Would rather lock baggage

Posted: Thursday, December 26, 2002

I am again amazed at the wit and wisdom of the Transportation Safety Administration. At the height of the gift-giving season, TSA is telling us not to lock our bags when checking them at the airport.

Before the two planes crashed into the World Trade Towers, theft from checked baggage was a major problem for the airlines. Some airlines had begun to recommend that travelers use hard-sided luggage because thieves were slashing their way into soft-sided luggage. The problem had grown so great, that some thievery was occurring from hand-carried baggage at the security screening area, as happened here in Juneau.

Yet, now when we are more likely than ever to be traveling with items attractive to thieves, TSA tells us to leave our baggage unlocked.

What about the fourth plane? The one in Pennsylvania that never reached its target should have taught TSA that sensibility and security lies in the passengers, individually and collectively. The airlines now teach their flight attendants that passengers are to be allowed to help in such an emergency, which is a complete reversal of the teaching before the plane slammed into the Pentagon. Yet TSA demands that passengers be disarmed to the maximum extent of TSA's imagination. Screeners take cuticle scissors, Swiss Army knives, and anything remotely sharp from potential passengers. No, it isn't really theft, they have a different name for taking without recompense to the lawful owners.

TSA assures us that after the season of traveling with gifts, they'll protect our baggage with plastic ties. We'll apparently gain access to our bags by cutting the ties with the scissors and knives that are deep in those self-same bags. It figures.

Warren Eastland


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