Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Ann Althouse has an interesting post on people's reactions to new security procedures in airports. The NYT article focuses on the invasiveness and inconvenience. I agree with Ann on the 'just getting over it.' Unfortunately, the world does not revolve around you, even if you did buy a ticket. There is a reason for these controls, unfortuntately, and it's not to cause you inconvenience or take you down a peg.

I hear a lot of this same stuff regarding border controls and getting back into the States. People seem to be awfully quick to blame the border guards for any slight - real or imagined. Again, and I'm not trying to defend Homeland Security or anything (I have it on excellent authority that more than a few of the frontline people aren't too pleased with the organisational changes), but - the security people at the borders, whether they be formerly with Customs or INS are generally NOT ignorant, racist, power hungry, etc. In fact, you might be surprised at how well educated/intelligent they are and at what sorts of lives they lead out of uniform. These guards are human, and they have good days and bad days like anyone else. If someone asks you a question twice, it doesn't mean that they are dense - it means that perhaps they didn't hear you or that you might have been unclear. If someone seems curt (though most are pretty pleasant and conversational - at least my experience has been that), remember, it's not their job to make you feel comfortable or loved. You're crossing an international boundary. There's a lot riding on these people's shoulders - and they're often overextended and shortstaffed. The last thing they need is some wisea$$ giving them a difficult time. That's not to say that responsibility doesn't come with authority - and that some don't abuse their positions. Usually, though, when someone is vehemently negative about an experience they've had at the border, my first thought is to wonder what they did to provoke it.

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