Knowing terrorists will attempt to exploit any weakness, it's stunning that the Transportation Security Administration has decided it soon will be safe for passengers to carry pocketknives on commercial airlines.
That seems like absolute lunacy.
Some of the families of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks are angry - and rightfully so - about the TSA decision that small pocketknives and some sporting equipment aren't threats to airline safety.
The change of policy seems to defy all common sense, and Congress should look into the matter.
On Tuesday, TSA Administrator James Pistole said starting April 25 passengers can carry on pocketknives with blades less than 2.36 inches long and less than a half-inch wide on airliners, as well as two golf clubs, ski poles and hockey, lacrosse and billiards sticks. Souvenir baseball bats less than two feet long also will be allowed on planes.
TSA said the decisions to allow the items on board airliners is based on the threat analysis and brings the United States into compliance with international standards.
But after witnessing the horror of that Tuesday morning when terrorists wielding box cutters hijacked four commercial jets and used three of them as weapons against U.S. targets, it's tough to see the logic in allowing pocketknives as a carry-on item.
Our nation was spared even more harm that horrible day because the heroes of United Flight 93 fought back, resulting in that plane crashing near Shanksville. It was the only hijacked jet that day that didn't kill anyone on the ground.
While the TSA is looking to relax some restrictions, passengers still will be banned from carrying box cutters aboard planes. Perhaps we would be thankful for small favors given the recent TSA decision.
But even a pocketknife that would meet the small size to be carried on a plane could be honed very sharp and inflict injuries to aircraft crew and passengers.
The cutting surface of a box cutter is less than 2.36 inches long.
The sister of the pilot whose jetliner was crashed by hijackers into the Pentagon told The Associated Press, "When you're drawing a blade against someone's neck, they're (pocketknives) quite lethal."
And she noted the man who masterminded the Sept. 11 attacks had his hijackers train by using pocketknives to kill a sheep and a camel. Does our nation really want to open this door?
In addition, allowing more sporting equipment to be brought into passenger cabins of aircraft also adds a threat level and would seem to be more of a hassle than it's worth.
What use do you have for golf clubs, hockey sticks or ski poles during your flight? Where are you going to stow them? It's not like you are going to shoot a puck down the aisle or even putt a golf ball.
If the reason for carrying them on is fear that they might get damaged, might we suggest that there are excellent cargo transport companies that can box up your favorite clubs, sticks or ski poles and deliver them to your destination.
The TSA should leave the sporting goods - as well as the pocketknives - in the baggage department, where they aren't a threat or a hassle to other passengers or crew.
It's just common sense, which shockingly TSA officials seem to be lacking.
- Altoona Mirror