An American plan to allow passengers to once again bring knives on commercial flights should be enough to have air travellers wondering whether U.S. government officials have their best interests at heart.
Much has changed in the airline industry since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, not the least of which is the added feeling of security enjoyed by passengers thanks to stepped up safety efforts.
But as of April 25, the Transportation Security Administration has decided that the ban on small, folding knives — along with a host of other items, including hockey sticks, golf clubs, pool cues, ski poles and miniature baseball bats — will be lifted in order to “bring U.S. security standards to international standards and allow the TSA to concentrate on more serious safety threats.”
The decision has met with almost universal opposition, from the unions representing pilots and flight attendants to the families of some of the victims of the terror attacks.
Yet John Pistole, head of the Transportation Security Administration, told Congress this week the plan will go ahead anyway.
“I think the decision is solid and it stands and we plan to move forward,” Pistole told a Homeland Security
Committee meeting Thursday.
Obviously Pistole and his security advisers have decided that the search for explosives should take precedence over the hunt for jack-knives, but why not continue to keep an eye out for both?
There’s no reason why air travellers need to bring knives aboard an aircraft anyway. Knowing that they’re banned, people can simply leave them at home.
Critics say the move to allow small knives has more to do with the time it takes to identify them in luggage and border security’s spotty record of finding them at all. But the security measures work. Statistics show more than 2,000 knives are confiscated by U.S. security screeners every day.
Admittedly, there has been a gradual easing of airport security over the past few years, but it was a lack of security and a general sense of complacency that gave terrorists an opening to launch an attack more than a decade ago.
Continued vigilance will continue to keep air travel safe and travellers feeling more secure.
If it isn’t broken, why fix it?
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.