In a sudden about-face (and coincidentally right after the Boston bombings) the TSA has halted their earlier ruling to allow small knives on board commercial airplanes. The policy was suspended in order to allow a special advisory committee to present their objections on the ruling. Finally, the TSA has come to its senses. Whether this was a result of an outcry from airline industry personnel and members of the public, or due to articles written by caring, and intelligent, opinionated-columnists like myself (“The TSA and the Illusion of Security”), the intended implementation date of April 25th has been cancelled indefinitely.
Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?
Senator Charles Schumer, D-NY, said that the TSA’s decision is an admission “that permitting knives on planes is a bad idea.” The newly formed Flight Attendants’ Coalition for Change, which represents over 90,000 flight attendants, went one step further, arguing that delaying the ruling doesn’t go far enough, and that “all knives should be banned permanently.”
The TSA’s decision has also failed to satisfy Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who previously planned on introducing legislation to drop the proposal entirely. “People with radical ideas can use everyday objects to cause great harm,” Markey said. “If there is an opportunity to decrease risks to Americans, we have a duty to protect our citizens and disallow knives from being taken onto planes.” He said he intends to go ahead with the legislation in the meantime.
Call it coincidence, but isn’t it interesting how the TSA reversed its ruling right after the Boston bombings, especially since it said earlier – and emphatically – that reversing the ruling would never happen? So what does this say about the TSA, and other government agencies post-April 15th, 2013? Does it mean that the events of April 15th have signaled a new, radical change in how the government agencies assigned to protect us will now evaluate their procedures and rulings? Does it mean that they will now look at potential injury and terroristic threats by all manners, shapes and forms a little more closely?
We certainly hope so. With questions already being raised about the FBI’s handling of the Tamerlan Tsarnaev investigation in Russia, perhaps a new way of thinking has emerged on the front lines of law enforcement and other government institutions whose job it is to protect us. Perhaps they may now begin to realize that sometimes you need to look at things microscopically and use “common sense” when making decisions on what could potentially present a dangerous and fatal situation, even if an issue has been previously dismissed or has been lying dormant for some time. A 2.3 inch knife may not cut as deep as a 6 inch knife, but it can rip through flesh and tissue just as fast.
Rep. Ed Markey hit the nail on the head when he used the phrase “opportunity to decrease risks” to describe the responsibilities we have to protect our citizens. Such responsibilities mean that government agencies like the TSA shouldn’t rely solely on statistics when implementing new policies, or amending current ones. Just because knives haven’t been used on planes as weapons before isn’t an excuse for failing to recognize that such use could occur at any moment.
“Copyright 2013 – Joseph Rathjen – All Rights Reserved”