Letter from a Passenger: “Any Comment on the Report that TSA Employees Are Being Instructed to Save Themselves in the Case of a Shooting Incident?”

Girl from the Burg writes in, again:

Any comment on this story?

“At least some unarmed Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport screeners are receiving training to prepare them for the possibility of a mass shooting at one of the agency’s airport checkpoints. According to a TSA source, they are being instructed to “save themselves” instead of attempting to protect passengers.”


It took me 30 seconds of  Googling to find this blog post by a security and emergency preparedness blogger.

I suppose the TSA could instruct its employees to jump in front of citizens and take bullets for them in the unfortunate event of an active shooter scenario. But let’s just be real here for a minute.

I don’t think the theoretical training would translate to the chaotic reality very well.

In the middle of an all-out fire fight, you would have a TSA screener, who’d once read a training packet or online module about what to do in the event of a shooting, who had never officially received any sort of hand-to-hand combat training, never been taught how to deal with weapons in any capacity (besides the removal of Swiss Army knives from passengers’ bags, and honestly, I think we can all agree that TSA screeners should remain unarmed) and whose only qualifications for getting the job were the possession of a GED (if that), the ability to dead-lift an awe-inspiring 70 pounds, stand on his or her feet for 4 hours, and differentiate between the colors violet and blue. The TSA screener most likely despises his job, the public (who generally despises him), or both.

That guy, Vs. an AK47.

I have a feeling that our hypothetical shooter would, in fact, opt out of anything the TSA screener tried to instruct him to do, and refuse to stand still for an inner thigh up-slide. The TSA screener would be fresh out of the ol’ tools at his disposal, at that point.

I think that no matter what kind of training packet or online course you have a TSA screener read, if the shit hits the fan, that TSA screener is probably going to try to save him or herself, if he or she can even manage to do that much: there would be a damn good chance that anyone who snapped near a TSA checkpoint would not exactly rank TSA screeners very highly in their Mercy Index. When news stories emerge about a person smacking a TSA screener, people flood the comment sections hailing the person as a hero, after all.

All of these things are unfortunate truths, but there they are.


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