The Transportation Security Administration has recently issued a new flight rule, one that is intended to take effect April 25, 2013 according to CNN Travel News. What could it be this time? Are we not allowed to take pens or pencils on a plane? Decreasing the liquid amount again? None of the above. Passengers are now allowed to carry small knives on board. They are also pushing to allow sports implements such as golf clubs and lacrosse sticks. It seems a little ridiculous to me. TSA has given their reasons, but the new rule has been causing quite an outrage to people everywhere.
For years, TSA has been criticized by foreign airlines and the American public for prohibiting the smallest of threats, and spending time at security screening on large electronics and shoes. According to the News Observer, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer claims to “hear outcries from passengers about this…” holding up a shampoo bottle, “but almost no one has called my office and said why can’t I bring a sharp knife on an airplane.” I’d have to agree with him. What could the possible benefits be for passengers now being able to carry a pocket knife? Knives kill people; shampoo bottles don’t.
According to Aviation International News Online, the official rules that would be passed would allow passengers to carry knives with blades shorter than 2.36 inches and narrower than half an inch, as long as they don’t have lockable blades. The existing rules prohibit most sharp objects, with the exception of scissors that are four or fewer inches in length, and also sports equipment.
TSA’s reasoning is that knives can no longer bring down an airplane. The belief is that checking for knives and other sharp objects during security clearings wastes time and money for airlines everywhere. TSA claims that this is part of a “risk-based security approach,” which will allow transportation security officers to give more of their effort to searching out and finding higher-threat items such as explosives, according to the TSA website. This is why the 3.4 oz or less liquid rule still remains in place. Because who really knows what is inside of that snow globe in the bag of the person sitting next to you.
Yet, what about the flight attendants and air marshals? These are the people that really stand a greater chance at being injured by some nut aboard an aircraft. From an interview with CNN Travel, former TSA chief, Kip Hawley stated, “You cannot necessarily prevent violence on an airplane, but that is not the TSA’s mission. TSA’s mission is to prevent a successful, catastrophic terrorist attack, and you cannot get a successful, catastrophic terrorist attack with a small knife or a Wiffle ball bat.” So by allowing knives, TSA is still technically doing its job; it just happens to be at the cost of a greater risk of innocent people being injured. You know, because you can’t “necessarily prevent violence.”
I feel like this is all a big waste of time and money. Where is the point in changing a rule the public has already gotten used to and has no problem following? Most people understand why knives should not be tolerated in a confined space, thousands of feet in the air. I can see some might agree with TSA for allowing sports equipment, but I can’t really find any reason for having a knife on a plane. Besides convenience, it’s not like someone would have much use for it. It puts the people who work for airlines at a very unnecessary risk, as well as the passengers. After all the hell being raised about gun abuse, and after what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary, one would think the timing for this proposal is way off. What is stopping some insane person from boarding an aircraft and stabbing everyone inside? If preventing violence is not TSA’s job, then whose is it? Until someone figures that out, they need to stop worrying about convenience and start worrying about public safety.