Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Never underestimate the potential for convincing an underpaid federal employee to cut corners. If you make this stuff too inconvenient for the guys on the ground, the policy gets eroded from the inside.

Until Napolitano cracks down. But that's several moves ahead.

I think most of them are intoxicated on the power, I mean how much would someone have to pay you to grope people all day? I'd quit in an hour.

Have you seen the photo where this horrifying parody


is the wallpaper on the computer screen in the TSA office?


I mean think about the mentality - in the very workplace they do it.

Saying "I would do X when presented with Y" is easy to say when you have not been presented with Y. Regarding the wallpaper, yes, it's inappropriate. Perhaps it is an indication that the people are drunk with power. But it could also be another instance of people in an uncomfortable situation using humor as a coping mechanism.

In The Gift of Fear, Gavin de Becker talks about how, as a security consultant, he takes offhand jokes very seriously. He tells the story about the office which received an odd-looking package that nobody was expecting. They debated whether to open it. Eventually one guy decided to open it, so his coworker left the room. As the coworker was leaving, he made an offhand joke over his shoulder: "I'm going to stand in the other room so I won't be around when the bomb goes off."

Then the bomb went off.

Jokes are designed as a mechanism for saying speculative, potentially scary things without being threatening or looking stupid. When I see a TSA agent with that wallpaper, I see someone who knows at some level that something is very wrong but isn't able to say so out loud. Maybe they can't even say it out loud to themselves.

I had to look up the story Gavin de Becker was quoting, I never heard it before but it was the Unabomber. http://articles.latimes.com/1995-07-09/news/mn-22130_1_suspi...

Just to be clear, the Unabomber was the person that sent the bomb, not the coworker.

If your job makes you that uncomfortable, you can't do it properly and you should seek other employment immediately.

That's like excusing cops for not following the law themselves because they have a "difficult" job.

You mean, so uncomfortable that you set your wallpaper to a funny picture? You're right, clearly anyone that uncomfortable couldn't possibly be doing their job well.

It's pretty tasteless, but give me a break. Some guy is "drunk with power" because he thinks an image macro is funny?

I don't think cops breaking the law is analogous to people making inappropriate jokes about their work to colleagues. There are valid ways to argue against these machines and the policy. I do not think your line of argument is one of them.

Power turns you into an asshole. When I was in the Navy, I got temporarily assigned to ship's security. I saw a lot of people go from being happy-go-lucky sailors to yelling at their fellow shipmates for having haircuts slightly out of regulation. Look no further than the Stanford prison experiment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment

I'm actually more horrified by my tax dollars paying for the TSA to sit in Herman Miller chairs, but damn. Beggars belief.

There are possibly some good reasons for that. If your employee sits most of the day, and you are covering his medical expenses, perhaps it is a good idea to get him a chair that doesn't screw up his body.

You should get your employee a standing desk instead.

Pff, why should common sense get in the way of some good bitching about tax dollars?

I'm sick of my tax dollars paying for their computers, they should have to type stuff up themselves in triplicate.

I know a consultant who leaves his dirty underwear at the top of his suitcase so when whey randomly search his bag, they quickly close it back up and send him on his way. The same thing can be accomplished with the body searches by eating a half dozen boiled eggs a couple hours before your flight.

Also, never underestimate the power we have in numbers. The challenge is in maintaining civility among a group during those fight or flight situations.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact