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Comments by YACCS
Sunday, September 10, 2006

The stupid corner

No, this won't be stolen and sold on Sutphin
Avenue. No way.

A Ban on Carry-On Luggage

Published: September 10, 2006

In a directive whose logic is not always apparent, the Transportation Security Administration has spelled out what airline passengers can carry on board with them, what must be placed in checked luggage, and what can’t go on the plane at all. Knives must be checked but knitting needles and corkscrews are allowed in the cabin. Up to four ounces of eye drops can be carried aboard, with fingers crossed that multiple terrorists won’t combine their allotments to exceed the limit. Laptops, digital cameras, mobile phones and other electronic devices are permitted, so never mind any warnings you’ve heard that they could be used to trigger a bomb. The bomb ingredients themselves, notably liquid explosives, will be kept out of the cabin by a ban on liquids, gels and lotions, except for small amounts of baby formula and medications.

The ban on liquids surely makes sense given the lack of a reliable, efficient way to detect liquid explosives on the passenger screening line. But the other fine distinctions in this directive make us think the best approach would be a ban on virtually all carry-on items, or at least a limit of one small personal bag per passenger to tote travel documents, keys, vital medications, reading materials and any other minimal items that are allowed.

There’s a lot to be said for a drastic reduction in what can be carried aboard. Passenger security lines would move faster if there were little or nothing for the screeners to screen. Passengers could be boarded faster and more comfortably if they weren’t clogging the aisles while stuffing bags in the overhead bins. Most important, security would probably be enhanced. If a terrorist somehow slipped onto your flight, he wouldn’t have bomb materials with him, or much of anything else for that matter. And his bags would get tougher scrutiny because the machines that screen checked luggage are said to be better at detecting explosives and other dangerous materials than the metal detectors and X-ray machines used for screening passengers and their carry-on bags.

So, did Gail Collins ask Times reporters how they would like to check in their $3000 laptops and $10000 digital cameras.

Yeah, if Ivan the Chechen got on the flight without carryon, there is no way he could have a bomb on him. No way.

Look, the odds of being blown out of the sky are low. The odds of having my shit broken or stolen by the baggage handlers is much, much higher. Astronomically higher.

The way to prevent bombings is with good police work and trained security at the airports. Not by reacting like cowards to every possible threat.

posted by Steve @ 12:30:00 AM

12:30:00 AM

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