Recently, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) revised regulations to allow small pocket knives to be carried onto airplanes, effective April 25.
Under the new rules, knives with blades no longer than 2.36" or 6 cm and less than a half-inch wide will be allowed in airline cabins as long as the blade is retractable and does not lock into place. While razor blades and box cutters are still prohibited, this will be the first time such items will be allowed on board since security measures were heightened following the Sept. 11th attacks.
Congress is threatening action over the TSA's controversial decision. New York Senator Charles Schumer says if the TSA does not reinstate the ban on small knives, he will author legislation to force them to do so.
Delta Airlines CEO Richard Anderson also opposes the TSA's decision, saying in a statement: "These items have been banned for more than 11 years and will add little value to the customer security process flow in relation to the additional risk for our cabin staff and customers."
Sara Nelson, vice president of the Association of Flight Attendants International, joins "Starting Point" to explain why the association is also against the TSA's decision.
Nelson says flight attendants are responsible for deescalating and containing problems that happen on a daily basis on board, and opposes the ruling for potentially bringing in more danger and complicating that responsibility.
“What the TSA is saying is that security stops at the cockpit door," She says. "That doesn't sit well with the flight attendants who are first responders on board and the last line of defense, or any of the passengers who are in our care.”
“Introducing weapons into that scenario just doesn't make sense,” she adds.
The AFA has started a petition to stop the TSA policy, and invite people to sign it at noknivesonplanes.com
Though I don't relish the thought of having to sit in front of a crazy person on an airplane, I'd much rather he or she had a little Swiss Army pocket gadget attached to a keychain than a mechanical pencil or dental floss or a screwdriver or pointy scissors. The TSA and so many others for too long have demonized what in the grand scheme of things is a pretty harmless tool. Yesterday, when I mentioned the proposed lifting of the pocket knife ban, as has happened virtually every time I've mentioned the ban on knives since 9/11, someone pulled out a mechanical pencil and just shook his head.
Little pocket knives with non-locking blades are too small to grip in your hand. If you try to stab something with them the blade is just going to fold in and cut off your fingers. In short, there are much more effective weapons already being allowed on airplanes. I'm typing this on a laptop computer. Have you seen the batteries these laptops have? They'd make terrifingly horrible clubs.
Let's get rid of the arbitrary, "window-dressing" security rules. Clearly, if someone was worried about being stabbed by something a passenger carried on board, mechanical pencils wouldn't be allowed.
The overwhelming vast majority of us just want to get to Pittsburgh (or Newark, or Salt Lake City, or wherever). Since 9/11, I think it's pretty clear that we're going to pummel anyone, regardless of what they've brought on board, who doesn't have the same destination in mind.
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