*Written by Robert Wenzel.
The Transportation Security Administration will soon allow small knives and baseball bats on flights for the first time since the Sept. 11 attacks[...]That’s not the only thing on the new list of permitted items, which also includes “ billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and two golf clubs,” according to a TSA statement.[...]
“This is part of an overall risk-based security approach, which allows transportation security officers to better focus their efforts on finding higher-threat items such as explosives,” TSA added.
TSA still bans more than 3.4 ounces of liquid, even if it is in an unopened, sealed container. Liquids — typically toiletries — also must be put in a clear plastic bag and taken out of the main bag for X-ray screenings.
I have to think the new rules are an attempt to respond to angry passengers about overall treatment they receive by the TSA . But, what the TSA doesn’t understand is that it is not about specific items that are allowed or not allowed. It is about the TSA, itself, which as a government bureaucracy has no proper natural feedback profit and loss mechanism to signal to it how to operate the proper balance between safety and convenience. This can only be achieved by individual airlines, who would have to balance safety concerns of passengers versus the desire by passengers not to be hassled. In a truly free market, without a TSA, I would expect different airlines to handle security differently and passengers could choose to fly the airlines that most met their safety requirements, not the demands of the dictatorial TSA.
The new list of items allowed, include many items that one would think could be used as weapons, fairly easily. The list simply reflects bureaucratic nuttiest in its purest form. Pointed ski poles and 24″ baseball bats, both of which will now be allowed, not to mention two golf clubs per person, are certainly items that could be used as weapons. The TSA is going from Security Theater to Security Theatre of the Absurd.
Bottom line: The TSA is a political organization that like all other political organizations wants to survive and expand, that is the only thing that drives it. There is no logic to allowing these items on planes, if one thinks about it in terms of true safety.
Of course, if the real threat is minimal to zero, then there is no problem with allowing these items on a plane—what is then nuts is the contradictory actions of the TSA in their aggressive screening of passengers. Which is it? Is there a real threat or is it all TSA show?
It’s time to return airplane security to individual airlines.
Source: Economic Policy Journal.