Since I travel nearly every week I see more of the TSA than I ever want to see such as this morning's experience. I went to "Checkpoint 1" at the Minneapolis/St. Paul (Minnesota) Airport exactly 1.5 hours before my domestic flight only to find a HUGE line of people at the security gate. But I wasn't alone since US Congressman John Kline and US Senator Norm Coleman were waiting in line with the rest of us cattle.
Given my bias for systems to actually work -- especially when my tax money is supporting them -- I asked the TSA staffer at the start of our line why TSA was not directing passengers to other checkpoints since only 1 of the 3 magnetometers was being used. This staffer replied to me, "...........well that is a good point, I don't know since this is only my................eighth week at this checkpoint..............." Later in our wait I heard Congressman Kline and Senator Coleman laughing with each other with a comment along the lines, "looks like TSA is going to ask us for more money............." which is exactly what I said to Senator Coleman when we were standing by each other. I even suggested TSA could leave a hat at the checkpoint so that passengers could make free will offerings so TSA had more funding.
Finally, nearly 45 minutes later I gate through all of the security measures so I asked the TSA supervisor on duty , "say, why is only 1 of the 3 magnetometers operational?" To which she replied, "we are short on staff since a few people didn't show up............hopefully Congress will give us more funding................"
Stating the obvious here -- but we have given billions of tax dollars to keep us "safe" so I can't believe the TSA is short on funding. Perhaps some of these TSA workers simply don't have the sense of patriotism needed for such jobs since some of them may have taken a "sick day" so I want to offer some options:
- TSA management could host bake sales in all of our airports to raise additional funding :)
- Congress could fire all TSA employees replacing them with US military personnel who have retired from active duty.
Thousands Standing Around was indeed the reality today.