Thursday, March 07, 2013

"Soft, docile, toothless creatures..."

The ongoing hooraw over the decision to allow passengers to carry their bitty little pen knives onto airplanes is positively appalling.

The Flight Attendants' union is still pitching a conniption over allowing more "deadly weapons" on planes. An NBC reporter was interviewing people at the airport yesterday morning, and the bedwettery of the "Man (for lack of a more apropos term) On The Street" was actually painful to watch. I found myself yelling "Oh, harden the **** up!" at the screen.

The only knives I currently own that fall under these criteria are attached to keychain-size multitools and are less useful as weapons than, say, my belt. Assuming arguendo that the vital ingredient of a person with hostile intent is present, you're in more danger from the plastic shank they give you with your food in first class or an improvised shiv made from the complementary beverage can than you are from the 2" non-locking blade on a Victorinox key fob.

I can't get over the amount of hand-wringing accompanying this. When I first heard the news, my ears perked up, thinking that my Spyderco Dodo or CRKT Urban Shark would be accompanying me aloft, but no. Imagine my chagrin. At least I'll be able to keep my keychain in my carry-on rather than having to check it throu... no, wait, I guess they'll probably still lose continence over the monkey fist.

While I'm amazed at the puling and cringing that goes on at the sight of a penknife, I guess I shouldn't be; as far back as twenty years ago, I've had a roomful of Americanus cubiculanus suburbia shrink back, eyes all askance, as I pulled out a tiny, money-clip-sized CRKT K.I.S.S. to open a box. (The irony there is that I started carrying the K.I.S.S. because the Spyderco Snap-It I had previously carried clipped to a belt loop had a propensity to spook the straights in an office environment.)

At this rate I expect solid evidence of h. sapiens' eyes migrating towards the sides of the cranium over the next few generations.

EDIT: Jesus, they've got a Flight Attendents' union rep on the Today show right now, and she and Matt Lauer are emoting and quivering in two-part harmony over the sight of the kind of thing I keep on my keychain.  Matt asks... well, he doesn't ask so much as he Oprahs; I half expected him to reach out and rest a comforting hand on her knee... "The TSA says they want to let the screeners focus on finding explosives, things that could actually bring down an airliner. Does that make any sense to you?"

As Shiva is my witness, she responded with "No. I'm a flight attendant; I'm out in the cabin. I'm a first responder and the last line of defense..."

...and she said something else, too, but I couldn't hear it over me yelling "No, honey, you're a waitress in a bad restaurant at 28,000 feet!" at the screen.


Sean D Sorrentino said...

I had a funny experience in Slovenia when I went there last year on vacation. I carry a Spyderco Delica 4 clipped to my left front pocket. I checked and there doesn't seem to be anything illegal about having a knife in Slovenia, so I took it with me.

On one of the last days of the trip we stopped at a winery. The very nice lady was trying to open something and struggling with it. Without thinking about it I hauled out the knife, thumbed it open with a snap, reversed it and tried to hand it to her. I thought she was going to faint.

She asked if all Italian Americans were in the mob and carried knives. I didn't bother to tell her that at home I carried a gun as well. I did tell her I wasn't in the mob and that carrying such a knife was commonplace in the US.

B said...

"eyes migrating towards the sides of the cranium"


Scott J said...

Are nail clippers still banned? My Leatherman Micra is attached to a small pair of clippers with file so I figured that setup would still be banned.

Used to carry a Victorinox Tinker but I put it in the dishwasher after getting it soaked while surf fishing once and the red plastic sides warped. I've never gotten around to sending it in for repair.

Anonymous said...

Try the Replacements:

Sanitation expert and a maintenance engineer
Garbage man, a janitor and you my dear
A real union flight attendant, my oh my
You ain't nothin' but a waitress in the sky
You ain't nothin' but a waitress in the sky

Blackwing1 said...

I just read over at Roberta X's that today is the day of the scoop-it-outa-me. Best of luck, and we'll all be hoping it goes perfectly. Thinking positive thoughts for you.

Opinionated Grump (Rich in NC) said...

You are going to have to get a rewind button, so as to help keep your blood pressure up, by being able to rewind to hear what ELSE they said while you were editorializing.

I do it here all the time.
Rich in NC

Murphy's Law said...

Screw them all, TSA and Stewardesses alike. I am still pissed that, years ago, they took a manicure scissors out of my shaving kit, thus permanently ruining the matching set of accessories that I was given as a gift, when I was authorized to fly armed and carrying a sidearm on the aircraft. One TSA-bot and two levels of supervision higher all stood there and told me with straight faces that my paperwork only allowed me to carry a pistol and ammunition aboard the aircraft, not the scissors, which had blades perhaps half an inch long. That kind of stupidity needs to be purged from the earth.

Besides, truth be told, they're only going to allow small knives now because they miss so many of them that it was making them look pretty pathetic.

Anonymous said...

I often chuckle at the various sci-fi programs such as "Falling Skies" or "Revolution" that show brave, ordinary Americans who WERE doctors, school kids, etc. using machineguns and knives like Delta Force veterans: based on what I see on the news, the very SIGHT of an M-4 or a Ka-bar is enough to cause most Americans to collapse into catatonia if not drop from a heart attack.

But now we understand more about why some people push so hard for gun control: so many people have such a paralyzing fear of even the smallest "weapon" that it's no wonder that they are cool with totally disarmament.

Anonymous said...

Let'em carry what ever they want. 80 yr old Norwegian granny wants to carry her ancestors Viking battleaxe, have at it. Japanese car salesman was to carry a real deal Samurai sword, be my guest. Some yeehaw from east bum fuck Missouri wants to carry a Texas toothpick, by all means. Search for guns and explosives and that's it.

The skies will be a hell of alot safer. But then again, if citizens in Chicago were allowed to own and carry the crime rate would way down.

Cybrludite said...

Well, my Gerber Artifact still has to go into my checked bag on account of it locking, but at least I should be able to keep my P-38 (Can opener, not "eight warning shots and a well-aimed throw") on my keychain. They'd drop like a myotonic goat if they saw what most of us here carry with us.

staghounds said...

I sharpened the edge of the nail file on my clippers, voila, two inch knife.

Truly, back to the deodand.

Thinking good thoughts for you today.

KM said...

Reminds me of The Kid from Brooklyn.

If you've never seen him, I'm told there is some adult language.
It all sounds like normal firehouse talk to me. :)

Stuart the Viking said...

"I'm a first responder and the last line of defense..."

When your first responder and last line of defense is afraid of a tiny little pocket knife, then you are well and truly fucked.

I had more to say but I just got distracted by the fact that there isn't a word in the English language (known to me) that is adequate to describe someone this docile??? timid??? broken??? words fail me. Quick, someone smarter than me make up a word for this before all I can do is sit here shouting expletives! (I am at work after all).


Anonymous said...

Perhaps "Sheepened"??


Stuart the Viking said...

A few years ago at work we were having a holiday function where there was this gift-trading/stealing/swapping game and I was in the position of opening one of the gifts. After the wrapper was off, the box was taped shut SO... I calmly pulled out my little pocket knife and opened it. I swear to you that I heard one of my co-workers gasp "oh god why does he carry a knife?!?" with more than a little panic.

Let me tell you, I typically carry small knives. Other than the fact that it has a liner lock, the knife that I had that day probably would fit what the TSA is talking about allowing on airplanes.

Quite frankly, I expected to be called into the office and fired, or at least told to leave it at home after the bleating reaction that I got (such was the corporate culture at the time); however, it looks like someone rather higher up instead told said co-worker to just deal with it and nothing more came of it.

I'm still working on getting them to allow me to carry my pistol at work. I'm not holding my breath on that one though.


PS sorry about the double comment. I had two unrealated comments occur to me at once.

Maureen Williams said...

What amazes me is how quickly they have forgotten how commonplace these items were pre-9/11, and I don't recall anyone ever trying to hijack a plane with a pocket knife.

"Sheepened". Perfect.

abnormalist said...

I hate to post a link like a spam bot, but its a long story and includes both references to a CRKT KISS, as well as suburban dorks who spaz at the very mention of a knife.

Anonymous said...

So far my monkey fist has not drawn the wrath of the mighty TSA warriors, neither has an old Surefire 6P.

First responder or last line of defense? One or the other Missy.

And before you fight of the mob howling holy warriors, can I have some more peanuts?


Frank W. James said...

Having just completed 14 hours of air-travel, I say "AMEN" to your last comment...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Chris said...

I have acclimated my fellow cubicle denizens to my Kershaw (Ken Onion, assisted opening) knife over the last few years. Everyone seems to have become used to it, despite my (Japanese-owned) company's policy of absolutely no weapons in the workplace. I even bring in my pistol range targets (pathetic compared to yours) on occasion, and they now accept that an armed person is not some kind of dangerous maniac. BTW, I live in Maryland.

Boat Guy said...

"... so many people have such a paralyzing fear of even the smallest "weapon" that it's no wonder that they are cool with totally disarmament" Which has been the "Object Of The Exercise" after all; demonize us and terrorize the sheeple and they can "accomplish" so much more now, can't they?
Both younger son and I have gotten grief from TSA droids about our E2D's

Boat Guy said...

Oh and had to remind Bride to leave her E2D in the car when she reports for jury duty today. I actually got sent back (and here I thought I was being SO good at defenstration) to put mine away.
"It's.A.Flashlight." doesn't seem to work...

Joanna said...

I heard one of my co-workers gasp "oh god why does he carry a knife?!?" with more than a little panic.

The best way to answer this is to blink in surprise and say, "Why don't you?"

Anonymous said...

Boat Guy?

Does the E2D have the meat tenderizer on the front. The 6P does not.

My 6P does have some target pasters stuck to it, but so far nobody has asked about them.


Anonymous said...

Good thing she got a job as a stewardess. She would clearly be unable to work in the fast-food industry since they actually have to cut food from time to time. Hope I never have to fly with her, getting out of a smoky plane in emergencies is bad enough without having to drag someone who is passed out as well....

William the CPA

Stuart the Viking said...


I was rather new at the time and far too flummoxed by the reaction to come up with a suitable response (and a little scared that I would lose my job over it). After all, I'm a country boy who grew up on a small farm. To NOT have a knife on you is so alien to me that it never really occurred to me that people live like that.

I guess I should have been prepared for that reaction though. True story: My Junior year of high school we moved from our small farm into the city for financial reasons. SO, I had to transfer to the "big city" school. My first day had me physically dragged out of class by security after the teacher hit the big red panic button on the wall. She was trying to open a box of photocopies from the print shop with one of those round-nose scissors that they give pre-schoolers, so I pulled out the farm knife (that i had carried since, like, 5th grade) to be helpful.

Lucky for me, the vice-principle who's office I was dragged to had likewise grown up on a farm and basically told me that if I put it in my pocket and never let anyone see it, he didn't have any problem with me having my knife at school (this was years before the zero tolerance policies became popular). He just didn't want to be bothered with having to deal with the trouble if anyone saw it.

It still seems ridiculous to me that High School teachers weren't trusted with anything but rounded scissors at that school. Is this common? Even now?


Anonymous said...

"One TSA-bot and two levels of supervision higher all stood there and told me with straight faces that my paperwork only allowed me to carry a pistol and ammunition aboard the aircraft, not the scissors, which had blades perhaps half an inch long. That kind of stupidity needs to be purged from the earth."

On the contrary: THAT is exactly the type of cogs they are looking for their machine, that will follow any policy , no matter how stupid, and obey any order, no matter how vile. How else do you get stuff like Belaya Tserkov'?

It's small town near Kiev ..... you might have to do some digging to find out about the atrocity there ......

Before you say it can't happen here, remember that the Germans were absolutely appalled by what their friends the Turks did to the Armenians in the 19teens .... and 20-25 years later ....

perlhaqr said...

I hope your melon balling goes well!

Anonymous said...

Here's hoping for a positive outcome from today's surgercial adventure. You'll be fine no matter what, and your beauty will be undeminished.


Anonymous said...

My daughter had a literature class in college. In a story they read somebody got stabbed. "Was it
premeditated?" was the question asked. Others in the class said
"Yes, because he carried a knife."

My daughter said, "Wait a minute.
Where I'm from everyone carries a
knife. It's just what people do."

(She grew up in a small town and
started tagging along on hunting trips with me at three years old.)

She didn't tell them that she had
the small knife I gave her in her
purse as they spoke.

I have had a knife since age eight.
And now, usually, carry two. Along with Surefire flashlight and a gun.

Cargosquid said...

You should have seen the looks when I pulled out my Cold Steel Gunsite folder to quickly sharpen a pencil in my college math class.

Anonymous said...

This security kabuki pervades the entire Federal structure.
Took my nephew to the Museum of American History in DC. Couldn't go in unless I "voluntarily" surrendered my Leatherman. I asked if there were lockers for our positions. "NO! All contraband has to go into this box!" We backed out to The Mall, circled to the Constitution Street entrance while I slide the sheathed tool off my belt and put it in my pocket. I'd noticed the metal detectors were NOT going off as cameras and strollers were passing through so figured they were out of calibration. Sure enough, nephew, tool and I got in without a beep. And there were lockers just inside the Constitution St. entrance. Posting as Anonymous to avoid vindictive prosecution.

RandyGC said...

The really stupid thing about this is that the era of hijacking an airliner with a blade (or any weapon) ended with the impact of Flight 93.

I wish this was the result of TSA getting a clue and adjusting to reality, but I think it's more to alleviate the work load and stress on the Precious Snowflakes with their gloves of blue.

mariner said...

"No. I'm a flight attendant; I'm out in the cabin. I'm a first responder and the last line of defense..."

God help us all. We may as well just give up.

MuseumTacticalSecurityOperator said...

Anon 12:02 PM,

OMG, You should go to jail because you might have hijacked the museum and flown it into a building or something.

I suppose we should let you off with a warning because obviously the sheer might and tactical superiority of museum security cast fear into your heart, and dissuaded you from your dastardly task of enjoying the museum while carrying a weapon of mass terror and destruction.

Supposing that Leatherman went off accidentally while you were walking around and chopped someone's head clean off. You surely would have reaped the whirlwind of trouble then wouldn't you? Can you not think of others? Can you not think of society? Let this be a lesson to you and all of your multi-tool terrorist friends.

Will said...

In the late 80's, I carried a Tekna Micro Knife in my shirt pocket, next to my pen, because that is where it was intended, with it's pocket clip. 6" long, with a 2.25" fixed blade. It made a loud CLICK when the spring loaded blade cover retracted into the handle.
The reaction of my co-workers when I would do this in the cafeteria was invariably a quick step back and a stated "that's not legal, it's a switchblade!!!"
I would then demonstrate the cover, but most of them still didn't like it. A new employee told me that he had worked for that company, but it had been bought out, and the new owners had stopped production of that knife. Too scary for them. Oh, and it was the black version I had.
Had to stop carrying it when the button release wore to the point that it took two hands to release the cover.
And this was a surgical laser manufacturer. Lots of tools. And filled mostly by sheeple, I guess. Only found one other gun owner there.



Ted N said...

My TSA: Knives? Slice up the seats and you can expect an upholstery bill. Due to limited space, please hard case and check any blades over... say...10 inches.

Guns? Show clear at the gate, please keep the chamber empty unless somebody tries something foolish. If so, careful marksmanship and and firing as few rounds an needed will be appreciated. Due to limited space, it would be appreciated if rifles and shotguns were checked as well.

Explosives? Nothing assembled, display them the same way we do guns now, then they get checked into cargo.

Why can't I be in charge? This is my reasonable.

Lasse in Sweden said...

Here in Europe the press is trying to make it look as if the Americans are going crazy with weapons again. When I try to point out that the TSA is actually aligning their rules to the European rules, everyone goes, NO thats not possible. I have been carrying a little Leatherman Squirt P4 on flights in Europe for years.

CMonster said...

Remember the good old days when you were in 5th grade, and your yellow pencil got dull, and you pulled out your pcoketknife and sharpened it, and then put the knife back in your pocket and kept writing, and didn't get sent home from school or to jail?

I do.

jed said...

Every time something like this comes up, I'm reminded of what I used to carry on, when flying out to NV for the USGS. Lauer's head would explode, right after he soiled himself. I always had my SWAK and Leatherman, and often items being ferried to/from the Test Site. I once went aboard with a nice tool kit, complete with wire cutters, a hacksaw, some sort of utility knife w/spare blades, and various other useful implements. Had to put it all on the conveyer belt, but nobody batted an eye.

RabidAlien said...

The thing about these "opinions on the street" things is that they are never one long string of unedited footage. They're always the "ohcrap"segue"ohcrap"segue"ohcrap" type. Which makes one many people did they stop and ask their opinions on knives aboard airplanes who looked at them and said "what, like *click* this one?" or "grumblegrumble I just had to check mine in my luggage, it'd better be there when I land!"? The problem with opinion pieces is that you can interview enough people to get as many supporting opinions as you need, and then present it as a "see? Everyone we talked to (who shared our opinion) wants it to be that way!" I wouldn't trust anything the media says. Period.

As for the flight attendant....if she's the first responder/last line of defense, I want to see her defensive tools. If she's not carrying ANYTHING to defend the poor saps crammed into steerage with her, then she's not defending anything. She's just a mobile prima-donna whacking elbows and forcing people to wait to go to the potty while she blocks the aisles with her waitress cart. So if she's not willing to actively take up the defense of her passengers, then she has absolutely no right to force them to give up their own self defense (or the right to do so, whether they choose to or not).

I've pulled out my Gerber pocket knife (nice solid metal clip keeps it in place) several times at church to sharpen pencils or cut tape/zipties...maybe its just cuz I'm in Texas, but those who didn't approve of it just didn't say anything, and I actually got into a conversation with some random dude about various blades we'd owned.

Joseph said...

Of course, labor unions are in favor of knife control.

Knife control laws won't ban all knives. If you need a cantaloup sliced, you can take it to a licensed, regulated (and, of course, unionized) slicing shop.

Aesop said...

It should be a mandatory policy that the flight attendants' union reps have to do a 3-year exchange program with reps from either the coal mining or nuclear and electrical generating plant industries.

It would do both the union cocktail waitress and her minions a world of good.

The concept that a grown-up thinks she's a critical cog in the transportaion machine because her job calls for the expertise to help you find seat 14B, and hand out peanuts, belies the fact that most first-time attendees at Yankee Stadium seem to get along just fine without a similar level of supervision.

And since 9/12, flight attendants are the 48th responder, because generally, anybody trying anything dopey without an Uzi to back it up gets gangtackled by the closest 47 passengers and crushed to death by the frenzied mob.

As they should be.

Anonymous said...

Eloi and Morelocks, come to pass.

Ken said...

Gah. Even my dad's old penknife (really pretty much a letter opener, these days) doesn't make that cut (you should pardon the expression), and...well, everything that needs saying about the rhapsodic waxing has already been said.

Justthisguy said...

I miss my Cub Scout knife I got when I was 8. It had a locking blade.

Windy Wilson said...

This is a nation of wimps.
My brother and I are Eagle Scouts.
We've carried pocket knives since we were 12 years old. He once went to someplace to see the POTUS (Bush, IIRC) with his work, and everyone had to turn out his pockets to pass security. The SSA asked him to step aside because he had his Swiss Army knife. Later a coworker asked why he would carry a knife, and my bro said, it's customary, it's a tool, it's like a woman's fingernails for a man.
Another time, I went with a friend to a Yanni concert and had to go back to the car to stow MY Swiss Army knife. A rough crowd, that Yanni audience, I tell you!
I once had a girlfriend who was put off by me having that same Swiss Army knife when we were at the beach and came upon a Pelican that had become tangled in a LOT of fishing line and some fish hooks. We broke up later for other reasons, but this indicated a mentality that was a contributor.
I tell you, we are at the point where having the means counts as criminal intent. How long until the possession of a pen is evidence of intent to forgery?
I fear for the safety and continued integrity of what Woody Allen referred to as his "favorite Organ".

Cheesy said...

So far, the last line of defense has been,not TSA, not HLS, not glorified waitresses, but the civilian passengers on the plane.
"For your safety"? Yet another scam to separate your wallet from your cash.

Anonymous said...

There are two ways to look at it:

1. The Grand Scheme--11 years ago they took away our freedoms with nary a peep (except Ron Paul). Now they offer a teensy bit of common sense freedom back to us and we squeal like scared 5 year olds. The War of Terror is successful.

2. Small-time Greed--With everybody knowing what can't be taken on the plane, the Blue Shirts missed taking home a wide assortment of contraband. By creating ambiguity they'll be able to arbitrarily confiscate shiny items again.


Justthisguy said...

I mind the time I had just bought a set of really nice Arkansas stones and put a shaving edge on the Sweety's old Girl Scout knife for her. She was grateful.

Anyway, I mentioned this to one of my autistic correspondents, a housewife-mommy someplace in Australia, and she came back at me all horrified-like, as in "When _I_ was a Girl Guide, we never had any of those icky nasty knives!

I am very disappointed in her. I had thought that autistic gals were more rational than the general run of females.

As is shown above in the comments, there are some pretty girly boys these days, too.

Owhell, as The Kinks sang,

"Girls will be boys and boys will be girls, I am an Ape Man."

Justthisguy said...

Back when airplanes ran on gasoline, stewardesses had balls (so to speak), and were also good-lookin', sorta like Our Hostess.

I mind a story of a PanAm plane which went down in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, in the fifties.

It broke up in the ditching, but the stewies kept cool heads and exercised Sergeant voices to get everybody out who was still alive.

One of the stews in one of the rafts yanked up her skirt and ripped off her half-slip to use as combination bandage and tourniquet on one of the wounded.

They were Real Men in those days, and so were The Women.