Sunday, November 21, 2010

TSOs are people too.

So I'm going to take a break from the design stuff I usually post about and post about something that has been bothering me lately; how people are treating TSA officers. I'm sure you've all heard about the new TSA naked scanners and the new "enhanced" pat downs.

I understand that no one wants their private parts to be touched but I believe there is a limit to how people should be reacting to this. I didn't really pay the whole issue much mind until I read this article. It's disgusting that people are verbally abusing TSOs (Transport Security Officers) to the point where these people are going home and crying. No one should be publicly humiliated like that. These people are simply people who have a job to do and try to do it in a professional manner. TSOs do not make the policies, so they should not be treated poorly for having to enforce them.

These quotes from TSOs had a serious impact on me,

Yesterday a passenger told me to keep my hands off his penis or he’d scream. Is this how a 40 year old man in business attire acts? He’ll scream? My 3 year old can get away with saying he’ll scream, but a 40 something business man? I am a professional doing my job, whether I agree with this current policy or not, I am doing my job.  I do not want to be here all day touching penises.”

Molester, pervert, disgusting, an embarrassment, creep. These are all words I have heard today at work describing me, said in my presence as I patted passengers down. These comments are painful and demoralizing, one day is bad enough, but I have to come back tomorrow, the next day and the day after that to keep hearing these comments. If something doesn’t change in the next two weeks I don’t know how much longer I can withstand this taunting. I go home and I cry. I am serving my country, I should not have to go home and cry after a day of honorably serving my country.

I come to work to do my job. It is not up to me to decide policy, it is up to me to carry out my duties as dictated by the Transportation Security Administration. When a person stands in front of me and calls me a pervert or accuses me of molesting them it is disheartening. People fail to understand that neither of us are happy about the intrusive pat down I am carrying out.  I am polite, I am professional and while someone may not like what I have to carry out, they came to me because they choose not to utilize the alternative and less invasive method of security at my airport.
I served a tour in Afghanistan followed by a tour in Iraq. I have been hardened by war and in the past week I am slowly being broken by the constant diatribe of hateful comments being lobbed at me. While many just see a uniform with gloves feeling them for concealed items I am a person, I am a person who has feelings. I am a person who has served this country. I am a person who wants to continue serving his country. The constant run of hateful comments while I perform my job
 will break me down faster and harder than anything I encountered while in combat in the Army.

Read the whole article to see what your harsh words are really doing to people as we approach this holiday season. 

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