Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Dan Quixote: A Glimpse of an Heroic TSA Agent
A caller named Dan called in to the Michael Berry radio show to take issue with Michael's past criticism of the agents of the Transportation Security Administration. The caller is allegedly a former radio host and attorney who has since become a proud agent of the TSA, and for his sacrifice, he demands the respect often reserved for our armed forces, police, and firefighters. He's saving lives- putting his life on the line, he says, and he's tired of people not giving him the due credit. After all, when we're running out, "he's running in."
Not sure how much truth is in that. I can't imagine that the two week training he cites gave him much practice in disassembling or defusing a bomb, so if a bomb is found in a piece of luggage in a particular airport terminal, I doubt that Dan will be rushing in to save the day.
When we pass by Dan at the security checkpoint, we see a man with plastic gloves and a badge sifting through people's personal belongings and familiarly touching strangers. Dan, however, sees himself as heroic guardian who valiantly keeps us safe. And as such, out of gratitude, the passengers he protects should understand any perceived rudeness to be a result of exhaustion and the stress that comes with "putting your life on the line."
Personally, I have yet to encounter a particularly rude TSA agent. Sure, I've been taken aside for enhanced screening and had my belongings taken away, but in these instances, the agents were almost apologetic in doing so. So I've always respected the fact that TSA agents can put up with so many irritable travelers, and continue doing that job day in, day out. I'm just not sure that I have the patience to do that job, and if I did, I cannot imagine I'd be happy. Of course, I have similar respect for restaurant waitstaff, so Dan should probably not expect me to go out of my way to praise him for tilting at windmills.
I would certainly much prefer a system of efficient profiling to a wasteful government agency that gropes passengers willy-nilly and blasts them with radiation. But since we have not yet amendeded this problem, we should understand that there are two types of TSA agents- those who understand that they are employed in a job, and those who think that they are on an heroic quest.
And we should understand that the latter group, to which Dan belongs, is simply delusional. And in the above clip, Michael Berry flawlessly deconstructs that delusion.