Got a note from a TSA security officer. He was concerned that my latest column portrayed his peers as 'monsters.'
I wrote back, telling him that conversations I've had with a few people he works with left me feeling they were smart, dedicated, and conscientious. They're not particularly well-paid, they deal with a lot of stress. And occasionally they deal with people trying to bring stupid things onto airplanes. Yet, each year millions of people pass through the Philadelphia International Airport checkpoints unremarkably.
In the spirit of saying something nice, (thanks Grandma, wherever you are) I print this letter that came in from a man in Haverhill, Ma., who had the sort of experience flying through Philly that normally doesn't make news - but will right now:
Thought I'd just add that to the conversation. I've been writing off and on since January about strange brewings at the airport checkpoints - the TSA employee who pretended to find a bag of white powder in a college woman's laptop bag, the 4-yr-old disabled boy made to walk without leg braces through the metal detector, etc... I'm trying to get the bottom of why this is happening. Does this occur infrequently, and I've just got a hotline into the bad encounters because my pieces are posted across the Internet? Is there something about Philly? Philly.com ran a poll, asking readers if they'd had a bad problem with the TSA. The answer, last time I checked, by a two-to-one margin was yes (368-187). More to come.