The Transportation Security Administration has banned ink and toner cartridges of more than 16 ounces from both carry-on bags and checked luggage on flights within the United States or in-bound to the United States. You know why: because of that incident from a few days ago where authorities found bombs hidden inside toner cartridges.
The TSA is in a tough spot. Does anyone really think that terrorists are going to say, “Shoot, we’ve been thwarted! Let’s stop plotting against the West and instead become responsible stakeholders in the international system”?
No, of course not.
But does anyone think the TSA can say sit back and do nothing? It has to do something, even if it’s just a superficial gesture. That’s the world we live in, where our officials have to act in order to give the appearance of doing something to protect us.
I mean, you can argue the effectiveness of banning items piecemeal, but do you think the TSA can justify its funding when it does nothing in the face of an attempted attack? Politically, I mean. It needs to give the appearance of being pro-active (well, re-active, to be more accurate) to give the impression that everything is A-OK with airport security.
What does banning items one-by-one get us? Taken to the extreme, this logic would see the TSA banning people from airplanes. After all, it’s people who planted the ink toner bombs inside the luggage in the first place, so we might as well cut the danger off at the source.