Should Transportation Security Administration Agents Be Armed?
As you may have heard regarding the shooting incident at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, November 1, 2013, Gerardo I. Hernandez — an agent of the Transportation Security Administration who was only 39 years old — was killed by a gunman at the security checkpoint of Terminal 3.
At least seven people were injured, including another agent of the Transportation Security Administration; while Paul Anthony Ciancia — the suspect who allegedly shot the victims and is 23 years old — is currently in critical condition as a result of injuries sustained from being shot be police. It is unknown at this time whether or not Ciancia survived his injuries.
The motive by Ciancia was reportedly a suicide mission to deliberately take advantage of vulnerabilities at airport security checkpoints and target agents of the Transportation Security Administration with an assault weapon.
I suppose it was only a matter of time before an unfortunate incident such as this would happen. I am by no means a fan of the Transportation Security Administration — and yes, I agree that that federal agency of the United States has more than its fair share of problems — but shooting the agents who work for them is certainly not the answer.
Some people are calling upon security in general at airports to be improved. Could arming agents of the Transportation Security Administration with guns be a part of improving security at airports throughout the United States?
I say no, for the simple reason that I do not believe that armed Transportation Security Administration agents would have prevented this incident from occurring. Remember, Ciancia was reportedly undertaking a suicide mission.
Then again, I have also been against the idea of arming pilots with guns. The combination of reinforced doors, federal air marshals, and the awareness by passengers and members of the flight crew if anything unusual or out of the ordinary occurs — three of a number of potentially effective deterrents and measures towards more effective security — is one of the reasons as to why I believe that the idea of pilots toting weapons is unnecessary.
Although I defend the right of people to bear arms in accordance with the Constitution of the United States of America, more guns are not the answer to a safe and civil society, in my opinion. To me, they potentially could lead to an unnecessary increase of loss of life, rather than act as a successful deterrent to more incidents such as the one at Los Angeles International Airport.
While what Ciancia did was irrational at best, the answer in my opinion is to improve the policies of the Transportation Security Administration so that the traveling public is inconvenienced as little as possible while moving through the airport security checkpoint as quickly as possible. Stop forcing people to take their shoes off. Allow passengers to carry a drink with them and carry essential liquids — such as shampoo and toothpaste — instead of limiting them or banning them. Most of all, a passenger should not feel like he or she is being assaulted or treated like a criminal when passing through an airport security checkpoint.
I must admit that my recent experiences of traveling through airport security checkpoints in the United States lately have been rather pleasant — especially when I am selected for TSA Pre✓ as an elite level member of a frequent flier loyalty program or have agents of the Transportation Security Administration help me pass through the airport security checkpoint as quickly as possible while being friendly and smiling as though I am a human being. I have even been using the old-fashioned screening devices and not those full-body scanning machines. No airplanes went down on any of those days.
Imagine that — a pleasant experience passing through an airport security checkpoint. It is indeed possible. There is no reason or excuse why that should not happen every single time.
I am not saying that more pleasant experiences passing through airport security checkpoints would definitely have prevented the shooting from happening last Friday — but it is indeed possible…
…unlike arming agents of the Transportation Security Administration with guns. That is little more that a recipe for potential disaster, in my opinion.
What are your thoughts?