When the Florida Airport Shooter opened fire at Fort Lauderdale Airport, I had flown out to JFK Airport only a couple of hours prior. The shooter discharged his weapon shortly after I left. I could’ve been there. Thankfully, I wasn’t.
With an hour left in my flight, I watched it on CNN from the headrest television on my plane. When I landed, I had many missed messages asking if I was ok. I was lucky. Unfortunately for many people still at the airport, they weren’t.
After being so close to this incident, we’d like to discuss the issues behind this catastrophe. Who’s is at fault for this significant slip-up? And what are airports doing to keep travelers safe?
Florida Airport Shooter: Who’s To Blame?
The Florida Airport Shooter, 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, brought a gun in his checked baggage, according to Global News. It was loaded.
The man checked a single case containing a loaded handgun, and no one noticed. Could this have been avoided? Definitely. But was it? No.
According to the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) website “you may transport unloaded firearms in a locked hard-sided container as checked baggage, ” and you must declare that that’s what you’re checking through. You also have to make sure the container is completely secure and that there’s no way it can be accessed.
But there are some terrifying facts about guns at the airport. According to the TSA blog, “3,391 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging more than nine firearms per day.” Of those known guns, a whopping 2,815 of them were loaded.
If that doesn’t frighten you, we don’t know what will.
But who’s really to blame? Is it the Florida Airport Shooter who brought the loaded gun or is it the TSA who failed to detect it?
The TSA is consistently under fire for going too deep or too far. Except in a case that mattered: finding a loaded gun. The reality is, we all have to go through TSA checkpoints, whether we have individual screening or not.
We already expect a pat down, machine scanning and questioning as part of our travels. Part of enduring these checkpoints is to ensure our safety – which is why we can deal with this travel hassle.
What we can’t deal with is feeling unsafe at the airport.