Who thinks what we need in the air is more weapons easily available for stressed, compressed, frustrated, tired, sometimes tipsy travelers? What could possibly go wrong? Sure, the vast majority of Americans would be responsible but flight attendants say they deal with unruly passengers every day and they’re rightly protesting this boneheaded change as is the Federal law enforcement officers association. And how long until the NRA says “Hey, air travelers being unarmed is a threat to their civil liberties?”
Most of the TSA’s policy change makes sense. You’ll be able to bring on board souvenir baseball bats, lacrosse sticks, hockey sticks, pool cues and golf clubs but still no box cutters, razor blades or knives that don’t fold. Also no water from outside because… stuff. Some said the change to allow small pocket knives comes because they’re not dangerous. Oh. Others said small knives are hard for the TSA to detect so allowing them lowers the TSA’s failure rate. Oh! That, boys and girls, is what you call moving the goal posts.
Look, the TSA’s job is to make us safer and this doesn’t do that and frankly it contributes to my sense that they’re doing a sort of kabuki theater or security theater. The FAA is also not keeping us safer with the absurd continuation of the anachronistic ban on using electronic devices during takeoff and landing. Why can I read a book but not an e-reader? Because it emits electrodes. Ok but scientists have demonstrated repeatedly that the electronic emissions from our devices is so minimal that it can’t possibly have an impact. Perpetuating this irrational fear only adds to the tension in the plane.
In 2010 on a flight to Boise a 68 year old man named Russell Martin punched a 15 year old in the arm after the kid refused to turn off his device. Martin told the arresting officer that he felt he was protecting the entire plane. He wasn’t. Thankfully he didn’t have a small knife with which to shank the boy into submission aka human airplane mode. But next time you fly the unfriendly skies just know the person next to you may be armed and irrationally afraid. Have a nice flight.