On Shaming the TSA

I thought long and hard before making this post.

TSA screeners are not exactly the most beloved government employees in the country; they’ve definitely taken their share of flak over the years. And so when I received email concerning an act of defecation upon a TSA screener, I must admit, I took editorial pause. Did I want to run such a letter? Would it be responsible to publish such strong– some would say, disturbing– sentiments in regard to a TSA screener? I sat down and considered the thing from all angles. Then it hit me, all at once.

Yes. It would be responsible, in this context. Because this dog–

— took a poop– nay, the largest poop of his life– on a TSA agent, when his human was going through airport security.

This is a bad, bad dog. Unlike the Never Forget 9/11 Freedom Puppies of the TSA’s.

Though this dog is obviously a sick little deviant, I wondered if, by publishing his Dog Shame Shot, sent in by a reader named Audrey, I would be glorifying poops upon TSA screeners. Then I realized something: the TSA has been dog shaming its pooches for a while now.  Every time the TSA seizes upon the opportunity to publish photos of its K9 puppies in a cloying bid to improve its public image, it is bringing shame upon those puppies.

Because if those puppies were able to comprehend what the three letters inscribed on their collars signified, in comparison to the puppies in the kennel whose fate was to have letters such as “DEA” or “FBI” around their necks, let’s face it: they would be a little embarrassed. Kind of like TSA screeners who go on to jobs at other agencies, where they do their best to not talk about their former employer with their new co-workers.

If TSA dogs could talk, they would approach you in that quintessentially-bureaucratic Managed Inclusion line (playing their role, of course, as just one of multiple layers of security in place so as to indirectly conduct a real-time threat assessment of you, which then introduces objective uncertainty into the system via an electronic mat with randomly-generated arrows, in keeping with the unpredictability that is key to the efficacy of the TSA’s risk-based screening approach vis-a-vis the terrorist threat , dear passengers) sniff you for a second, and say:

Look. I put my application to Customs and Border Patrol in a year ago. They should be getting back to me any time, now. Woof woof, arf arf and all that shit. This TSA thing was just while I was finishing college. I shouldn’t be doing this much longer.

So in the end, it’s really shame on all these puppies, and shame on you, TSA, for conscripting them into the security theater show.

Still, let me be clear: none of this justifies literally crapping on a TSA screener. This is a bad, bad, dog right here, nervous or not. You can see in the photo that he sort of knows it. And so we are going to shame him again.


Update: 2/9/13

A Cat Owner Strikes Back:

I must disagree: like my cat Bandit, who left a similar gift in the private office the TSA screened her in several years ago in PHX (which I somehow forgot to tell them about, my bad…) the pooch in the post is merely speaking for millions of disgruntled travelers everywhere!

-Laura A.

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