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Taking Sense Away: Confessions of a Former TSA Screener 354

OverTheGeicoE writes "TSA gets discussed on Slashdot from time to time, usually negatively. Have you ever wondered about the TSA screeners' perspective? Taking Sense Away is a blog, allegedly written by a former TSA screener, offering insider perspectives on TSA topics. For example, there's the Insider's TSA Dictionary, whose entries are frequently about the code screeners use to discuss attractive female passengers (like 'Code Red,' 'Fanny Pack,' and 'Hotel Bravo'). Another posting explains what goes on in private screening rooms, which the author claims is nothing compared to screener conduct in backscatter image operator rooms. Apparently what happens in the IO room stays in the IO room. Today's posting covers how TSA employees feel about working for 'a despised agency'. For many the answer is that they hate working for 'the laughing stock of America's security apparatus,' try to hide that they work for TSA, and want to transfer almost anywhere else ASAP."
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Taking Sense Away: Confessions of a Former TSA Screener

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  • Modern Shunning (Score:3, Informative)

    by resistant ( 221968 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @04:45PM (#42352263) Homepage Journal
    One wonders what would happen if an ad-hoc, "name and shame" reputation network were to identify TSA agents everywhere they went. It's easy to imagine the near-universal environment of hate stares, extreme rudeness and occasional violence from victims of the TSA's Orwellian tactics putting direct pressure on TSA employees themselves to drastically reform their arrogant policies.
  • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @04:56PM (#42352373)

    Because the evidence, say, from Japan, that an almost complete prohibition of firearms will make the murder rate very low. Even if you look at say, germany and the UK, who have much higher violent crime rates than the US, their murder rate is much lower.

    There should be a TSA, it should try and prevent dangerous shit from getting on aircraft, trains, airports etc. It's not that there shouldn't be a TSA, it's that the TSA as implemented is unlikely to efficiently accomplish any of the broad goals it has.

    You're right that stopping the occasional mass shooting is extremely hard. That's actually the wrong target for the US, the real target for the US should be handguns and work from there. Despite the occasional mass shooting the US averages about 40 murders a day, whereas the equivalent rate in the EU would be more like 10.

  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot.hackish@org> on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:05PM (#42352491)

    This poll [] does, and strangely enough doesn't find much difference.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:47PM (#42352915)

    [citation required] DC has gun laws but a high homicide rate. North Dakota has few laws but a low one.

    Or, same population size living in vastly different population densities.

    D.C.: Population: 617,996, Area: 68.3 sq mi
    North Dakota: Population: 683,932, Area: 70,703 sq mi

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:55PM (#42352967)

    Yes, look at Switzerland. Where those weapons are in the hands of a well-regulated militia (sound familiar?) as a substitute for a standing army, whose members receive extensive training in weapon safety, and understand that those weapons are for national defense, not to kill whomever they find personally threatening.

  • by bit trollent ( 824666 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @06:07PM (#42353053) Homepage

    Undercover video of a gun show purchase without a background check []

    It would seem that you would rather ignore the gun show loophole than do anything to close it.

    And I can assure you that no matter how smart Texans think they are, our schools (yes I live in Texas) rank 48th in the country, and Texans really aren't all that bright.

    Arrogant, yes. But your average Texan isn't half as smart as he thinks he is.

  • by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @06:07PM (#42353057) Journal

    The reasonable question I would ask is "What is the complete impact of stricter gun laws on crime."

    Glad to oblige! Here's a scientific study done by the Australian government to determine the result of the crackdown on firearms possession post-Port Arthur massacre. It's got numbers in it, and the statistical determination is all well laid out for you. []

  • by TheNinjaroach ( 878876 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @06:14PM (#42353119)
    This blog is well written and funny. I've been laughing at my desk for a good 15 minutes now, I plan to finish this thing off before I head home.
  • by dev.null.matt ( 2020578 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @06:15PM (#42353135)

    According to wikipedia, the rate of homicide in the US is 4.2/100k people and the rate of gun related homicide is 3.7/100k people. Therefor, 89%ish of US homicides are gun related homicides.

    Contrast this with the UK, which has 1.2/100k homicides and 0.04/100k gun related homicides, or 3.3% of homicides are gun related.

    Another way to look at this would be to consider the guns per gun related homicide numbers. In the US, there are approximated 89k guns per 100k people, giving a guns per gun-homicide ratio of 24k guns per gun-homicide. Serbia, the #2 country for guns per capita has approximately 58k guns per 100k people, giving them a guns per gun-homicide rate of 93k guns per gun-homicide.

    Clearly, in the states we're all about shooting each other, even in comparison to other nations with (roughly, since no one can claim truly similar) similar rates of gun ownership. Put another way, in the US, we have more gun related homicides per capita (by a factor of 4 almost) than most developed countries have in TOTAL homicides.

    Full disclosure: I fully suspect that if guns were outlawed here in the US, we would see an alarming rise in knife related crime. I personally think that everyone here is so willing to kill each other because we have so little vacation time. Damned Protestant work ethic!

    Sources: [], [], []

  • by Mitreya ( 579078 ) < minus threevowels> on Thursday December 20, 2012 @06:23PM (#42353203)

    No matter how bad a day a waiter is having, he shouldn't spit on food. And TSA employees should treat people like people, not like a piece of meat on a slaughter line.

    There is a crucial difference in these two examples

    If I caught a waiter spitting in someone's food, I could have them fired or worse. Good luck holding a TSA representative responsible for anything, even if they did something bad. It's like you would complain about the waiter spitting in your food, the restaurant association would review your complaint and then inform you that such behavior aligns with restaurant's official policy. And if you press the issue, you could get fined/arrested or even put on the "no eat" list.

    If you allow people to behave badly without fear of punishment, you should expect that they will. In part because the people who are attracted to such positions will be more prone to perpetrating abuse.

  • by DarkTempes ( 822722 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @06:23PM (#42353211)
    Honestly, according to the statistics if we could just stop black males (and somewhat hispanic males, black females, and white males) from getting murdered so much then we'd be pretty close to first world European country homicide rates.

    We still wouldn't touch them on firearm-related homicides but that would look somewhat better.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @06:46PM (#42353419)

    Well that is in the spirit of the 2nd amendment. For a long time people had cannons on par with government ones. Once the cannons became obsolete they were mostly de-weaponized and installed as sculpture in parks and on courthouse lawns. As for the relevant issue: privately owned nukes? I don't know about that one but--

    Grenades are legal with an appropriate explosive license and associated (lots of)paperwork. Artillery shells are in the same category.
    Flame throwers are entirely unregulated and are used by farmers to clear brush every fall.
    Hobbyists do have unmanned drones. Though there is a threat that these may be only allowed to LEO soon.
    Fully automatic weapons are legal, again with the appropriate license and paperwork. With similar forms, you can get a silencer too.

    I would not be the slightest bit surprised if there is a form in the bottom of a filing cabinet somewhere being protected by a leopard that allows you to get a license to buy a nuclear warhead. Then it would only be a matter of finding and affording one....

  • wrong. They couldn't afford a standing army, so they used a militia. That's why, and it's pretty clear in the documentations of their discussions on the topic.

    It's EVEN IN THE CONSTITUTION that's why. oh..but the NRA ignores the inconvenient half of that sentence.
    You idea was completely made up years later.

  • Re:Another non-flyer (Score:4, Informative)

    by Stupendoussteve ( 891822 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @02:02AM (#42356703)

    TSA has done checkpoints and searches in Amtrak stations too, such as this one []. It's just not as prevalent (yet?).

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire