This may be a sign of the apocalypse, but I’m going to praise a government agency.
In the past, I’ve scorched the Transportation Security Administration for pointless and foolish “security theater.”
- I’ve commented on the TSA’s incompetence.
- I’ve shared some horror stories about TSA abuse.
- And I’ve posted many jokes about the Keystone Cops of airport security (for more laughs, see this, this, this, and this).
But I’m willing to admit when the government makes a wise decision (even if all they’re doing is reversing a previous dumb decision), and the TSA’s policy on pocket knives deserves some applause.
Here are some details from a CNN report.
The nation’s aviation security chief on Thursday defended his recent decision to again permit knives aboard commercial flights, despite concerns from major airlines and their flight crews, and sharp criticism from some members of Congress. …He said small knives no longer pose a threat to aircraft security, which now emphasizes bomb detection. “A small pocket knife is simply not going to result in the catastrophic failure of an aircraft and an improvised explosive device will,” he said. “And we know, from internal covert testing, searching for these items, which will not blow up an aircraft, can distract our officers from focusing on the components of an improvised explosive device.” Small knives were banned along with a host of other undersized sharp objects like nail clippers, screwdrivers and cosmetic scissors, following the 9/11 al Qaeda hijack attacks on the United States.
I’ll be particularly happy if the new policy allows softball bats, since I sometimes have to fly to out-of-town tournaments with my over-50 team.
The rules also allow passengers to carry up to two golf clubs, certain toy bats or other sports sticks — such as ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and pool cues — aboard in carry-on luggage.
For skeptics out there, here’s the simple reality. In the post-9/11 worlds, passengers will not allow dirtbags to take over a plane with small knives, golf clubs, or any of the items being allowed on planes.
The TSA is correct to focus on things that represent bigger real-world threats.
P.S. I should also applaud the TSA’s “pre-check” program. I’m actually at Dulles Airport right now, having breezed through the new screening process that allowed me to keep on my shoes and jacket and to keep my laptop in its bag.
P.P.S. To show that I’m not getting too soft in my old age, I still think the TSA is inefficient and incompetent, and I invite everyone to peruse this remarkable info-graphic.
P.P.P.S. And because I don’t think the government should discriminate (even when it’s discriminating in my favor), I still object to special checkpoint lines for frequent flyers and first class passengers.