Coming home to America from Europe this past week was a real eye opener. It has been a few years since I have done any international travel but the fortress America feel at the airports (both overseas and stateside) was insane and way over the top in my view. The aggressiveness and bullying from some involved from the American side was ugly and uncalled for. Of course this was not true of most and I intend no disrespect to the TSA or any other law enforcement officials. In the task of border control they are asked to do a difficult and mostly thankless task. That does not absolve them of all responsibility however for their behaviors, attitudes, and instructions which were in turns threatening, intimidating, and worse still confusing at various points in the process. Moreover, the number of checks and rechecks of the same documents did not inspire a feeling a safety but rather the exact opposite. I am no security expert, and I understand there is value in redundancy, but in this case it left me concerned for the reliability and competence of all involved. Three different people checking the same thing suggests a total lack of confidence in the people and the system. I have little doubt the employees involved feel a similar lack of trust and belief in their abilities which has to be a drag on overall morale. It is important to note that my view is that of an American Citizen with TSA Global entry pre-clearance status so I can’t even imagine how befuddling and intimidating the whole thing must be for a foreigner with a poor grasp of the language. I have to believe it is possible to be secure and safe and at the same time polite and inviting. These things are not mutually exclusive in any way. I would argue that the importance of maintaining politeness, warmth, and civility is directly proportional to the increase in security measures deployed. Mostly, somebody needs to step up and show some level of trust in the people charged with enforcing the security and safety of our borders. Demoralized and unmotivated people is one way we know security breakdowns can and do happen.