Should you be allowed to bring a knife onto a commercial airliner?

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This is a bit of old news, but with the TSA publishing new guidelines that allow some knives to be brought onto planes, the question has been asked: Should you be allowed to bring a knife onto an airliner?

Should you be allowed to smoke in bars?  Should you have to wear a shirt and shoes in a restaurant?  Should you be able to buy a 40 ounce soda?  Should you be able to curse in your neighbor’s home?

All of these questions have the same answer—and the answer isn’t yes or no.  The answer is whatever the owner of the property decides.

In the case of the airlines and knives, if an airline decides that it’s okay to bring knives on their planes, that’s their decision to make, not anyone else’s.  It’s not much different from a bar owner deciding to allow smoking in his bar.  Smoking is bad for your health, so if I want to go to a bar for a drink, I can decide if I want to take on the health risks that occur from inhaling cigarette smoke.

Getting stabbed with a knife is also bad for your health, so in choosing an airline, I should also be able to decide if I want to take on the risks of getting stabbed.  That’s assuming that if left on their own there would be some companies that would allow you to carry knives.  Let the airlines choose for themselves what to allow and what to ban.

Now this doesn’t mean that any reputable airline company would have a policy that allowed patrons to bring loaded bazookas and flamethrowers onto their planes.  The airlines that combine the most efficient and safe processes will likely attract the most customers.  People tend to not want to die after boarding a plane.  And insurance costs a whole lot more if your planes keep getting hijacked and your customers killed.

When the government, in this case the TSA, is in charge of making these decisions, it takes away responsibility from the actual airlines.  Whenever anything goes wrong with airport or airline safety, just blame the TSA!  I’m not suggesting that the TSA shouldn’t be blamed for the lousy job they do, but what they do is not their job to do.  Make the airlines protect their own property and their own business.

Violence that occurs on a commercial flight of company XYZ should not be considered a general flight safety issue—it should be considered a safety issue of company XYZ.