Thursday, March 7, 2013

Suddenly Knives Are OK On Planes....?

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 – the weapon of choice on 9-11-01.  Imagine that.

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 and save money.  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. 

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’t cut someone’s throat or deliver a fatal stab wound with a knife blade under 2½ inches long?  I’d challenge you to talk to any maximum security inmate about that.

These new rules are set to begin in April.  So today a small pocket knife is still illegal to carry but miraculously, on that day in April, those knives will no longer be dangerous.  TSA says they’ll be saving money by doing this and, with the sequester in place, they need that money.  Maybe because the day after the sequester went into effect TSA spent $50 million on new uniforms for their staff.  But they’ll be furloughing staff soon.  Maybe they should have kept that money around for salaries….?

Flight Attendants’ and airline employees’ unions are already protesting this change saying it will put them and the passengers in more danger.  Regardless of the size of the knife blade or the length of the bat, the more access passengers have to weapons on board the plane the more likely it is that someone will get hurt.  Despite what the TSA says I’m having difficulty understanding why this change was necessary.  I hope it doesn’t lead to a catastrophe in the future.

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