Aren’t knives worse than box cutters?

Still scratching my head over the TSA’s decision to allow small knives on planes again. Where’s the logic?  The knives they are going to allow (blades up to 2.36″ long and .5″ wide) have longer blades than the box cutters used to hijack the 9/11 planes. How are they not a bigger threat? This makes no sense to me.



Categories: Law, TSA

22 replies

  1. Seriously?

    You’re looking for SENSE from a government agency? Seriously? How about allowing 2 CARRY ON golf clubs? Seriously?

  2. The distinction between a penknife and a box cutter makes sense to me. It is a matter of mechanical leverage. My trusty Swiss Army folding penknife has a blade 1.5″ long and a handle 2.25″ long. The box cutter in my tool box has only a 1″ blade but a nice handle 5.5″ long. The knife must be gripped with three fingers and a thumb which is weak leverage whereas the box cutter fits the whole hand nicely and provides much better leverage, while its blade is plenty long enough to sever carotid or femoral arteries.

    All that said, I find the bureaucratic mind incredibly slow. All those penknives should have been authorized long, long ago, not to mention my damn tweezers they confiscated.

    • And yet their explanation of why box cutters are still banned only said something about the “emotional impact” they would have. Your explanation sounds more logical (there’s that word again).

      Pen knives but no tweezers? Go figure.

  3. There are some small knives are thin and sharp as scalpels. Don’t need much leverage with a blade that sharp and lethal. Quick slash and dead.
    I’m with the flight attendants and air marshals on this one
    But even more – all those golf clubs, ski poles, baseball bats – there’s no room in the overhead bins now – where are those gonna go? Pack them in a box like skies and load them in cargo…oh, stuff gets stolen…and those aren’t dangerous anyway…even if an angry drunk decides to take out a crying child or something – no serious damage possible, right?

    • Yep, small does not preclude sharp. And it seems to me that golf clubs, etc., make dandy weapons. As long as we have to go through all the security searches anyway, why not be thorough and eliminate all the threats. Focusing on bomb materials and letting the sharps go through just puts us back where we were on 9/11.

      • Clubs – that’s what those are. Just silly. Oh, but they are constantly reminding us how they are “keeping us safe”
        I have NO faith in the TSA. The screeners I’ve encountered are a joke despite the drama they go through. (except the very polite and efficient ones near the southern TX border)
        There is no way TSA will catch anything – it’s a joke. return those uniforms and get rid of these clowns

        • And, in fact, the last I heard, for all their officiousness, the TSA has still not caught a single terrorist and routinely fails to detect items they are supposed to stop. What a colossal waste of money that entity is.

    • Sorry Philo, but I must disagree. I urge you (and PT) to look at the big picture here. What got the WTC spectacularly destroyed was a clever plan that centered on taking over control of the aircraft, and, leveraging the historical precedent of airplane high-jackers being non-suicidal. All that changed on 9/11.

      Now, cockpit doors are armored and locked before takeoff, not to mention that at least some pilots are armed and some flights have armed air marshals aboard. Terrorists aren’t stupid, or at least the ones who plan projects aren’t, they want more than just cutting up a stewardess or a passenger or two and they have to know that with the precedent of 9/11, no pilot is going to surrender access to the cockpit just because someone is wielding his penknife or ballpoint pen back in coach.

      What is the principal threat now? I submit that it is someone smuggling enough explosive, liquid or plastic, aboard a plane to destroy it and that’s what the TSA now wants and needs to concentrate on. In my view this change is long overdue. But, if you insist in complete protection then I suggest you prepare to surrender not only your penknife but your ball-point pen and your tweezers and your safety razor, and your rat-tail comb, and your compact mirror (sharp glass), and, maybe bar anyone who is too muscular from boarding . Fists and muscles can be deadly too.

      • I haven’t flown since 2003, but I had assumed all the things you mentioned are now banned. Looking at the big picture, I think all the focus on airline safety is a matter of locking the barn door after the horse is out. Why would terrorists keep trying for airplanes when there are so many less secure but very juicy targets all over the country? Sporting events, other public events, trains and subways, infrastructure, water supply, power grid, dams, etc., etc., etc.

        • Pens have always been OK, strangely enough. In the last year or few they have quietly permitted safety razors (who’s going to shave a stewardess to death?) and tweezers.

          You are absolutely correct about there being better targets from the terrorists’ point of view than airplanes now. The infrastructure is terribly vulnerable, hell, stuff like the power grid is decrepit and liable to fail on its own, or at the next solar flare. It is a truism that won’t die: bureaucracies always want to fight the last war, not the next one.

      • I think the whole TSA thing is window dressing to pat people on the head and say “See we are doing something – keeping you safe” when it’s ineffective nonsense. Anything can be a weapon – even teeth…oh wait that bring up fake teeth with explosives…darn, now they will want to stick fingers in your mouth…)
        TSA needs to be abolished (and those expensive new uniformed cancelled/returned)
        (And there isn’t room for ski poles and golf clubs in the over head bins with all the junk people are lugging on because of how much bags cost to check. Take even longer to board. Stupid idea)
        Flying used to be fun. That’s all over

        • Damn, you blew my false teeth plot!

          • Oh, hey -(got interrupted to let dog out) Jim – always enjoy your comments.
            ( pilots as you pointed out aren’t really at risk)
            Flight attendants may be concerned with some drunk outraged passenger waving a knife around – people don’t seem to have much self control these days – and feel so entitled and “special” that they get livid when something doesn’t go their way…a big purse might be dangerous in that situation, too…not to mention those sharp tongues….(duct tape rolls on flight attendants’ belts? (Not to be used for screaming children -the ultimate weapon – of course….)

            • Quite right, Philo. While I am sympathetic to the flight attendants concerns, the real threat they face is not penknives or other minor weapons but a form of road-rage brought on crowding and stress. If I were to make a list of jobs in descending order of desirability I think the three at the bottom would be:

              Air Marshall
              Flight attendant.
              Human statue of Liberty advertising tax services.

              😉

            • Read an article last night suggesting that some of that increasing “road rage” we see erupting on board our flights is brought on partially by the stress and unpleasantness of the TSA security checks prior to boarding. Sounds logical to me. And yet they think nothing of endangering flight attendants and other passengers by allowing those same people to take knives on board. Still makes no sense to me. The pilots are locked safely in the cockpit so screw everyone else on board?

  4. If someone wants to cause problems, they’re going to do so regardless. Many items can suddenly become a weapon. From what I understand, this is more of a move to “match” some of the European countries who have allowed small knives. Personally, this doesn’t bother me in the least. In regards to the knife v box cutter… I think box-cutters are more dangerous. They are so so very sharp and doesn’t take much of a swing to seriously cut someone.

    • Based on the few generalities I’ve heard, I’d suggest we do whatever the Israelis do. But of course that’s too logical. They profile, which is politically incorrect in this country, regardless of its logic.

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