Hannibal Lecter Masks?

Apparently there is pushback from some airlines, interest groups, and ordinary citizens over the new TSA policy to allow passengers to carry their pocket-knives, golf clubs, etc. on board flights. At first glance, that seems counter-intuitive. Box cutters were the weapons the 9/11 hijackers used to take over the four airplanes. After more careful consideration, it seems to make sense. Today, with reinforced doors, the cockpits are much more secure and a knife of nearly any size is unlikely to cut through one. Also, 9/11 succeeded because passengers and crew were conditioned to let a hijacking run its course, let the little men make their statement and fly to a “non-imperialist” country, everything would turn out all right in the end. Subsequently, the attempted hijackings since 9/11 were thwarted by passengers and flight attendants. The shoe bomber and underwear bomber come to mind. (Too bad the passengers didn’t kill the shoe bomber when they had the chance – a Swiss Army knife would have done the job– so we wouldn’t have to support him in prison for the next several decades.) One writer complained that he didn’t want to be in fear that his seat-mate would have a knife that could put out his eye or do other damage. Wonder if he has the same fear at the ball park, where fans can get really upset if their team is losing and don’t have to submit to full body scans to get in. The TSA’s purpose is to use reasonable measures to prevent hijackings, not to make the passengers perfectly safe from another passenger who might be a madman. I once heard of an air traveler who wigged out and, for no reason other than he was nuts, bit the tip of his seat mate’s nose off. Can’t make everyone who boards a plane wear a Hannibal Lecter mask.

All of these blanket security searches and prohibitions make air travel a monumental hassle. The TSA seems to be heading toward more of a risk assessment rather than a one-size fits all ban on certain items that conceivably might be used as a weapon. That seems to a step in the right direction. What the TSA needs to do next is to start doing reasonable profiling. If it means taking in to account a passenger’s cultural, ethnic, age, etc., so be it. Our cowardly political correctness need to end. The Israelis aren’t bashful about profiling and regarding Middle-Eastern, males, between the ages of 18 and 35 who affect Muslim accouterments, with increased suspicion. While El Al has been for decades a prime target of Israel’s enemies, I am unaware of any successful hijacking of its airplanes.

Where am I wrong?

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