Monday, August 15, 2005

Airline Security Changes Planned

This Washington Post article (HT: Rantingprofs) is somewhat heartening and somewhat frightening.
The staff's first set of recommendations, detailed in an Aug. 5 document, includes proposals to lift the ban on various carry-on items such as scissors, razor blades and knives less than five inches long. It also proposes that passengers no longer routinely be required to remove their shoes at security checkpoints.

This is part of the heartening bit. I hate not being able to take my little pocket knife and more importantly a small Leatherman's Tool when I fly light. I have always thought that this part of the post-911 rules were overkill.
The proposal also would allow ice picks, throwing stars and bows and arrows on flights. Allowing those items was suggested after a risk evaluation was conducted about which items posed the most danger.

SCARY! Ice picks I could go either way on, especially since that means I can again carry a small wine opener and not have to buy one on each trip that we decide to sit around at night in the lobby sharing some vino.

But throwing stars and bows and arrows? I was never really good with throwing stars. It was required to learn to throw them as part of my martial arts training but I quit playing with them as soon as I got passable. I have seen people who can consistently put them in a 2 inch circle from 20 feet with considerable velocity. While harder than point an pull the trigger somebody who really knows what they are doing can kill a bunch of people in a very short period of time, at a distance, with a stack of them. I do not want them allowed on the plane. There is NO reason they should be in carry on or on one's person. We don't license ninja in this country. If you must travel with them, check them under. And bows and arrows? Give me a break. I feel for competitive archers and hunters so I could see letting them carry their bows on but please check the arrows under.

The TSA memo proposes to minimize the number of passengers who must be patted down at checkpoints. It also recommends that certain categories of passengers be exempt from airport security screening, such as members of Congress, airline pilots, Cabinet members, state governors, federal judges, high-ranking military officers and people with top-secret security clearances.

This is just stupid. What percentage of the people going through US airports on a given day fit this description? My guess is less than half of one percent. The idea isn't so bad but how about making the list something other than the very people who have a prayer of influencing TSA policy? If congress, governors, and federal judges aren't going to be subject to the law then it really won't matter how stupid the law is you will not see it fixed. I highly suspect that is why the suggestion is made and we should all be smart enough to notice. The press certainly should notice especially since they are not on the list.


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