Mile-high lunacy club

TSA needs to rethink airline items they allow and ban.

Hemang Sharma

If there is anything that Americans despise more than air travel, it is the stress of security protocols.

Once admired as one of the most convenient modes of travel, flying doesn’t make us feel on top of the world anymore. This comes courtesy of the tribulations to which we are subjected prior to
boarding.

We deal with deadlines, leaving our loved ones behind, crowds, overpriced baggage fees and a restricted list of items that one can carry. This is met with a string of easily irritable Transportation Security Administration agents who treat everyone from 10 to 80 years old with the same love and warmth reserved for an al-Qaida operative. I try to avoid seeing TSA agents like I avoid remembering my New Year’s resolution sometime mid-March.

The point is, as unhappy and crabby I may seem, I’m glad that the TSA is there with its fleet of impatient agents and privacy-invading pods that resemble a morning stretching routine and all the restrictive policies in the world.

The TSA are like the annoying bug repellent we leave on during summers to detect and destroy the unappealing creatures that insist on disrupting peace. Sure, no one likes the annoying presence, but we tolerate it just enough so that we don’t
suffer.

I’m Indian, with a foreign-sounding name, so I have come to expect to get pulled aside for random checks upon my international travels. I show them my passport and answer their questions. I am thanked before they send me off to claim my luggage. Hey, anything to let them catch the bad guys, but we should stand up to the TSA if they make choices that are
reckless.

Upon making their intentions public of no longer barring small pocket knives, souvenir-sized baseball bats and golf clubs from being taken on an aircraft, numerous groups from flight attendants, air marshals and the public are out, once again, for TSA’s blood.

It is TSA’s new, relaxed list of banned items set to go into effect April 25, which  would allow a dangerous thing such as a pocketknife or a baseball bat on an airplane, making it easier for violence to occur on passenger jets.

Now, I can’t fathom a reason why anyone would want to bring a pocketknife on an airplane. I mean, they have plastic silverware to spread margarine over what they call food, and the fruit already comes sliced. So why would anyone even bother? Pocketknives are obsolete; I’d be surprised if even the Swiss Army uses them anymore.

And then there’s the suggestion to allow souvenir bats and golf clubs in carry-ons  because that’s completely harmless in a crowded place where you’re strapped for food, space and mental peace. The bats are simply cheap keepsakes that people who bought them can easily keep with checked baggage. These aren’t objects of tremendous sentimental value, once belonging to a Hall of Famer like Jackie Robinson that you can’t afford to lose sight of.

Now I understand that there are armed federal air marshals and others amid passengers in case someone decides to pull their soon-to-be-legal pocketknife on the cockpit, but why even risk it?

It was just last week that an undercover agent was able to sneak in a fake bomb. The TSA needs to focus on enforcing current procedures and improving security measures. There is no need for these additional objects on a plane.