Devil’s Advocate: Lightened security marks a return to normalcy

In Devil's Advocate, Opinion
Courtesy of MCT
Courtesy of MCT

After the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) released a statement they would to now allow certain small pocket knives onboard airplanes, passengers and flight attendants alike have reacted with nothing short of disbelief. It’s been a long and hard battle for airport security since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 to let passengers pass security gates unchecked with so much as a water bottle.

The official statement released by TSA reads coming April 25, “Knives with blades that are 2.36 inches (6 centimeters) or shorter and less than a 1/2 inch wide will be permitted on U.S. airline flights as long as the blade is not fixed or does not lock into place.”

Other sharp objects, such as box cutters, will still be disallowed on planes. Some sporting equipment including hockey sticks, golf clubs and baseball bats will also be permitted.

Over reactions are running amuck since this announcement. The ban that initially kept all forms of stick-shaped weaponry was understandable post 9/11, but almost twelve years down the road, it seems to have only added to America’s paranoia. This new lift on a long-term regulation is one miniscule step towards normalcy.

After 9/11, I understand the fear and paranoia in targeted areas like an airport, but for a petite young woman like myself to travel alone without so much as a nail file to protect me was a little over the top. A two-inch knife, I’m sure, serves just as much of a threat as a 185-pound man with a body fat percentage of two; people themselves are sometimes more dangerous than the weapon they carry.

Since the events of 2001, technology and security mechanisms have evolved to see passed the danger of small knives and into the bigger-picture of circumstantial jeopardies.

TSA’s spokesman, David Castelveter, told Reuters, “The TSA had implemented a number of safety measures, including reinforced cockpit doors, allowing some pilots to be armed and federal air marshals on board airplanes.”

Castelveter added these decisions were made with safety of crew and passengers at the forefront.

The possession of a personal pocketknife, in particular, has forever been legal to carry on your person as an alternative to a handgun and permit. As somewhere so trivial as on airplane, transitioning between nations, we still hold our individual rights as American citizens.

Not to mention, this change in regulations does not mean that everyone will walk on board with a knife in hand. It does not mean that airport security has become lenient and overly lax, nor does it mean that they will strip search each passenger to ensure that nothing else but a 2.36 inch knife, less than a half-inch in width will pass through to the gates.

Technology and security mechanisms have changed immensely over the years, focusing primarily on threatening issues such as security breaches targeted specifically at airports, to lead TSA to confidently believe that this new move to allow knives is indeed okay.

However, it may be reasonable to react alarmingly as many already have, but there is no reason not to consider the possibility of Americans trusting the safety of their country once again. Twelve years is a long time to recognize most every angle of danger that this slight alteration can lead to.

Castelveter said, “the decision was made to bring U.S. regulations more in line with International Civil Aviation Organization standards and would also help provide a better experience for travelers.”

TSA, under heavy pressures as a strong representation of national security, clearly work with the passenger in mind. Capt. Sean Cassidy, first vice president of the Air Line Pilots Association International, said, perhaps summarized it best to CNN: “risk-based security benefits the industry, the airlines and travelers.”

This might be perceived as a risk, but months and years down the line this new regulation will become just as much normal as it was when these same knives were banned after 9/11.

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