Friday, June 17, 2005

Fork it over?

This column in Salon by Patrick Smith raises an interesting point
For me, the seminal nonsense moment (every regular flier has experienced one) came in those twitchy days just after Sept. 11, when I was still in the active employ of a Certain Large Airline. In full uniform, in full view of passengers, a small metal fork was scornfully confiscated from one of my bags. (Yes, used in the consumption of ramen noodles, boiled to perfection in hotel-room coffee makers.) The screener was neither impressed nor entertained when I pointed out that forks were, and continue to be, handed out routinely with first-class meals, and in dozens of concourse restaurants beyond the metal detector checkpoint.

Not to mention there's an ax in every cockpit.
Aside from the silliness of searching the pilot for weapons, it makes me wonder if they still ban forks? The TSA doesn't mention them. I fail to see how more than one timid person could be held at bay with the average fork - given the likely response to an attempted hijacking nowadays. I think the TSA is continuing to suffer from middle management syndrome. Victims of MMS think they can dream up all scenarios by sitting in their chair, and contemplating what they would do to try and hijack an airliner, and think of ordinary household objects they might use. Forget that lighters are banned but I could bring on multiple match boxes. Forget that almost no airport workers have any security screening at all - including all the workers who clean the planes just before passengers board. How about screening the airport workers for thing likes - oh, I don't know - machine guns and explosives, to name two things terrorists are likely to want. Until then, we can rest easy knowing the pilots will be forced to eat ramen noodles with a spoon.


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