In case anyone has missed it, the never ending clamor to reign in the ability of law abiding citizens to possess and carry firearms continues unabated and in fact rises in volume anytime someone gets shot. Strange then that in the wake of the shooting of a TSA officer in Los Angeles recently, there is a push by the union representing the TSA for arming their rank and file.
Through the years of the existence of the TSA, this is the first such incidence of such violence occuring against an employee among the thousands of them staffing the nation’s airports. While it is of course sad that the unfortunate employee was killed at work, the job is not really a dangerous one. Despite the official uniforms, badges and surly demeanor, the TSA staff are essentially a layer of ticket checkers for passengers in advance of them boarding a bus. While their jobs capture the scorn and contempt of many travellers, they are only performing a job that someone higher up in the command chain thinks is useful.
If we’re going to consider arming people because of violent attacks, there are many other constituencies in society that should also be eligible. Statistically, operators of 7-Elevens, liquor store employees and pizza delivery people are far more likely to encounter gun violence while simply peforming their jobs than a TSA employee. In fact, a quick check of recent news incidents tells you that if you were sitting in a movie theater, a student at school or just shopping at a mall, you were just as likely to encounter gun violence as a TSA employee.
In the wake of all of those other newsworthy incidents, the immediate knee jerk response was to re-ignite the gun control rhetoric. As far as I can tell, the only difference seems to be that all of the other victims of crime weren’t wearing uniforms. It’s not clear why they wouldn’t be better off being armed as well. The point here is not to ascertain who should or should not be armed. It is to point out that mental cases will strike without predictability in a free society. If one segment of the law abiding population is entitled to be armed, then everyone should be.
If they decide to arm TSA staff, the experience of travelling will be even more fun than it is today. Being told to remove shoes, belts and articles of clothing by an armed person so that they can grope you… isn’t that the quintessential bad date?