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View Diary: Flight attendants and air marshals protest TSA decision allowing small knives on flights (178 comments)

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  •  You are correct (4+ / 0-)

    that the cockpit is protected.  That's great.

    I don't understand though why the ONLY purpose for security precautions seems to revolve around terrorism or hijackings and not about general safety.  I am much more likely to encounter an abusive drunk or nutcase (I've encountered both many times in my 23 year career) and I'd prefer that person didn't have a knife either, even if it's intended purpose onboard isn't to take over an aircraft.

    The FAA can come on board an nitpick every move I make and fine me thousands of dollars for missing a page out of my manual or not enforcing those regulations no one likes to adhere to - but bringing an ACTUAL WEAPON onboard isn't a safety concern? It defies logic.

    •  Prior to 911 you could take a knife on a plane (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peterfallow, polecat, Orinoco, ladybug53

      I have been a frequent flyer since the 1970s and have flown more than two million miles on commercial airlines. I just don't recall reading about many incidents with knives when it was legal to carry them. I always carried a very sharp small pocket knife with a 2" blade to cut up apples, and other whole fruits, to make them easier to eat in flight. I'll look forward to putting that small knife back in my briefcase.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:36:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pre 911, I always had a mini Swiss army knife (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, samanthab, polecat, Orinoco, ladybug53

        on my key chain. Must have had half a dozen confiscated before I gave up.

        •  And you'd have a hell of a time (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peterfallow, ladybug53

          convincing the flight attendant you were serious about hijacking the plane by brandishing your Swiss army knife.

          While I am sure a trained commando could do a lot of damage with a pocket knife, a trained commando could probably do just as much damage with his bare hands. So its not so much the damage one can inflict, but the intimidation factor, allowing the hijacker to get compliance from crew and passengers.

          Pen knifes just aren't that intimidating. Straight razors? Yeah. Box cutters? Yeah. Surgical scalpels? Yeah. Swiss army knives? Oh, isn't it cute? Is that the one with the saw and the tweezers?

          Let's face it: TSA is security theater, corporate welfare and a jobs program for folks who live near airports. It is the "something" in the phrase "Don't just stand there, do something!" that our public officialdom was confronted with after 9/11. We should be more careful what we wish for.

          "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

          by Orinoco on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 11:48:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  A sharp 2" blade is a deadly weapon (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sirenus, Orinoco, arabian

            Even if it has a cute Swiss cross logo.

            I don't think security check are theatre.

            Inconvenient, perhaps, but necessary in these times and accepted around the world.

            I frequently travel by air and cooperate for my own safety. If you are prepared, the inconvenience is minimized.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:36:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  bahhhh...bahhhhh....bahhhh (2+ / 0-)

              sheep are lovely critters.

              Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

              by Keith930 on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:40:52 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I'd like the "little knives don't count' crowd (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Subterranean, bimbels, arabian

              to imagine being a 5'7' flght attendent bending over to put a glass on a passenger's tray and suddenly she's got a two-inch blade at her throat.

              Sure, the attacker is not going to get into the cockpit. That will be all sorts of comfort to that attendent when she's bleeding out because her throat's been cut. Which you can do with a fully extended box opener. But it's just a flight attendent. Who cares if she, or he, loses an eye or has their check sliced to the bone, or has a bottle opener jammed into their shoulder? Big yawn.  Cheap labor.

              Why does anyone need to bring any knife on board a plane?  Do we now have a knife-rights equivalent of the NRA somewhere defending Americans right to slice people open? What?

              Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

              by Sirenus on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 06:47:50 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Little knives don't count (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                happymisanthropy

                but paranoid fantasies do?

                I can't imagine attacking a flight attendant, 5' 7" or not, with my pocket knife. I literally can't imagine it. I've carried that handy tool in my pocket since I was seven years old, and never once in more years than I care to enumerate, have I thought about pulling it out to cut another person with.

                Anyone psychotic enough to imagine such a thing could easily imagine some other way to do their cutting if denied a pocket knife. And none of the current TSA security theater keeps psychotic people off airplanes.  

                Your sig line is interesting: a 5' 7" flight attendant seeking to control everyone around her faced with a psychotic attacker who feels no need to control himself. Freedom loses twice.

                "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

                by Orinoco on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 07:17:30 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  How long were the blades on the box cutters? (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  blue drop, KayCeSF, Orinoco, arabian

                  Back on 9/11?

                  "We refuse to fight in a war started by men who refused to fight in a war." -freewayblogger

                  by Bisbonian on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 12:42:58 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It's not about the length (0+ / 0-)

                    or the damage it can inflict. If someone wants to control someone else, as in a hijacking or other dominance situation, it's about perception.

                    That is: is the victim scared enough of the perpetrator that the victim will comply with the perpetrator's demands? It doesn't matter if the perpetrator is a Saudi attempting an aircraft hijacking or a drunk from Deluth trying to get a waitress to give him another scotch.

                    As I mentioned earlier, because of what we have absorbed culturally, extremely sharp blades, such as straight razors, box cutters and scalpels, are intimidating when used as weapons. Scalpel blades are, I think, only about 3/4 of an inch long. But if the deranged psychotic in the slasher flick isn't chasing cheerleaders around a deserted mansion with an axe or a machete, he's likely carrying a scalpel or a straight razor. His grandfather's Barlow knife just wouldn't have the same dramatic effect.

                    While I don't have any statistics handy, I'd venture to say that the number of assults on flight attendants pre TSA with pocket knives were about on a par with assults by pencil, umbrella and rolled up flight magazines, and were vastly outnumbered by assaults with bare hands.  

                    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

                    by Orinoco on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 04:07:59 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I was a flight attendant ... (0+ / 0-)

                  I am 5'7...

                  I am fairly thin...

                  Maybe YOU can't imagine it, but I sure as hell as can.

                  We all made this journey for a reason. -- President Barack Obama (February 10, 2007)

                  by arabian on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 09:27:38 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  nobody considered a 1 inch blade to be lethal... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              arabian

              ...but it was and now we have post 9-11 TSA.  will it take a passenger getting harmed by some whacknut for the "no knife" ban to be reinstated?  the ban should stay in place.  there is considerably less threat of me trying to carry ice cubes in a cold pack so i don't have to waste money on pricey, mediocre airport food but that ban remains in place.  stupidity.

              I'm a blue drop in a red bucket.

              by blue drop on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 01:53:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  me, too (4+ / 0-)

          They used to give us real knives with meals......

          Jesus died to save you from Yahweh.

          by nolagrl on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 08:37:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  yes, but (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greengemini, samanthab, Eyesbright

        after the flight attendants and pilots were stabbed to death on 9/11, knives were banned and we all said "I can't believe they were ever allowed to begin with."

        maybe it didn't happen "much" but then it did happen and in a big way.  Normally when an incident happens we learn from it and enact rules accordingly.  

        Maybe we should invoke the "we need good guys with knives to stop the bad guys with knives" argument.

        •  That was not Swiss Army knives n/t (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ladybug53, Victor Ward

          Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

          by Dogs are fuzzy on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 08:34:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Now let's talk about underwear bombers (0+ / 0-)

          ....or not.

          Jesus died to save you from Yahweh.

          by nolagrl on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 08:41:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  No one was stabbed to death on 9-11 (3+ / 0-)

          You can't stab someone to death with a box cutter.

          But more to the point, I don't think anyone had their carotid artery slashed on 9-11, either.

          Before 9-11, if a terrorist held a sharp object to a flight attendant's neck the pilots (who though the flight was simply being hijacked) would open the door to the flight deck.

          After 9-11, if a terrorist holds a sharp object to a flight attendant's neck, the pilots might fly you to Havana (escorted by F-16s, of course), but there's no way in hell they'll open the (now heavily reenforced) door to the flight deck.

          Nowadays, the ban against penknives on airplanes does nothing beyond protect against random violent assaults, which hasn't historically been a problem on US airlines.

          •  Someone BLED to death.... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            arabian

            ....on Flight 93.  You can do THAT with a boxcutter.

            If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

            by Bensdad on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:02:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Wrong (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dburn, Bisbonian

            Many people are killed or seriously injured with box cutters every year.

            Some get their throats cut ear to ear.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:38:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I didn't say otherwise. (0+ / 0-)

              I recognize that someone can be killed or seriously injured with a box cutter. My point is that that hasn't historically been a problem on commercial flights.

              •  Here's something you need to realize. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                arabian

                Things change.

                Forty years ago, I worked as a security guard at Honolulu International. We weren't armed, we only checked carry on lugguage, we only had metal detector gates.  

                But this was before shoe bombs, underwear bombs, plastic explosives and people who, instead of flying the aircraft to Havana, flew them into skyscrapers.

                So let's be a little careful about using the word "historically" to imply that because something never has happened, it never could happen.

                Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

                by Sirenus on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 06:57:20 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Uh, except on one spectacular day. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                arabian

                "We refuse to fight in a war started by men who refused to fight in a war." -freewayblogger

                by Bisbonian on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 12:45:38 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Read what I actually wrote. (0+ / 0-)

                  Because what happened on 9-11 wasn't that a couple people got stabbed on an airplane. It was terrorists were able to take control of a flight.

                  In the era of reenforced flight deck doors and pilots who won't open said doors under any circumstances, what is the unique danager that pen knives pose?

              •  until it happened n/t (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                arabian

                I'm a blue drop in a red bucket.

                by blue drop on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 01:56:39 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  When? (0+ / 0-)

                  9-11 wasn't the day that a bunch of people were injured with box cutters while flying. It was the day that four airplanes were hijacked using box cutters. That's no longer possible.

                  So what makes penknife on airplane more dangerous than a penknife on super shuttle to the airport?

          •  So having the flight attendant's throat cut (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dburn, Bisbonian, arabian

            doesn't count?

            Nice.

            Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

            by Sirenus on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 06:49:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  We don't know exactly (0+ / 0-)

              what tools they used to kill the crews on 9/11.  It is assumed that some of the terrorists had box cutters, and it is also known that a couple of the terrorists owned leatherman tools that were not found with their belongings after the events.

              If you listen to Betty Ong's call to the ground on 9/11, she states that her purser and galley flight attendants were STABBED.  Those were her words.  Regardless, plenty of damage can be done with a small pocket knife if the victim isn't ready for it - or, like me, is 5'3" and 110 lbs and trying to fend off a nut job.  I'm sure I will have the help of other passengers - but why let the nuts have weapons, too?  And before you go on about my paranoid fantasies, I've had 3 instances of violent behavior on flights in my 23 years (and another instance of a pax having a mental break that didn't come to violence but was scary all the same.) Thankfully those instances "only" involved my fellow crewmembers being assaulted with the perpetrator's bare hands.  

              I do not agree with the logic that just because they are "small" knives, they don't matter.  Nor do I agree with the logic that so many other things can be used as weapons, so why not let ACTUAL weapons on board. Why make it easier for those who would do harm?

            •  You are deliberately misstating what I said (0+ / 0-)

              What is the problem that the ban on pocketknives addresses today? Because it's no longer necessary to protect against flights being highjacked.

              It can somewhat reduce the risk of a flight attendant or other passenger being seriously injured. But how often does that happen, except as part of a highjacking, which, due to other measures, is now bound to fail?

              What reason is there to believe that seemingly random violent acts will become a problem on flights if the ban is lifted?

    •  Ignoring the terrorist security theatre (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joe Bob, ladybug53

      you are more likely to encounter a belligerent drunk on a sidewalk than on a plane, and in the US he is more likely carrying a gun than a 2 inch knife.

      As for planes, after a 25 year career in international business ( which included one flight diverted because of a bomb threat in mid air), I have never seen an out of control person on a plane in flight. I have seen a few removed before takeoff, but never in flight.

      •  How do you know what this person's (0+ / 0-)

        encountered? If you've never seen an out of control person on a flight, you've been lucky. Pragmatic decisions aren't based on one person's luck.

        •  I made no comment on what he has seen. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ladybug53

          Please read carefully - I said you (generic not specific) are more likely to encounter a drunk on a sidewalk than in a plane.

          Speaking from my own experience, I have encountered hundreds of drunks on sidewalks, outside bars,inside bars and elsewhere. Does this make me unlucky?

          •  When you work on an airplane (4+ / 0-)

            You are more likely to encounter a variety of situations including drunks and crazies that even million miler passengers may never see.  

            In my 23 years as a FA I have personally had 2 violent drunk/drug flip outs and 2 mental breakdowns (one violent, one not.)

            Then there are the incidents I personally know of because they happened to my friends or were a big deal and my airline.

            So just because you've never seen it doesn't mean it doesn't happen and if it does, I prefer they not have a knife.  Could they use a number of other objects as a weapon? Yes.  But lets not make it any easier for them.  Maybe a knife is their weapon of choice.

            I suppose since I'm a flight attendant I have a different perspective since flight attendants that were stabbed on 9/11.

            Betty Ong was crew on flight 11.  Here is her call to the ground after they were hijacked.

            https://www.youtube.com/...

            I know this won't happen again because of the cockpit security and passenger intervention. But my job is overall safety and that now includes dealing with potential knife wielding psychos. I guess my security training will be a little more multilayered starting next year.

            •  Sorry, I don't think this is true (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rick Aucoin, rabel, Sparhawk
              When you work on an airplane
              You are more likely to encounter a variety of situations including drunks and crazies that even million miler passengers may never see.
              Maybe you mean that you're more likely to have seen this type of behavior on an airplane that the rest of us, but I'm pretty sure you can be stabbed by a "knife wielding psycho" in pretty much any day-to-day situation you can think of...taxi, bus, school, work, grocery store, walk in the park, etc.

              Your risk of that happening on a plane as a flight attendant is probably no more (and I would guess even less) than any of the rest of us face in our day-to-day activities. Short of banning all knives, how are you going to prevent that?

              FAA regulations on weapons aren't meant to protect individual attendants or passengers simply because they're on a plane. They're intended to stop people from taking control of (or destroying) a plane full of people.

              •  The difference (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bimbels

                Is that it's a whole lot harder to run from a knife wielding psycho on an airplane.

                What about my Daughter's future?

                by koNko on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:41:07 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Short of banning all knives? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bimbels

                Isn't that what we're talking about?

                Tell me, just why does a passenger need a two-inch knife on a plane? They can't go two hours without whittling? They need a knife to clean their fingernails? They have an apple in their pocket that needs to be peeled?

                I just can't get over the comments on this thread that seem to imply that as long as a violent nutcase can't get control of the plane, it's just fine if he has a knife.

                The safety of the flight crew and other passengers be damned?

                Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

                by Sirenus on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 07:05:38 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  I fly about 400,000 miles a year, (0+ / 0-)

                And have been flying commercially for 20 years.  Do the math.  You don't think I might see a little more than some "million miler"?

                "We refuse to fight in a war started by men who refused to fight in a war." -freewayblogger

                by Bisbonian on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 12:48:35 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  yes, I meant (0+ / 0-)

                that if you work on a plane you are more likely to see those situations on a plane - it was in response to an earlier post by someone here who said that he's flown millions of miles and has never had an irate passenger on one of his flights.

                I understand the intent of regulations on weapons.  I just don't happen to agree with the sole reason of that intent.  

          •  Unlucky? No. But maybe you should stay away (0+ / 0-)

            from bars.

            Hundreds of drunks? Wow.

            Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

            by Sirenus on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 07:00:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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