Airports need improved safety

Maria Eutsler

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Two news reporters recently investigated just how easy it is it to get by airline security with such items as knives, razor blades and scissors after Sept. 11.

They got past checkpoints at 10 U.S. major airports.

Just how safe are we? With airplanes being used as terrorist weapons and anthrax-o-grams being sent, it all seems surreal.

A woman named Linda Uptegrove was walking down an allegedly secure jetway at San Francisco International Airport last April when she suddenly felt a sharp pain.

A fellow passenger had plunged a three-inch knife into her back, puncturing her right lung.

The irony to this story is that before Sept. 11, the Federal Aviation Administration actually allowed passengers to carry knives with blades smaller than four inches.

Since then, most airlines have finished reinforcing their cockpit doors.

Alaska Airlines and JetBlue even retrofitted their planes with bulletproof, Kevlar-reinforced doors.

The FAA now prohibits all knives, corkscrews, metal nail files and other items that might be used as weapons from being carried on board, according to Newsweek.

Nonetheless, two reporters were able to get past security checkpoints with these items.

This raises the question of how to make our airport screening procedures more thorough.

The FAA is trying. It has ordered airports to revalidate I.D. badges, as well as conduct criminal-background checks, for about one million workers with access to secure areas of terminals.

Flying fighter jets through major metropolitan areas, posting military reserves at airports and federalizing security personnel are all steps in the right direction, but still not enough.

What about the passengers and the baggage? With endless security loopholes our government has its hands full.

Officials should do whatever it takes to prevent the possibilities of another terrorist attack.

It’s time for government officials and airlines to invest in fail-safe security measures that will screen all passengers, luggage and cargo before boarding.

Yes, this will be costly, but safety is worth the price, whatever the price may be.

It’s a shame that it took such tragic events to make the nation notice the gaps in airport security. But now, more than ever, is the time to fix this problem.

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