Knives on a plane
Published: Sunday, March 10, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 10, 2013 23:03
Recently, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) decided to allow small pocket knives (six centimeters and under) and other “sporting equipment” on U.S. airplanes, beginning April 25. Apparently they feel the law put into place after Sep. 11, 2001, is no longer necessary. This decision is a terrible one for many reasons.
I can understand where the logic for the decision is coming from. One of the main supporting arguments in the heated gun debate is if more law-abiding citizens carry guns, armed criminals are more easily stopped. This argument is raised by the National Rifle Association. According to Time Magazine, Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the NRA, said, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
I’m not going to argue for either side of that argument, but it’s pretty clear to me the logic is parallel with this knife decision.
Gun laws are in effect on the ground, while this knife law is for airplanes — not schools, malls or streets.
I spent multiple years training in the combat art known as Krav Maga. The Israeli-founded practice is a framework of skills designed to allow an unarmed person to disarm and suppress an attacker in the fastest and most effective way possible. After years of practice, I was trained to deal with attackers with both knives and guns. With that background, I would still have difficulty defending myself against a knife on a plane, even with a knife of my own.
Airplanes are enclosed spaces. According to a 2006 article published in Boeing’s company magazine, the length of a 747 is slightly more than 235 feet, and its height is just slightly more than 70 feet. This may sound like a lot, but the area of the cabin is less than that. Try doing a 100-meter dash down a tiny aisle with seats and people all around you. It wouldn’t be easy.
When defending yourself against someone with a knife, your success is greatly increased in open areas. You need room to dodge and move around. This space doesn’t exist on an airplane.
With the “fighting knives with knives” argument rendered moot, are there any other reasons knives would be useful to have on planes? Not really.
You’re not going to have a greater chance of saving yourself with a knife than without one if something goes wrong with the plane you’re on. And it’s not like there’s any packages of food only a knife could cut open.
Defensiveness in airports and on planes will also go up. Many will wonder who has a knife on them, and whether they should be afraid. Just imagine sitting next to a stranger pulling out a knife mid-flight. That’s just what we need in America — more fear.
Finally, because it needs to be addressed, small knives aren’t any less lethal than large ones. One good stab to the throat and you’re a goner. The jugular isn’t even an inch into the throat. You can also cut off fingers, toes and reach some organs.
Knives of any sort have no place in domestic airplanes. What I find hilarious is box-cutters and razorblades still aren’t allowed. Apparently a six-centimeter blade is less deadly than a one-inch blade. Sometimes I wonder what our government is thinking.
Alexander Vervloet is a senior in communications. The opinions expressed in his columns do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Barometer staff. Vervloet can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Rantsweekly.