Last week, TSA, in its never-ending quest to make air travel more complicated and arbitrary, decided to allow small knives back on planes. Apparently, this is controversial. But as I see it, the only real controversy is why they are only lifting the ban on small knives.
I realize that talking sensibly about terror threats is considered insensitive. We’re all supposed to be in a constant mindset of PANIC!! But let’s be honest: the big security loophole that was exploited on 9/11 was not knives. The security loophole was the policy of cooperating with hijackers, a policy the passengers of United 93 ended heroically and permanently. With a locked cabin and a policy of never cooperating with hijackers, the chance of another 9/11 is low whether the hijackers show up with small knives, big knives, Swiss Army Knives, machetes or nothing but their small swinging dicks. A hijacker armed with a knife could kill some folk (before likely being beaten to death by the passengers). But I think our efforts would be better directed toward keeping hijackers off planes rather than knives. The focus on knives is just an extension of our national dementia on weapons as evil talismans that cause death and destruction all by themselves.
Of course, even this baby step toward sensibile screening policy has to come with a passel of TSA bullshit. Knives are limited to 6 cm in length. Knives with molded grips or locking blades — assault knives, I guess — are still banned. Moreover, they are continuing a ban on boxcutters and razors for “emotional” reasons since obviously the sight of a razor blade would reduce the American passenger — the passenger who, you may remember, actually fought back on 9/11 — to weeping hysteria. So stand by for TSA lines to get longer as they puzzle out whether a blade is allowed or not.