Boggie Dog Suspended...and Other War Crimes and Atrocities

Discussion in 'What's On Your Mind?' started by nachtnebel, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. N965VJ

    N965VJ Original Member

    I have no doubt that many early TSA employees were answering a call of duty. They were they ones greeting everyone at the checkpoint "Good morning, sir!" and they meant it. Some are still there and feel that way. But ten years later, those ranks are thinning. I've a had a number of candid conversations with FAMs when I was still at US. All were frustrated at finding themselves in a dysfunctional agency.
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  2. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I don't always agree with policy, but I believe in the core mission, and doing what I can to make it better for all involved. I greet almost every single passenger with some variance of hello Sir/Ma'am, how are you - if I don't, I am either involved in something or have been asked a direct question (and even when I am asked a question, I use Sir/Ma'am as a response). It is just a matter of being professional and working with the people at the airport, as opposed to just trying to herd them through. I find that the core remaining group from when I first got here, are all pretty much the same way. While some of the really "good" ones have moved on, we have quite a few left.
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  3. RadioGirl

    RadioGirl Original Member

    The point I was making was that SOME people who (claim to) work for TSA have, over the years at the Other Place, told us that diabetics don't need to carry-on juice or fruit or diet soda. They've claimed that the solid or powdered form of some essential medication is "just as good" as the liquid form the passenger's doctor had prescribed. They claimed to be able to determine how much food was "necessary" for a parent to carry-on for an infant, or for a person with restricted dietary options, for a flight of a given length (without considering delays or irregular ops). In short, this person was practicing medicine on the internet, and at the checkpoint, without a licence. :td:

    Not to mention arguing the finer points of constitutional law with a lawyer and radio technology with a RadioGirl. :eek:
  4. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    I wonder what it would take to bring a legal case (either civil or criminal, but preferably criminal) for unlicensed medical practice against one of the smurf-clerks trying to dictate diabetics' medical needs to them. I imagine an audio recording would help, but what else would be needed?
  5. RadioGirl

    RadioGirl Original Member

    Oh, I wish someone would try. There have been a lot of stories reported, and a few high-profile incident, such as Nadine Hays (news story), where TSA confiscated medically necessary items, but no successful legal challenge. The catch-22 seems to be that if you meekly let them take your food/medicine, they can claim it wasn't REALLY necessary and that you "voluntarily surrendered" :td: it. If you argue or try to physically keep control of it, they charge you with "interfering with screening":td: or, in Nadine Hays' case, with physical battery.
    LeeAnne and Lisa Simeone like this.
  6. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I understand that, and in the case of diabetics, medications and such, the SOP says it is all allowed to go. I am not defending anyone in particular, just indicating that the painting of the workforce as less than literate, unemployable individuals (as a whole) is not an accurate depiction.
  7. LeeAnne

    LeeAnne Original Member

    I can only base my opinion on my own personal experiences. While there may very well be a few "good apples" left in the ranks, the VAST majority of TSA employees that I have personally encountered have fit the depiction I gave earlier. And given the requirements of the job, I'm sure the "good apples" are dwindling rapidly. What quality person would stay? One cannot help but wonder who would wish to continue in a job requiring such reprehensible behavior towards innocent civilians. If someone is NOT "less than literate, unemployable" etc, then they are CHOOSING to remain in a job that requires vile acts on a daily basis against people who have done nothing to deserve it...something most decent humans simply wouldn't do, especially as a vocation.

    This is not meant to insult anyone. Just to speak the truth, as seen by those who are being subjected to these vile acts every time we try to travel by air.
  8. RadioGirl

    RadioGirl Original Member

    With respect (and I think we've had this discussion before), the SOP is meaningless when (a) it is not available to passengers and (b) the screener (and his/her supervisor(s)) on the day, at the checkpoint claim something else. The SOP did Nadine Hays no good. The SOP was useless for the woman who had insulin confiscated. The SOP was no help to the two DOCTORS who got into a dispute with checkpoint screeners about how much food they could take for their child.
    I have no doubt that there are literate employees of the TSA who could, indeed, get jobs elsewhere. Just as I am certain that there are honest people selling used cars who could have other jobs, or sanitation workers who can quote Shakespeare and have marketable skills. (Just to be clear, the preceding sentence is absolutely serious, not sarcasm.)

    But used-car salesmen have a reputation for being dishonest. Is that unfair to those used-car salesmen who are honest, and just really prefer selling cars to their previous work as a hospital administrator or airline pilot or brain surgeon? Of course it is. But there are enough dishonest used-car salesmen that the image sticks. If you're going to work as a used-car salesman, no matter how honest you are or what your education, you have to know that you're going to get tarred with the same brush.

    Most people would assume that sanitation workers take that job because there's not much else they can do. Is that unfair to the ex-policemen or retired school teacher who became a sanitation worker because they really like the hours or the outdoor work? Of course it is. But when a job appears not to require much in the way of skill or education, appears to be unpleasant, and doesn't pay very well, people are going to assume that only unskilled, unmotivated people without other choices are going to be doing it. If you quit your job running a billion dollar company to collect garbage cans every morning, you sorta have to expect that people will assume you're not very skilled or don't have other options.

    I live in Australia, and I've probably been through TSA checkpoints 18 or 20 times; none since mid-2008. But my personal experience with TSA staff at checkpoints has not left the impression that most, or many, or even a substantial number, are well-educated people with a wide range of other employment opportunities. Maybe they were too busy cracking their gum and barking "I tol' y'all to take them laptops out!!" and walking off in the other direction with my handbag or ignoring the bins falling off the end of the conveyor belt to demonstrate their more subtle skills.

    My personal experience is then augmented by the experiences shared by others on this, and Other, discussion boards. Which is not to say that I blindly believe every incident reported, but when those incidents are consistent with my personal experience and/or when similar incidents are reported by numerous unrelated observers, they become at least credible. And so, for example, an organization which has many employees who cannot grasp the idea: "Nexus is a valid ID" does not present itself as a workforce of literate, highly intelligent people with other job options. An organization which abuses the same urostomy patient TWICE does not appear to be staffed with the brightest and best. An organization which appeals to "designed inconsistency" to cover up poor training and poor supervision does not come across as hiring people with other options.

    The most honest used-car salesman has to accept that the industry has a bad reputation. The most intelligent, educated, highly-skilled sanitation worker has to accept that most people will regard it as a low-skill, menial job. As long as many TSA people are demonstrating poor language and interpersonal skills, while struggling with simple jobs like recognizing a Nexus card, you're going to have to accept that many passengers will treat you the same way.

    Finally (and I know we've had this discussion before, too), you get upset that (some) passengers paint the workforce, as a whole, "as less than literate, unemployable individuals". But TSA paints the traveling public, as a whole, as guilty-until-proven-not-yet-guilty. Sure, not all TSA screeners are idiots. But not all passengers (in fact, very very VERY few passengers) are terrorists. We'll stop treating you like the idiots in your workforce when you stop treating us like a potential OBL. Okay?
  9. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Good choice of words!
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  10. LeeAnne

    LeeAnne Original Member

    Can I 'like' this a dozen times? :D Seriously, this was just so perfectly articulated. Frankly I'm tired of hearing TSOs (even the so-called "nice" ones) complain about being painted as uneducated, ill-trained, abusive oafs. Well, you hit the nail on the head as to why I have to just say "tuff sh*t". You take a job that is staffed mostly by uneducated, ill-trained, abusive oafs, you're gonna be seen as an uneducated, ill-trained, abusive oaf. Pretty simple to grasp.
  11. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    And that's really the crux of the issue, isn't it? They're mouth-breathing idiots at best and fascist child-molesters at worst. The only case where I think there's the remotest possibility of an exception is Rugape and that's due to reading his repeated claims that he's trying to improve the screening experience from the inside. There's a middle ground but I wouldn't call it a pleasant place to be. At this point, anyone who stayed on to try to make things better from the inside after scope-n-grope was instituted a year ago should have no illusions about their inability to do so. Things have gotten steadily worse as TSA's response to public outcry has been "How dare you! Let's see how you like THIS!" where any responsible and ethical organization would have responded with "It is clear that The People are not happy with us. Let's listen to their concerns and find out how better to serve them."

    In a rare (extremely so, as in "mark your calendar as this is not likely to ever happen again") instance of granting the benefit of the doubt to a TSA employee: Rugape, I believe that some part of you believes that you're able to effect positive change in your role as an LTSO (or whatever your present rank is). I believe that you have sufficient optimism to think that in some way you can improve the screening experience for passengers and engender respect for TSA as an organization.

    You can't.

    It is true that you may be able to give a few passengers on one day at one airport a better-than-average trip through a checkpoint. It is true that maybe you can influence a few other clerks to behave more professionally. Unfortunately for everyone, the deck is stacked so heavily and so deliberately against you that your efforts are unlikely to ever succeed beyond the scope of those clerks who are on shift at the same time as you, and are aware you are watching them.

    The system is, to put it eloquently, (expletive deleted), and it is so starting at the top and moving down. Essentially, nobody below the level of an FSD, and certainly no-one in a blue uniform, has any sway in how things are run, and even FSDs are either impotent to change or outright complicit in the collective conspiracy to abuse the traveling public. We've seen that even Congress, until very, very recently, has been craven in dealing with TSA and has effectively rolled over for Reichskommissar Pistole.

    For anything to get better, Napolitano and Pistole have to go. I've heard claims that Pistole "is really making things a lot better." From a traveler's perspective, that is absolutely untrue - it is his doing that has caused children, the elderly, and veterans (and able-bodied young men and women too - makes no difference and it's just as wrong that it happens to them as to Grandma and Little Billy) to be irradiated and sexually assaulted, often triggering PTSD reactions that require therapy and/or drugs to correct. It is Pistole's fault. The fault and blame should be, and are, rightly leveled at him.

    As he has responded to any and every call for reform with smug derision, restatement of what he claims "is fact" and the "reality of the situation" being the need to molest travelers, or by ignoring them altogether, it is clear that he consciously intends to carry out this abuse of the traveling public and he is certainly not about to allow one of his own employees to stand in his way.

    Finally, professionalism and friendliness are not the concern people have. The SOP itself, and the fact that clerks are following it at all (the fact that they'd be fired if they don't isn't The People's problem and those fired clerks would receive zero sympathy for their plight) is the concern. Being molested by a friendly professional and being molested by a rude jerk are, to the air passenger, one and the same. They both entail being molested. If SOP calls for irradiation and the generation of a naked body image (whether or not the immediately-visible image is masked by an ATR outline) with a molestation patdown being the only alternative, then SOP IS WRONG. No two ways about it - SOP is wrong, fallible, imperfect, flawed, not beyond question, not beyond reproach, subject to error, in need of editing, and as they say in Sri Lanka, all (expletive deleted).

    Like I said, from reading your posts I get the impression that you do honestly think you can help. I'll freely admit that of all the TSA employees I've interacted with, you are by far the most pleasant. However, it is for that reason that I must stress the futility of your efforts. You're looking at things from the wrong perspective - you're seeing the situation as a TSA employee who's trying to influence what he is able to influence - namely, the attitude and demeanor of his underlings - to make things better. The problem is that people object to something that is not within your sphere of influence - the procedure itself. From a passenger's perspective, the checkpoint represents a Morton's Fork of irradiation versus molestation. There is no guaranteed way to pass through the checkpoint with one's rights and dignity intact. And that is not okay. And even if it were proven that 50 terrorist plots were thwarted every year by scope-and-grope, it would still not be okay, because rights, freedom, and human dignity are flat-out more important than saving lives. Were that not the case, those who fought in the Revolutionary War (to name one, but anyone who fights in any war on behalf of any free society qualifies just as well) would not have put their lives at risk in order to preserve their rights, freedom and dignity.

    If you want to improve the screening experience, you seriously, honestly would have a better shot at it if you left TSA and ran for public office. Get yourself in a position of power over TSA upper management and you can not only suggest, but force them to adopt your changes under threat of defunding or dissolution.

    Fighting from where you are, though, is an uphill battle against a Sherman tank when all you've got is a squirtgun. And because of that, because of the limited scope of your influence, because you are fighting a system that is absolutely antipathetic to change against its will, you are at the mercy of that system and you are a vicitm of its predisposition to devour its young and digest them in the stomach of bad PR. You are one of, at most, a handful of ostensibly good-intentioned employees (out of 65000 total) working for an obscenely, absurdly, almost surrealistically ill-intentioned organization. This is not a PR fight you can win. Not even for yourself as an individual actor in the face of public opinion toward your employer as a whole, let alone for the "unconnected bad apples" who are actually resopnsible for the generation of that public image.
    Doober, Lisa Simeone and LeeAnne like this.
  12. RB

    RB Founding Member

    There was a post on the TSA Blog by a poster named TSO NY. He stated that if a person didn't have prescription for all medicines, including OTC, that he wouldn't allow them through security. I've been looking for the thread but haven't found it just yet but a reference to this statement can be found here:

    The more troubling issue was that the TSA Blog never stated that what this guy was doing was wrong. I have no idea if TSA reached out to this person providing correct information.
    This is the kind of TSA employee that I and others run into everyday and that is a problem! I think this person meets the less literate definition discussed in this thread.
  13. RB

    RB Founding Member

    re this thread:
    Just more of those highly educated, articulate TSA screeners at work, eh?
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  14. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Yes, yes, yes. Cannot say it enough.
  15. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    Agreed that the SOP makes no difference to someone that has an allowed item, not allowed with no visible threat reasoning. I also understand the whole guilt by association that happens when someone working for the same agency does something wrong. There are some folks that do not need to be working for TSA, that are currently on the payroll, and I would love to see a crack down removing those folks as quickly as possible for the right reasons. Alas, I do not have that much direct control, and in some cases it may be more difficult than just removing them for cause. One problem is that one negative situation can turn a ton of people against the organization, while 10000 positive experiences do not yield the same swing the opposite direction. The Nexus/TWIC/insert valid ID here thing just kills me, how hard is it to double check on whether something you have not seen before is valid? Even if I have to take an extra couple of minutes to make certain, I will know from that point forward that this is a valid form of ID, so the next time I see it, I will be squared away (add to that that those forms of ID are covered in training, and there just simply is no excuse for not getting the ID thing right). The odds we are going to catch an OBL type of terrorist at a checkpoint, are extremely slim. That being said, (and you are right, we see this issue differently, and have discussed it before) I view it as treating every passenger as close to the same as possible, not as treating them as a possible terrorist. The argument that takes on the biggest leg here, is the policy arguments you guys post. I don't know of anyone that agrees with all of the policy in place, and there are constructive suggestions about how to change them, but change is slow in coming to any governmental organization, especially when it is something like the SOP for screening. There are changes coming with RBS in the future, but there is going to be a period of time before it makes much of a difference to the average traveling passenger all over the place.

    Side question: Is that a recreation of a Sputnik styled satellite on your profile? Or is it a (and I know this may be the dumbest question of the day given your name) radio of some format I have not seen?
  16. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I certainly appreciate the kind words, they truly do mean a lot. The point for me is sort of parallel to what you are saying... I guess in a fashion. If I don't keep working and trying from inside, where I have a little bit of influence, then there is nothing left of the core ideology behind TSA - to provide safe travel for (in my assigned job) the aviation sector. Disagreements on policy notwithstanding, if I simply give up and seek employment elsewhere to make more money or simply be more comfortable going to work everyday, I would feel like I left things hanging. I intend to stay here, and work with the blog team on the side, and do what good I can. The main reason is because if it makes just one person a day have a better experience, and we do what we are supposed to and keep bad things off the plane, I am satisfied to an extent - but I always want to do more (that is the reason I started working with the blog team). I can make a difference, even if you or any of the others that post here never get to see it, and I will continue to do so as long as I can. Futility only comes into play when you give up. I can tell you that I will never run for office, I just don't have the temperament for it, nor the desire. I know that making a big difference is probably not within my grasp at this time, and I have come to grips with that, but I can make a difference. Even a Sherman tank will rust if you keep squirting enough water on it ;).
  17. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Is there a folder or list of acceptable ID's required to be available to the TDC at the TDC podium?

    If not seems like a good idea and easily implemented. Just print out the ID page from the TSA.Gov website, mark "NOT OUT OF DATE" on it and nail it to the top of the podium.

    I can already see the problem with this. Some highly intelligent, articulate TSA employee would decide the podium was SSI and travelers could not look at it.:oops:
  18. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    Noticed this part here and it piqued my interest.

    I don't know how much of the policymaking process you're privy to, but what's the impression you get of how fast scope-n-grope was implemented? Granted, the cancertrons themselves were rolled out slowly (saw my first MMW at TPA in 2009) but in terms of switching from "optional with a cursory patdown" to "primary with an enhanced sexual assault," how fast did the higher-ups spring that one on the traveling public?

    I know there was the transition date in late 10/2010 but as far as getting approval and preparing for'd that go? Or was there no approval and did Pistole really circumvent the usual vetting process for that like he did with regard to safety/radiation testing for the WBI boxes (the subject of the EPIC lawsuit about public comment)?
    DeafBlonde and Elizabeth Conley like this.
  19. LeeAnne

    LeeAnne Original Member

    This line jumped out at me, because what I'm seeing here is an essential lack of understanding of what a "negative situation" (what a euphemism!) really is with respect to the TSA: we're not talking about a momentary bit of unpleasantness. We're talking about...and please pay attention here...a SEXUAL ASSAULT! One that can have intense, far-reaching, life-affecting implications. Something that NOBODY should ever have to experience. Something that can cause PTSD, especially in the case of people (like me) who've been victims of rape in the past. I've recently come to terms with the fact that I myself am suffering PTSD after my sexual assault at the hands of a brutal TSO at LAX in July. To have this strange, cruel woman slam her hand so hard up into my crotch that it made me jump, and then scream at me when I objected and threaten to throw me out of the airport...that was just horrific for me, and left me crying and shaking. I am still dealing with the emotional ramifications.

    So, yeah, one "negative situation" can and should turn "a ton" of people against the perpetrators. If a rapist rapes someone, shouldn't "a ton" of people turn against him? If a government entity barges into someone's home and drags an innocent woman out by her hair and beats her up for no reason at all, shouldn't "a ton" of people turn against that organization?

    If an airport screener forces a woman to throw away her LEGALLY ALLOWABLE foods/liquids that she is carrying for her elderly, disabled mother, then has her ARRESTED for attempting to hang onto her personal cooler when the screener attempts to physically wrest it out of her hands, then PROSECUTES her, costing her thousands of dollars in legal fees...yeah, shouldn't that "negative situation" turn people against that organization?

    If a rape survivor gets picked for a random pat-down, decides she'd rather miss her flight than submit to something so abhorrent to her, and then gets handcuffed, dragged 25 yards across the floor and arrested, solely because she didn't want to get patted down...hmmm, shouldn't that "negative situation" turn people against that organization?

    I could go on and on...I hope you get the picture. Your "negative situation" euphemism simply doesn't work.

    As for the 10,000 so-called "positive experiences" - I'm sorry but I don't think there are ANY "positive experiences" happening at the checkpoints. I think there are many "not negative" experiences - but I can guarantee that there isn't a single traveler who would consider what they go through at the checkpoint as anything resembling positive. And the bottom line is, there shouldn't be ONE SINGLE negative experience. If 10,000 people go through a checkpoint, all 10,000 of them should be able to do so without having to suffer one of those :::shudder::: "negative experiences".
  20. RB

    RB Founding Member

    They don't "get it"!

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