You’re getting ready to board a plane at an airport in, say, Lubbock or Amarillo.
An agent asks you to empty your pockets into a plastic tray. The contents include a pocket knife you’ve been carrying since Grandpa gave it to you when you were a youngster.
Hey, no problem, the agent says. You can carry the knife onto the plane. New rules will soon allow it and if you were carrying a set of golf clubs for your vacation, you can carry those with you, too.
Beginning on April 25, this scenario will be played out in air terminals around the country under a change approved by the Transportation Safety Administration.
Hooray. It’s about time these people came to their senses.
The TSA announced the change much to the chagrin of flight attendants and pilots who believe the agency is making it easier for bad guys to bring weapons on board.
Let’s stop hyperventilating over this and consider a couple of realities.
First, anyone can make a weapon out of many carry-on items already allowed. Cut up a credit card into a shape with a sharp point, stick it in your wallet and — presto! — there’s your weapon.
How about a mechanical pencil or a ball-point pen? Same thing. Finger nail file? They can hurt someone, too.
As Dallas-based aviation security consultant John L. Sullivan told The Associated Press, “There are a lot of things you can use on an airplane if you are intent on hurting someone. Security is never 100 percent.”
TSA isn’t removing the prohibition of all implements that have been disallowed. Box cutters, razor blades or knives that don’t fold still will be banned from carry-on luggage.
No sane person wants to see air travel become a risky endeavor.
But the nation’s security system isn’t fool-proof as it is. Bags containing weapons still get through security systems.
If we must employ government screeners, they should concentrate their efforts looking for explosive devices and not waste their time — while inconveniencing passengers — scouring through baby diapers or passengers’ undergarments for sharp objects.