. That doesn’t make light of the officers that are killed in the line of duty.

        • JimD, my primary job for 30+ years was as a janitor. I did other jobs as well but that was my bread and butter job. According to the stats I was more likely to die on the job than a cop or firefighter.

          What people with an agenda choose to ignore, and I believe they do it deliberately cause, agenda, is that when I walked out the door to go to work the last thing I worried about was being murdered for doing my job.

          Simply cause more fat old janitors seize up and have a stroke or heart attack on the job does not make that job more dangerous than a cops. And those pushing that mantra are being no more honest than difi or barry in their attempts to disarm us.

        • The reason your example is a poor one is a janitor having a heart attack or whatever is not a workplace hazard. He didn’t die from the job, he died from too many cheeseburgers or some such.
          The CDC releases studies about which jobs are more dangerous based on fact, not your opinion. You have no argument to the contrary.

        • JimD, workplace hazards are moving machinery, toxic chemicals, etc. What work place hazard covers the 3 time loser with a gun that sees freedom if he kills the cop walking up to his car?

          There are jobs that are dangerous. I’ve done some of them. But on none of those jobs did I have to worry about a murderous felon introducing himself into the mix at any moment.

        • But how many of the people who are gunned down by murderous thugs get funerals with full-on military honors?

        • Everything you just said is totally irrelevant. The amount of danger attributed to a job is based on the chance of being hurt or killed, not the source of the danger. It appears that the simplest of concepts evade you.
          You are simply rejecting facts and statistics in favor of your emotional response. You must be a democrat.

        • Far from a dem. What i said is only irrelevent if you hate on cops. Again, an agenda. At no point did I get insulting. You brought emotion into it when you started to insult me. Does that make you a dem?

        • Sorry, but when someone is as willfully ignorant as you seem to be I just can’t help myself. Putting your own opinions and feelings ahead of facts and statistics that are available to all of us is just stupid. The CDC puts out the study every year. I guess since you know better we can just shut them down and save the taxpayers a ton of money.

      • Rich, none of my comments addressed the funeral details. I feel that TSA should be shut down and have stated that people should not fly until this happens or the airlines go bust.

        My comments were addressed to the issue of dangerous jobs. While it’s true that some occupations have higher death rates than being a cop, the type of death matters also. Murder is a whole other level from an industrial accident.

  23. Just because some of the TSA agents do their job well, and are nice people, does not make it right to give them the full line of duty funeral honors.

    Just because some of the TSA agents do not grope inappropriately does not make it right to legally allow them the power to do so.

    I’m not sure our skies are quantifiably safer than they were before the TSA, as your article suggests. Is there any data one way or another on this?

    • There was a GAO report issued in the month that called the TSA “Chatdown” Program a failure. Go to gao.gov and search for “TSA”. There were also a few news stories about an improperly-released sealed unredacted FOIA Request response in which the TSA admits the majority of its activities do not reduce risk in any way. You can use your Goggle-fu for that one.

  24. If you think the TSA makes us safer, you know nothing about security.

    The TSA work under the same conception that progressives apply to gun control. If we can just keep BAD THINGS off the airplanes then we will be safe. It solves the wrong problem and frankly it is a problem that cannot be solved.

    Honestly, if you have someone who wants to hijack an airplane in a security line you have already lost the battle. The airport security lines are the LAST line of defense, and a flimsy one at best.

    Since their inception the TSA has not stopped a single terrorist attack but there have been attempts on US planes since they were formed. The problem is simple –

    ANYTHING CAN BE MADE INTO A BOMB!!!

    Someone tried to hide a bomb in their shoe, so now we have to take off our shoes. Someone talked about making a bomb and smuggling it in liquid containers, so now we can’t bring 20 oz. drinks through the security line. In the meantime, passengers on airplanes have stopped more terrorists than the TSA.

    The TSA has harassed law abiding travelers and confiscated personal property that may be illegal but was likely an honest mistake, yet parade all those seized .380 autos like each one was a successful terrorist intercepted instead of some scatterbrained gun owner caught up in their travel planning.

    They daily infringe our natural rights and we have no choice to put up with it if we need to fly. As a business traveler I am out of luck. I am polite and go about my way. I don’t begrudge the individual agents but I do hate their agency. However, anyone who thinks they make us safer is dangerous naive.

  25. I don’t have time to read all the comments on here to see if anyone else has already pointed this out, but in case no one else has said it I will; words mean things. The word “Agent” means something. The TSA itself doesn’t call their “gropers” agents, they call them officers. Personally, I think that this guy should have as nice of a funeral as possible…with his family, friends and co-workers footing the bill, instead of having him take his last ride at the expense of people who are compelled to pay their taxes at the point of a gun, many of whom don’t agree with the agency’s existence, let alone their vulgar and repressive tactics. In my own experience, far too many people have a reflexive fealty and submissiveness towards anyone who carries a gun and wears shiny buttons on their clothing, especially if they wear a funny hat. I didn’t know this guy, but I’m sure if you told him that he was going to die at work that morning, he wouldn’t have put on a brave face and went to his death bravely, caring only about the safety and well being of the traveling public, so stop lionizing these people and acting as if they deserve special respect and deference just because some of them occasionally die pursuing their paychecks. They aren’t dying in the name of freedom and liberty, anymore than the pizza delivery man who gets killed is dying to end starvation.

  26. So for those who detest the TSA, how do we improve the situation and what do we replace the TSA with?
    Serious question.

    I don’t see private security working. If private is always the answer and it can work in cases of national security, why don’t we privatize the FBI and the Army? We could have competition driving different law enforcement agencies or armies to offer the very best in service at the best price. Many of us who have served can attest that there’s “the right way, the wrong way, and the Army way” with the Army way often being the least efficient and most time consuming.

    But, when push comes to shove, the Army (and the other branches) are still the guys you call. And they’re federally funded and controlled. No matter how screwy things get, we’re probably not going to a private the military or a private FBI replacement. It’s not just an issue of money – it’s an issue of the federal government feeling a responsibility and of the public feeling that the federal government is responsible for doing something.

    If the TSA were disbanded tomorrow and a plane was taken out of the sky over Dallas on Friday, people would howl and scream. They would call on the federal government to explain how that could happen and why the TSA was disbanded. I bet there would even be guys on here lamenting the government’s incompetence. People would demand blood and formulate conspiracy theories… “Yep, them Gubbermint boys are responsible, that’s why they disbanded the TSA last week. They was a plannin’ on takin’ that plane out over Dallas and they needed the TSA out of the way to do it…”

    So from the point of view of elected officials and government appointees, some of whom are concerned with their jobs and some of whom most assuredly do care about protecting people, something has to be done. SOMETHING. Right now, that something is the TSA.

    I’m no government apologist, but it seems like an impossible situation to me. If the government does nothing, they’re going to be held responsible the next time a terrorist group attacks us by using an airline or hijacks a plane. If they do something, they’re hated for having TSA agents sort through your skivvies to make sure you’re not trying to smuggle a fragmentation grenade onto a plane.

    So what solutions do you ladies and gents offer instead?

    • “So for those who detest the TSA, how do we improve the situation and what do we replace the TSA with?”

      1. We let the owners of the airplanes protect their own property.
      2. We ensure that there enough well-armed, well-trained responsible law-abiding adult citizens on each flight to quickly nullify the threat of any would-be hijacker.
      3. Instead of molesting 6-year old girls and wheelchair-bound grannies who are flying from Albuquerque to Keokuk to visit the rels, we should be checking debarking inbound international passengers for hairy, swarthy, furtive-looking guys who smell of fear-sweat.

      But protecting the airplanes and the lives of American citizens from Jihadist terrorists isn’t their agenda. Taking over the USA, maintaining a perpetual state of war, making a whole generation dependent on their largesse to the point of helplessness, and installing some tinpot dictator is.

      It’s time to jump out of the frog pot.

      • 1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. A plane isn’t the same as a taxi-cab or a bread truck. Once a plane is in the air it is a cruise missile. We didn’t think that way before 9/11 but just because you don’t like the TSA isn’t a reason to deny it now. If the kindly folks at a certain airline failed to adequately screen passengers and someone crashed a plane into the Superbowl, do you really think people wouldn’t blame the government for not making some kind of attempt at security? To most people, it’s a foregone conclusion that government will secure airlines in the post 9/11 world. Whether you’re right or not, you’re going to have to convince the other 300+ million people in this country that the government shouldn’t be responsible for airline security before you could move forward.

        2. Well-armed people can swing both ways. You see a solution, I wonder what happens when a bad dude empties a magazine full of SS-109 into the the cockpit door. Will those rounds penetrate, kill the flight crew, cause the plane to crash into a densely populated area, and kill all the passengers and a hundred people on the ground? Or less dramatic, what would happen if he got some 9mm tracers and emptied a Glock through a cabin window into a wing full of fuel? I’m no aviation expert, but it couldn’t possibly be good.
        I like guns. I legally carry one. I write letters and send checks to protect the Second Amendment. I’m not sure I support carrying on flights and at the very least, I fully support an individual airline’s right to tell its passengers they couldn’t carry, regardless of what the law allows. After all, if you’re riding in their property, is it unreasonable to expect to follow their rules? Even if you could get carrying on planes made legal, you’d still have to get past the airline’s lawyers. If you’re waiting to do that to ever fly again, I think you may be in for a long wait. No offense, but you haven’t even convinced me yet and I’m much closer to agreeing with you than most people will be.

        3. I’ve never seen a TSA employee molest a six-year old or a wheelchair bound elderly person. Did you witness this yourself? Did you read about it? Citation?
        You’ve got a point of watching incoming passengers, but that’s also not perfect. Timothy McVeigh wasn’t inbound from a foreign nation or “swarthy.” He was also a veteran. If a white dude with a POW/MIA hat hopped on plane with you, would you profile him as a terrorist and watch him closely? I probably wouldn’t think twice… but he may be the guy who’s planning to bring the plane down. And the “swarthy” middle eastern dude two seats up could just as easily be an off-duty U.S. Marshall or a soldier returning home.

        I realize I’m probably in the minority here on this, but I don’t necessarily see the TSA as part of a massive conspiracy to weaken the fiber of our nation. They may not be particularly effective, but even if they are a showpiece, they are probably a showpiece that the American public demands. And if anything, I think airline passengers are much more aware now that it’s better to resist and subdue attackers, even if you’re armed only with your knuckles.

        • “empties a magazine full of SS-109 into the the cockpit door.”

          If anybody’s paying attention, he’s dead before he gets anywhere near the cockpit door.

        • “If anybody’s paying attention, he’s dead before he gets anywhere near the cockpit door.”

          I doubt that. Paying attention to guys who are going to the first class bathroom just in case they are secretly planning to attack the pilot isn’t the focus of most travelers. They’re doing things like napping, watching their kids, or trying to order a drink.

          Also, though we can get on here and get a lot of agreement and at-a-boy’s on most gun-related issues, we’re not in the majority. And even among “us,” you still have an uphill battle to convince some of us (like me) that all the security issues with airlines would go away if we could all just carry guns when we fly.

          Still, you don’t have to get most of the guys posting on here to agree with you – you have to get the rest of the country to agree with you that widespread CCW on planes is the way to go.
          Then, after you get the public, legislators, and airline lawyers on board, you have to get NYC, Chicago, and DC to not prosecute you when you step off the plane packing your P-229.

          So what are the chances of being able to carry on a plane?

  27. Well this turned predictably ugly.

    Just something to add to Jim’s stab at sanity concerning the incident–

    This is somewhat rhetorical, but I’m noticing people haven’t really thought the job through. A TSA officer’s job is to find a bomb either on a person or in their baggage. Now take a step back and *really* think about this: What happens if they do? No, I’m not talking about justifying the existence of the TSA through the unknowable what-if’s, but consider the job description– You are expected to find bombs. If you happen to find one, it will more than likely be only three feet away from you in an unknown state of readiness. You will probably have the passenger who put that bomb there also within some degree of close proximity and potentially capable of remotely detonating the device.

    How much fun is that?

    Oh, the job requires you to do so unarmed. And without the real physical authority to actually stop *anybody*. Such as a person with a trigger device. Or gun. All while people like the ones on this forum rag on you for being a government door kicker, molester, and/or low education drop-out. Oh, *and* equating the job to that of a postal worker, because postal workers are clearly expected to find bombs or other lethal devices and babysit them until help arrives…

    …Or as Mister Hernandez demonstrated, doesn’t.

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