Chief of the Transportation Security Administration, Rear Adm. David Stone, spoke to a full house at AOPA Expo 2004 in Long Beach Friday morning in what was a sometimes optimism-inspiring, sometimes contentious interaction with some of the people most directly affected by his agency's actions -- us, the pilots. Appearing as both the gentleman and politician (insofar as that is possible) Stone was in the end sent on his way by a standing ovation. The act seemed either a reflection of patriotism, respect for a good man in a difficult job ... or people so anxious to leave they simply got up while politely applauding. (Put money on A or B.) The reaction was at least warranted by Stone's steady and careful response to a barrage of post-speech questions, which are perhaps best paraphrased by, "Why are you doing this to us, what did we ever do to anyone?" Generally, Stone met that tone with the message that his charge is the safety of our country, his intent is to fulfill that task, and his determination is to seek cooperation and partnership with affected parties. Stone's conviction was that those relationships will be the ones to ensure that our freedoms are not compromised -- neither our safety. Moreover, authorities -- in this case, Stone working together with folks like AOPA President Phil Boyer -- are sending the message that they are now working hard to make right what sweeping measures, by their sheer breadth, have made wrong.