All my luggage was secured with TSA-approved locks. The damaged zipper was secured with a TSA-approved combination lock. The contents in the compartment which were secured with the damaged zipper were all intact; it looks to me like TSA fucked up my suitcase. Whom do I sue? Particularly since it was a TSA-approved lock which they could have opened with a key?
The other front compartment had been opened and improperly secured--the lock was dangling from one zipper/shuttle/thingy--and some of the contents of the upper compartment had been stowed in there.
I do think TSA is behind this stupidity, and not American Airlines. I'm willing to bet that TSA fucked up my luggage. According to the AA representative who called bare minutes after my lost suitcase was delivered, the large bag had been "delayed" at Los Angeles and sent to Chicago-O'Hare on the first possible flight. To me, that says "TSA is a bunch of incompetent thugs and goons".
Anyway, the important thing is that I have all my stuff. So the one thing that marred my trip has been--at least mostly--remedied.
I'm not really angry about the damage; the suitcase is usable and I can handle losing the use of the small front compartment--it will zip shut, just not conveniently and I can't lock it--and the seriously damaged suitcase is being repaired or replaced, which is fine. And I didn't lose anything.
This kind of stuff happens. That's really just about all you can say; nothing on this Earth is perfect and there will always be problems and errors. This time it happened to me, and the loss is small enough that I can shrug philosophically and remind myself that this is the first time I've ever had any trouble with airline travel. (Not that I fly a lot, of course.) The inconvenience was minor even at worst.
Still, I expect to travel lighter on my next trip to the Philippines. Maybe that will help.