With a forty-person line snaking behind me and only a single agent now checking documents, I felt guilty knowing other passengers were about to be delayed. I stepped forward. The agent warmly greeted me, then took my ticket and passport. She looked for the tell of how I was to be handled—is this person a dangerous terrorist? Is this person a security threat of some kind?

My security agent informed me of my unlucky pick of the random security straws, handed me the same half-sheet of paper, and instructed me that I should follow her. As I left, the man behind me—a friendly fellow American—asked what I’d done. I wanted to express my discomfort about his unfamiliarity with the process. I wanted to ask what he hadn’t been doing. I felt like a jerk. It felt like blame-shifting.