I should have seen this one coming.
Now that the TSA agent who was tragically killed by a lunatic gunman at LAX has been elevated to hero status, readers are wondering if the TSA’s critics — and specifically this site — might have had something to do with this senseless shooting.
Yesterday, I received the following email. I’ve edited it for brevity and to remove the name of the reader:
Reading coverage of the shooting death of a TSA officer and the wounding of others by a deranged shooter who described himself as a “patriot” set on killing TSA and police officers for infringing on his constitutional rights, I remembered stream of bitter and angry letters and comments (some from you) about how the TSA was a curse and worse.
Once or twice I chimed in to try to moderate the language but it made no difference.
Are you wondering now whether your site contributed to this demonizing of men and women who were trying to perform an unpopular and intrusive service, whose rules were at best murky?
I’m not excusing overzealous or mean-spirited TSA officers, but I think that the attitude the media cultivated about the TSA, though obviously not the cause for what happened yesterday at LAX, helped shape the shooter’s fury.
I wish you had taken a less confrontational view of the TSA.
Oh, I see. So if our coverage had been more TSA-friendly, maybe this wouldn’t have happened?
I created this site two years ago as a place where people could turn for news and information about the TSA. We’ve hosted a diversity of opinions about the agency assigned to protect America’s transportation systems on TSA News.
My TSA stories are all over the map, in terms of tone. My last post on this site called out the TSA for using scripts to prod air travelers into the poorly tested and unproven body scanners.
Earlier this fall, in a column in USA Today, I explained that our patience with the TSA was almost up. I’d say that one was fairly neutral, although I got some hate mail from TSA insiders after it appeared.
And many of this blog’s readers were apoplectic when I suggested that the TSA could sometimes do a good job. They falsely accused me of bowing to the wishes of advertisers.
Trust me, my friends, I’m not afraid to write something negative about the TSA. Not now, not ever.
My co-editor at TSA News, Lisa Simeone, who also publishes the ABombazine site, liveblogged about the shooting as it happened on Friday. Her early headline at TSA News asked “Where’s the TSA?” — a perfectly valid question as the events of that day unfolded.
In response, we received accusatory emails and tweets from readers who apparently don’t understand the concept of a liveblog, and thought we were asking a rhetorical — if not an incendiary — question. I can assure you, we were not.
To link this blog to an obvious hate crime, even indirectly, is as absurd as trying to shoot a TSA agent.
We may disagree with the way in which America’s federalized screeners do their job, but we do not, nor would we ever, incite anyone to violence.