Pocketknives on planes slashes sense of security

For reasons that have baffled a nation, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration has decided to allow airline passengers to carry knives.

Well, not knife knives, but, rather, pocketknives.

Still, under the new rules, passengers will be able to carry a blade that is up to 2.36 inches long and up to a half-inch wide, as long as it isn't a fixed blade or doesn't lock into place.

It truly is hard to figure.

Was it just a sense that, heck, things have been going so well in the air since Sept. 11, 2001, why not rearm passengers?

We're sure there are reasons for this that only bureaucrats can understand, but they probably should be rethinking this.

For one thing, the al-Qaeda terrorists managed to bring down four planes and the World Trade Center, damage the Pentagon, kill thousands and start a war with, what? Box cutters, for crying out loud!

True, box cutters (and razor blades) will still be prohibited. How could they not be given their role on Sept. 11?

But we're going to let people board planes with knives after getting along just fine without for more than 12 years?

If not altogether happy, the public at least has grown accustomed to the odd rules about plane safety, including the occasional confiscation of a tin of foie gras (yeah, no kidding, this happened) and the prohibition of more than 3.4 oz. of shampoo in any one container.

(As the satirical publication The Onion put it, you should be able to carry a knife or shampoo onto a plane, but not both. Presumably the combination would simply be too dangerous.)

With this change, we now run the risk of an arm's race in the air.

If the passenger behind you might have a knife, shouldn't you have your own knife, on the well-established principle that the only thing that will stop a bad guy with a knife on a plane is a good guy with a knife on a plane?

Or, at least, shouldn't you be able to wear a Kevlar collar to protect your carotid artery?

But, seriously, what is the inconvenience to the public to not allow knives of any sort on a plane?

And isn't the peace of mind of complete prohibition worth something?

-- Kingston Daily Freeman