Archived Story

Our opinion: Good sense at last

Published 10:35am Thursday, March 7, 2013

It is about time. The Transportation Security Administration has finally admitted what virtually everyone else has known for a very long time: Its list of objects that travelers could not carry into an airliner’s cabin represented a great deal of inconvenience without providing any significant security benefit. It was a smart move for the TSA to slightly relax its requirements.

Earlier this week, the TSA said it would allow travelers to resume carrying small pocket knives, souvenir baseball bats, hockey sticks, golf clubs and a variety of other items that it has long been obvious could not be used to mount a successful attack on a flight’s safety. With flight controls and pilots secure behind beefed-up and locked cockpit doors, there is little reason travelers should divest themselves of every item that could imaginably be a weapon. While some flight attendants object to the TSA’s change of heart, it’s worth noting the old ban was never a guarantee of personal safety. As one security expert noted in a news story, anyone who wanted to do mischief could hone a credit card to a sharp edge or sharpen a toothbrush handle into a pointed object — weapons no airport screening would ever detect. Perfect safety is not possible. As long as commercial air travel (and train travel and bus travel) exists, groups of people will be forced to co-exist in confined spaces and everyone’s well-being will depend to some extent on everyone else’s good will.

Allowing passengers to carry relatively harmless items on board an airplane is a reasonable relaxation of security rules that had, in their maker’s zeal to appear perfect, little to do with good sense.

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