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TSA Union Calls For Armed Guards At Every Checkpoint 603

Posted by timothy
from the more-effective-than-at-the-post-office dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Brian Tumulty writes at USA Today that the union representing airport screeners for the Transportation Security Administration says Friday's fatal shooting of an agent at Los Angeles International Airport highlights the need for armed security officers at every airport checkpoint. The screeners, who earn up to $30,000 annually, have not requested to carry guns themselves, but they do want an armed security officer present at every checkpoint says J. David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents the screeners. "Every local airport has its own security arrangement with local police to some type of contract security force," says Cox. "There is no standardization throughout the country. Every airport operates differently. Obviously at L.A. there were a fair number of local police officers there." Congress may investigate the issue but Sen. Tom Carper, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, says that "there will be an appropriate time — after all the facts have been gathered and thoughtfully analyzed —to review existing policy and procedure to see what, if anything, can be learned from this unfortunate incident to help prevent future tragedies." TSA officials say that they don't anticipate a change in the agency security posture at the moment, but "passengers may see an increased presence of local law enforcement officers throughout the country.""
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TSA Union Calls For Armed Guards At Every Checkpoint

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  • Bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:10AM (#45324199)

    There are already armed cops (real cops, not TSA thugs) at every security checkpoint I've been to except one particular small airport, where he was in the lobby since there was no room, or nead, between the xray and the airplane.

  • Oh sure! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:12AM (#45324223)

    Let's give guns to a bunch of untrained overpaid mouthbreathers with power trip issues!

    What could go wrong with that!

    If they do this... I give it 6 months till the TSA 'guard' shoots some kid for pretty much no reason.

  • by jstrauser (711857) on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:13AM (#45324229)
    It's not the TSA, it's the union representing the TSA screeners.
  • by voislav98 (1004117) on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:18AM (#45324279)
    Maybe reexamine the way mental illness is treated and use the money improve.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:19AM (#45324289)

    Maybe the TSA should just kill every passenger right away as a preventive measure. That would be a logical extension of current policy and it might even be more humane.

  • Re:Sooo.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:20AM (#45324299) Journal

    The California political class went ape-shit when the Black Panthers made a habit of wearing rifles slung over their shoulders back in the 1970s. They're scared to death of proles being able to resist the police.

    -jcr

  • by GrahamCox (741991) on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:20AM (#45324301) Homepage
    Just get rid of the TSA.
  • Re:Oh sure! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GrumpySteen (1250194) on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:28AM (#45324359)

    Wow. You didn't even manage to read through to the second sentence of the summary:
    "The screeners, who earn up to $30,000 annually, have not requested to carry guns themselves, but they do want an armed security officer present at every checkpoint."

  • Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:28AM (#45324361) Homepage

    So if there's a mall shooting the solution is armed guards in every mall? If there's a school shooting the solution is armed guards in every school? Every bus station, train station, subway station, park and so on until there's a whole army of armed guards running around? The point of the secuity control is that nobody gets to bring anything on board to crash or hijack the plane and in that respect, mission accomplished. It's not a general defense against a random person pulling out a gun and opening fire, not any more than any other place.

  • Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by funky49 (182835) on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:28AM (#45324363) Homepage

    In order to protect the TSA agents, the TSA should be disbanded. You can't shoot what's not there!

  • by bradley13 (1118935) on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:29AM (#45324371) Homepage

    TSA has been looking for an excuse to arm it's people. Watch them try to turn this incident into that excuse. Mind you, arming ex-hamburger flippers will endanger the public more than protect it, but arming TSA goons would be a huge step in proper bureaucratic empire building.

    Want protection from nutcases? Sorry, that's not gonna happen - in a nation of more than 300 million people, there will always be nutcases.

    Want to reduce the target-rich environment that is the TSA checkpoint? That's easy, get rid of TSA and let the airports and airlines deal with security.

  • by onyxruby (118189) <.onyxruby. .at. .comcast.net.> on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:29AM (#45324373)

    What they need to do is fix the real issues with check points. Get rid of the security theater, the 3.4 oz fluid limits, the shoes removals, the body scanners, the biggest of all being the understaffing of the checkpoints that allow the mass lines that would attract a terrorist to begin with and so on. Start training the TSA on real security measures and start teach training them on profiling. When's the last time you heard about an Isreali plane being hijacked - and they let you bring a pocket-knife on board?

    The problem with the TSA isn't the members of the TSA, they are doing what they are trained to do. The problem is that Congress is overseeing the TSA and allowing politics to trump security. It's like getting mad at the IRS when the IRS is only doing what congress told them to do. Get mad at congress for giving them the byzantine rules to begin with.

    The TSA should be staffed by real armed Federal Officers, with real training, and real skills. Start by phasing in the replacement of the current supervisors with real officers and work your way from there. The next thing they should do is follow the Federal Reserve model and make the TSA semi-independent from regular politics so that they can focus more on security and less on politics.

    The day the color codes, shoes removals, 3.4 oz removals and similar useless rules go and get replaced by having the (usually unmanned) additional screening checkpoints getting opened up is the day you know the TSA has finally started to get security.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:33AM (#45324419)

    The TSA has not demonstrated why it should remain in existence. In fact it has demonstrated it has no place in a free society.

    Its record on stopping real dangers is non-existent
    Its attitude towards people's basic rights indicate that it believes it does not have to comply with the 1st and 4th amendments.
    It is a sink hole for taxpayer dollars with nothing to show for it.

    The bottom line is that as far as its record goes it has little if any redeeming value.

  • by arthurpaliden (939626) on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:33AM (#45324421)
    Not manly enough.
  • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:34AM (#45324427) Homepage

    If we follow the logic through to the end, everybody, everywhere needs an armed guard; just in case the lunatic-du-jour decides that's where he wants to kill people.

    Marathon runs obviously need an armed guard every 10 yards along the course. We have proof that terrorists see marathon runs as a target!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:35AM (#45324441)

    It's not the TSA, it's the union representing the TSA screeners.

    Who do you think make up the union if not the TSA screeners? I am sick and tired of the overreaction to these random events whether it be aircraft crashing into a building, a workplace shooting, a bomb detonation at a public event, etc. I do not feel safe with roaming machine-gun-toting police officers or military in any venue.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:37AM (#45324455)

    A trade union consting of TSA employees: evil in its purest form.

  • by ganjadude (952775) on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:40AM (#45324483) Homepage
    I personally love how if we americans demand to arm our selves from protection we are somehow the bad guys in the eyes of the government, yet when one of their own gets shot its time to arm up! hypocrisy at its best people
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:51AM (#45324595)

    back around 1990 there WAS a mass shooting in the food court of the mall across the street from my office (Perimeter Mall in suburban Atlanta). forget the exact casualty count but there were multiple victims, it was sad but people realized it was an unfortunate isolated incident/not the first wave of an invasion & life went back to normal pretty quickly. I'd bet you a fairly expensive dinner you could take a poll of patrons there now & less than 5% would even know this incident ever happened...

    soooo... shooting happened, people grieved for a few days & nearly 1/4 century later few people even remember it (I probably wouldn't if I didn't work with people who were there) and there have been exactly ZERO recurrences despite the conspicuous absence of a bear patrol - go figure...

    I whole heartedly condemn the shooter, both in principle as well as pragmatically b/c people are already seizing the opportunity to tar anyone w/legitimate criticisms of tsa w/same brush as the shooter ("you're just an anti-govt nut!!!"). I wouldn't have thought it possible but this incident is a significant setback for any hope of meaningful reform...

  • Re:Oh sure! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by king neckbeard (1801738) on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:51AM (#45324603)
    You are delusional. The majority of any group of people is going to be idiots.
  • I agree! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2013 @09:01AM (#45324703)

    Maybe reexamine the way mental illness is treated and use the money improve.

    I agree, but this guy wasn't mentally ill - he just had enough and struck back the only way he knew how and that would accomplish something.

    Let's face it, get mistreated by the TSA and you get some BS boilerplate response from the bureaucrats in DC. Complain to your Congressman and, if anything, the same old boilerplate response about "keeping everyone safe".

    I'm sure we'll find out that there's a lot of other shit happening to this guy - maybe: job sent overseas, more work piled on with no help even though the company is making record profits, .... I don't know.

    And when you see the fat cats and the assholes in DC (that was redundant) flying on their private jets or at the very least, coasting through TSA checkpoints and not having to deal with the BS that they enact, it gets tiring.

    Complaints fall on deaf ears. Our leaders have no idea what the rest of us people are going through.

    Was he right? Hell no! But the fact of the matter is that folks are getting real tired of the ineptitude of our leadership in DC and the abuse by our Government.

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday November 04, 2013 @09:13AM (#45324857) Homepage Journal

    Exactly - give anyone who wants to carry the right to carry. Oh - wait. That's already in the CONSTITUTION!!

  • by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Monday November 04, 2013 @09:17AM (#45324919)

    Aren't TSA civilians?

  • Re:Good idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rob the Bold (788862) on Monday November 04, 2013 @09:19AM (#45324935)

    Why is this rated funny? Insightful would be more like it.

    It can be both.

  • Mod Parent Up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sycodon (149926) on Monday November 04, 2013 @09:20AM (#45324937)

    Especially coming from the TSA (yeah, yeah, it's the Union, not the TSA...pfffft) who used to get the panties in a twist over fingernail clippers and still does over a tube of toothpaste.

    The Feds should look at this incident as a warning strip on the road. When you stray from the straight and narrow, it makes a huge racket to wake you up. The excesses of the Federal government are increasing every day and are starting to push some of the less stable over the edge. How long until it's not just some crazy guy off his meds and a normal person with a legitimate grievance...like a loved one being denied care under Obamacare?

    The question is, will the Feds listen to the warning strip?

  • by jc42 (318812) on Monday November 04, 2013 @09:22AM (#45324961) Homepage Journal

    Why the fuck is a government agency unionized in the first place?

    For the same reasons that employees of any organization have ever unionized: for protection from their employers. Duh. ;-)

  • Re:Good idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2013 @09:34AM (#45325109)

    I think this is a good idea. If/when future similar incidents occur, all those that are NOT carrying a firearm will be secondary targets. The poor guy who's carrying is just going to be the first guy shot, giving everyone else a slight chance to duck and hide.

    It is a good idea, except that all critical checkpoints already have armed guards. It's the low or no-value checkpoints that lack them. Certainly they might become more valuable due to the unavailability of high-value checkpoints; but, typically it is not the scarcity of the checkpoint that drives true value in the violation, it's the target.

    So what we probably have here is a TSA Union which is driving the addition of armed guards under their umbrella at the low value checkpoints, and if they are really insidious, the extra addition of armed guards at high value checkpoints under the TSA umbrella of control.

    Considering the TSA's past track record, I think that they would manage to strike terror into the hearts of the law-abiding populace if they were armed with weapons of Nerf-gun power or greater. I'm not for this. They can rely on the registered peace officers which are outside of their direct command, like always. At least there you have to get two people to get the same wrongheaded interpretation of "threat to others".

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Monday November 04, 2013 @09:47AM (#45325249) Homepage Journal

    Damn those union workers for expecting to be protected after the government has put targets on their backs with insane security policies and then stuck them in a high-risk environment for all of $30k/year.

    How much risk would you take every day for $30k/year before asking for an armed guard to be put at the door to your cubicle hive? Tell you what, we could find out. Let's put a bunch of customer service phone center workers in a very public place and have them do their jobs out in the open and see how long it takes before people start taking shots at them and then we can ask them how it feels and if they want to be protected.

    Fucking unions. Next they're going want safety equipment before going into coal mines.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2013 @09:47AM (#45325251)

    Not in their minds.

  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday November 04, 2013 @10:21AM (#45325655) Homepage Journal

    What you mean only criminals commit crimes? Amazing insight that as soon as someone starts shooting your point is valid.

    I said "lawfully-owned"... someone's decision to start shooting doesn't change the legal ownership status of the firearm.

  • by timeOday (582209) on Monday November 04, 2013 @10:27AM (#45325713)
    No way! One guard was killed at the airport attack. With hundreds frightened morons whipping out their guns LAX would have turned into the OK Corral. Just getting the normal cops to not shoot too many innocent bystanders is hard enough.

    Chicago has the strictest gun laws in the nation, but more people die there every year than most of the rest of the country combined.

    Chicago has no borders.

  • by crakbone (860662) on Monday November 04, 2013 @10:32AM (#45325765)
    You realize that the last major threats on aircraft that got by TSA were all stopped by the passengers? That any major event that a shooter has gone nuts and started killing people within an armed area were a maximum 1 to 2 people? That shooters have specifically targeted areas with limited access to firearms to maximize the amount of damage they can do before being stopped? Have you ever heard of a shootout at an NRA convention? Mass killing in a gun store? A hijacking of a military transport?
  • by scotts13 (1371443) on Monday November 04, 2013 @10:36AM (#45325805)

    what could a TSA agent possibly do that would be justification for shooting?

    Truly justified in a legal sense? Nothing. But if you're already twitchy and you've had say, a girlfriend or your mother, scanned/groped/made to partially undress, etc. it could easily set you off. Heck, 80% of what these guys do would, in another setting, get you slapped or punched in the mouth.

  • by martinQblank (1138267) on Monday November 04, 2013 @10:37AM (#45325817)
    Sounds like we need to unionize - maybe we can get protection from their employers also...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2013 @10:40AM (#45325857)

    Because you don't sell more guns as quickly if the president is seen as letting you keep buying them. It's all a marketing gimmick by the gun industry. "Obammy's gonna take yur guns! Buy more now!!" And they line up. They say the same thing any time a Democrat is elected.

    Are you against free enterprise with your truthful statements? What are you, some sort of commie pinko?!

  • Re:Sooo.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zwede (1478355) on Monday November 04, 2013 @10:56AM (#45326061)

    Are you suggesting that passengers be allowed to carry guns on a plane? OK Corral at 30,000 feet. I think I'll take the train.

    Concealed carry is legal on trains and tons of people do it. Yet I've not heard of any OK Corral shootouts on trains. Maybe licensed concealed carry holders are not as trigger happy as you think.

  • by Dishevel (1105119) on Monday November 04, 2013 @10:59AM (#45326095)
    Employees are responsible for what their union does. I will take back that statement for any set of employees that sack the entire union leadership when they do something bad. But they do not. I am sorry a guy died. I feel really bad for the family. But .... Fuck the TSA.
  • by Dishevel (1105119) on Monday November 04, 2013 @11:02AM (#45326125)
    Name one thing the TSA has stopped. One.

    Give up?

    They have never stopped anything. Everything gets by them and has been stopped on the plane or failed on the plane. They only exist to get you used to "showing your papers" and getting searched.

  • by crakbone (860662) on Monday November 04, 2013 @11:15AM (#45326311)
    If you look at your statistics you will find that if you want to stop gun violence you do the same steps to handle the majority of crime in the US. Handle the poverty problem. A look at your gun homicide rate will match up to your regular homicide rate as well as your locations of poverty and jobless in the US. It does not correlate to gun ownership density. or even gun laws. It only matches up to poverty rates.
  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Monday November 04, 2013 @11:30AM (#45326491) Journal

    The TSA has armed guards. They just aren't the TSA, which is NOT a police agency, and why they are not armed. We have Airport Police for exactly this reason. And they did their job. You cannot stop a nut with a gun, and it is a rare event. The solution is not to take away guns (Airports are gun free zones, aren't they?) but rather to understand that you cannot prevent bad things from happening, without living in a tyranny state.

  • Re:Oh sure! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrNemesis (587188) on Monday November 04, 2013 @11:32AM (#45326521) Homepage Journal

    I'm sure they'll all receive extensive de-escalation drilling as well.

    *laughs bitterly, wipes tear from eye*

    Hypothetical situation but one that seems all to scarily real now - passenger, perhaps running a bit late for their plane, becomes more short-tempered after perceiving idiocy at the hands of the TSA and makes a snarky comment regarding the legitimacy of TSA employees' parentage. Or perhaps, as has happened before, an outraged parent or sibling goes ballistic at their sobbing relative being groped or any one of a thousand potential reasons for getting stressed out in a security line. TSA rent-a-cop, perceiving a vastly over-inflated threat, pulls their sidearm and levels it in someone's face. What happens next?

    Naturally, even after the first ten innocent people are shot, it'll be justifiable since the TSA can't take any chances and I'm sure any and all official enquiries will put all the wrongdoing at the feet of that parent or overly stressed sales rep.

  • Do not trust (Score:4, Insightful)

    by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Monday November 04, 2013 @11:52AM (#45326801) Journal

    I was taking a flight in 2008. I was in one of those long and winding lines waiting to go through security.

    Someone in the middle of the line answers their cell phone.

    A security guard from across the room points at him and shouts "NO CELL PHONES". Dude doesn't even realize he's being yelled at, so the guard INSTANTLY rips the cordon off, still pointing at the cell phone holder. Is marching towards him, pushing through the crowd, hand on (thankfully holstered and bolted) gun, shouting "NO CELL PHONES PUT IT AWAY!"

    That's who they want to hire-- except they want to give them automatic assault weapons and no oversight

    I haven't flown since 2008, swore off doing so once the rapey scanners came in. Most assuredly will NOT even reconsider with this policy in place.

    Because after all, armed guards in charge of protecting "national security" at any cost will never overreact, make someone like, say, a mother with her child believe she's doing something wrong, make her nervous, then chase her down the streets of Washington and execute her in front of her baby.

  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Monday November 04, 2013 @11:52AM (#45326803)

    Name one thing the TSA has stopped. One.

    Well... They almost stopped me from traveling once because I asked a question about something. The guy then said, "do you want to travel today?" I said, "yes." He said, "then be quiet." If I had been single and not traveling with others, I might have protested, but instead I played "good sheep."

    So, they're good at intimidating innocent people.

  • by pla (258480) on Monday November 04, 2013 @12:17PM (#45327135) Journal
    I'd mention the three magic words that everyone seems to forget, "WELL-REGULATED MILITIA"

    Hmm, okay, let's see... I keep my guns in good working order, know how to use them, and do not count as regular military.

    Check, well-regulated militia. Anything else you'd like to discuss?
  • Re:Oh sure! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 10101001 10101001 (732688) on Monday November 04, 2013 @12:30PM (#45327309) Journal

    "Look, government policy is putting us [pedestrians] in harm's way[--sidewalks near streets]. We are now targets[--I don't doubt more pedestrians have been killed on sidewalks than TSA agents have even been shot at]. We think we should be protected from loonies[, which is just about everyone, if you're paranoid enough, which is more or less a requirement when motor vehicles are zooming by you at 30MPH]. Armed guards to shoot any such loonies is one method we might be protected [because nothing says safe like bullets flying]."

    Assuming the TSA checkpoints remain, it is not a ridiculous idea and the union - nominally representing the screeners - are quite right to make this request since the welfare of those screeners is their business

    Nah, their business is to get more union members or get extant members to pay more dues. Dead members? As long as the union doesn't have to pay anything to them (they'll structure all the costs of workers comp or whatever on the govt), they can always just hire a new person if one quits/dies/whatever. Protecting members looks like a good excuse, though.

    The screeners themselves, however much they may be gaining advantage from the program, are not the ones who have created the policy that provides those jobs (and, from my limited experience with them, those I have met think the program is as stupid as we do, but one does not turn down a job these days). So I can hardly blame the screeners for making a fuss about the need for more protection.

    As others have pointed out, if your job entails searching people for guns, bombs, etc, you're already at the point where you should be concerned for your own protection. That it took a shooting to do anything is like "Loss Prevention" guards at a bank to wise up to the danger they might be in; for TSA Agents to not notice until now is just stupidity on their part. That they want external guards with guns sounds more like *the union* wants external guards with guns. Honestly, I'd imagine most TSA Agents would rather have the gun themselves and hope that people would treat them with more respect^Wfear as a consequence, meaning less physical/mental/whatever harassment from people in line.

    But, then people might realize that the TSA is more like "Loss Prevention" at Best Buy and giving them guns is ridiculous. That for all the fear mongering, even if people did bring guns regularly on planes, it likely wouldn't mean a lot--not that many people even do and most who do do so by accident or it's in their luggage and merely being shipped with them. So, it's little wonder they had so little fear until now. They're virtually useless--the old system of screeners before the TSA was more than enough. And then it's less that the TSA Agents were stupid but knew all along it was theater.

    "But, 9/11!" some people might say. And I say, for the TSA to not even have guns to defend themselves until now, they were no real threat to another 9/11. What stopped another 9/11 was the incompetence of wanna-be terrorists and a lack of a real desire to succeed by those with a passion to try. After all, "9/11" is still terrorizing people to accept stupid things. Why waste the time/energy/effort to do more?

  • by sociocapitalist (2471722) on Monday November 04, 2013 @12:49PM (#45327559)

    It's not the TSA, it's the union representing the TSA screeners.

    Who do you think make up the union if not the TSA screeners? I am sick and tired of the overreaction to these random events whether it be aircraft crashing into a building, a workplace shooting, a bomb detonation at a public event, etc. I do not feel safe with roaming machine-gun-toting police officers or military in any venue.

    I live in Europe where it's perfectly normal to see a few soldiers with automatic weapons roaming around airports and large train stations.

    And frankly, when I compare the inconvenience of having six or twelve soldiers wandering around (none) to the arrogant attitude, invasive groping or scanning and general annoyance level of the TSA punks...I'll take the soldiers any day.

  • Re:Sooo.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ebno-10db (1459097) on Monday November 04, 2013 @02:28PM (#45328759)

    Don't say that. You will scare a liberal. ...They will never go out again.

    That's funny, this liberal, and many others he knows, aren't scared at all to walk down the street, even without a gun, and even in big bad cities. I wonder why some people are scared of their own shadows though, such that they feel unsafe walking down the street unarmed. Perhaps they can get help for their unfounded fears, and come to realize that they're much more likely to get hurt or killed in a car accident.

  • by jc42 (318812) on Monday November 04, 2013 @03:18PM (#45329431) Homepage Journal

    We already have a union to protect us from the US government. It's called the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). They even use "union" in their name. Have you paid your dues lately?

  • Re:Mod Parent Up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TsuruchiBrian (2731979) on Monday November 04, 2013 @04:19PM (#45330207)

    At no point in this article does it explain why her problems are the result of Obamacare. Obama said you can keep your current insurance, but the implication is that Obamacare will not stop you from keeping your insurance, not that Obamacare will force every insurance company to keep offering the same insurance to it's customers whether they want to or not.

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