I just got back from a long weekend in Florida and I’m tanned and recharged. With all the things you have to do to get ready to travel you’re bound to forget something. I realized just as I was getting in the security check line at Atlantic City International Airport that I too had forgotten something. I was carrying a knife in my wallet. See the attached picture to check out the blade. Now the TSA is quite clear that knives of any sort (except plastic or butter knives) are strictly forbidden.
In fact, they say: “If you bring a prohibited item to the checkpoint, you may be criminally and/or civilly prosecuted or, at the least, asked to rid yourself of the item. A transportation security officer (TSO – formerly a screener) and/or law enforcement officer will make this determination, depending on what the item is and the circumstances. Bringing a prohibited item to a security checkpoint – even accidentally – is illegal.”
So, I had a choice. I could announce that I had this knife and give it up or, I could keep mum and roll the dice. It would be a long shot. After all, these airport screeners have, by this time, gone through extensive training and seen all sorts of knives and other pointy objects. If they caught me I’d have to feign ignorance (actually that’s not too hard) and have to give up my little gadget. I decided to play the odds. I put my wallet in a little basket and saw disappearear into the X-ray machine. I waited for the alarms to go off and the screener to ask me to unpack everything I had and submit to a search only slighlty less invasive than an alien probe. The little basket came through the other side of the X-ray machine and nobody said a peep. Were they testing me? Were swarms of federal agents watching me on closed circuit TV waiting to pounce? Apparently not. In no time I was off to Florida. Knife firmly placed in my wallet. Now, I’ve worked with airport screeners before and they’re people like everyone else, just trying to do the best job they can. Unfortunately, airport security is designed more to make people feel safer than actually make them safer. Any terrorist with half a brain could wreck all sorts of havoc in any airport in this country with little concern that he (or she!) would be caught beforehand.