Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Knives Are No Longer Prohibited On Flights?

The Transportation Safety Administration recently announced that beginning in April, small pocket knives, with blades shorter than 2½ inches, will be allowed on flights in the United States.  They also will begin allowing golf clubs and souvenir baseball bats.  Still strictly prohibited, however, are regular size bottles of shampoo and other liquids and box cutters.   Huh?

The TSA says they are changing the rules because they find up to 67 pocket knives per day on passengers they screen and this will expedite processing of passengers.  Seriously?  67?  I can’t imagine the pressure that must put on those poor TSA agents.  Do they realize the average length of a box cutter blade is from ½ to 1 inch long?  Are box cutters prohibited because they’re sharper than a regular knife?  Any knife blade can be sharpened to the point where they’re almost as sharp as a razor.  And what if they found 67 firearms and homemade bombs per day?  Would they make them legal to save time and money?

The TSA also says that with a knife that small a hijacker wouldn’t be able to get through the locked door to the cockpit.  Hmmm.  So if he had a 4 or 5 inch blade he’d be able to break through the door?  Doubt it.  And if no one can break through the door and get to the pilots, and that’s the only worry of the TSA, then why prohibit any knives?  Is it because you can cut someone’s throat or deliver a fatal stab wound with a knife blade over 2½ inches but not with one under 2½ inches long?  I’d challenge you to talk to any maximum security inmate about that.

The Flight Attendants’ Union and airline workers unions have filed their disagreement with the TSA plan.  They believe it will put flight attendants and passengers in greater danger.  And that’s a reasonable belief.  Granted, the way airline passengers are these days anyone wielding a knife would eventually be taken down and restrained by other passengers but why give someone a weapon?  And are there still Air Marshals on airplanes?  You never hear about them.  Ninety-nine percent of the time, if there’s an incident on a plane it’s the passengers who take care of the problem.  Duct tape seems to be available on every plane these days!

So we’re now going to allow people to carry items that are currently classified as dangerous items but somehow, miraculously, in April those items will no longer be dangerous.  People will start carrying knives and golf clubs and bats on flights and, thanks to the sequester, according to Janet Napolitano, there will be less TSA agents screening people for those items.  That’s got to be comforting to frequent flyers.

I’m sure glad Arden and I enjoy driving places.  It’s not always convenient but at least I know what’s in my car and whether or not there are any weapons on board.  And since I only give rides to people I know and trust, I won’t have to search them before they get in the car.  

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