Is security lax at LAX? Our airports are not prepared for violence on the ground; they are instead charged with protecting airborne flights. This week’s LAX shooting shed light on a woefully inadequate system of checks and balances unprepared to deal with terror in the terminal.
Since the horrors of 9/11, airline security has provided a modicum of safety to those flying the skyways, but vulnerabilities do exist. The incident in Los Angeles brought to light as many questions as it did concerns. This senseless killing begs at least two questions: How could anyone enter an airport with a semi-automatic rifle and enough ammunition to wipe out nearly every person in the terminal without being stopped? And equally important: Since this is the first and only TSO shooting ever, could it be the system is working?
The shooter was a 23 year-old Catholic school graduate from the quiet township of Pennsville, New Jersey. By all accounts his family was well-liked: his father was the respected owner of an auto repair shop, and in an ironic twist was an associate member of the Fraternal Order of Police. But something had begun to go terribly wrong in the mind of Paul Ciancia, and in a sick fit of paranoia, he set out to kill a Transportation Security Officer.
So how did Paul Ciancia enter LAX, intentionally seek out a TSO, unload ammunition on him and return to ensure he was actually dead? Transportation Security Officers don’t receive the same training police officers are accorded, instead they are relegated to utilizing armed police to support their efforts. According to airport officials, security procedures throughout the terminal had just been revised and increased. Over the past year, police officers had been moved from behind a TSA security checkpoint to in front of it, where they also took on “greater responsibilities” such as monitoring both the arrival and departure floors of the terminal.
Moving these police officers, should in theory, have offered greater protection, but in fact may have actually helped contribute to the death of the agent. Rather than sitting at checkpoints, police were charged with roaming a larger area of the airport. Interestingly, police had long complained of boredom while being stationed behind the TSA checkpoint. Concurrently, TSA management complained that airport police officers weren’t paying attention — sometimes perusing their phones, using iPads or reading books on the job.
So what really happened at LAX? Has the system been working … up until now? Did reassigning police officers to roam the terminal create a loophole in security measures? One thing we know for sure: a hardworking TSO with a family was senselessly killed, but were hundreds more saved by this one loss?
Tell us what you think!J.L. Mann (Bubba) Cromer is an Attorney in Columbia, whose practice focuses on DUI Defense, Criminal Defense & Probate Administration and Estate Planning. Admitted to practice in South Carolina, California & The District of Columbia, “Bubba” has been in practice for 26 years. In addition to his Solo Practice at Cromer Law Offices, LLC, Bubba Served as the only true Independent In the S.C. Legislature from 1990-1998. For the past 16 years, he has Served as the Reading Clerk of the House.Bubba resides in Columbia, S.C and Rosman, N.C. where he built a cabin 4 years ago. Bubba lives with his Hungarian Golden Retriever Casper.