Sorry, Change.org, I’m Not On Board

tsa KnivesGot an intense email about a Change.org petition

TSA: DO NOT allow knives on airplanes!

… to stop the TSA from allowing pocketknives on planes.

Ian Funderberg’s petition says:

“I am a flight attendant and this news outrages me: the Transportation Security Administration just announced rollbacks of security rules — allowing pocket knives to be carried on US planes, starting April 25. This policy would affect the safety and well-being of FLIGHT CREWS and PASSENGERS. This decision must be reversed to protect EVERYONE.”

Here’s the money quote from the petition:

… this is so sickening and unacceptable. One of my dear friends, had her throat slit with a knife on flight 93!! How dare you put all us flight attendants back into danger by allowing knives back on the airplanes??? This is despicable that you would do this..it will make our airplanes less safe, and we want to have you reconsider this and throw it out. NO KNIVES and or any other weapons needed!!! PLEASE!

I’m definitely not making fun of this person who lost his/her dear friend. BUT …

I’ve carried a pocketknife since I was about 12 years old, and in all those years have completely failed to slit anybody’s throat with it. There are millions of us out here, billions of us, who didn’t kill that woman. The highest likelihood is that people will just … you know, be people. Exercising the minor right to carry a pocketknife, causing no harm to anybody.

Yes, it’s certainly possible that TERRORISTS WILL MENACE DEFENSELESS WOMEN AND CHILDREN AND MURDER EVERYBODY ABOARD.

But the “oh-my-god-safety” argument has no end. In this case, my own stopping point has been reached.

One of my Wise Old Sayings is the answer to the malignant question “If you’re not doing anything wrong, what do you have to be afraid of?” and it’s germane here:

“If you’re not doing anything wrong, why should you be treated like the shitbags who are?”

A pocketknife comes in handy more often than you think, and I want mine right there in my pocket.

I appreciate that others might feel differently, but damn … I’m tired of kowtowing to every argument that contains the word “terrorist” or “security” in it. Enough, already.

I’m not signing the petition, nor am I supporting it.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Seriously? The ban on sharp objects is one of the most sensible rules the TSA has! We’re taking off our damn shoes and belts just because one idiot made a shoe-bomb (hey, at least it wasn’t a tampon-bomb, think what unhinged rules THAT would have inspired), our shampoo samples risk being confiscated, and all our prescriptions are subject to inspection…so whose brilliant idea was it to relax the ban on KNIVES?

    The most ridiculous thing about this petition is that it’s even necessary.

  • rowanvt

    Really, Raging Bee? But they still allow pens and pencils in flight, and those could be more dangerous than a pocket knife because they’re longer.

    • Dan

      Ever try to slit a throat with a pencil? Good luck with that.

      • Eric Riley

        Doesn’t make pencils that much safer. Stab someone in the throat with just about anything and their day just turned real bad.

        Speaking of which – ever try slitting a throat with a pocketknife? Nor have I – but I would guess that it would not be particularly easy, especially given that the person is not just going to sit there and let you do it. Stabbing is probably faster, but given their non-locking nature (for the ones that are permitted), pocketknives are not particularly good stabbing tools – more at my comment below…

      • sharp

        How about a sharpened credit card? Do they check all the credit cards?

      • Ichthyic

        Ever try to slit a throat with a pencil? Good luck with that.

        you make that sound like you’ve had a lot of practice at this endeavor Dan!

        In fact, there was NEVER a good reason to ban ANYTHING short of guns on planes. Just because some nutters decided to use boxcutters as weapon in no way justified the fucking insane response to that.

        sorry, but frankly, the TSA AND the entire Homeland Security Department is the biggest waste of taxpayer money in history, for ANY country, not just the US.

        people seem to forget just how much money has been spent on this ridiculous crap, all the while tossing their personal rights into the shitter simply because they are afraid… of essentially NOTHING when you examine the risks statistically.

  • machintelligence

    There does seem to be an unfortunate inability on the part of some people to distinguish between tools and weapons. I am aware that tools can be used as weapons, but sheesh….

  • http://florilegia.wordpress.com Ibis3, Let’s burn some bridges

    No comment on the petition or the rationale of allowing/not allowing pocket knives on planes, but man, this:

    I’ve carried a pocketknife since I was about 12 years old, and in all those years have completely failed to slit anybody’s throat with it. There are millions of us out here, billions of us, who didn’t kill that woman. The highest likelihood is that people will just … you know, be people. Exercising the minor right to carry a pocketknife, causing no harm to anybody.

    Well, frankly, it’s rather facile. Just substitute the word “handgun” for “pocketknife” and “blow anybody’s brains out” for “slit anybody’s throat”. Why not let everyone–all those people–just get on the plane with whatever weapons they’ve been accustomed to cart around [jazz hands] since they were 12 [/jazz hands] (as long as they haven’t killed anyone with them yet, of course) and let people just be people.

    p.s. You do realise that highjackers, air ragers, drunk & disorderly passengers, and stressed flight staff are all people right?
    p.p.s. The above comment assumes that you aren’t one of those gun nutters who thinks that everyone should walk around with an Uzi at all times for the purpose of “self-defence”.

    • Ichthyic

      ust substitute the word “handgun” for “pocketknife” and “blow anybody’s brains out” for “slit anybody’s throat”. Why not let everyone–all those people–just get on the plane with whatever weapons they’ve been accustomed to cart around [jazz hands] since they were 12 [/jazz hands] (as long as they haven’t killed anyone with them yet, of course) and let people just be people.

      sorry, but this is just the same exact argument “gun rights” advocates make:

      “it’s not the gun, it’s the person!”

      “you could kill people with knives too!”

      it’s bullshit. it ignores WHY guns were even invented!

      here’s a hint: GUNS ARE INFINITELY MORE EFFECTIVE AT KILLING PEOPLE.

      I know you know this, but you apparently fail to see where the argument you are making leads.

  • Eric Riley

    “KNIVES” omg – because the only possible use for a knife is to slit someone’s throat.

    TTSA does not have a ban on sharp objects, nor is such a ban ‘sensible’. Let’s wonder for a moment – which is the more dangerous: a pair of aluminum knitting needles; or a pocketknife? (Hint – it’s not the knife). Of course, in reality, neither is particularly dangerous in the hands of everyone aboard every plane I have ever flown on, and you, and everyone else reading this comment.

    We should not be taking off our shoes, the ban on liquids should be dropped, as should the ban on pocketknives. I regularly carry a small three-blade pocketknife as a general tool – while, in some theoretical sense, it could be used as a weapon, it would not be the first thing that came to minde for me – and in terms of airline safety, is absolutely unnecessary – since no-one will ever again be able to hijack a plane armed with a boxcutter.

  • http://afreethinkingmama.blogspot.com/ sisu

    I can bring knitting needles on board and I could definitely hurt someone with one of those; many things can become a weapon in the wrong hands. I agree with Hank and rowanvt. This essay by Bruce Schneier (who I learned about when he did the profiling debates with Sam Harris) makes a strong argument against the TSA’s current security theatrics.

    Bruce Schneier – “Why the TSA Can’t Back Down”

    Once again, the TSA is covering their own asses by implementing security-theater measures to prevent the previous attack while ignoring any threats of future attacks. It’s the same thinking that caused them to ban box cutters after 9/11, screen shoes after Richard Reid, limit liquids after that London gang, and — I kid you not — ban printer cartridges over 16 ounces after they were used to house package bombs from Yemen. They act like the terrorists are incapable of thinking creatively, while the terrorists repeatedly demonstrate that can always come up with a new approach that circumvents the old measures. …

    The truth is that exactly two things have made air travel safer since 9/11: reinforcing cockpit doors and convincing passengers they need to fight back. The TSA should continue to screen checked luggage. They should start screening airport workers. And then they should return airport security to pre-9/11 levels and let the rest of their budget be used for better purposes. Investigation and intelligence is how we’re going to prevent terrorism, on airplanes and elsewhere. It’s how we caught the liquid bombers. It’s how we found the Yemeni printer-cartridge bombs. And it’s our best chance at stopping the next serious plot.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    “KNIVES” omg – because the only possible use for a knife is to slit someone’s throat.

    So tell us, what purpose does a knife serve when you’re a passenger on an airplane? What do you lose if you put the knife in your checked baggage instead of your pocket? Do you expect to be in a situation where your pocketknife is the only tool that will keep the plane from crashing, or stop a disciplined group of determined al Qaeda suidice-attackers, ’cause no one in the flight crew thought to pack one?

    This really is one of those cases where a) the stated safety concerns are indeed real, and b) there’s no visible need or right that overrides those safety concerns. Flight drews don’t just have the occasional hijacker to worry about; they have drunk, stupid, unruly, undisciplined, air-raging, and loony passengers to deal with, on a much more regular basis than terrorists. Just because you’ve been carrying a pocketknife since you were twelve, doesn’t mean you have some right that supercedes the safety of the flight crew.

  • Sercee

    Ibis3: You can’t equate pocket knives to handguns. That’s stupid. They aren’t the same thing, they don’t have the same set of functions, they don’t have the same risks even in those cases when they are both used for violence. If you are carrying a hand gun then you are either a) dumb, or b) expecting to harm another person. If you are carrying a pocket knife you are probably a person who likes to be prepared for a large variety of common daily inconveniences that can largely be solved by carrying a single, versatile tool with them. If you pull a gun on someone and shoot them the victim has a much lower chance of defending themselves against injury than if you pull a pocket knife on them.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    The truth is that exactly two things have made air travel safer since 9/11: reinforcing cockpit doors and convincing passengers they need to fight back.

    Any data to back up this “truth?”

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    If you are carrying a pocket knife you are probably a person who likes to be prepared for a large variety of common daily inconveniences that can largely be solved by carrying a single, versatile tool with them.

    And how many of those “common daily inconveniences” happen on airplanes, when the flight crew don’t have the tools they need and have to ask a passenger for help?

  • Johnny Vector

    A question for you, Bee: How many pocket knives have been confiscated since they were banned? Followup question: How many of those were from people who had no idea that pocket knives were banned? And final question: What have you got in your pocketses (no checking)?

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Vector: none of your questions have anything to do with my points about the “right” to carry knives vs. the safety of the flight crew.

    As for what’s in my pocketses, I ALWAYS know what’s in them, and I see no reason not to expect other sane adults to do the same, both in and out of airplanes. Your point…?

  • michaelpowers

    Like you, I’ve carried a pocketknife since around the same age. I’ve never used it for anythig other than the tool it is. There is no such thing as a risk-free existence, nor should there be. Most people know this, yet still have the courage to go on about their lives.

  • Eric Riley

    Raging Bee – what do you need with either shoes or shampoo on a flight? Why do I have to justify my carrying of a basic tool? Do you *need* anything on a flight? While flights would be far more secure if we were required to strip, place all of our stuff into checked luggage, and then don special flight garments after a thorough search, we do not (and probably will never) require such steps. Because at some point we realize that we should balance our personal autonomy with the security requirements.

    It’s not the use in flight, but the requirement to use check luggage merely because I happen to carry a pocketknife (which I may or may not use) – or to pay $20 to mail it back to myself – which I have had to do both of these things through minor forgetfulness. That’s an added burden and expense *for no reason*. Flights are not made safer by refusing to allow anyone to carry a pocketknife on board.

    You say that the “safety concerns” are real – based on? Just what is the basis for your safety concern – the high rate of pocketknife attacks in the US?

    Finally, you bring up the ‘right vs safety’ argument. Fine – I will happily give up my, as Mr. Fox calls it, minor right to carry a pocketknife on a plane if you can explain to me exactly how that will increase the safety of the flight crew.

    Ibis3 – can you say ‘slippery slope’? A pocketknife is not a gun and has many uses other than killing people. Find out for me, if you can, how many cases there are of a person being killed with a pocketknife that would be allowed on the plane? How many serious injuries due to assault or accidental discharge use?

    • Dan

      I could disembowel you in about five seconds with a well-sharpened three-inch pocket knife. But I’d have to stab you about fifty times with a pen or a knitting needle to bleed you out as effectively as I could with that tiny knife. Use your head. I’m personally not willing to risk hundreds of lives so that you can pick your toenails in flight, or whatever you think you need a knife for at 30,000 feet.

      • Eric Riley

        Which would not be allowed on the plane – please see the regulatory change we are talking about. Even if it were, I think you would have a much more difficult time disemboweling someone than you think – are you seated and going after one of the flight crew? Or another passenger? Or are you standing? You clearly want to make a point of how dangerous *you* could be with a small knife – but you haven’t even thought the basic scenario through.

        If you stab someone in the throat (as I pointed out above), with a pencil or knitting needle – especially if you hit the carotid artery, they are going to be dead in a couple of minutes. Similarly, you could come down just behind the collarbone and get the subclavian artery – though not with a very short knife – you’d need a bit more penetration (though not so much that those knives that will be allowed would be safe). A pencil or knitting needle could also get to the heart or aorta. Merely because you are ignorant of anatomy doesn’t mean pencils and knitting needles are *in general* safer than pocketknives.

        Your comment about risking *hundreds of lives* can only be taken as hyperbole, since no-one is going to hijack a plane with a pocketknife, and after disemboweling their first victim, it is unlikely they would get the chance for a second.

  • http://cheapsignals.blogspot.com Gretchen

    Bee’s hysterical ravings aside, it seems most sensible to allow on airplanes whatever you would allow in any other public space, and forbid whatever you would forbid in any other public space. If you can take a pocket knife on a bus, you should be able to take it on a plane. If you can walk onto a bus without removing your shoes, giving up your hand lotion, and having a stranger grab your crotch, you should be able to walk onto a plane the same way.

    But since airlines are (sort of, basically, not altogether laughably) private, I say we should leave it up them. If it’s cheaper I’d be just fine with flying Everybody Bring a Gun Air, and people who are less comfortable can continue to fly We’ll Take Every Shred of Your Dignity For the Sake of Supposed Safety Air if they see fit.

    • Dan

      You can’t fly a bus or the town park (or whatever public space you’re referring to) into lower Manhattan.

      I just don’t see what’s so undignified about making a tiny sacrifice for the common good.

      • Eric Riley

        And a pocketknife is not going to help you do that either – so how is this sacrifice for the common good?

  • Johnny Vector

    Thanks Bee, I now realize that anyone who ever forgets any commonplace thing is insane. Of course, how silly of me. Let’s both work together to make sure that all roadside assistance trucks and locksmiths are replaced by mental health professionals.

    And if you really don’t see what any of that has to do with the right to carry a pocket knife, go back and search for comments containing the words “rights” and “Heath”. Then read for comprehension, paying particular attention the the use of the word “competing”. Or just read comment #14 right here.

  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    Using that same logic, we should eliminate all gun laws because I’ve never shot someone.

  • http://physicalism.wordpress.com/ Physicalist

    Completely agree. This is the first sign of sanity in airport security theater I’ve seen for a decade, and I’m amazed that so many people are still willing to be guided by irrational fear. As soon as passengers realized that the rules of terrorists on planes had changed (which happened within hours of the planes striking the towers) the possibility of another 9/11 style attack was shut down.

    For those of you too young to remember, in the old days terrorists used to take plane passengers hostage, and most victims of plane hijackings lived. This is why the 9/11 terrorists were able to take hostages and take control of the planes. Today taking hostages won’t work, because everyone will figure they’re dead if they don’t fight the terrorists.

    Yes, people can kill flight attendants and passengers with a knife. But they can do the same thing in McDonalds. There’s no reason to waste energy, attention, and knives (how many hundreds or thousands are thrown out every day because people forgot them in their pocket or bag?) for useless theater at airports.

    Where’s the petition telling the TSA that they’re doing something right for once?

  • Eric Riley

    Gregory – that same logic from which comment? Also – you are aware of the difference in danger posed by a pocketknife versus a gun?

  • bbgunn

    Commercial pilots with whom I’ve worked have confided that measures are in place to virtually eliminate the possibility of hijackers armed with knives and boxcutters taking control of a plane’s cockpit and turning the craft into flying weapons of mass destruction. The paradigm has shifted. Flight crews as well as passengers now know that anyone other than the legal flight crew being in control of the cockpit can mean no one survives a hijacking. A hijacker with a pocket knife is no longer as dangerous to all ‘souls on board’ (aviation term, not mine) as is a hijacker with a plane as his/her bargaining chip or weapon.

  • DaveX

    Seconded.

    There’s already enough rules about dangerous weapons, without the brain-dead rules that disallow my teensy pocketknife but still allow 7″ screwdrivers and pointy 4″ scissor blades.

    I’ve been flying with with one of those mini swiss army knives with its knife broken off and the scissors rounded since the pocket knife ban. I suppose backlash on TSA’s tiny step towards sanity will take even that.

  • Ysidro

    Why do they still allow dangerous things like belts? Someone could get strangled with them! They obviously have no purpose. In fact, why do we allow clothes? Those serve no purpose in a climate controlled tube and can be just as dangerous as belts!

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    You say that the “safety concerns” are real – based on?

    Based on real and documented instances of violence by unruly passengers, and based on a perfectly reasonable idea that an unruly passenger with a weapon would be even more dangerous than an unruly passenger without one.

    And if the physical safety of the crew is less important to you than your ability to carry a pocketknife in a place where it has almost ZERO chance of being useful, then a) there’s no reason for anyone else to care about your convenience; and b) you probably shouldn’t be on a plane in the first place — at least not until you’ve grown past your need to have everyone else bend over for your convenience at all times.

    …what do you need with either shoes or shampoo on a flight?

    Is that really a serious question? Shoes are good for keeping feet warm, and for protecting feet while walking, and shampoo may be useful for really long trans-Pacific flights. None of that is true of pocket-knives.

    Also, do you really believe shoes and shampoo are comparable to knives? That analogy is laughably stupid.

    Flights are not made safer by refusing to allow anyone to carry a pocketknife on board.

    Any data to back that up? Besides, we’re not just talking about “flights,” we’re talking about the safety of flight attendants and other paying passengers. Don’t they have rights too?

    Commercial pilots with whom I’ve worked have confided that measures are in place to virtually eliminate the possibility of hijackers armed with knives and boxcutters taking control of a plane’s cockpit and turning the craft into flying weapons of mass destruction.

    Great! Have we eliminated the possibility of passengers assaulting flight attendants, while the pilots are safely locked away up front?

    Yes, people can kill flight attendants and passengers with a knife. But they can do the same thing in McDonalds.

    And that means…what? No one is obligated to take reasonable measures to protect flight attendants from violence? What a juvenile, stupid non-sequitur.

    For those of you too young to remember, in the old days terrorists used to take plane passengers hostage, and most victims of plane hijackings lived. This is why the 9/11 terrorists were able to take hostages and take control of the planes. Today taking hostages won’t work, because everyone will figure they’re dead if they don’t fight the terrorists.

    First, I’m not too young to remember any of that, so I’m not sure who you’re so pompously trying to talk down to here. And second, that paragraph is yet another non-sequitur: none of that means we shouldn’t keep at least some dangerous objects out of airplane cabins.

    Bee’s hysterical ravings aside…

    Right…demanding the right to carry a knife onto a plane, where it has no real chance of being useful, is perfectly rational; but voicing concern for the physical safety of flight attendants is “hysterical ravings.” I must be in Libertarian Looking-Glass Land, where the workers don’t matter. Hope the Mile High Club has Randian Majesty.

    …it seems most sensible to allow on airplanes whatever you would allow in any other public space, and forbid whatever you would forbid in any other public space.

    Yeah, because being in the confined space of an airplane for several hours is exactly the same as being in any other public space. No difference whatsoever, nosireebob. (Oh, and a commercial airliner is not a totally “public” space; it’s owned by the airline, and the airline is responsible for the safety of its workers while they’re working on airline property.)

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    There’s already enough rules about dangerous weapons, without the brain-dead rules that disallow my teensy pocketknife but still allow 7″ screwdrivers and pointy 4″ scissor blades.

    So why are we allowing the screwdrivers and scissors? The sensible solution here is to disallow them, not to allow knives.

    I’ve been flying with with one of those mini swiss army knives with its knife broken off and the scissors rounded since the pocket knife ban. I suppose backlash on TSA’s tiny step towards sanity will take even that.

    You destroyed a good tool instead of just packing it with your checked baggage? Damn that’s stupid. No wonder you can’t handle complicated rules.

    • DaveX

      Nutter.

  • jaytheostrich

    But.. but.. I need my pocketknife to do emergency tracheotomies! I’ve seen it on TV!

    • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

      jay, check out comment #30 below — someone repeated your joke in all seriousness. At least I think she was serious. Paging passenger Poe to the white courtesy phone…

      • badgersdaughter

        My actual point, made, yes, half in jest, was that there would probably be as many emergency tracheotomies made as attacks on flight attendants, in other words, virtually zero in both cases. In any case I would expect accidents with hot coffee to vastly outnumber both. Outlaw hot coffee! (again, for the benefit of Bee, just kidding.)

        • badgersdaughter

          that is, attacks on flight attendants with small pocketknives. I know people can be assholes in other ways.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Yeah, and what about circumcisions? This rule is infringing on the religious freedom of rabbis who want to perform unnecessary for religions reasons on planes!

    And what about SNAKES ON A PLANE?!!!111!! We gotta pe prepared for all imaginable contingencies donchaknow…

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Sorry, that’s “perform unnecessary surgery for religions reasons on planes!” Damn, hosed up my own one-liner…

  • lochaber

    If I remember correctly, pre-9/11, knives with up to 4″ blades were officially allowed (but it was sorta up to the person manning the metal detector). I regularly carried one of the early leatherman models or a swiss army when I flew.

    I don’t think words express how stupid the ‘weapon’ classifications have become since then. You can make a hell of a mess of someone with a box cutter, but you’d have a hard time killing them if you didn’t know what you are doing (there’s not a whole lot of places where recieving a ~1/2″ slash will result in death), and if someone is trained, they are going to be just as, and possibly more deadly with a disposable ball point pen, a torn and folded aluminum can, a broken cd, a torn-off collapsing luggage handle, etc., etc.

    Granted I haven’t (back when they were still allowed) used a knife/tool very often in flight, but once we were on the ground, and getting luggage, it’s a handy thing to have on hand.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I regularly carried one of the early leatherman models or a swiss army when I flew.

    What the hell for?

    Granted I haven’t (back when they were still allowed) used a knife/tool very often in flight, but once we were on the ground, and getting luggage, it’s a handy thing to have on hand.

    Handy for what? Hacking your way past all obstacles on your way to the baggage carousel?

    …and if someone is trained, they are going to be just as, and possibly more deadly with a disposable ball point pen, a torn and folded aluminum can, a broken cd, a torn-off collapsing luggage handle, etc., etc.

    Fine. A ban on knives would make untrained idiots less dangerous. That’s an important step, given that most air-rage incidents are caused by untrained idiots, not trained terrorists or special-forces badasses.

  • badgersdaughter

    I am a woman and I carry a small penknife; I have ever since I was a Brownie Scout (eight years old at that time). My brother collected knives while he was alive. He decided to gift me with one as a surprise. It was a surprise all right when I found out, at airport security, that he’d slipped it in my carry-on bag. I was still able to make my flight, but the little knife didn’t.

    I’d really like to carry a small knife when I travel, just to trim a broken nail with, play with paper when I’m bored, cut a loose string off my clothes, open troublesome packaging if I buy cosmetics in the airport Boots, split pills, cut wool for crochet work, sharpen pencils (writing, lip, or eye), or perform any other perfectly innocent and utilitarian task that a knife might be useful for while traveling. I do also carry a mini screwdriver set, and it’s helped me reattach rolling luggage handles and so forth. Tools are just tools.

    I guess the idea is that if I want the knife with me when I arrive at the destination, I need to put it in my checked baggage. Seriously, checked baggage on a three-day overseas business trip? I spend more time in the airport than actually working. And when I’m on vacation, I’m not about to pay extra for a checked bag if I can get everything in my carry-on. I have been known to purchase a cheap knife for incidental carry while I’m at the destination, and throw or give it away before I leave, but those cheap-ass knives are worth what you pay for them.

    Honestly, I’ve written a hundred times more words than the subject deserves. A tiny knife of the size proposed would probably, statistically speaking, save more lives in the long run than it endangers (emergency tracheotomy, anyone)?

  • lochaber

    What the hell for?- the same reasons I carry one anytime. It’s a generally useful thing to have on hand. Are you just being difficult, or is this something you genuinely don’t understand?

    As to what I’ve actual found them useful for… well, for starters, it made getting zip-ties off of the luggage a hell of a lot easier.
    Opening packaging.
    Changing batteries on gadgets.

    When I’m travelling alone, I usually just sleep or read. When I’m in a group, there is almost always someone who needs something fixed or messed with, and I’m usually the person in the group asked to help with such things.

    You know what else would make flights safer? sticking everyone in diapers and handcuffing them to the seats.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Just signed the petition, FWIW. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    Also, I notice the petition is sponsored by one of those EVIL COMMIE AMERICA-HATING SUCCESS-PUNISHING UNIONS!!1!1!1! Maybe that’s why it’s getting so much hate from these parts…

    • PatrickG

      .. the fuck? Since when is bluecollaratheist anti-union? Or for that matter, most of FTB? Was this meant sincerely? Is this sarcasm of such a rarefied grade that plebes like me can’t understand it?

      For the record, as someone who had a 1/4″ knife (part of a wallet-card-sized kit) confiscated — mind you, AFTER being passed through no less than 3 previous checks (I smoke, and a 4.5 hour layover is rough)… yeah, I risked jail for getting seriously irate. I threatened to show a TSA guard how my fist could be far more damaging than a QUARTER INCH blade. Fortunately (for me), the guard was approximately 10′ tall and 500 lbs, so he didn’t take me seriously. But c’mon, the rules are ridiculous. I had the nail-cleaning device on my toenail clippers snipped off so I wouldn’t put someone eyes out!

      But anti-union? What the fuck are you smoking?

  • F [nucular nyandrothol]

    So tell us, what purpose does a knife serve when you’re a passenger on an airplane?

    You know the Landing on Water card where they show a passenger cutting the line which tethers the life raft to the plane? That.

    Banning pen knives is completely arbitrary. All sorts of allowed items can be used as weapons, some far more effective than a pocket knife. Although I still haven’t found a way to use a half bottle of shampoo as a weapon, research is ongoing.

    Enjoy your security theater with audience participation.

  • lochaber

    I’ve been flying with with one of those mini swiss army knives with its knife broken off and the scissors rounded since the pocket knife ban. I suppose backlash on TSA’s tiny step towards sanity will take even that.

    You destroyed a good tool instead of just packing it with your checked baggage? Damn that’s stupid. No wonder you can’t handle complicated rules.

    That’s not destroying a tool, it’s altering it to suit a specific purpose. Basically, making a tool – one of those skills that we used to think made humans special (well, it sorta does, just not quite as exclusively special as some like).

    I went on a camping trip in college once, and one of the people on the trip thought I shouldn’t take a fixed blade because it was ‘too heavy’. Raging Bee reminds me of that person.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    As to what I’ve actual found them useful for… well, for starters, it made getting zip-ties off of the luggage a hell of a lot easier. Opening packaging. Changing batteries on gadgets.

    I can do all of those things either without a knife, or after I’ve picked up my bags, or after I’ve gone to a place where the necessary tools are available. How is your need to do any of that more important than the safety of airline personnel?

    You know what else would make flights safer? sticking everyone in diapers and handcuffing them to the seats.

    Yeah, when we make any sort of rules that inconvenience you for the safety of others, that’s just like slavery! My mom never understood that important point that I tried to drive home to them when I was eight years old, so I’m really glad you understand me so can go back to being a carefree spoiled brat. WAAAAH!!!

    • Doug Hayden

      I can do all of those things either without a knife, or after I’ve picked up my bags, or after I’ve gone to a place where the necessary tools are available. How is your need to do any of that more important than the safety of airline personnel?

      …so we all have to do what *you* would do? And what happened to “innocent until proven guilty”? Or does that not apply when your hobbyhorse is gored?

      Quite frankly, I consider you unreasonable and alarmist on this topic.

      • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

        I’m more “unreasonable and alarmist” than the commenter who blithered about “sticking everyone in diapers and handcuffing them to the seats?” Yep, this is Libertarian Looking-Glass Airways allright…any connecting flights to Somalia?

        • Doug Hayden

          Bee, I wasn’t making comparisons. I was speaking of *your* position on the issue, which I find unreasonable. I subscribe to the idea that, “Your freedom to swing your arm stops just short of my nose”. I’m also a big fan of “an it hurt no one, do what you will”.

          I’m also bothered by your presumption of guilt, and how unfocused it appears to be. Is it protection against hijacking? Protection *for* other passengers? Protection *for* the flight staff? Also, there are many comparable situations where the restriction isn’t applied and dire consequences are still vanishingly rare, statistically (I realize that for the victim & the victim’s family/friends/etc, it’s always devastating.), such as subway cars, long-distance buses (which don’t even have a protective door between the driver/pilot and the passengers). How, in a case where so little harm occurs, statistically, can you justify such a massive intrusion on the privacy of a person to carry a tool, be it for immediate, daily use or even as a ‘security blanket’ against “What if I need to: – trim my nails – cut a loose thread – *file* my nails – tighten a loose screw on my glasses – open a plastic condiment packet that won’t tear, etc.

          Who are you to demand such massive accommodation to your amygdala-hijack issue of fear of another person carrying anything sharp around you?

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    You know the Landing on Water card where they show a passenger cutting the line which tethers the life raft to the plane? That.

    Show me an airline that tethers the life-rafts to the plane (which would be sinking, which is why you need the life-rafts, DUH), and expects passengers to bring the necessary tools to save their own lives, and I’ll show you an airline that should be avoided at all costs. Seriusly, even Kim Jong Un could run a better airline than the ones you seem to be using.

  • Emptyell

    Hank,

    I’m with you on this one.

    The point of the security procedures is to prevent terrorism and the highjacking/weaponizing of airplanes. It is not to forestall any and all possible ways that someone might be harmed in flight.

    The locked cockpit doors seem sufficient security against pocket knives. Someone sufficiently trained in martial arts will be much deadlier than the average person with a pocket knife and probably just as deadly with many allowed objects as they would be with a pocket knife.

    And if we stop for a moment to think like a terrorist… What makes more sense: injuring and maybe killing a few people on an airplane before being overcome by the crew and passengers, or planting a bomb and/or taking automatic weapons into a crowded public place?

    The dangers from pocket knives are vanishingly small (without a locking blade they make a very poor weapon) and their utility is very important to those of us who use them. To anyone comparing them to guns, screw you and your slippery slope arguments. Guns really are extremely dangerous and have few uses besides killing people.

    Furthermore why should someone who wants the utility and convenience of having a handy tool with them when they travel have to pay extra for the privilege? Or haven’t you all noticed that it costs money to check bags now.

    I have noticed in some airports plexiglas towers full of confiscated pocket knives, scissors, etc. I think it’s a fairly safe bet that not one of those represents a thwarted hijacking attempt.

  • Emptyell

    Clarification (FWIW): I meant to say a martial artist with no weapon is probably deadlier than the average person with a pocket knife.

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/LDORIGINALS Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Last time I flew, I had a pair of pliers in my bag that I’d forgotten about. They were confiscated. Because those are totally a security risk. Raging bee, your in post #1 is idiotic. Justifying a bullshit policy because there are other bullshit policies doesn’t fly. Confiscating pocketknives is bullshit, so is confiscating shampoo, and taking off shoes. None of them have t he faintest effect on actual security.

  • Sam N

    Raging Bee, why was the ban put on pocket knives for airplanes but not for trains or buses? These are all situations where people are stuck in an enclosed space, and employees could be harmed by the knife. It was because the potential for hijackers to use the plane as a particularly deadly weapon. That possibility has been eliminated with reinforced, always locked in flight, cockpit doors.

    Now it’s fine if you think that pocket knives should be banned for all inter-city mass transit, lobby for it all you want, but allowing such tools on planes is as reasonable as current policies allowing them on trains and buses. And I’m guessing the majority of citizens in this country agree that it’s reasonable. I hope the TSA goes forward in loosening the restriction.

    We all draw lines on convenience versus safety. My line is definitely farther out than allowing pocket knives on an airplane, speaking as a frequent passenger that could be, but probably won’t ever be, attacked.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Now it’s fine if you think that pocket knives should be banned for all inter-city mass transit…

    Changing the subject is not a valid argument; and if I have to explain to you the differences between commercial airliners and other forms of mass-transit, then you’re too dumb to participate in this conversation. Just because I don’t advocate applying a policy as widely as you arbitrarily demand I do, doesn’t mean the policy is wrong.

    We all draw lines on convenience versus safety. My line is definitely farther out than allowing pocket knives on an airplane, speaking as a frequent passenger that could be, but probably won’t ever be, attacked.

    Thanks for admitting your relative privilege here. But there’s another group of people who have a bigger stake here, and less privilege to hide behind: flight attendants, who HAVE been attacked by unruly passengers, who know they could be attacked any day, whose chance of being attacked is greater because it’s their job to be on those planes every day, and who don’t get to avoid danger by choosing to fly less or bringing their own weapons onboard. I think their legitimate — and UNAVOIDABLE — physical safety concerns (not to mention the concerns of other paying customers who could also be harmed by unruly passengers) are more important than the paltry inconvenience suffered by someone who has to pack his precious handy-dandy tool in his checked baggage for a few hours when he chooses to fly. Those people support a ban on knives in planes, their concerns are valid and based on real experience, not just hypotheticals; and their word is a lot more credible than the objections I’ve seen here.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Last time I flew, I had a pair of pliers in my bag that I’d forgotten about. They were confiscated. Because those are totally a security risk. Raging bee, your in post #1 is idiotic.

    The existence of a stupid rule does not make a sensible rule less sensible.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Confiscating pocketknives is bullshit, so is confiscating shampoo, and taking off shoes. None of them have the faintest effect on actual security.

    People who work in the industry, and have actual experience of the issues being discussed here, seem to think otherwise. I’m sure you’ll understand if I take their word over yours.

  • Sam N

    Yes, Raging Bee, flight attendants do have a choice. Just like cab drivers, which on rare occasions are attacked, robbed, stabbed, and shot, have a choice. Just like store clerks have a choice. They can choose to seek employment elsewhere.

    The risk of being attacked is inherent for most service jobs that interact with the public. Behind the counter as a clerk of a Walgreens, I was physically attacked once, and verbally assaulted several times. It sucks. Those assaults were not OK, and in the case of the physical assault, the police made an arrest. Anyone that assaults a flight attendant should similarly be arrested.

    If, as a clerk, I could have had a wish list for my own safety, I would have wanted an in store security guard. But that has been deemed a prohibitive cost by society, hence no such regulation, and it has been deemed a prohibitive cost by Walgreens. Allowing tools onto a plane is a convenience many people care about. You’ve made a reasonable case, in the sense I would say the request for a security guard in every Walgreens is reasonable, but not nearly a powerful enough case to sway me that as a society this issue deserves action.

    • badgersdaughter

      I really hate this “you have the choice to get another job” argument. No, people do not actually have the choice to get another job. That would be true in this case only if the flight attendant could get a comparable job using their specific skill set the day after leaving the existing one, anyway. Stop using that argument; I didn’t even use it when I was a libertarian because it’s so asinine.

      However, the risk of a small pocketknife to a flight attendant has been massively overblown and hijacked (haha) by people whose motivating factor is, in essence, “Think of the [children]” (insert other “poor innocent victim” group).

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Yes, Raging Bee, flight attendants do have a choice. Just like cab drivers, which on rare occasions are attacked, robbed, stabbed, and shot, have a choice. Just like store clerks have a choice. They can choose to seek employment elsewhere.

    So your convenience is the most important thing in the Universe, but flight attendants should just shut up and quit rather than stick up for their own physical safety and dignity? That’s how greedy stingy businessmen have responded to workers’ demands for better conditions since the dawn of the industrial age.

    If, as a clerk, I could have had a wish list for my own safety, I would have wanted an in store security guard. But that has been deemed a prohibitive cost by society, hence no such regulation, and it has been deemed a prohibitive cost by Walgreens.

    Who is this “society” that has overruled your perfectly legitimate desire for a less dangerous working environment? What form did their “ruling” take? You seem to be confusing “society” with your employer. Guess what — they’re not the same, and your employer’s short-term money interests do NOT determine what’s right.

    Allowing tools onto a plane is a convenience many people care about.

    And that automatically means worker safety doesn’t matter?

    You’ve made a reasonable case, in the sense I would say the request for a security guard in every Walgreens is reasonable, but not nearly a powerful enough case to sway me that as a society this issue deserves action.

    In other words, you know I’m right, but you don’t care.

    • badgersdaughter

      If you really cared about “safety”, why not lobby for paperless workplaces, too? After all, people commonly get paper cuts about as severely as they’re likely to be hurt by the tiny knives allowed by the regulation.

  • Eric Riley

    Raging Bee – would you mind making a coherent argument?

    #1 – There are plenty of stupid policies, why undo this policy I think is sensible?

    Because pocketknives are not, in themselves, particularly dangerous – so while you may think this is a sensible policy, it really isn’t. (examples of items as, or more, dangerous than knives given).

    #7 – Of what use is a knife to you on the plane? And – “a) the stated safety concerns are indeed real, and b) there’s no visible need or right that overrides those safety concerns.”

    To which many people gave examples of uses they might have for a pocketknife aboard a plane- which you decided their uses don’t count (but the fact that you might want to use shampoo on a long flight makes that policy stupid) – why do your needs mean more than others?.

    For the ‘real safety concerns’ – citation of statistics please. Pre-ban, was there a problem with flight crews being attacked by drunk and unruly passengers armed with pocketknives? Is there some reason to expect, in the absence of the ban, that such attacks will start up again? If so, why aren’t items like pencils and knitting needles banned? You need neither to write nor knit while in-flight, what is lost by requiring people to check those items? (Aside from the charges that come along with checked luggage nowadays).

    People gave you examples of how pocketknives might be used on or immediately following a flight – why did you reject those possible uses? Merely because another tool (which may not be available or allowed) could do the job is not really an adequate response.

    Similarly, you have refused to engage the criticism that your security concerns apply equally to all forms of public transportation – yet you refuse to either commit to prohibiting pocketknives from all public transportation or to give some reason to differentiate between plans and everything else.

    #9 – requesting a citation when you refuse to share data yourself. You keep claiming that there is a real security issue, but have only given vague responses (“People who work in the industry, and have actual experience of the issues being discussed here, seem to think otherwise.” What people? Said where? Is what they’re saying backed up by statistics, or is it just their feeling?)

    #10 – a refusal to acknowledge that there may be a use in carrying a pocketknife.

    #12 – a response to Vector – where you dismiss the confiscation of personal property without cause, and ignore the implication that people can bring things aboard a plane by accident (including firearms). Even if you always know what you are carrying at all time, not all of us do – should we be punished by having our property taken? (Or, be required to put out more in cash than that property may be worth to keep it)?

    #23 – ignoring a request for data (that’s what the ‘based on’ part meant. Citation please. Also changing the discussion from ‘pocketknife’ – a specific item and ‘weapon’, a generic term that includes a lot of things.

    “And if the physical safety of the crew is less important to you than your ability to carry a pocketknife in a place where it has almost ZERO chance of being useful, then a) there’s no reason for anyone else to care about your convenience; and b) you probably shouldn’t be on a plane in the first place — at least not until you’ve grown past your need to have everyone else bend over for your convenience at all times.”

    If you can provide any actual evidence that the safety of the flight crew (or anyone) is endangered by my carrying a pocketknife, I will be happy to give up that minor right (as I said, and you have ignored). Requiring that you produce such evidence for your argument is not really something I need to ‘grow past’.

    Be careful Bee – you’re slipping into insult.

    I asked, “What do you need with either shoes or shampoo on a flight?”

    Is that really a serious question? Shoes are good for keeping feet warm, and for protecting feet while walking, and shampoo may be useful for really long trans-Pacific flights. None of that is true of pocket-knives.

    Neither of those is necessary *during the flight*. But you are missing the point – it’s not about usefulness. While people gave you plenty of reasonable examples where they might peacefully use a pocketknife, you dismissed those examples for one reason or another – but useful or not *for that period of time*, you need to provide some convincing rationale for denying people the right to carry any otherwise legal item that they could otherwise have on their person.

    “Also, do you really believe shoes and shampoo are comparable to knives? That analogy is laughably stupid.”

    No – as I was saying, I was trying to take apart the ‘use’ argument. There is no use for shampoo on a plane flight. None. Why shouldn’t it be absolutely prohibited in the name of security? Sure – it’s an inconvenience, but – to use *your* words, what do you lose by having to check it or buy more when you land?

    Calling items that you disagree with ‘non-sequiturs’ – and brushing against insult again (which doesn’t really help your case, but you haven’t gone into full ad hominem, so I’ll let it pass). You are ignoring the points people are bringing up –

    (1) the purpose of the TSA guidelines is to prevent terrorist attacks, not to protect flight crew from unruly passengers – this particular regulation does nothing, so it has been done away with (as much of their security theater should be).
    (2) while the safety of the flight crew is important, it is not particularly different in nature to many jobs that require contact with the public – *especially* those in public transportation – but also restaurant work, etc. By your argument, as it stands, we should ban pocketknives from all forms of public transportation *at least*, and possibly from all public places. Unless there is some rule you are using to discriminate between the two situations (which you seem to agree are distinct, but refuse to say why).
    (3)”First, I’m not too young to remember any of that, so I’m not sure who you’re so pompously trying to talk down to here. And second, that paragraph is yet another non-sequitur: none of that means we shouldn’t keep at least some dangerous objects out of airplane cabins.” He said ‘for those too young’, not ‘since you’re too young’, nor was his tone particularly pompous. Finally – you are conflating again – shifting the topic from ‘pocketknives’ to ‘dangerous objects’. Again – should knitting needles and pencils be banned?
    (4) Slipping into ad hominem – arguments are not wrong simply because they are given by a ‘libertarian’, nor because they may ‘sound libertarian’.
    (5) Again – missing the point. Airplanes are a form of public transportation in the sense that there are crowds of ‘the public’ on board, much like a Greyhound bus or Amtrack. While those are also private (or semi-private in the case of Amtrack), they are still ‘public transportation in the context of this argument. If you are going to discuss the security issue towards flight crew, you need to be ready to address the identical issue for the crew of trains and buses as well.

    #24, #26, and #27 – inapplicable snark.

    I’m going to watch my movie now – shall you bother with a coherent argument for your position or continue substituting snark?

  • Sam N

    Society is our democracy. We have given the TSA authority to ensure security of airlines. We could create an agency to impose security in stores. That’s why I separated it from Walgreen’s decision not to do so. I agree with the lack of such an agency. Even as a security clerk, I would have viewed such regulation as too invasive. Similarly, I find current TSA regulations to be too invasive.

    I never indicated that worker safety doesn’t matter, your inference is disingenuous. There are laws protecting flight attendants, as there should be. I think OSHA has done a great deal of good. But convenience also matters, a lot. A full security check when entering a store would improve safety of employees and other patrons, but I judge it as too burdensome for the good it would do. As a citizen I disagree with such regulation, as a consumer I would choose to shop at stores not requiring a security check.

    That you have different values with regards to convenience versus security does not make you right. And most of us who have chosen to comment here would prefer to live in a world that allows a particular convenience, even though it can result in more damage caused by an illegal assault.

    I’m sure you could think of conveniences you would not give up even though they can cause harm when allowed for everyone, if you cared to.

  • Sam N

    By the way, Raging Bee, if you could give me good evidence that rolling back such a regulation would significantly increase the severity and/or frequency of attacks on flight attendants or passengers, I might reconsider my stance. I definitely do not support the ability to carry handguns on airplanes (or buses or trains), but there is lots of evidence that more handguns = more deaths. Is there evidence that more pocket-knives = more deaths?

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Yes, Raging Bee, flight attendants do have a choice….

    Is that something you ascertained by looking at current economic conditions? Or is that something you tell yourself to justify your total disregard for anyone’s interests but your own? Be cause most of the time it’s a fucking lie: there’s not much “choice” if you have bills to pay and unemployment is at or near double digits.

  • Sam N

    I think I finally get why we have such large disagreement on this issue. I see pocket knives causing harm on a plane as a freak, very rare occurrence. Something that, while unfortunate, I don’t know if studies would even find a significant difference in injuries or deaths, and thus not meriting serious consideration. But you seem to see it like OSHA regulations for hard hats on construction sites that obviously and significantly reduce injuries and deaths.

    I guess this is where I need data that its anything other than a freak occurrence of such rarity that the TSA measures to ban pocket knives is making any serious difference. Certainly not one large enough that I would consider quitting if I were a flight attendant, although I could see some people fixating on the very rare events and I would say irrationally choosing to quit.

  • Eric Riley

    Good luck getting any, Sam.

    I do think that you hit the nail right on the head though – “I see pocket knives causing harm on a plane as a freak, very rare occurrence. Something that, while unfortunate, I don’t know if studies would even find a significant difference in injuries or deaths, and thus not meriting serious consideration. But you seem to see it like OSHA regulations for hard hats on construction sites that obviously and significantly reduce injuries and deaths.”

    If there were some evidence that pocket knives (not ‘dangerous objects’, not ‘weapons’) were a significant problem, I (and I believe most people commenting here) would agree that regulations to prohibit them from carryon luggage would be a reasonable and prudent thing to have. But – and this is a big BUT, I need to see some evidence for that. Until then, I will be glad that I can just grab my backpack and not have to worry whether or not I checked it and my pockets for my knife.

  • Emptyell

    At this point I really have no clue what Raging Bee is on about. Zie keeps flitting from one point to another without ever addressing the substance.

    However, in light of all this silliness it might be interesting to know how many injuries are caused by pocket knives. I suspect that well over 90% are self inflicted cuts due to carelessness. Some of those being when the unlocked blade closes on the users fingers (which is one reason they make really crap weapons). I suspect the number of people killed with pocket knives is vanishingly small if not zero.

    Back to thinking like a terrorist…

    If there were even a strategy that called for using a blade/edge weapon on an airplane for a terror attack I would probably fashion one or more of laminated glass. Assuming they could be successfully hidden in the carry on of course. Glass takes a sharper edge and is structurally stronger than steel (just more prone to sudden failure).

    So no, I can’t see any way that the vast piles of confiscated pen knives and such have contributed in the least to the “war on terror”.

  • lochaber

    Furthermore, consider the list on that pic of what is required for a knife to be allowed:

    blade 6 cm or less
    blade 1/2″ wide or less
    no lock
    no molded handle

    admittedly, I’m not sure what the reason is for the last one, or what it even means. possibly added to exclude some variant of a kerambit? (I’m already over my head…)

    Anyways, the first 3 alone would exclude almost anything that would be useful as a weapon.

    but, yeah, I see this as an overly restrictive rule/measure, and I don’t think it makes a plane any safer.

    Like the liquid container bans, shoe removals, and the NY subway searches after the UK tube bombings, this is just pointless theatre; it does nothing to stop those with bad intentions, and just makes everyone else’s life more difficult.

    • Reverend PJ

      @53 no molded handle

      I’m speculating that this would be interpreted as banning non-folding knives.

      • badgersdaughter

        As an occasional collector and observer of knife design, I think this is meant to specifically exclude the cheapest, most disposable, small fixed-blade designs. More expensive designs might have carved wood, horn, or stone; they’d be more likely to be carried by someone who really gave a half a damn about the knife itself.

  • bubba707

    Speaking as an old fossil, Americans have become excessively paranoid and crazier than a soup sandwich.

  • Dan

    It’s not the law abiding citizens (like I am and like you claim to be) that we’re worried about. It’s the potential for another zealous nut to take down one of our planes that must be protected against. Duh!

    Al Qaeda is cheering this ill-conceived policy change along with you, Hank. I’m sure you can make do without your precious pocket knife for a few hours. Wouldn’t we all be better off if the flight crew isn’t constantly on edge, fearing for their safety?

    I’ve got a really nice Victorinox Swiss Army knife with all the bells and whistles. (I think it actually has both. And a horn, too.) But I’ll gladly pack it in my checked bag or leave it at home if I know that the guy sitting next to me had to do the same. Hardly an inconvenience at all.

    “If you’re not doing anything wrong, why should you be treated like the shitbags who are” you ask? Because I can’t tell from looking at you if you’re an evil shitbag or not – and you can’t tell if I am, either – so we have to assume that we both might be and take the obvious and necessary precautions.

    Seriously, did you think about this at all before you wrote your blog post?

    • Eric Riley

      But a pocketknife is not going to make it any easier to ‘take down one of our planes’. And there is no reason to believe that anyone’s safety is being particularly endangered by this change in policy. Perhaps, unlike Raging Bee, you’d like to provide some evidence to the contrary?

    • Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

      Well, I can tell you want to reduce Americans to whimpering servile sheep. That certainly says a lot.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Raging Bee – would you mind making a coherent argument?

    No problem: Flight attendants have stated that they face a certain risk to their own health (which is proven by numerous incidents of actual passenger violence); they ask that certain things be banned from airplane cabins as one step toward reducing that very real risk; their demand is quite reasonable, and can easily be accomodated without causing any real harm or unfair burden to anyone else; and since the precaution they ask for does not entail any serious inconvenience or loss of freedom or dignity, we should take that precaution, because their safety (and ours) matter more than our short-term convenience. Is that coherent enough for you?

    To which many people gave examples of uses they might have for a pocketknife aboard a plane…

    Examples that fell into two categories: “trivial” (as in, minor and unimportant tasks that could easily wait until one is off the plane); and “outrageous” (as in, one very important life-saving task that the airline itself should have provided for, without expecting paying customers to bring their own tools). Nothing more important than taking a minor precaution for passenger and flight-attendant safety.

    For the ‘real safety concerns’ – citation of statistics please.

    Why do you need statistics, when you have the word of MANY actual airline workers who speak from direct experience? Is their word not good enough for you? Do you hate them ’cause they’re unionized? Or is this just more bogus hyperskepticism toward people who tell you things you don’t want to hear?

    Be careful Bee – you’re slipping into insult.

    You say that AFTER other people have directed some pretty ridiculous insults at me? Take your hypocritical diversionary tone-arguments and shove them back where they came from. You’re not fooling anyone here.

    At this point I really have no clue what Raging Bee is on about.

    Argument from ignorance? If you don’t understand what I’m saying, then you should stop pretending you know what you’re talking about.

  • http://www.improbablejoe.blogspot.com Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Good. Let’s stop wasting TSAs time with nonsense like pocket knives, and shampoo bottles, and “terrorism”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/using.reason usingreason

    As far as I’m aware nobody has ever highjacked a plane with a pocket knife. Also, the TSA is the organization that banned books on planes for about a week after the failed underwear bomber attempt. Expecting them to act sensibly is just silly.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I’ve got a really nice Victorinox Swiss Army knife with all the bells and whistles. (I think it actually has both. And a horn, too.) But I’ll gladly pack it in my checked bag or leave it at home if I know that the guy sitting next to me had to do the same. Hardly an inconvenience at all.

    This. Plain and simple.

    (Except my parents never bought me a knife with a horn…thanks for reminding me how deprived I was…I coulda used the horn to summon help if the plane ever went down…and the bells for Christmas cheer, and the whistles for when my flight crossed the International Date Line at midnight New Year’s Eve/Day…)

  • lochaber

    Here:

    http://www.schneier.com/essay-395.html

    Towards the end of that, ~500 deaths per year are attributed to automobile deaths from people who choose to drive instead of putting up with the security theatre associated with flying.

    I’d be surprised if you coud find anything claiming even 50 yearly injuries from assaults on a plane. If you have something to cite, cite it, just don’t claim “lots of people are scared”
    Someone being scared of soemthing, and something being a legitimate threat are two very different things.

    And just because you don’t see the need to carry something, or find something personally useful, is not grounds for dismissal of that item’s utility for someone else. Otherwise, we would all be carrying the same stuff in our pockets/bags, and wouldn’t be arguing about this.

    So, we have an actual decrease in safety (500 extra deaths per year) due to stupid policies on one hand, and rumors of people being scared of tiny tools on the other.

  • bubba707

    People are scared? That means pretty much nothing. People have always been scared of things they don’t know about or understand. This ain’t a Nerf world and never has been. If you want absolute security and safety build a bunker somewhere remote, wrap yourself in bubble wrap and never come out. Frankly, from what I see reported we have much more to fear from our own Govt and law enforcement than from any terrorists.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    People are scared? That means pretty much nothing. People have always been scared of things they don’t know about or understand.

    Yeah, people who work full-time on commercial passenger jets don’t understand the things that happen on commercial passenger jets. They need rational libertarians to explain reality to them, ’cause their direct experience means they’re too close to a situtaion, and too emotionally involved, to see the whole picture. That’s why people have to bring their tools with them on planes: you never know when their practical common sense in all things will be necessary.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    And just because you don’t see the need to carry something, or find something personally useful, is not grounds for dismissal of that item’s utility for someone else.

    And just because you don’t care about someone else’s safety or workplace environment, is not grounds for dismissal of their concerns, or for refusal to take minor reasonable precautions for the safety of others when you’re in their place of work.

    • lochaber

      So far, all we have been doing is dismissing each other’s claims.

      Some of you repeatedly dismiss that there is any use/reason for simple tools, and claim they are a threat.

      Some of us are dismissive of the supposed danger in these simple tools, and claim they are useful.

      I even posted a link to information that these policies are making our nation less safe.

      You have yet to cite or link anything supporting that simple tools are a legitimate threat.

      • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

        “Legitimate threat?” Is that anything like a “legitimate rape?”

        • Eric Riley

          Really?

          Instead of dismissing people’s arguments against your position with responses like this, how about providing some evidence to back up your position?

        • B-Lar

          Wow. You went there. I know you think that you are fighting for what is right and true, but this comment pushed you off the deep end.

          I am so glad that you are not actually involved in making broad sweeping decisions. To do so requires consistency, balanced consideration, and an ability to produce data.

          So far you are 1 for 3. Consistently incapable of balanced consideration and unable to produce data.

  • Emptyell

    Emptyell: “At this point I really have no clue what Raging Bee is on about.”

    Raging Bee: “Argument from ignorance? If you don’t understand what I’m saying, then you should stop pretending you know what you’re talking about.”

    I know exactly what I am talking about but have given up on the possibility that you will make any effort to understand. This response being a case in point. Which is why this was not addressed to you. I have no expectation of having a productive conversation with you. Your argumentative style is to dance around using tricks to appear “right” without responding to the substance of others’ comments.

  • Sam N

    No, I don’t take the word of some flight attendants and the union line as convincing me that the result of loosening the restriction on pocket knives will actually cause a notable increase in harm. If they have a good case to make, and there were many decades of allowing pocket knives, they should be able to point to evidence aside from premeditated acts of terrorism. Fuck, I don’t even need statistics, even a few documented cases of pocket knives causing harm on an airplane when it wasn’t a premeditated act of terrorism might convince me.

    I’m pro-union, I think they do far more good than harm, but I certainly don’t think everything unions advocate for are good or sensible policies. I also care a great deal about evidence based policy. My understanding is TSA reviewed the evidence and didn’t find these items would pose a significant security threat.

    If the only evidence are acts of terrorism (which weren’t even pocket knives, but fixed blade box cutters), well I can address why a pocket knife ban isn’t going to help things in that case, and why attempts to solve the problem through banning useful tools is not going to solve the problem of a determined terrorist agent being able to kill a few people.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    No, I don’t take the word of some flight attendants and the union line…

    Do you have a more reliable source? You say you “care a great deal about evidence based policy,” but then you discount the best evidence that’s been offered here. This is starting to sound like the same phony hyperskepticism I hear from people who want to pretend that sexism, racism, sexual harassment, global warming, etc., aren’t really as big a deal as the alleged victims of same insist they are; and who insist on ignoring everyone else’s perspective and demanding rigourous statistical proof before agreeing to do anything about the alleged problem.

    Seriously, dude, just put the damn knife in your checked baggage. You won’t need it to fly the plane, or cut your way out of it if it crashes, and it’ll still be in your bag when you land.

    • Eric Riley

      But you haven’t given any *evidence*. Hearsay is not *evidence*. Provide me with evidence and I will not only check my pocketknife, I will happily sign the petition. You saying that a bunch of people agree that pocketknives are dangerous is not actually evidence that pocketknives are dangerous. When confronted with this, you retreat into ad hominem, “because you don’t care about someone else’s safety or workplace environment”, and “Do you hate them ’cause they’re unionized? Or is this just more bogus hyperskepticism toward people who tell you things you don’t want to hear?”, and “this is Libertarian Looking-Glass Airways allright”. I am not going to pretend to speak for everyone here, but so far there has not been a lot of libertarian posturing or hyperskepticism – you have been asked, repeatedly, to produce evidence for your assertion that pocketknives are a threat to the safety of flight crew. You have instead turned to insulting the people who are asking for evidence.

      • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

        Tell me…if you normally carry a large knife with you, for whatever reason, and someone who runs a pub you frequent, told you there’d been some violent incidents recently, and he’d really appreciate it if you’d not bring your knife on his property, maybe out of respect for the feelings of his employees who are a bit on edge, would you do the minor decent thing and respect his concerns? Or would you mock the guy for freaking out over “hearsay” and pompously demand statistical proof that you not carrying a knife into his pub would make him and his family or employees safer?

        Seriously, dude, the former response is plain grownup decency, the kind of thing most grownups in the real world manage to do without freaking out, and without giving up any fundamental freedoms; the latter is just being a hot headed, selfish, immature grade-A Asshole.

        • Eric Riley

          Have I mocked *anyone*? Have I resorted to insults? I have asked you for a single bit of evidence – not hearsay – evidence that your claim that allowing pockeknives (not dangerous items, not weapons, not ‘large knives’) onto planes is creating a dangerous environment.

          The context of this discussion is TSA regulations – that affect our entire country, not the regulations of a single carrier, much less my local pub.

          Calling me a selfish, immature asshole is not providing any support for your position. In fact, I will freely admit that I am a selfish, immature, – oh, hot-headed – libertarian, asshole. Exactly how does *any* of that affect this argument one way or the other? It doesn’t make me wrong, it doesn’t make you right. (Afficionados of fallacies will recognize the ad hominem).

          Again – provide me with some evidence and I will rethink my position. If the evidence is strong enough, I will reverse my position. I have said I will several times, yet – instead of providing evidence, you provide snark and insult. You bring up scenarios and change the subject (which you complain about others doing earlier). Could your resistance to actually giving us any evidence be because there isn’t any to give?

          Oh – and ‘because flight crew and their union are against this’ (does that mean all, or 50%+1?) is not itself evidence either, it’s an appeal to authority. Another fallacy – although you have not even bothered to give a source for that either. The only thing you’ve done is tell us your opinion and what you claim others believe. And it’s perfectly OK to be passionate about this – but if you want others to share that passion, you may want to provide some evidence.

          • Sam N

            I appreciate your coolness, Eric. I am trying to view Raging Bee’s comments in as positive a light as possible, that they are from a passionate concern for people’s well-being, which I think we can both empathize with. And it’s a nice contrast to Bee’s assuming the worst about us, simply because we think that pocket-knives are not a serious risk, and aren’t willing to take general statements that they endanger everyone’s safety, as actual evidence of a safety threat.

          • Doug Hayden

            Bee’s usually both pretty stable and funny in posting, if I recall correctly. I’m guessing that this has (sadly) hit close to home for Bee, and can only grieve second-hand for what I’m assuming happened and hope that Bee can someday make emotional peace with it (not forgetting, but not allowing it to be a ruling passion).

            No sanctimony involved here. Bee’s been very vehement, practically strident, on this issue, and that seems unusual to me.

  • Sam N

    I suppose this ends the usefulness of continued discussion with you, Raging Bee.

    Having read through the petition, there was the declaration that loosening of the pocket knife ban will make everyone on the airplane less safe, then this proceeded with a hypothetical situation (an inebriated assault with pocket knife) and premeditated attacks. I take issue with the fact that a ban helps protect against premeditated attacks, and hypothetical scenarios aren’t convincing. On the other hand, this thread has several testimonies of actual lost money and time. Not mine, mind you, I don’t carry a pocket knife, never had anything confiscated by TSA, and I very rarely check luggage (I don’t like waiting in line to check it, or waiting to pick it up).

    Statistical evidence of sexism, racism, and global warming are ridiculously prevalent, and also compelling, I don’t see how you can honestly compare this to hyperskepticism of those. Even a few actual examples where a pocket knife caused real damage to someone on a plane, like someone in this thread saying it happened to them, or a news report, would make me rethink my current assessment of their general harmlessness. Maybe talking to an actual flight attendants who was around in the 90s and after 9/11 would provide me information to alter my perspective. And I have done a couple simple google searches to see if something obvious pops up, I’ve made some attempt. That makes me a hyperskeptic? Whatever.

    • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

      I take issue with the fact that a ban helps protect against premeditated attacks, and hypothetical scenarios aren’t convincing. On the other hand, this thread has several testimonies of actual lost money and time.

      Yeah, and the actual news offers several very real incidents of physical threats and injuries suffered by flight attendants. Your pretending they have only “hypothetical scenarios” says a lot about your character, and your maturity.

      • Sam N

        Yes, I have read reports of verbal abuse (and while I haven’t found any assaults by inebriated passengers I would believe it), but I don’t see any evidence that these are in the slightest bit likely to be exacerbated by allowing passengers to carry pocket knives. I never expressed doubt that inebriated passengers can be asses, nor have I expressed doubt that flight attendants on occasion are subject to abuse, quite the opposite Raging Bee, in fact I have expressed the opinion that they certainly are, but I really do doubt that inebriated pocket knife threats are a problem. I really do fucking doubt it. I guess that makes me a hyperskeptic boogeyman.

        I think even verbal abuse should result in punishment of some sort–a fine at the very least, and any physical assault should be prosecuted. It’s not OK. But we’re talking about pocket knives causing the harm, not a drunk ass taking a swing with a fist, and I’ve found no evidence of it, and you’ve provided no evidence of it. It seems no more dangerous than the very non-existent threat of pocket knives being allowed in the general public, which they are, ya know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steven.rowlinson Steven Rowlinson

    Flying is not a right; its a privilege.

    Their plane, their rules. Don’t like it? Take a fucking boat.

  • Emptyell

    “Flying is not a right; its a privilege.

    Their plane, their rules. Don’t like it? Take a fucking boat.”

    These are government regulations. In other words our rules. We’re just discussing if they make sense.

    In case you hadn’t noticed the planes belong to the airlines and no one is arguing that we should ignore any particular airlines rules. If you don’t like a particular airline you can take another. Government regulations are supposed to apply to everyone and thus their fairness and efficacy is a worthwhile topic.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    In case you hadn’t noticed the planes belong to the airlines and no one is arguing that we should ignore any particular airlines rules.

    Right. When government makes a rule, you go full-on hyperskeptical and demand statistical proof and rigorous analysis to prove the alleged problem is real. But when a private business makes exactly the same rule, the pretense of brave freethinking skeptical inquiry vanishes and you all just accept it with no further bother. What a jucking foke.

  • lochaber

    Just did a quick google news search, using the terms “airplane” and “assault”, and another with the terms “airplane” and “assaulted”. I’ll be the first to admit my googling skills are pretty far from optimal, so someone may want to try one with better search terms or something.

    Anyways, it looks like google news search only covers relatively recent stuff. Earliest date seemed to be about mid February.

    So, for about a 1 month period, came up with two cases of assault:

    http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2013/feb/17/hayden-exec-loses-job-over-accusation-assault-2-ye/

    http://www.wcnc.com/news/crime/Poice–197805481.html

    First one is pretty disgusting, bullying, racism, but not something I think would have been much different under pre 9/11 security procedures.

    Second one didn’t have much info, other then ‘minor injuries’, so I don’t even know what that means (a bruise, or anything less then broken bones?).

    According to Schneier, approximately ~40 people die in automobile wrecks over a month, that would have otherwise flown, if not for our ridiculous security theatre.

    I’m not against having a safe and secure transport system, and I don’t think anyone in this thread is. However, there are going to be tradeoffs between expense, convenience, and gains in security; and we will never reach a state were security/safety is absolute. It’s an asymptope approaching zero, and while we will never hit zero, we can get closer to it.

    However, the safer we make the system, further improvements will get progressively more expensive/difficult, and have a much smaller effect on overall safety.

    I believe we got about as far as we could towards safety with the pre 9/11 screening methods; any of the further difficulties (too many to list) have not made the system measurably safer, but have made it both more expensive, and more difficult.

    In fact, these policies have made it so difficult, that people are turning to more dangerous forms of transportation.

    Anyways, I think I’m done here. As with others, I am willing to reconsider my claims if there is contradicting evidence. I’d like to think that I would even change my beliefs/opinions on the matter if there was sufficient evidence. I was hoping for some decent discussion, but after several requests for statistics/stories/evidence/links, I have yet to see anything other than goalpoast shifting and personal attacks.

  • zxcier

    Bee,

    A quick search found http://ashsd.afacwa.org/docs/FlightAttendantNonfatalInjuries.ppt (based on BLS data), page 20 shows a breakdown of injuries by flight attendants from 1994-2000, when knives with 4 inch blades were allowed. Injuries by assault hover in the noise around 0%, dwarfed by turbulence and injuries by falling objects and exertion. Maybe they should really be demanding a ban on carry-on items, which pose a real and present danger stuffed in the overhead bins!

    The TSA should be spending its energy on looking for actual threats based on actual data to make flying safer. The hyperbolic and reactionary security measures we’ve been enduring to fly since 9/11 have cost many billions of dollars, uncountable lost hours and stress, and even lives lost as more people drive to avoid the hassle. These are real costs that we can legitimately weigh against the threat – and whether those measures even protect against the threat. These days anyone trying to wave around a pocketknife or bottle of shampoo or dick around with their underwear fuse gets promptly curb-stomped by the other passengers.

    Here’s to hoping that this set of changes (its a lot more than pocket knives) is a preface to more sensible airline security policies.

    • Doug Hayden

      +1 …. ^^^This

  • badgersdaughter

    Bee, I work in a large office, where there are hundreds more dangerous objects ready to hand and about as many people that I come in contact with each day as I would be in contact with on a transatlantic flight. These people are not restricted in their movements around the office or their access to the potentially dangerous items. In fact if I were to enter the factory part of the building and work, I am hundreds of times more likely to be hurt just by proximity to the tools and equipment. In fact, just going to work in the morning in my car, or walking or taking the bus to work downtown, carries much more absolute risk of getting hurt than flight attendants risk from passengers.

    You may be correct about flight attendants fearing tiny pocketknives in the hands of passengers. Why shouldn’t I thus be afraid to go to work or leave the house? Should I request laws banning scissors and machine tools in the workplace?

  • Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Flying is not a right; its a privilege.

    Their plane, their rules. Don’t like it? Take a fucking boat.

    Wouldn’t “Baa-aaaa” have been quicker to type?

    Tell me…if you normally carry a large knife with you, for whatever reason, and someone who runs a pub you frequent, told you there’d been some violent incidents recently, and he’d really appreciate it if you’d not bring your knife on his property, maybe out of respect for the feelings of his employees who are a bit on edge, would you do the minor decent thing and respect his concerns? Or would you mock the guy for freaking out over “hearsay” and pompously demand statistical proof that you not carrying a knife into his pub would make him and his family or employees safer?

    We’re talking about penknives.

    SWISS. ARMY. KNIVES.

    Not weapons. No one has proposed allowing knives that are actually WEAPONS* by any sane definition on planes, to the best of my knowledge. What has been proposed is removing the idiotic ban on employing even a modicum of common fucking sense in determining what is or is not a WEAPON. (Yes, I note that the Change.org petition, like you, basically flat fucking lies about this, which I noted when I Flagged it – I’m sorry the petition side administrators are asleep at the wheel).

    SWISS. ARMY. KNIVES.

    Are decidedly suboptimal even as last-resort defensive weapons. I’m sure you can find one or two examples in the entire history of the world, but the fact remains that using them offensively to any sort of effect is a figment of quaking-under-the-bed fever dreams. The fits of laughter a reasonable person would collapse into if threatened with one would be more debilitating than the blade, for fuck’s sake.

    Meanwhile, they include numerous useful tools such as folding less-than-an-inch metal tabs which function as screwdrivers (to the potential relief of anyone who finds them threatening), nail files, toothpicks, mini-scissors, whose utility, even on a flight, should the reader be confused, can probably be explained by any moderately intelligent three year old.

    Also, it IS a hardship having to check a bag, when you wouldn’t have otherwise, because the Keystone Kops are going to confiscate your harmless pocket tools otherwise – either because you weren’t so privileged to have nothing else on your mind when packing, or because you’ll need them upon arriving. Especially since they now gouge you for checked bags. Would it really kill any of the people throwing tantrums over this to stop noisily sucking off the Nice Nice People With the Serious Smiles and Obvious Ulterior Motives Who Tell Us to Be Scared and Jump and How High and Roll Over and Play [Brain]Dead for even two seconds and THINK?

    “Fear is the mind killer,” indeed.

    *On the other hand, the same rules also propose to allow up to 2 golf clubs in carry-on baggage…which are actually physically plausible offensive weapons, though awkward in a confined space like a place, and thus basis for non-farcical concern. I notice MewlingBee and the other underbeds aren’t whining about this, possibly because of the absorption spectrum of the people with which golf clubs are popularly associated….

    • Emptyell

      I wonder if the problem is that some people are phobic about sharp things. I’ve known people who can’t stand to watch food prep or wood carving and really can’t be rational about any kind of knives.

      (Que angry buzzing…)

    • http://www.facebook.com/steven.rowlinson Steven Rowlinson

      I think I was being rather too flippant with my first comment, and I apologise for my lack of civility.

      My point really (And I suppose I should just have said it) is that I really don’t see why a knife would be needed on a plane; I pretty much always carry a Lockman knife/multi-tool thingy with me for foraging, digging about and general time-wasting, but it always goes in my general luggage when I get on a plane. I don’t forsee ay reason not to just put it away for a few hours; its not like I plan to whittle pointy sticks or carve mine & my beau’s name on the back of the seat. With the issue of only having carry-on luggage I see how that could be a ball-ache, but if I felt that strongly that I needed a pocket knife I’d probably just buy a cheap one at my destination.

      Pocket knives are useful, and I am a strong supporter of peoples’ individual liberty, but I don’t see this as some sort of 2nd amendment style attack.

      • http://www.facebook.com/steven.rowlinson Steven Rowlinson

        *any* My proof-reading is dire tonight.

      • Eric Riley

        I don’t think that most of us are looking at it like that. If carrying a minor tool is any kind of right, it is a minor right and one that, I for one, am not terribly bent out of shape foregoing in order to fly. However, if it is not necessary, why forego it at all? The TSA has determined that it is not a particularly useful regulation (in terms of their mission), and so I am happy that on my next flights I may be able not worry if I remembered to put it in my check luggage, or if it’s still in my pocket. It comes in handy, but I can live without it as well…

        That said, the fight against the change (that is, the fight against allowing passengers to carry small pocketknives onboard) seems to be mainly driven by irrational fear. Now, we may collectively decide that we should accede to that fear and prohibit pocketknives on planes by the passage of a federal law (since the TSA looks like they are not going to change their mind), however – I do not think it necessary, not from any point of rights beyond the right to be left alone if what you are doing is not terribly dangerous to yourself or others.

  • psanity

    Well, I don’t think anyone could describe me as a libertarian, without causing cracks in the time-space continuum. I’m all for airport security, as long as it’s meaningful and not merely a manipulative sort of show-and-tell, which is what 95% of post-2001 airport security is. And it works! The manipulation, I mean. Raging Bee and lots of otherwise fairly rational people, including many flight attendants, totally buy this bullshit.

    But, right now today I can carry onto an airplane a pair of pointy scissors with blades almost twice as long as the knives under discussion. I could totally kill someone with one of those, and so could my seatmate, because there are two blades. The embroidery ones are razor-sharp. And knitting needles? Oh, please. They don’t even have to be metal to be dangerous; even the high-quality plastic ones could go right through someone’s ribs. (We needleworkers are extremely dangerous, as you know if you read your murder mysteries.) So, the lists of prohibited and permitted items is completely arbitrary and without any unified rationale.

    It’s also worth mentioning that one reason the TSA is doing this is to bring the US more in line with international standards.

  • psanity

    Another thing — people who think it’s totes fine to have to check luggage? Not everyone has spare 50-dollarses so throw about on such frivolities.

  • Emptyell

    psanity,

    Besides the cost I often don’t check bags so I can bypass the baggage claim and make better transit connections. I’m not willing to forgo that option so I have given up carrying my pocket knife. Unfortunately I’m not sure if my knife meets the new standards. If not it means that the vast majority won’t as mine is the basic, original Swiss Army model.

  • Emptyell

    Yup. Just checked. My blade is 2.5in (6.4cm) long and just a tad too wide. I suppose I could grind it down or maybe look for an alternate model. I suppose the knife makers may start adjusting their lines to meet the new regs.

  • http://www.jafafahots.com Jafafa Hots

    USPS packages regularly fly in the cargo holds of planes.
    These packages are not screened for things like explosives.

    It’s always fun to sit in the terminal by the window, putting my shoes back on and watching the mail trucks loading all that mail on the planes.

    There’s one reason my shoes are screened but packages aren’t.

    Postal packages are not impressed by or given a sense of security by theatrics.

    Incidentally, you know what kind of knives are sharper than metal ones?
    Ceramic ones. Obsidian ones. Glass ones.

    They also conveniently are not detectable when they are several inches long and velcro-strapped to the inside of your leg.

    But go ahead. rest easy knowing that I can’t take down a plane with my Junior Forest Ranger pocket knife.

    (Also, did you know that in tests to see how easily contraband items get past screeners, the results showed that they DO get by a majority of the time? Neato, huh?)

    Sit back and enjoy your fright.
    er… flight.

  • Sitaifun Mac

    It is not possible to eliminate every potential use of a common object as a weapon, and even if you could, that would increase the threat when one real terrorist manages to smuggle in a weapon and nobody else is prepared to resist. Perhaps it will come down to making everyone fly naked after undergoing a full body cavity search. But wait, hands can be used to hit or strangle, so that could be a weapon as well. Oh well then, we will also have to be handcuffed while traveling. Yes, naked and handcuffed; that should provide the security we need.

  • thegoodman

    This all goes back to TSA being very stupid. As several articles have pointed out, reactionary tactics do not prevent terrorism. Banning 1″ knives or 4″ knives has nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with scaring people.

    The guy next to you in Wal-Mart has a semi-automatic handgun in his jacket and 2 extra clips (46 rounds total) and you are both oblivious and unafraid. What is to stop him from just shooting everyone at his will? Nothing. He simply chooses to continue being a perfectly decent human being.

    Treating every person that gets on a plane as a suspect has robbed our country of much dignity. Too many of you live in fear of the boogie man and promote shameful and irrational hysteria and xenophobia.

    Please grow up.

  • http://www.darwinharmless.com Darwin Hamless

    Bruce Schneier coined the term “security theatre” and all of the security checks at airports are just that. It’s all designed to keep terrorism on our minds and justify spending all that money on totally pointless security procedures and equipment. I own a pocket knife with a spring loaded blade. The blade is two inches long, but the knife is illegal in Canada. Why? Because it goes “click”, and that might be intimidating. When rules are silly, we soon start to resent them, and then we start to ignore them when we can.

    My preferred response to 9/11 and the threat of highjackers and terrorists would be business as usual. Stop harrassing the innocent. Use good intgelligence to find the threats before they ever get to an airport. I’ve met many men who could kill you with their bare hands, and no doubt terrorists could get such training. What do you do with them? Handcuffs before takeoff? Let’s all calm down, look at the statistics, and realize that you are far more likely to die in the car on the way to the airport than at the hands of anybody on the plane. Let’s accept the incredibly tiny risk involved in allowing us to travel by air the same way we travel by bus.

    I have great sympathy for that flight attendant who had a friend whose throat was slit. But she needs some PTS therapy. She is not rational. In Vancouver, Canada, the manager of a Starbucks was stabbed to death. I haven’t noticed any security procedures before we buy our coffee. What makes airplanes so special? And yes, before somebody points it out, I know you can’t crash a Starbucks into an office tower. But you can kill people there with a pocket knife. If you want to be safe and protected from such a threat, you need to consider your whole environment, not just the time when you are in an airplane. And that gets absurd, doesn’t it?

  • Ichthyic

    “security theatre”

    two word summary of the whole issue.

    instead of arguing about whether the TSA should “allow” penknives on board airplanes, people really SHOULD be arguing whether the TSA itself should even exist as it is.

  • http://en.gravatar.com/dontpanic42x dontpanic

    For all those screaming about “OMG, won’t someone think of the flight attendants!!!!”: You want to make their lives safer when dealing with unruly passengers? I’ve got one word for you: alcohol. Ban it from planes; ban it from airports. Breathalizer tests before boarding if you want to take it to extremes. There! You have made their lives infinitely safer than the continuation of this penknife ban ever would. And it would be no skin off my nose as I never drink alcohol on a plane.

    [sits back and waits for the uproar]

    Dan

    I could disembowel you in about five seconds with a well-sharpened three-inch pocket knife

    Is that you noelplum99? Yeah, I’d like to see that. Go ahead, show me mythbuster’s style. Find a regulation acceptable penknife, sharpen it to your hearts delight, buy a pig carcass and show me. Five seconds. I think you seriously underestimate how tough human skin/flesh is and how small a three inch knife is. And the pig wouldn’t be fighting back.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Why do they still allow dangerous things like water? OMG you can die if you breathe that stuff!

  • catballou

    Excellent point about alcohol, Dontpanic. Surely that’s the number one cause of passenger “unruliness”?

    I haven’t read this particular blog before, so I don’t know any of the commenters. But I just read this entire thread in one sitting, and I think I got a pretty good flavor of the debate. It’s clear that some people join a conversation for the give and take of ideas, and others stake out a position and refuse to budge, no matter how absurd and irrational their arguments become. RagingBee demonstrated that superbly.

  • http://www.jafafahots.com Jafafa Hots

    Why do they still allow dangerous things like water?

    It may be, but not nearly as dangerous as shampoo.
    Whoops, I should clarify – not nearly as dangerous as 4 ounces of shampoo.
    Three ounces is perfectly safe – provided it is sealed in a 1-quart ziplock bag.

    Once, flying out of Tampa, there were two people in the security line – myself and one guy ahead of me.
    Nobody else in the terminal but the TSA agent’s assistant. Both standing behind a folding table.

    The TSA agent seriously wanted to assert his authority, so he was grilling the guy in front of me.
    That guy had some toiletries in a bag, and the TSA agent gave him hell about the size of the ziplock.

    Then he found something (a chapstick or whatever) NOT in the bag, and went apeshit, screaming… telling the guy that it needed to be in the bag too, and if he found anything else not properly stored in that ziplock, the passenger “would be flying to Kansas” instead of his intended destination, and “staying there a lot longer than he planned.”

    It was all I could do to stop from bursting out laughing in the TSA fascist’s face. I wanted to catch my flight.
    (Considering how unpleasant my visit to my destination was, I think I would have had more fun if I HAD laughed in the TSA asshole’s face.)

  • FletchFFletch

    I have an idea… let’s give each person boarding a plane a pen knife. Then the terrorists will be out numbered by the good guys for sure.


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