Monday, July 23, 2007

TSA Lifts Ban On Lighters And Breast Milk But Not On Semi-Automatic Weapons

Large water bottles. Knives. Sharp scissors. Matches. Semi-automatic guns. These items are all banned from being carried into the cabins of the United State's airplanes, and have been since December 2004 when the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) banned them under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act. However, after collecting over 58,000,000 (yep 58 million plus) lighters, you can now cross them off of the list of contraband items. This pleases both cigarette smokers and the manufacturers of the lighters themselves. Two words - about time!

Zippo Manufacturing Company, the 75-year-old maker of the world-renowned pocket lighter that claims to be windproof, supports the Transportation Security Administration's decision and said that it has been working with the administration to allow lighters, not only Zippo lighters-back onto airplanes. And last week, the Transportation Security Administration, the department in charge of screening all luggage and keeping our airplanes safe from terrorists, announced that it was removing the ban on common lighters. The TSA statement read that "lighters no longer pose a significant threat" to the safety and security of airports, airplanes and those passengers traveling via air. Torch lighters remain banned in carry-ons.

"I'm happy. Now I don't have to buy a lighter when I land at my destination," says one smoker who wishes to remain anonymous. "Previously, I would have had to buy matches or a cigarette lighter at the next airport, but now I can take my lighter onto the plane with me which saves me money and all the hassle of buying a new one wherever I am."

The lighter ban is a long time coming. But I have some questions as to what the TSA does with all the lighter's they collect. Government agencies are constantly in need of money. If they are confiscating over 20,000 lighters per day, why don't they open a kiosk on the arrival side of the airport and make some money. Think about this. If the TSA was to charge a measly 25-cents for a lighter, each year they would have made $2,904,000! If they charged 50-cents, $5,808,000! I think that would pay for the $7.00 per hour worker, the kiosk to sell them at, and still put a little money in somebody's pocket! If you added some other items like nail clippers, tweezers and such, they could be making $Zillions!!! Why hasn't some government fatcat thought about this? I guess they are too busy worrying about Hillary's cleavage and the global warming myth!

Lighters and breast milk are the only items on which the ban has been dropped. The ban on other dangerous and hazardous material and items is still in effect until further notice. This includes some very bizarre, but is not limited to, a ban on all knives, liquids that weigh over three ounces, scissors, swords (leave it behind, samurai!), baseball bats, pool cues, hockey sticks, guns, saws, drills, and strike-anywhere matches, and yes, Semi-automatic guns! On the TSA's website, they have a very interesting Q&A about the banned items. This one on breast milk caught my attention...

Q. Do passengers carrying breast milk need to taste it to prove it is not a liquid explosive?
A. No. We will not ask a traveler to taste breast milk.

By the way, breast milk is considered by the TSA to be a medical necessity and it is being classified as such. And what about water? Hello people! Is anybody in there?