The PJ Tatler

D.C. Dem: TSA Death Shows Sequestration Bad for All 'Unarmed Front-Line Federal Employees'

D.C.’s delegate to Congress said the shooting of TSA agents on Friday at Los Angeles International Airport makes the case against all budget-related furloughs for “unarmed front-line federal employees.”

One agent, 39-year-old Gerardo I. Hernandez, was killed and two others were wounded in the attack, where a 23-year-old New Jersey native shot his way past the security checkpoint and deep into Terminal 3 before he was shot by an LAPD officer.

“Most people think of TSA employees as workers who search and monitor them and their bags, but yesterday the nation and world saw them as federal employees who put themselves in harm’s way, serving our nation,” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said in a statement today. “A note from the shooter expressed antipathy towards the federal government, and particularly TSA employees. TSA agents are not the only federal employees whose civilian jobs endanger them.”

The note that was found on shooting suspect Paul Ciancia hasn’t been released, but bits leaked to the media indicate it included a screed of sorts against the TSA. The New York Times said the letter accused the TSA of “assuming everyone is a terrorist.”

“Like Mr. Hernandez, hundreds of thousands of unarmed front-line federal employees, who serve the public as IRS agents, census collectors, social security employees, and even judges, along with many others in other federal occupations, come in contact with troubled members of the public every day,” Norton continued.

“These are the same employees who have endured sequester furloughs this year, on top of a third straight year of pay freezes, and recently faced additional furloughs because Republicans shut down the government for 16 days,” she said. “Our sadness about the randomness of the tragic shooting of TSA agent Hernandez should also open our eyes to the risks TSA employees take on our behalf daily and to the importance of their work for the nation. At the same time, this tragedy cast light on other federal workers, who also serve vital and too often unappreciated roles, serving our country with diligence despite the risks to themselves.”