CBS says that he is remembered as a “hero.” NPR reported that flags were flown at half-staff for his death around Los Angeles. The Washington Post unequivocally described him as a humble family man, never noting flaws. Yes, Hernandez died in a terrible reminder of how horrible people can be, but that does not mean he was guiltless.

Ciancia didn’t have a problem with travelers. He didn’t have a problem with airline employees. The people he had a problem with was the TSA agents. The Los Angeles Times reports that Ciancia ignored travelers in the airports but instead scanned Terminal 3 for a TSA official. Only then did he begin firing. Hernandez now has the “honor” of being the first TSA officer “slain in the line of duty.”

Paul Ciancia was a sick and violent murderer, and Gerardo I. Hernandez, the slain TSA agent, was an actor on behalf of the American government that is denying rights to its people.

As a Jew, I am consistently reminded of the Nuremberg Trials. Those who slaughtered the Jews in the Holocaust were “just following orders,” but that did not mean that they were any less accountable. Just following orders, just doing the job that they signed up for, did not excuse their actions. Of course, the Nuremberg Trials specifically addressed war crimes, but I think that the idea of just following orders extends beyond that. Being an ethical person requires critical thinking about everyday actions, whether commanded or not.

Hernandez signed up to the TSA, an organization devoted to “protect” travelers from terrorists. He could have had very good reasons to do so: he could have believed in the mission and needed to support his family (and on not very much, I might add). He was not a decision maker—he was an everyday guy doing his job. Hernandez, when infringing on Fourth Amendment rights, was “only following orders.” He might have been a good guy at home, but he was not entirely innocent in this situation. Doing without introspection does not absolve evil deeds.

Now, I’m not saying what Ciancia did was heroic—not by any stretch. Violence against unarmed people is never the answer. It would not surprise me if Ciancia’s actions only lead to a heightened police state; by no means do I support what he did.

The TSA does represent, however, an erosion of liberties domestically. In foreign policy terms, Ciancia’s actions is what we would call “blowback.” And like the United States escalated conflicts in the Middle East after September 11th, we are going to see a similar escalation in the War on Liberties here at home. I do not believe this will be the last time that we see people making the same mistakes Ciancia did.

When serving domestically or abroad, there are consequences. Infringing on life and liberty can come at a high cost—and that includes death. Ciancia did not object to the TSA in the right way, but he did have every right to feel disdain for their agency. I can almost understand what Ciancia felt—powerless against a huge system where violence seems like the easiest way out. But that’s the way that terrorists think, and that’s not what the liberty movement is about. Actors like Ciancia only make the state bigger.

I hope  never to see another crime like this again, but it would not surprise me that as the state grows, individuals will feel more frustrated and turn to more extreme measures to respond to trampled liberties. That could mean more dead police, TSA, and even military agents. It’s time for the government to reevaluate this country’s priorities before violence is escalated further. The answer is not stricter gun laws or mental health screenings, the answer is a smaller state.

  • In all our years of friendship and partnership I have never, ever disagreed more—or more vehemently—with what you’ve said here.

    (a) How is a TSA officer anything remotely like a person who facilitated the holocaust? The difference is so vast that I think you do disservice to the holocaust itself by comparing the two.

    (b) Though I think the blowback analogy is more apt, I still think that there is not a fair connection being drawn between foreign policy which deprives the lives and liberties of people across the globe, and the United States government asking you to be scanned before you take part in an otherwise entirely voluntary transaction. It’s not as if the gov’t puts so much pressure on the citizenry via TSA screenings that it “blows back.” One can simply travel by other means if you are really that worried about it (which I did, as you know, for two years before they made the scanner optional.

    (c) If you do so roundly condemn violence, as you claim, it seems like the best course of action here would be to actually condemn that violence and not say “Well, what do you expect?” When you say “well, it’s just blowback,” I think that gives an A-OK for other people to do the same thing.

    (d) Compiling all of this into one entire “Rachel, you are so, so wrong” pie is that TSA agents are COMPLETELY UNARMED. They are defenseless against a firearm attack. I don’t see how you can’t just uniformly, unilaterally, condemn that kind of action. The dude can’t have possibly thought that he would do some good or change things (much like what many terrorists profess to believe), nor will his actions.

    I’m sure there are others, but I’ll leave it there for now.

    • John Brown

      So, just for my own edification…when can we say someone had something coming to them and it not be victim blaming?

      • For me, I’d say initiating physical aggression.

        • John Brown

          Like, when someone puts their hands down your pants to feel your crotch before he allows you to travel?

          • (a) That’s a pretty gross simplification of what TSA agents do.

            (b) The response needs to be immediate. You can’t respond, like, two days after someone aggresses against you and then call it justified. That’s just revenge.

          • Besides, having done a shitton of pat downs myself, you have to give verbal consent before they touch you. So, no aggression.

          • John Brown

            So, so long as you give consent to being patted down to a government official who will not let you travel and who will detain you if you refuse, then it is not aggression?

            If you are walking down the street and I tell you that I will not let you pass unless you consent to me touching you, would you say I was being aggressive or not? If you refused consent and I thereby refused to allow you to continue on your way (or I just kept you there for a few hours before turning you back), would I, or wouldn’t I be initiating aggression on you?

          • It’s more akin to refusing to let someone in your car then refusing to let someone continue down the road.

    • (a) Please draw the line where “just doing my job” is no longer subject to ethical inquiry.

      (b) Obviously Ciancia is the exception to the rule—most people aren’t going to go around shooting up airports (or schools or movie theaters etc). But are you really surprised that someone, eventually, targeted a government official that wore a uniform which represents the growing police state post-9/11? The blowback is less against the TSA, more against growing government.

      (c) I have paragraphs condemning the violence. I don’t support it. I do not think it was ethical. I do not think it was effective. I do not think other people should do what Ciancia did. That said, it does not change what his actions represented.

      (d) Again, I do not support Ciancia’s actions. I’m just unsurprised.

      (e) Saying Hernandez was not guiltless and that he had it coming/deserved to get shot are two very different ideas, and I only subscribe to the former.

  • Mary Parrilli

    I know that this is just an opinion piece, but I would have liked to see at least one or two links to supporting evidence… Either on the political ramifications of violence (“Actors like Ciancia only make the state bigger”) or the psychology of political policies that “trample” liberties. You make some sweeping generalizations, and even though you put in bold that you DO NOT SUPPORT Ciancia’s actions, you act like violence is inevitable. It’s not.

    • John Brown

      “You make some sweeping generalizations, and even though you put in bold
      that you DO NOT SUPPORT Ciancia’s actions, you act like violence is
      inevitable. It’s not.”

      You ask for supporting evidence for a claim and then offer a counter claim with…no supporting evidence.

      How, exactly, do you know that violence isn’t inevitable?

      • Mary Parrilli

        Ha! Fair enough. As soon as I posted that I realized what I did. You’re right.

        And perhaps saying that violence isn’t inevitable was the wrong thing to say. As libertarians, we strive for a violence-free society, so I was just trying to point out that by acting like violence is an expected outcome, you’re not living up to your own ideas. (Assuming that Ms. Burger is a libertarian who believes that violence should only be used in retaliation against force that was initiated against you).

        • spacepuppy

          No, you were right the first time. Violence is not inevitable. It is a learned response. And we have some damn good teachers out there using purposeful hateful language , provoking justification for it’s employment, for the loose geese that share in their fanaticism.

    • Hey Mary! You can always click the links I provided in the article for supporting evidence.

      Of course I don’t support violence, and I, myself, am not at all a violent person. However, that doesn’t change the fact that I’m unsurprised by Ciancia’s actions.

  • Robert Anthony Peters

    Great column. As someone who travels regularly, you capture my sentiments. I do not think it right to kill those who violate our rights on a regular basis. It is important that we view this as a natural outgrowth of a metastasizing state. The more a lack of civilization is institutionalized, and barbaric behavior sanctioned by the state is on the rise, the more it will spread its unhealthy ways to the general populace.

    • Rez™

      Just so I understand you correctly, a patdown by a TSA agent is “barbaric behavior”, but we just have to get in touch with the shooter’s feelings and empathize with his situation? I hate the security procedures as much as anyone else and recognize it’s clear they are not designed to stop terrorism so much as they are to mentally condition the populace. I get that. But it’s a stretch to say the very least to invoke Hitler or the Nazis or the Nuremburg Trials to airport security. The last time I went through the airport, I noticed a distinct lack of ghettos and ovens.

      Whatever admirable “pro-freedom” beliefs Ciancia may have held were obliterated the moment he instigated deadly force. Whatever increase in draconian searches and and interrogations occur as a result of his actions are because he did what he did. Yes, the government will jump on this and capitalize on it and exploit it. Perhaps the scanners will be moved to the front entrance of the airport now. No pun intended, but you don’t give ammunition to the one you oppose.

      • “Whatever admirable “pro-freedom” beliefs Ciancia may have held were obliterated the moment he instigated deadly force.”

        Nailed it.

        Also, I never compared Nazis and the TSA. Nuremberg is an allegory for the greater moral lesson of: “just following orders” doesn’t exonerate immoral behavior.

        • Rez™


        • spacepuppy

          what immoral behavior would that be? That’s your minority position. I think this article is an example of immoral behavior, and you should be arrested for seditious behavior . But in America we leave it up to a judicious process to decide whether my opinion is supported. This TSA agent was doing his job, and contrary to your amazing mind reading ability, he almost suredly believed he was doing the right moral thing by protecting the Country from terrorism. You have no evidence that he behaved immorally in his job, only the OPINION that his job itself is immoral. But most other people likely disagree with your interpretation. Yes you compared the TSA Agent’s job activity with those of Nazis

      • Robert Anthony Peters

        Rez, I am not sure where you get your first accusation as i did not request empathy with the shooter. Also, I did not invoke the Nazis. The original author did however while using a literary device called a metaphor. It is used to draw comparisons between two things that are not one to one relationships. I do not imagine she claims to see ovens in airports outside of kitchens in terminals.

        “Whatever increase in draconian searches and and interrogations occur as a result of his actions are because he did what he did.”

        I recall being in school and teachers claiming that all students would now have to miss recess because of the actions of one student. It is not that student’s fault that all must suffer. It is because the teacher is unjust and punishes all for the failure of the one. This is a great way to create a lynch mob and get everyone on board with your agenda. It is also as far from a just response as I can imagine.

        • Rez™

          I was responding to your comments, but in doing so, I also was responding to the original article. I apologize for not making that clearer.

          Also, it’s not a just response, but it’s the textbook response. If you want to hasten the increase of government authoritarianism, respond in ways that play directly into their script and evoke the conditioned response by the masses. Or… engage in the kind of creative civil disobedience that, by it’s nature will underscore the likely unjust reaction by LE to suppress it.

          Cheers, and again, sorry for the lack of clarity.

          • Robert Anthony Peters

            I agree. Violence is not a useful solution in most scenarios, if your goal is a less powerful government. “when the great lord passes, the wise peasant bows deeply and silently farts,” is an Ethiopian proverb and one of my favorites when considering how to deal with unjust power. is

          • Rez™

            Ha. Indeed.

    • bewildered baby boomer

      Hey Robert, I could only wish that you could be projected back in time and be a passenger on American Airlines Flight 11 or United Airlines Flight 175 on 9/11/01. This would be karmic.

      • Robert Anthony Peters

        Hey bewildered baby boomer, I find it extremely telling that though I decried violence even against those whom I despise like TSA agents, yet you wish to give me a death sentence. Your intolerance for someone who expresses a different threshold for security has proved my argument that the barbarism of the state is infecting the general populace. Of course, I am not surprised that someone from the most selfish and wasteful generation thus far is making comments such as this. After all, it is largely because of your generation that we are in our many disastrous messes.

      • Rez™

        That’s not cool. Seriously.

  • AuntMerryweather

    “Doing without introspection does not absolve evil deeds.”
    Hey Rachel, remember when I wrote ” Government is not a goddamned jobs program?” I was wrong. Agencies like the TSA (or law enforcement, or the “private” corrections industry, etc.) are increasingly becoming employment holding facilities for otherwise-unemployable Americans who are largely unable or unwilling to reflect on the ethical ramifications of their nine-to-five.
    This should honestly terrify us more than any “blowback” explanation.
    (edited for clarity).

    • bewildered baby boomer

      Hey genius — guess what – if you feel so strongly – don’t blame the screeners. Get active in repealing or reforming the legislation that requires agencies like TSA and before that FAA to conduct security screening for all passengers on flights to and from the U.S. Blaming the agency for doing what the U.S. Congress told them to do with valid legislation is not very intelligent.

    • spacepuppy

      Or maybe he shares the political belief that he was protecting the public from terrorism, and felt his job was vital and important. Many Americans agree with that, and many people believed in the importance of airline security, before they flipped their position after Bush left office. Do you draw conclusions from a grab bag of gobbedygook? Prove that this agent or others could not get any other employment. You can’t, so there is no justification for your baseless assumption. Your just as disposable as anybody else, and the world will go on when you’re gone. And hardly anybody will care, vindictive as you are to other Americans opinion on the matter..

      • AuntMerryweather

        Are you suggesting that most low-level public employees could find better employment (better benefits, wages, working conditions, etc.) elsewhere? That would fly in the face of longstanding observations that government wages+benefits exceed those found in the private sector.

  • dougmataconis

    I don’t think I could possibly disagree with this more.

    We are already not surprisingly getting indications that this shooter may have been mentally unbalanced. Trying to turn that into a political message strikes me as a very extreme example of jumping to conclusions, and waving the bloody shirt to advance a political cause.

    In the end, what’s the difference between this argument, and the people who use incidents like this to advance a pro gun control agenda?

    • Ciancia was vocal in his actions being political (and that doesn’t add or detract from his psychological state being unbalanced). He was holding a note that explicitly said he was out to “kill TSA and pigs” and often talked about his “anti-government views.” (Source:

      That said, I hardly think I’m “jumping to conclusions.”

      • dougmataconis

        The fact that someone who is most likely deranged writes down something political doesn’t mean that their obviously deranged and criminal actions are either political or justifiable in any sense of the word. Additionally, there’s no evidence that anyone associated with the TSA ever did anything to Ciancia that would justify murder.

        Again, I don’t see how this is at all different those who use actions like this to support an argument for gun control.

        • Never do I say it’s justifiable. But Ciancia was walking up to people, asking if they were TSA, and then, if not, moving through the crowd. He was obviously targeting him, and the note only adds to that conclusion.

          • dougmataconis

            Yes? And? It seems more likely to me that he was looking to commit suicide by cop than trying to make some broad political point.

            And even if he was, So What?????

      • spacepuppy

        Seems like he was listening to Glenn Beck too much, and his actions were encouraged by people that think like you Rachel.

  • bewildered baby boomer

    Oh Rachel I see you are a world traveler.. Can I assume you have traveled Israel or flown on an Israeli flight? If you haven’t had the Israeli airline security experience then I think you should reconsider your vile and violent words about TSA screeners. I have first hand knowledge and experience of Israeli airline security procedures and they remind me of something from a totalitarian regime. They are intrusive, disrespectful and discriminatory. Don’t you have some keen insights and criticisms about them? Also Rachel I have visited Auschwitz and other concentration camp sites and there is no point of comparison between them and TSA security checkpoints. I think you dishonor the real Jewish victims when you make such ugly and unjustified comparisons. Shame on you…

    • At no point did I ever compare the TSA to Nazis. Please read my post carefully.

      Yes, I have flown on ELAL for Birthright, and yes, the security for ELAL is “intrusive, disrespectful and discriminatory,” to use your own words. And I could write an article about them as well, but they are not newsworthy at this time.

      • spacepuppy

        Yes you did compare this TSA agent to the Nazis Rachel. You said the TSA agent shared responsibility for his own death, because his job required him to “follow orders” just like the Nazis, without question. How do you know that he did not agree with what his job required of him? That’s an asinine assumption to begin with. Orders that were mandated by Congress to protect the public from terrorism. Orders that many Americans agree with, because we are a free society, and not married to the social dogma that you promote. You should apologize to this man’s family.i consider him a Patriot. He gave his life to serve, and protect other lives, and for of the United States.

  • TrollKiller1

    rationalizing the murder of an innocent man is about as close as one can get to being a Nazi. guess your next move will be to try and argue “Mein Kampf” is a misunderstood classic.

    or maybe you’re simply a psycho about to snap.

    • Thanks for your comment TrollKiller1. Please read my piece when you get the chance; never do I support Ciancia’s actions nor say Hernandez deserved to die.

      • FlagsFlyFree

        Ummmm what about this sentence?

        but he was not entirely innocent in this situation. Doing without introspection does not absolve evil deeds.

        Sounds like you are not only placing him culpable in the act (blaming the victim) but saying that he was complicit in evil….

        • Being guilty for violating the 4th amendment and deserving to die are two very different things.

          While I believe Hernandez was not ethical in choosing to work for the TSA, I would never argue that Ciancia (or anyone) would be right in shooting him.

          • FlagsFlyFree

            First of all, he was in no way guilty of violating the 4th amendment, but I believe a previous poster already made that painfully clear. You have no qualifications really to write on any legal matters, but I believe you must be aware that you are choosing to enter an airport as you are giving TSA consent to search your person and your objects. I fly quite often, at least 8 times a year round trip, and I have never once had a problem with TSA.

            Beyond this though, at the point where you say he isn’t “guiltless” and then sarcastically citing him as a “‘hero'” (note your quotes) who “‘died in the line of duty'” (again note your quotes) goes as far as justifying the acts of Ciancia act as someone can say without outright calling for more TSA murders. This was a mentally unstable young man and when you give his beliefs merit as you do, you are only encouraging more action. In your book if following orders is akin to Nazi Germany, then tacitly stating that TSA officers are in fact evil is about the same as justifying the holocaust by saying “well Jews did have a massive control of financial institutions in Europe.”

            Furthermore, by blaming the victim, you are also condoning these acts to happen in the future. Saying you would not be surprised to see such mistakes made again is akin to saying “you’re asking for it.” I wonder if you would say the same thing to a rape victim who was wearing a short skirt at the time of her attack?

            Lastly, your contentions of working for the TSA being unethical is a joke. Would you prefer there is no security screening at all on planes? What is your solution? As of now you aren’t offering one and you are merely stirring up the pot.

          • I think I have every right to comment on the constitutionality of a government action merely by being an American citizen, but if you won’t take my word for it, here are some alternatives:


            Just because you’ve never had a problem with the TSA doesn’t mean other people haven’t. An official decided to check in my panties with a few fingers for smuggled goods. I watched a friend’s 80-year-old grandmother get pulled from her wheelchair and held up by a TSA agent to stand in a Rapiscan. Problems like this exist, even if you’re unaffected.

            The quotes were to emphasize language. Hernandez is being treated like a soldier who has fallen in action, which furthers my blowback point.

            If you search my article, I never once use the word “Nazi.”

            I also do not blame Hernandez for getting shot. To reiterate my response to Gina:

            “I have paragraphs condemning the violence. I don’t support it. I do not think it was ethical. I do not think it was effective. I do not think other people should do what Ciancia did. That said, it does not change what his actions represented.

            Again, I do not support Ciancia’s actions. I’m just unsurprised.

            Saying Hernandez was not guiltless and that he had it coming/deserved to get shot are two very different ideas, and I only subscribe to the former.”

            “Saying you would not be surprised to see such mistakes made again is akin to saying ‘you’re asking for it.'” Acknowledging aggravating factors in a situation does not mean I support unethical actions.

            I’m glad you asked your final question. I think that airlines are entirely capable of providing their own security (like many did before 9/11). The threat of losing a costly plane is enough incentive to take matters seriously.

          • spacepuppy

            Problems exist in every facet of life. The question is always whether the good outweighs the bad. Please send my condolences to your panties for it’s sacrifice in allowing me my freedom to fly safe from terrorism. Maybe the readers can chip in and buy you another pair.

          • spacepuppy

            I believe Hernandez was not only ethical working for the TSA, but patriotic as well. There was no 4th Amendment violation, or his job would not exist. Sounds like you don’t understand the Constitution Rachel, nor the role the judicial system has always had in interpretting it since the day it was written.

  • blueminder

    To be fair to Rachel, I totally understand her point, and it’s a similar one I make in many conversations about law enforcement acting on policies that may be considered unjust. Just because it’s a policy set from up high doesn’t mean that the person at the bottom of the bureaucratic chain doesn’t share responsibility. Hell, the purpose of such bureaucratic chains internally is to push blame downward and praise upward, so when it comes to internal affairs, that’s already a given.

    That DOES NOT mean that violence is justified against such figures, but at the same time, it’s not surprising that someone would take out their frustrations on someone carrying out the orders. Sadly, it’s often the mooks that become victims in such a situation. People can often be crazy, stupid, and are likely to lash out more when they feel they have little recourse, even if a great deal of it was made up by their own delusions of grandeur. I think this was the case with this shooter, and it’s a tragic thing.

    It’s just really charged to make the comparison to Nazis for many people. The Nuremberg trials act as the best example of such behavior happening on a massive scale with the most dire consequences, and introduced the concept of Amtssprache, which is the use of limiting language along the lines of *should* or *ought* that is a characteristic of domination systems as a whole (as described by Walter Wink). There’s a whole lot on it that I think that folks should investigate on that front that just really isn’t talked about much.

    Now, the concept is a sound one, but people get really hung up more on the Nazi part and less on actually understanding what’s being said. It’s like using a trump card in Cards Against Humanity for its shock value for many folks. Maybe folks are just sick of seeing Nazis everywhere as the “ultimate evil” these days? It’s likely using Nazis in fiction was played out so much in movies with lazy writers that most people don’t know how to react to it when it is stated in earnest elsewhere? Don’t know. Either way, it looks almost cartoonish to many folks, sad to say. *shrugs*

    As much as I think the concept is important, it’s probably not best to make a point of it after an official has been shot. It ain’t a good look, homes. It’s like saying the same thing after a cop gets shot. It may be true that it’s a part of the risk they take on in the line of duty, but it’s extremely insensitive if nothing else. Someone died, and people react to that pretty hard.

    As far as the Huffington Post response goes, there’s far better news that exists than taking pot shots at libertarian-leaning blogs for writing hasty articles. This general trend of commentators on Salon, HuffPo, and countless other “progressive” outlets shitting on libertarians just reeks of lots of folks who have nothing productive to do themselves to actually fight for their causes. (Which may be the definition of a political blogger HEY-OOO! :-D) A great deal of it is intellectually dishonest to boot, with claims of hijacking firmly established movements and the like. Finding a group to label as terrible generates pageviews, and everyone’s moral indignation only serves to encourage it further. Hell, I’m not even a libertarian and I think it’s a pretty stupid trend.

    All that said, I’m envious. I wish the Huffington Post would write a terrible article about me one day. Your blog beat me to it!

    • blueminder

      To follow-up, here’s a surprisingly relevant scene from a movie known for its potty humor and immaturity.

    • FlagsFlyFree

      Soooooo this is a funny sentence to include in your little diatribe:

      Finding a group to label as terrible generates pageviews, and everyone’s moral indignation only serves to encourage it further.

      • blueminder

        I mean, that was my whole point concerning why people react pretty hard when Nazis are mentioned. It’s often lazy writing and likely insensitive in the context of recent events, but that doesn’t mean the principle being illustrated wasn’t a sound one.

        It’s just more convenient to miss the point and get really angry. This is the Internet, after all.

  • Anthony

    His actions aren’t against blowback or so called “liberties” being taken away. What we had a was a nutjob who had an issue with the government and decided to be violent about it.

    I’m not a fan of the TSA but the TSA isn’t taking my rights away. I flew before the TSA existed and I’ve flown after the TSA existed, the only difference I had was I had to get a wand passed over me. No one is forcing me to fly to for travel, they are just doing their job. So could you say that before the TSA existed that the groups scanning your carry on bag was in violation of the 4th admentment.

    • Sure, Ciancia was “a nutjob who had an issue with the government and decided to be violent about it,” but that does not detract from my point; we should consider why he had an issue with the government. The TSA is symbolic of a growing police state in America—I’m not shocked that something like this happened.

      • FlagsFlyFree

        Every time you use the phrase “I’m not shocked that something like this happened” you are giving his actions justification and blaming the victim.

        • Robert Anthony Peters

          No, she is merely trying to explain the natural outgrowth of an inhuman system. Are you shocked when vets come home and kill people? They have just been trained to treat others in extremely inhumane ways. Of course some will come home and kill other human beings, they were given medals to do that not months before. The values that you admire will have unintended consequences in other areas of society.

          • FlagsFlyFree

            The big difference is she is not shocked about the victim. Not about the perpetrator. In your example you are citing the aggressor. If you say you aren’t shocked something bad happened to somebody, you are placing some blame on that person. Do you see the difference?

          • Robert Anthony Peters

            I understand what you are saying but I do not think that one inherently follows the other. Some jobs have inherently more risk than others. Therefore it is not surprising when bad things happen to these people. It is not necessarily blaming the victim. Systematic violators of people’s rights, even when given legal authority to do so, can expect that some people will not tolerate this behavior and will act against them. As I write this though, I am struck by how infrequent these kinds of attacks are against agents with authority like TSA, etc. So I guess, now I am quite shocked by who the victim was. I wonder if this makes my thoughts any more palatable since I still loathe the office of the victim.

          • spacepuppy

            Being allowed to fly from an airport, unsubject to security regulations is not a Constitutional Right, anymore than having a drivers license is. It is a privilege. Learn the difference.

          • Robert Anthony Peters

            I would reread that constitution if I were you, particularly Amendment IX that goes a little something like this, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” There is also the notion of natural rights that many subscribe to that you are born with freedom and it is not merely something to be parceled out by a government.

      • Rez™

        We do need a public discussion of why. Just like we needed – and didn’t have – a national discussion of what provoked September 11th. We know why it happened. We know because OBL spelled it out in a letter. But we (nationally speaking, not you and I) were told by the President and the VP and the administration and the military that they “hated our freedoms”. What an insult to add to injury.

        They used 9-11 to hasten the advancement of the police state. And we (nationally) nodded and looked the other way. The state will always capitalize on acts of violence. It’s its lingua franca.

      • spacepuppy

        So in effect you are being an apologist for Ciancia, even though you disagree with murder. Because he acted upon a shared minority political position with yours. So how many others that think like you do are considering murder? Because certainly you don’t understand that the every Constitutional Amendment has been subject to judicial interpretation throughout history, and there are various opinions on each one of them.

  • so gay


  • There are a lot of people talking about Cianca being a “nutjob” or other such pejoratives for people with mental illness. First of all we shouldn’t be assuming that if someone has a different set of morals or priorities then us that they are automatically mentally ill. Similarly this kind of language is really unfair to people who are suffering from mental illness and reinforces the negative stigma that they already face.

  • gaylord perry

    super fucking gay

  • Lee Ward

    Wow, that’s a whole lot of crazy there. You know the Nazis justified their actions by blaming their victims, too.

    • I’ve responded to this earlier, but I’ll paste the comment here:

      Saying Hernandez was not guiltless and that he had it coming/deserved to get shot are two very different ideas, and I only subscribe to the former. Hernandez was guilty of violating the 4th, but I certainly don’t believe he deserved/should have expected to get assassinated for it.

      • Lee Ward

        And still the Nazis justified their actions by blaming their victims, too. Hernandez was guilty of nothing more than working to support his family same as any Jew in Hitler’s Germany. And the really crazy part is you keep trying to justify your opinion of “it’s ok to kill an innocent if it makes a point”. Screw Hernandez’s family, let’s stick it to the g’men. SMH

        • Actually, if you read my article, you’d see I never supported Ciancia or ever killing people. From the article:

          “Now, I’m not saying what Ciancia did was heroic—not by any stretch. Violence against unarmed people is never the answer. It would not surprise me if Ciancia’s actions only lead to a heightened police state; by no means do I support what he did.”

          • Lee Ward

            Still you’re message is because of his job, Hernandez got what he deserved. How is being shot to death getting what he deserved just because he was making $20 an hour checking to make sure passengers were not bringing arms onboard airplanes? Was there a secret line he was sending people to that put them on a train to a gas chamber somewhere that the rest of us don’t know about?
            Will security changes be made because of Ciancia’s despicable actions? Probably. Will it be to heighten the police state? No, it’s adding another layer to the security of the air transportation system in our country. When people circumvent the current in place security, putting masses in the line of danger the government is compelled to take steps to protect the innocent and the country’s infrastructure.
            Bottom line, if people didn’t walk in to airports, malls, schools with guns blazing security measures wouldn’t keep increasing.

          • No, that message is not at all attached to the piece. My post was about blowback; I am not surprised that a TSA agent was shot, but that does not mean I thought violence should happen or that Hernandez deserved to die.

            At no point did I compare Hernandez to Nazis either. In fact, the word “Nazi” does not appear once in my post. But even if I did, you seem to be making the fallacious comparison that if someone is a Nazi, they deserve to be shot and killed. I certainly don’t tow that line; I think the witch hunts in Latin America are unjust and should not be continued.

            I think it’s important to consider why people “walk in to airports, malls, schools with guns blazing.” And that was what this post was about. They are being provoked. But I also expect these people to act like adults; there is never a reason to shoot unarmed people in a fight for justice (good lord). Nevertheless, it’s important to also consider what is provoking them.

          • Jim Wright/Stonekettle Station

            In fact, the word “Nazi” does not appear once in my post.

            Talk about complete and utter disingenuous nonsense.

            As a Jew, I am consistently reminded of the Nuremberg Trials. Those who slaughtered the Jews in the Holocaust were “just following orders,” but that did not mean that they were any less accountable

            If you’re not talking about Nazis, who exactly are you talking about?

            If you can’t even admit that you were in point of fact comparing TSA (and by extension the US Government) to the Nazis, when it’s obvious that you very clearly and directly are, why then should anybody believe the rest of your denials and rationalizations?

            And that was what this post was about. They are being provoked.

            As a writer, you fail at both logic and integrity so utterly that it boggles the mind.

          • al·le·go·ry
            noun: allegory; plural noun: allegories

            a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.

          • Lee Ward

            There was a hidden meaning in your blog post? Seemed pretty clear – Ciancia murdered one, injured others and doesn’t like the TSA because they’re like “those who slaughtered the Jews…” Did I miss something else?

          • Lee Ward

            Did you come right out and say “Nazi”? No, but who are you referring to in this statement:

            Those who slaughtered the Jews in the Holocaust were “just following orders,”

            In my original comment I was not saying if someone is a Nazi, they deserve to be shot and killed and I was in no way equating Hernandez to Nazis. On the contrary, my point was blaming the victim(s) was a tactic of “those who slaughtered the Jews”. In this incident Hernandez is clearly the victim and blaming him for getting shot because he was an agent of the government is taking a page from “those who slaughtered the Jews”.

            Personally, I am surprised and shocked that someone shot a TSA agent in cold blood. Exactly how was Ciancia being provoked by the TSA? Was he a detained traveler who missed his flight? Was he placed on a “No Fly” list? Was he inappropriately touched during a frisk by an over zealous TSA agent?

          • spacepuppy

            Unjust Witch hunts for Nazis in South America. That’s a good one Rachel. Those poor poor old Nazis. Maybe you can help them out by sending them canned goods.

  • RavenOnTheHill

    (In passing)
    If the country is saturated with ideas like “Taking up arms against an authoritarian government is a moral thing” and “The US government is authoritarian,” then sooner or later some crazy person is going to put the two together and do something crazy like bomb the Murrah building or shoot TSA agents.

    Libertarian rhetoric like yours is part of what creates Ciancias.

    Absolutism in self-defense is part of why we have a TSA. It was not enough to do what every European airline has done since the 1980s and reinforce cockpit doors. To defend ourselves against the threat of terrorism we must search every passenger and every piece of luggage and never mind that this probably won’t do the job and that it tramples every travelers civil rights.

    It is all, in the end, rationalized panic. And libertarians are helping to spread it.

    • Hi RavenOnTheHill, thanks for commenting.

      While I do believe that you should be able to defend your rights (ex: if someone breaks into your home, you should be able to defend your property), I don’t think that “Taking up arms against an authoritarian government is a moral thing.” To defend yourself, in my opinion, is morally neutral: not morally good, not morally bad. Coercion met with coercion does not necessitate moral high ground—ethics is more complicated than that.

      Ciancia was not defending himself though—there was no agent in his pants, there was no one rooting through his luggage. Ciancia, in my opinion, was a murderer, a man acting in misguided revenge against a growing police state. Right wing (and left wing) terrorism is sadly nothing new.

      I think that the TSA is nothing more than rationalized panic. Coordinating a successful terrorist attack—especially at the scale seen at 9/11—takes a lot of money, foresight, and luck. That’s why the TSA hasn’t caught that many terrorists (there just aren’t many). If the TSA didn’t exist, then airlines probably would have boosted up their own security measures at the threat of losing their planes and company credibility—or not; it’s their company and their decision how to spend their money.

      As much as I’m not crazy about the United States government, the US is far from authoritarian. I can’t stand the term “patriot;” “patriotism” or “jingoism” has created so much terrorism and violence throughout history.

      “Libertarian rhetoric like yours is part of what creates Ciancias.” Is it in the same way that Marilyn Manson is responsible for Columbine? At no point in any of my articles (in the history of my writing) do I ever say it’s good to shoot unarmed people, murder government officials, or start a violent revolution. My readers, in my experience, tend to be very intelligent and subscribe to the Non-Aggression Principle (us libertarians are pretty darned peace-loving); I haven’t had a comment or email that has suggested otherwise. I really don’t think political commentators are to blame for violence in this country.

  • spacepuppy

    wow, this author is insane. Comparing those whom protect us from terrorists with Nazis. Sorry lady, you can’t justify murder, nor tell me that you are the arbiter for which laws are right or wrong from your political view, because mine disagree with yours, and I’m every bit as American and Jewish as you are.

  • stalked562

    Was Ciancia the victim of Government Sponsored Organized Stalking?