Ever since the 9/11 attacks, the federal government has increased the safety and security measures of allcommercial flights, creating the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) thefollowing November.
But on Wednesday, TSAofficials announced they were loosening the restrictions of their prohibited items list to allow small knives that do not exceed six centimeters in length, and half an inch in width in carry-on luggage as long as they do not have a locking mechanism. The changes, due to begin April 25, will even permit smallnovelty bats, hockey and lacrosse sticks, and a limited number of golf clubs.
In a statement released on the TSA website, theagency said this came as part of an overall Risk-Based Security approach, which allows Transportation Security Officers to better focus their efforts on finding higher threat items such as explosives.
Though the TSA has ensured that the deregulation of the prohibited items list will not hinder their mission to ensure airline safety, thereasoning behind the changes isunsettling and defies anyprinciple of logic. The 9/11 terrorists used small knives and box cutters to gaincontrol of each one of the planes. According to the New York Times, 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammed told interrogators that the hijackers were trained with small pocket knives that the TSA now wants to allow on every plane.
Officials at the Federal Air Marshal Service, the Association of Flight Attendants and the Federal Aviation Administration have already renounced the measure.
The TSA has been the butt of many jokes regarding the perceived arbitrary nature of some of their procedures. From mandatory pat-downs to full body scanners and banning water bottles, the process can seem a little much at times, but when one is about to be propelled 40,000 feet into the air in an enclosed space with hundreds of people in it, safety is important.
The TSA does not exist to upset people or make them late for their flights. Small knives and box cutters were banned from flights because that was what the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks used.
As much as the TSA is mocked, the agency is one of the only safeguards against the recurrence of one of the worst terrorist attacks in world history.
Knives and sports equipment of any shape or size have no place in the cabin of any airplane, and the TSA and everyone flying in America need to remember that.