As I noted last night the TSA has decided to reverse its decision allowing knives under 2.36″ in length onto planes. Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass), a vocal critic of the change, unintentionally yet clearly points to the pointlessness of such a prohibition.
“This smart decision by the TSA to delay their knife policy is a victory for the passengers, pilots, flight attendants and law enforcement officers who would have immediately been at risk of a knife attack,” Markey said “People with radical ideas can use everyday objects to cause great harm. If there is an opportunity to decrease risks to Americans, we have a duty to protect our citizens and disallow knives from being taken onto planes.”
As rational people already realize, virtually any object of sufficient hardness or sharpness can be used as an improvised weapon. With a little time and effort, many objects that can be purchased on the “secure” side of a TSA checkpoint can be modified into an astonishing array of weapons.
The major reason the 9/11 attacks were “successful” was that with the exception of the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania, the passengers followed the existing script and didn’t resist. But the flight 93 passengers heroically demonstrated, and as other passengers have demonstrated time and again in dealing with subsequent disturbances, fighting back can overpower terrorists, crazies, drunks, or whomever wants to harm people on an airplane.
While those on flight 93 gave their lives in the effort, proactive steps such as hardening cockpits would make such an outcome remote in the future. In his remarks announcing the relaxation of knife rules, TSA Administrator Pistole:
“(Acknowledged) that such knives could cause injury or even death to individuals in the cabin, Pistole said that, since the advent of reinforced cockpit doors and other precautions following 9/11, small knives did not pose a “catastrophic” threat to the entire aircraft. Striking them from the prohibited items list, Pistole said, would free screeners to focus on catastrophic threats, and would bring U.S. regulations in line with those in Europe.
So in other words, we are less safe as a result of the ban since screeners are wasting time on insignificant threats, rather than focusing on the big ones. Thanks Congressman Markey.