Can America handle knives on airplanes (again)?

TSA Administrator John S. Pistole announced March 5 that knives will be removed from the TSA prohibited list starting April 25. This will be the first time since 9/11 that knives will be allowed on planes. But is it really a good idea to allow passengers to carry knives onto their flights?

Knives will be allowed if the blade is no longer than 2.36 inches, the blade width is no winder than .5 inches, it does not have a locking or fixed blade, and it does not have a molded grip. I’m sorry, but if you refuse to travel without your Japanese Samurai, personalized grip-molded knife, or stake to fend off vampires, you will not able to make it through security. No razor blades or box cutters will be prohibited.

Pistole said that this change has been made so that airport security can focus on finding the main threat, explosives, because, as TSA says, knives are “unlikely to result in catastrophic destruction of an aircraft.” It’s not like allowing knives to be carried onto planes has ever resulted in a major, catastrophic tragedy…. Oh wait.

As most people reading this know, on Sept. 11, 2001, four planes were hijacked with only the use of pocket knives, box cutters and mace.

I was 5 years old and living less than 45 minutes from New York on 9/11, and my brothers and I were moved from our schools to a school across town because of a local military base, so I personally know the effects caused by knives on planes. Now I fly across the country monthly, so the fear of something going wrong while 20,000 feet above ground is something that frequently goes through my mind. It’s not like I glare down every redneck that could possibly have a gun or knife on him, but I do have my concerns.

The box cutters used on 9/11 were four inches in length, which was the allowed length of knives on planes for that time. Nobody thought that a four-inch knife on a plane would lead to the death of thousands, the beginning of a long costly war and a lost sense of security to US citizens—but it did.

Major airlines, pilots and flight attendants are outraged by the changes, and the union for Southwest Airlines says that the change is “designed to make the lives of TSA staff easier, not make flights safer.”

TSA admits that local and state laws preventing knives to be carried onto planes will overpower the new regulations, resulting in varying regulations for each airports and unnecessary chaos in the flying experience.

If hijackers could follow regulations and still cause one of the worst tragedies in American history, nothing can stop it from happening again if knives are once again allowed on planes.

-HELAINE RIDILLA