Artist celebrates Patriot Act's anniversary by handing out "Official Air Travel Replacement Knives" to arriving SFO passengers

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she had received permission from the airport, obtaining a Free Speech and Expressive Activities Permit

Please don’t let that be a real thing. It’s bad enough that I’d even be in doubt.


Little-known fact: Scissors have been permitted by the TSA for a number of years, provided that the blades are less than 4 inches in length.

To summarize,
One short blade (knife) is bad.
Two short blades attached by a screw (scissors) are good.

Security Theater–Don’t confuse them with your logic.


In defense of the TSA, in a rare moment of lucidity during 2013, the agency announced that short, thin, non-folding knives (think Swiss Army and Opinel) no longer would be prohibited due to the acknowledgement that finding them occupied a large amount of TSA resources better used in search of items more dangerous than a knitting needle. A few companies started advertising TSA-Compliant knives. Just two weeks before the policy change was to take effect, the stewardess’ trade union mounted a successful protest against this sensible change.

As expected, emotional symbolism trumped sensible policy. Tiny knives remain verboten.

Most people don’t really want freedom, but they do love to cuddle up with security blankets.


Before such regulation airports were overflowing with religious fanatics and Larouche-type politicos, all soliciting money or signatures.


Airports are not public property, so it’s a thing.

Whenever there are protests somewhere public like an airport, the protests are technically allowed on the property assuming they’ve been cleared with the proper channels, but the protesters get shunted off to some special section where people won’t see them.

Also as @d_r pointed out, the Hari Krishnas and LaRouchebags have special permits to proselytize there.

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You’re correct, but they’re permitted at the discretion of TSA agents. I’ve lost two cheap but nice small knives to their “discretion”. My local airport was fine with them, TSA in Atlanta wasn’t.


Or she could have handed out bottled water. How many zillions of bottles have been confiscated? More to the point, how many have been tested for explosive material? How many have tested positive?


Corkscrews are allowed in carry-on luggage. However, you’re not allowed to bring your own alcohol aboard. So I don’t know why you’d need a corkscrew. I’m pretty sure I could do more damage with one than with a tiny pocketknife, too.


Ironically the so-called Patriot Act is one of the most un-patriotic things ever passed into law. Should be called the “Terrorists Have Won Act” or the “Fuck the Constitution Act”


Twice I had forgotten to omit mine from my pocket dressing while half awake for the airport. Both times since I was all oh crap sorry what can I do about this I got directed to a small kiosk nearby where you paid for an envelope with postage that you could mail it to wherever and they let me jump back in the line where I left too. Is it just Seatac that has this?


TSA will insist that it does not “confiscate” your property.

No, instead, they allow you to “voluntarily surrender” your property.

Sure, it’s all security theater. But it’s voluntary security theater, so it’s OK.


Swiss Army and Opinel are both primarily known for folding knives.

Yeah, when was the last time anyone saw a Hare Krishna at the airport? That used to be so common it was a pop culture cliché.


Lots have tested positive. Because their super cheapo field swab kits are garbage and someone like @ActionAbe could probably whip up something a lot more reliable on their own.

IIRC the swab kits are military surplus and intended for EOD handling where you absolutely can’t have a screwup because there are definitely a lot of people constantly trying to blow up your squad every single day.

That’s not a plausible consideration fir screening in airports. And TSA agents will confiscate your bottled water and chuck it into an overflowing 80 gallon trashbin full of other “suspected explosives” with full confidence that none if it will blow up because that’s never happened even once.


Yes, you’re correct–I misspoke.

I meant to say that the proposed regulations permitted small, thin, narrow non-locking folding knives. Fixed blades and lockbacks would not have been permitted. I remember this precisely because I am a physician and always keep a small, sharp blade to assist with medical emergencies. I was about to take a trip with my daughter and was glad that I could carry a very nice little Opinel (but not a scalpel). But then the stewardess’ unions riled up an emotional response with “No knives on planes” and the TSA retreated from the sensible security position they had adopted.

More here and here

Yet again, security policy is decided by feelings rather than a sober risk assessment and cost analysis. Huzzah for symbolic gestures!


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