Which witch?

Moving with the utmost of caution, the first question to be answered in weighing two witches is “How best to proceed?”  The answer, of course, is “Very carefully!”

Comparing two self-confessed witches, one must admit that the witch
employed by the Transportation Security Administration could potentially wreak untold havoc on the world’s air travel.  Witch #1, an employee of the TSA at the Albany International Airport in upstate New York, is in a sensitive position, as compared with Witch #2, who was a lowly graduate student learning how to perform rehab without incantations.  But the readers should judge for themselves.

According to National Review (April 18, 2011):
“Employee X tells her manager that employee W is a witch who has put a spell on her. To be precise, W’s hex caused the heater of X’s car to malfunction. What action should the manager take, other than of course to acquire for himself a protective garlic necklace and silver crucifix? Managers for the Transportation Security Administration at Albany International Airport in upstate New York fired—no, not burned, only terminated—the witch, one Carole A. Smith, who indeed describes herself as a proud Wiccan. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is on the case. No doubt they will, after mighty legal labors, restore Ms. Smith to her former position, if a house doesn’t fall on her first. Calls for a new broom at the Albany TSA office have so far gone unheeded.”

In defense of the TSA manager, one must entertain the consequence of Witch #1 casting spells on passing pilots, airplane maintenance crews, or on the airplanes directly.  An ability to disable another’s heater could just as easily disable an emergency exit or an oxygen generator.  We may all be fortunate that such an incident has not already occurred, unless it was the oxygen generator fire that brought down Value Jet Airlines flight 592 in the Everglades.  The TSA may actually be onto something here!

Before Dorothy entered the Land of Oz, little thought was given to the possibility that witches actually came in two distinct categories, good and evil.  It is possible that the TSA has ample evidence on Witch #1, Carole A. Smith, a former employee, and that the evidence places Ms. Smith into the evil class, hence her being burned at the stake.  One might question whether she was granted an opportunity to defend her incantation. Perhaps disabling a fellow employee’s heater was fully justified!!

The TSA’s handling of this affair is light-years removed from the more enlightened handling of a lowly graduate student in rehab some 20 years earlier than this most recent incident.

Gladly comparing apples and oranges, Witch #2 was encountered among the many illustrious classes of graduate students in rehab at the University of Georgia.  She proudly proclaimed membership in an Atlanta Wiccan before her classmates and the professor in charge.  Generally she refrained from public pronouncements of her abilities.  Early on we had no basis on which to conclude that she was of the good or evil varieties.  Here we are no longer weighing two witches, but weighing a single witch based upon her works.

As the days, weeks, and months passed, it became quite clear that Witch #2 was, on balance, far more good than evil.  Throughout this extended watch it was determined that she had not placed an incantation or evil spell on any of her fellow students.  It was equivocal, however, whether she had hexed one or more of the faculty, as several of them appeared to wander aimlessly throughout the hallowed halls, and rambled incessantly on topics unrelated to their course descriptions.  Throughout this extended watch, it was necessary to keep a bucket of water handy, should our judgment prove to be faulty.

To reconcile her good will toward the faculty, she was one of the few students to visit the wife of a faculty member following serious surgery, and presented a sheer negligee as a get well gift.  Only a good witch would proceed with such confidence.  She was showered with honors for “sucking-up” to the faculty wife with such kindness.  Every indication was that she would serve handicapped adults with a high level of empathy and understanding, being one of them.

Given these two case histories, which handling of which witch would you say would best satisfy the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission?
Witch #1, or Witch #2.
Which Witch?

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