The people who do the job of security as you enter a sporting event are not paid enough.

They usually don’t do it fulltime; there aren’t enough events.  So this is (probably) what they do after a regular job.

The training they get pales in comparison to the first responders who we celebrate regularly.

Because of what they do, the are the object of derision by fans who just want to see a game.

What they have to do, they have to do fast and efficiently.  And they usually have to do it with fans who aren’t exactly the model of efficiency and preparedness.

It is a thankless job.

But it’s the job that keeps what happened on Monday from happening in so many more places.

Let’s face it, sporting events are, in many ways, an ideal terrorist target.  It’s a high concentration of people, in a difficult to secure environment.  They are often derided as an example of greed and consumption of the American (or even Western) culture.  And they are in a place where there would likely be a lot of video of the even to be repeated ad nauseum on news, social networks and Youtube.

But even if the people who check bags and wand us have never found an actual firearm or explosive, their simple presence is a deterrent from people trying to bring those things to a ballpark, stadium or an arena.

It’s not enough.  At AT&T Park, I often worry about the places where you don’t have that security.  I’ve heard that they think the explosives in Boston were placed in garbage cans (although that still seems to be speculation).  How many of those are around the ballpark?  What about fans walking along the portwalk, or heaven forbid, those that come into McCovey Cove on boats?  It would be next to impossible to secure all of that.

And certainly, there are cracks.  And we’d all like it to be faster, and easier.  No one likes intrusions in what they’re trying to do, no matter how safe or innocent.  Are there ways to improve the process, make it faster or better or safer?  Absolutely.

But we have to remember that however imperfect the process is, it’s better to have it and suffer through it.

In my “real” job when I’m not writing and posting comics, I help teach people how to use their computers and mobile devices.  The subject of online security comes up often, with a lot of people confused about it, frustrated by what they have to do, and believing a lot of incorrect (or outdated) things about it.  But they are especially frustrated by it all.  What I tell them is that you are only as secure as you take it seriously, and that in the end, your security is as much your own responsibility as anyone else’s.

I tell them, it’s like you have a slider bar in your settings, and at one end is “Secure”, and at the other is “Convenience”.  You can slide towards one end, but then you’ll lose the other.  There is no alternative.  And it’s true in real life, too.

So the next time you’re at the park, thank the men and women who make your life a little less convenient.  It’s a job they cannot be thanked enough for doing.