Many students here at SLV have been through the irritating, tedious process that is airport security. But however annoying standing in lines may be, it’s essential to keep traveling citizens safe. This issue was brought to light on Friday November 1st, when a TSA screener at the LAX Airport was shot to death during a shooting rampage. The screener killed was Gerardo Hernandez, who was approaching his 40th birthday. At least three others were injured as well, though information regarding this has yet to be released.
The suspected killer, 23 year old Paul Anthony Ciancia, was charged with murder on the Saturday after this tragic event occurred and its thought that Ciancia did not want to kill any specific TSA screener, he just wanted to maliciously prove a point.
After Ciancia was taken into custody, a bag was confiscated from him containing a letter signed by him that stated that he had “made the conscious decision to try to kill” TSA employees. The authorities also stated that this letter contained the information that he wanted to “instill fear in your traitorous minds.” The letter also led on that it didn’t matter what race or gender the TSA officer was, as long as one was killed.
The TSA program began just after the September 11th, 2001 terrorist acts in order to update Airport Security. Since its creation, many complaints have emerged that TSA’s screening efforts can be intrusive and somewhat burdensome. This is the suspected reason for Ciansia’s actions, though it’s still unknown what his true motive was.
Whatever the motive, Ciancia’s actions have caused the TSA to reevaluate certain aspects of their surveillance program including safety issues and screening rules. They’re considering ways to prepare agents for potential shootouts in crowded airports. However, this type of training would require a major over hall of the agency’s mission.
The Agency is also looking into different ways to improve the screening process. It expanded its pre-screening program to the general public, allowing participating members of the general public to move through select security lanes without removing laptops, shoes, belts, or light outerwear — although they still have to submit to bag and body screenings.
Students and teachers here at SLV voiced their opinion on the current TSA program. “I’ve personally experienced being picked out by the TSA and have heard of many instances regarding intrusion, but I feel that they have to do what they have to do in order to protect society.” Social Studies teacher Ross Parmenter states. Student, Lily Maness interjects, “They’re just keeping us safe- it’s a little tedious but it’s worth it.” Natalie Gallagher also adds, “It seems a little intrusive, but it’s proven to work. It’s definitely not something to be taken lightly.
Opinions on the TSA program aside, many people feel that this tragic event is just one of many other recent events. “Its becoming more and more common.” Shane Sutcliffe states. “Our society is becoming numbed by it- we think about it, but our minds don’t grasp it.”