Despite vindication, Ed Norris remains locked out of the fight – at what cost?
By Kevin Fontaine
With an Afterword by Ed Norris
Copyright 2011 by Kevin Fontaine
On a balmy December Sunday afternoon in 2010, Ed Norris, former Baltimore Police Commissioner, is flying back to Charm City after witnessing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23-20 loss to the vastly improved Detroit Lions. As Norris places his carry-on onto the conveyor belt to get through airport security, a TSA employee, an older man, asks him if he’s willing to walk into the open-ended stainless steel cylinder, raise his arms in surrender, and submit to a body scan. Norris knows it’ll delay him but he refuses. “I’m not breakin’ your balls. I was on the job for over 20 years,” Norris tells the man, “I won’t do the scan.” After the pat down and crotch rub, the TSA clears him.
He stops to eat at Sam Snead’s Tavern. The waitress brings a five-inch serrated steak knife with his dinner. He almost can’t believe it. I just went through security, he thinks, and now I’m given a knife. I could slip it into my carry-on and take it as a weapon onto the plane. So what are we doin’? Are we takin’ this seriously or are we puttin’ on theatre for people? The TSA’s a colossal waste of money; Al-Qaeda’s probably through with aviation. They could just go to a WalMart, buy ten rifles and open up on school yards around America. It’d shut the country down.
On weekdays, Norris spends his mornings under headphones anchored to the console of one of the tomb-like studios of 105.7-FM The Fan. He’s 50 years old and stands only 5’9”, but his shaved head and bulky mass, squeezed within a compact frame creates an intimidating impression, the sense that he could lift you by the collar and toss you through a wall.