Reason has a great piece on arming the TSA in the wake of the LAX shooter, and a fantastic quote that sums this up pretty well for me:
One person’s “unfairly demonized workforce” is another person’s stolen iPads and parking passes, brutal humiliation, ignorance-based ethnic discrimination and nearly 10,000 complaints of misconduct over two years.
In other words, it’s an idea almost as bad as unionizing the Transport Security Administration…which they did. One even Tom Ridge, not exactly a bastion of restraint on the policing front, said regarding the idea,
“You have literally hundreds and hundreds of armed police officers roaming every major airport in America. And I don’t think arming another 40 or 50 or 60 thousand people … would have prevented this incident from happening…”
Here’s how a mathematician friend of mine put it:
Let’s see… 58,000 TSA agents, agency has been around for 12 years. They had to ramp up so let’s call it 40,000 employees a year for 12 years. The homicide rate in the US is 4.8 per 100,000 per year. TSA agents spend let’s estimate 20% of their time at work, so you’d expect an average of 4.6 TSA on-the-job murders. We’ve had one. Ergo, being a TSA officer is considerably safer than being an average citizen. This makes sense, they work at the airport which is already a fairly secure environment. So, once again, people freak out because they can’t do math.
[Emphasis mine, mathy bits Jim Sorenson.]