Devil’s Advocate: Real dangers still exist in the air

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


According to the recent statement from Transportation Security Administration head John Pistole, airplane security will now allow small knives in carry-on luggage starting April 25. Yet in a post-9/11 world, this could be a poor choice for safety concerned citizens.

While the report also mentioned that the airplane cockpit will have reinforced doors—which would keep a knife wielding individual or any individual from forcing their way into the cockpit—and that certain blades will still be prohibited, I believe that the presence of a knife could be harmful for passengers and further disrupt the notion of safe air travel.

Some would note that these small knives, which are restricted to a size of 2.36 inches, pose less of a threat thanks to better safety restrictions. However, it was this type of lax thinking that allowed terrorists to hijack several airplanes on Sept. 11. When safety restrictions are not followed, people can and will get hurt either through an accident or through indented force.

The TSA’s decision is puzzling considering we live in a world where even the smallest breach in security could lead to an innocent person’s death. Yes, 9/11 was a long time ago and as a nation we should distance ourselves from overprotection, but the truth is that restrictions need to be enforced or else more people could be harmed in the future.

Even though the 9/11 hijackers used box cutters (which would still be prohibited on airplanes along with fixed blades, knives with a molded grip and blades wider than half an inch) a small pocket knife can still pierce a person’s skin and could be used to create a hostage situation. The danger of a stabbing weapon is still possible, even with a small pocket knife.

Regardless whether future terrorists may or may not be able to hijack or crash an airplane using pocket knives (due to better cockpit security), harm can still be done using a pocket knife and would therefore enforce the restriction of knives on a plane.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that air travel has become increasingly tense over the years; people are still racked with fears of hijackings, concealed bombs and lunatics armed with box cutters.

Restrictions are so intense that somehow baby formula and breast milk, along with any other liquid, must be in a container no larger than 3.4 ounces, for fear that that liquid could be used in the creation of a bomb.

Having a knife of any size on board a plane would just add to the fear that comes with air travel. It would be only a matter of time before someone attempts once again to harm another passenger on an airplane.

While the pilot and the course of the plane might remain unharmed and unchanged, the point of prohibiting dangerous weapons is meant to ensure the safety of passengers and crew. The thought of allowing small knives on a plane is completely counteractive to any notion of safety.

The concern is especially high with the Flight Attendants Union Coalition, since the risk of danger would be thrust upon passengers and crew members. The safety restrictions only seem to help the pilots and crew.

According to a recent Reuter’s article by Deborah Charles, the flight attendants union coalition see the new statement as a “poor and short sighted decision.”

“As the last line of defense in the cabin and key aviation partners, we believe that these proposed changes will further endanger the lives of all flight attendants and the passengers we work so hard to keep safe and secure,” the coalition said in a statement.

It would appear that the TSA, after years of poor press, are attempting to soothe the general public’s fears concerning air travel.

Yet, allowing dangerous weapons onboard a plane would do anything but cause relaxation amongst passengers and crew. These calls of concern from the airplane staff are concrete: Weapons have no place in the air, they will only cause panic.

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