On last Friday’s OpinionList, I wrote an entry on the TSA’s decision to allow small knives onboard airplanes (I think it’s ridiculous). But it was not until today that I found an article on CNN.com which reports that a former TSA chief, Kip Hawley, thinks that the TSA should go even further and allow bigger weapons like axes, and machetes.
These are his exact words:
“They ought to let everything on that is sharp and pointy. Battle axes, machetes … bring anything you want that is pointy and sharp because while you may be able to commit an act of violence, you will not be able to take over the plane. It is as simple as that.
So my position would be, bravo on the 2.6 inch knife. But why not take it all the way and then really clean up the checkpoint where officers are focusing on bombs and toxins, which are things that can destroy an airplane. And it would smooth the process, cost less money, and be better security.
I really believe it. What are you going to do when you get on board with a battle ax? And you pull out your battle ax and say I’m taking over the airplane. You may be able to cut one or two people, but pretty soon you would be down in the aisle and the battle ax would be used on you.” [CNN]
Sure, what does it matter that one or two people end up cut up and/or dead with blood flowing everywhere? What does it matter that panicked passengers and crew would be forced to engage in hand-to-hand or hand-to-axe combat with a crazy person, a terrorist, or a crazy terrorist (these are the worst). I guess that it also doesn’t occur to Kip that an axe-wielding terrorist can threaten to cut off the head of, let’s say, a flight attendant (to start with) unless the airplane is routed to his chosen destination (which could very well be heaven).
As if this utterly stupid statement were not enough, he continues:
“You can commit acts of violence on an aircraft with what is allowed now. With a Coke can, a key, a ruler, and some duct tape, you can make a 12-inch razor-sharp sword. And every eighth-grader would be able to do that.”
Yes, every eighth-grader and now also every crazy person, every terrorist, and every crazy terrorist (again, these are the worst) who reads the CNN article.
But moving along, Kip Hawley acknowledges that flight attendants and air marshalls have a point when they voice concern about the TSA’s new small-knife rule, since they are the ones that are most likely to get hurt. But, since “the threat of taking over a plane with a small, sharp instrument is zero,” he feels that this is the right decision, and further explains,
“You cannot necessarily prevent violence on an airplane, but that is not the TSA’s mission. TSA’s mission is to prevent a successful, catastrophic terrorist attack, and you cannot get a successful, catastrophic terrorist attack with a small knife or a Wiffle ball bat.”
Someone should explain to Kip that TSA stands for Transportation Security Administration. If preventing violence on airplanes is not part of “security”, not part of the TSA mission, then someone needs to have his head examined and, by this point, I have a crystal-clear idea whose head it should be.
As I was reading the CNN article, I kept thinking “Where did they find this guy? How can he have ever been the head of the Transportation Security Administration?” Then, I read that he served during the George W. Bush administration from 2005 until early 2009. That explains it, another incompetent official from a Totally Stupid Administration.