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Flight Risk

Prior to 9/11 a person could fly with a pocket knife. In most airport arenas this constituted a blade of 4 inches or less, and it was generally recognized that airport security went with their respective State's blade length law.

At that time I, like hundreds of thousands, if not millions of travelers carried a knife when they flew. In the early to mid 90s I carried a then standard Spyderco Endura as an everyday carry. That is until the day I went to depart from Atlanta airport. A private uniformed security guard informed me that I would not be able to fly with the knife and that he would have to confiscate it. When I inquired as to why, as the blade length was not prohibited he stated that it was deemed to have an "aggressive edge" (read: it was serrated). A knife is a knife there is no such thing as an "aggressive edge" no matter what century you live in but, the confiscation was going to happen regardless. He apologized for the rules but suddenly seemed irritated when I opened the blade, stuck it under the heel of my boot and snapped the blade off.

Upon returning home I decided to circumnavigate the "rules and regulations" of flying with a knife and purchased a Spyderco Native with a plain edge (along with another Endura). From 1996 to 2001 the Native became my "flying" knife. 

Then of course we all know what happened in September of 2001 and the course of domestic airline security made sweeping changes, but only in the bureaucratic sense.

Going on fourteen years later and countless number of flights we are not safer. Our pre-flight security is not handled by professional armed counter-terrorist profilers greeting you on the walk through to your plane. Instead we have gross inefficiency that rivals what we had before 9/11 only under the federal banner.

To be frank. I should be allowed to fly with my knife. So should my 60-something Vietnam veteran Father-in-law who recently had his dull as butter, tip broken, small Trapper taken from him because he left it in his pants pocket. And so should anyone else.

But if we wanted to have a set of rules for flying with a knife then we would have to look no farther than the wallet. Because if a person can produce a conceal carry permit or a Federal Firearms License then why shouldn't they be allowed to carry a knife. Because gun owners, unlike every other American, has been routinely subjected to background checks and fingerprinting that goes through state and federal records that deem them "okay."

I shouldn't need to go through a TSA background check so I can get permission to keep my boots and belt on. I've already done my background work. As a matter of fact I've done it several times in a couple of states. In essence my ccw says "trustworthy".

Instead we are regulated to being continually treated like cattle, children, and criminal suspects all lumped into one line for the stupidity of political correctness. Instead of well paid, and well healed effectiveness.

Because while you can not, under any circumstance, legally fly with a pocket knife you can however hand them your credit card and proceed to get drunk, potentially belligerent, or mood alternated to the point you go for the emergency exit door handle at thirty-five thousand feet.

But granddad's Case trapper knife is a problem.

I want my knife back, my pants belted, my boots on and everyone's dignity in place when they travel. Why we have allowed ourselves to be victimized by this idiocracy continues to astound me.


mac said…
Prior to 9/11, I carried a spyderco rescue (serrated), a spyderco dragonfly, and a leatherman multitool on board. In fact, I traveled this way about a month prior. The only time I was stopped, they seemed to think my leatherman was a butterfly knife. After some extensive peering at the x-ray monitor, they eventually let my bag through without opening it. I certainly felt safer with my tools in reach, and I didn't have to worry about their checked-baggage brethren walking off with my property.
pediem said…
And the number of times I've accidentally flown since 9/11 with one of the aforementioned articles shall remain uncounted. Or at least unmentioned. But it's happened, because I've got fluff for brains some days, and I tend to forget where I've packed all my sharp-and-pointys.

At least I've yet to forget where the things that go bang got put.
0007 said…
I'd just like to have my Italian cigarette case with the built-in lighter back. A bitch-thief at the Houston airport decided she wanted it(after having flown with it through numerous airports both domestic and international. 'Course like you I took it back for a moment and snapped the top off before I gave it back. I thought the bitch was going to arrest me.
Anonymous said…
The TSA just needs to be disbanded. Remember about 8 years ago when the British discovered (through human intelligence rather than signal intelligence) that some terrorists were going to blow up an international flight using liquid explosives? And then, all of a sudden, TSA implemented all these new rules regarding liquids because, you know, they might be explosives. For crying out loud, they were making mothers drink their own expressed milk they had bottled for their children.

So what are we to make of that?

One alternative is that they, for some unfathomable reason, did not know that explosives could be liquid. With all the assistance they have from the FBI and the military they couldn't figure that out? Didn't they ever watch the movie Rooster Cogburn with the liquid nitroglycerin? If this is the case, they are too ignorant and/or too incompetent to perform their mission and so they should be disbanded.

The other alternative, of course, is that they in fact did know beforehand. In that case, one possibility is that before that incident they didn't believe liquid explosives were dangerous, but now they do. If so, then they are too ignorant and/or too incompetent to perform their mission and so they should be disbanded. Or, they didn't believe liquid explosives were dangerous then and they don't believe they are now, but they implemented the new rules because...well, for whatever reason. Maybe they think it makes us feel safer or something. Part of the kabuki theater they call airport security. If that is the case, they are too ignorant and/or too incompetent to perform their mission and so they should be disbanded.

Any way you look at it, they need to be disbanded.
Anonymous said…
I forgot a knife once and the TSA at the Houston airport gave me the option to leave security and mail it to myself (so the USPS can steal it, and who has time for that anyway when flying) or have it confiscated. It was a very nice knife. One of my favorites. And I didn't like the way the punk was salivating over it. So I also broke the blade under my boot. Pissed him off, and I do not doubt that the extra grief I got during the rest of the screening wasn't a coincidence.
Matthew said…
Let's not forget that the TSA has arrested numerous TSA agents for theft while never actually having arrested a terrorist.
Dan said…
That which we allow will continue.

You fly....therefore you fund the insanity. STOP FLYING.
If enough people simply say "ENOUGH" and eschew ever buying
another airline ticket it would take very little time for
the airline industry to panic over lost revenue and FORCE
the end of this abusive, assaultive sexual harassment and theft.
ASM826 said…
Dan said it! The airlines are marginal businesses. The profit margins are thin and profits depend on full airplanes. Don't fly. Encourage your friends to not fly. If you can't get there by driving, don't go.

We don't need everyone to do this, just a large enough minority to tip the scales and when the airlines see the red ink, changes will be made.

Don't fly. Because if you do, you are submitting to the violations of your 1st, 2nd, and 4th Amendment rights that you know are going to happen at the airport.
Anonymous said…
I've never lost a knife to TSA but my girlfriend has lost a corkscrew and knife. Which is hilarious to me because she's very kumbyah and seems she always gets her luggage searched.
Will said…
Flying to Philly from San Jose for a funeral in '99, we only took carry-on bags. When I got to the security checkpoint for the return flight, the agent saw a knife on the screen. When he saw the half-serrated blade of my Benchmade AFCK (3")liner-lock, he gave me that same "banned for a Visually Intimidating Edge" crap.

I dragged out my first gen Gerber Multi-tool, unfolded the plain blade and the fully serrated blade (one per handle), and asked if there was a problem with that? Nope. Not on his list of bad things. I asked if that made sense, and he just repeated his dogma. He didn't seem bright enough to even see the stupidity of the situation.

No way was I giving him my $150, modified for left hand use knife. I took my bag and walked back to the airline desk and had them load it as baggage. (I flew out of CA with them, no problem at that end.) He missed the two smaller liner-lock knives in my pockets, a half, and fully serrated 2.25" blades. I figured if the plane got hi-jacked, I could arm several other people. Two years later, my thoughts were validated by Flight 93. Damned bureaucrats...