TSA as morality patrol

Photo: Mark Fraunfelder Apparently the new threat to air safety is 15-year-old girls whose shirts are not tightly buttoned.

Over the weekend, Boing Boing editor Mark Frauenfelder relayed the story about what happened when the girl passed through the TSA security post in Los Angeles:

She said the officer was “glaring” at her and mumbling. She said, “Excuse me?” and he said, “You’re only 15, COVER YOURSELF!” in a hostile tone. She said she was shaken up by his abusive manner.

She’s also his daughter.

“It doesn’t matter what she was wearing, though, because it’s none of his business to tell girls what they should or should not wear,” he wrote in his post.

The former TSA screener, who writes the blog, “Taking Sense Away,” writes today that he expects the screener to get fired.

It’s such a stupid thing to have done that I believe that this was likely a case of a somewhat mentally unstable TSA screener who decided to get all Taliban on the girl. And yes, of course, the chances are fairly good that the screener was attracted to the girl, and projected his deviant desires onto the girl. (“I find you attractive, and I know that this feeling could potentially manifest itself into deviant behavior. I don’t know how to cope with this. So…cover up, you!”) But now we’re getting into the whole Freudian pocket psychoanalyst thing. We’ll never really know what was going through his head. What we do know is that the TSA screener made a moral judgement regarding the girl’s clothing choice, voiced his opinion to her, embarrassed her, and is soon going to be out of a job.

Another former TSA-screener-turned-blogger wrote a post when the X-Ray scanner controversy was percolating that suggests screeners take an interest in fashion.

I have seen the way parents treat their kids and kids treat their parents in the airport and security checkpoint. A good deal of you should be embarrassed and humiliated by that. I have seen 12 year old girls dressed like Tijuana whores with mommy right next to them dressed the same way. I have seen husbands and wives get into fist fights over who is carrying a bag. I have seen grown men and women throw hissy fits like a two year old child because they were asked to remove their shoes. This is the stuff you should be ashamed of and worried about TSA officers seeing. This is what should make you feel humiliated because trust me, we may be professionals but when you come through the checkpoint with crazy stuff in your bag or acting like an idiot, we are going to talk about you after you leave. Oh hell yes we are. It is going to become the highlight of the conversation at TSA officer gatherings.

So far the TSA official blogger hasn’t commented on the dust-up.

  • Moffitt

    “…and is soon going to be out of a job.” The TSA is untouchable. Our great grandchildren will be taking off our shoes to fly 100 years from now, and I doubt if anyone would know why.

  • BReynolds33

    “This is the stuff you should be ashamed of and worried about TSA officers seeing. This is what should make you feel humiliated because trust me, we may be professionals but when you come through the checkpoint with crazy stuff in your bag or acting like an idiot, we are going to talk about you after you leave. ”

    Ok… Let me ask the question I hope everyone who read this is asking: So?

    I understand the point of what he is trying to say, that people do stupid things in the airport. Guess what? They do stupid things everywhere. Does this guy really think anyone cares that TSA agents are talking about them? You’re a means to an end. Do your job, and get me through, and I will never, not once, ever think about you again.