Pocket Knives are Cool to Fly, but the TSA Will Still Confiscate Liquids
This is one of those times when we really pity TSA. The airport security agency just can't win. Yesterday TSA officials announced that they were going to start allowing small - very, very small - pocket knives on board airplanes. One would think that the announcement would have been celebrated, since tiny knives that people forget they're carrying constantly slow down TSA lines. The new rules sound exactly like the common sense regulations everyone claims to want.
Instead the agency was immediately criticized by flight attendants and 9/11 families for endangering passengers. 6cm long, 1/2 inch wide blades were indistinguishable from box cutters, we were told. A popular political satire site ran a headline saying that TSA had been praised by the "National Arbitrariness Association," which as near as we can tell mocked TSA basically just for making a decision about something.
It's not that TSA announcements draw praise from some people and criticism from others. It's that they only draw criticism, while people who agree with a new rule or decision sulk silently and wait for the next time that they can disagree with something. This is why we can't have a sane debate about establishing a half-sane airport security regime.
Anyway, the rules are set to take effect April 25th. Passengers will now be allowed to carry on small knives as long as those knives don't have fixed blades, locking mechanisms, or molded grips. They'll also be able to carry sporting goods like golf clubs (a maximum of two), hockey sticks, wiffle ball bats, pool cues, ski poles, lacrosse sticks, and novelty baseball bats less than 24 inches or less than 24 ounces. The explanation on the knife rules is here and the list of permitted sporting goods is here.
Here's a news report cataloging some of the outraged outrage:
[Photo: ABC News]