On March 6, 2013, I created a petition in response to the Transportation Security Administration's proposed policy that would allow small knives and other potentially lethal objects on board U.S. based commercial aircraft. As of May 2013, my petition had reached almost 16,000 signatures. The responses were overwhelming from families of 9/11 victims, family members of passengers and crew, law enforcement officials, and security personnel INCLUDING the TSA's own agents! On April 24, 2013, they had relaxed their position, and stated that they would later re-evaluate the policy. It hasn't even been a month yet! Now that the tragic Boston bombing, and the outrage has subsided from those in the airline and security industries, they seem to think that the issue has fallen by the wayside, and want to re-introduce the policy! This is outrageous and we as citizens of the United States of America cannot allow our officials, both appointed and elected, to have such power over an agency as to put the lives of millions of Americans at risk every time they travel by air. I told the newsmedia, and Change.org that I would be back if this came up again, and this time I want officials to be held accountable for their actions, starting with the resignation of TSA Administrator John Pistole, and Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano. Their blatant disregard of protests by over 60,000 flight attendants, pilots, and thousands of others in the TSA, law enforcement from the United States and around the world shall not be tolerated!
Since the issue came about, we have also learned that knife manufacturers have also had a significant impact in changing this policy. We cannot allow lobbying from this industry to corrupt our officials who are supposed to be acting in our best interest. Please sign my petition and tell the TSA once again, "NO TO KNIVES ON PLANES!"
Since then, we have seen the tragedy that was the bombing in Boston, Massachusetts, which cost 3 lives, and injured 275 others. While there is no direct correlation between these two issues, it reminds us that we must be ever vigilant in protecting our citizens both on the ground and in the air.
Allowing small knives on board an aircraft is an absolutely absurd policy, and very foolish to say the least. Your attempt at remaining politically correct by keeping razor blades and box cutters prohibited for air travel, is insulting, and a slap in the face of the victims and their families from September 11, 2001. Furthermore, it is insulting to the American people who trust in you to keep our country safe.
Since March 5, we have also learned that prominent knife manufacturers have come to your doorstep to lobby for the allowance of knives on airplanes. While this is not unheard of, it is reprehensible that you would allow these corporations to buy their way into public policy, and is a prime example of the corruption our political system undergoes on a daily basis. It should not be tolerated at any level, particularly those who are appointed by our President to perform a job in the interest of the American people.
By allowing this policy to take effect, you not only endanger the lives of thousands of travelers, but crew members who are trained to be vigilant in the skies. While crew such as myself are able to fend off a threat, and passengers clearly demonstrate a willingness to aide in an attack, these two factors alone may not be enough to save a plane full of people from impending demise. You previously cited the fortified cockpit doors in your attempt to justify your actions, yet due to many factors including the sequester, not even Federal Flight Deck Officers can protect themselves if there is a breach. Why? Because they are unable to get re-qualified due to budget constraints. Federal Air Marshals are also impacted due to these cuts, and as a result, our skies are less safe. It is unbelievable that one would have to ask, "With all of these factors, why now, do you think it is important to allow dangerous items on board an aircraft? Other than lobbies from corporations, politicians, and your claim to divert more concentration on explosive devices, and shorten lines, what is your motivation?"
The fact is, concentration on explosive devices and other dangers to aircraft and the flying public should have ALWAYS been a top priority. Allowing knives only creates MORE work for your agents, and what's more, makes our skies less safe.
I have had several conversations with passengers on my aircraft, in terminals, and even through TSA security lines about this change. All of them opposed it. Almost 16,000 signatures on my previous petition at http://www.change.org/TSAknives, and over 40,000 signatures on a White House petition from families of 9/11 victims, families and friends of crew members flying today, and passengers. You must also be aware of the outrage from flight attendant, pilots, law enforcement unions, as well as that of your very own TSA agents, and it should be a clear indication that this policy must not take effect. To stubbornly say it will take an act of Congress to reverse your decision and not consult industry leaders, as well as those who are on the front lines every day, is appalling. No singular person in an Administration should wield the power such as you have.
In closing, should you choose to act without consulting at appropriate levels with industry officials and airline employees, Administrator Pistole, and Secretary Napolitano: I respectfully request your resignation from office. Your actions constitute insubordination both in your roles as appointed officials, and in your duty to protect the citizens of the United States.