|Now that you can bring hockey sticks on board airplanes, |
shouldn't you be able to bring kayak and canoe paddles?
Wait. Golf clubs are OK but paddles are not? We called for clarification. In response, we received this email reply from David A. Castelveter, Director of External Communications for the TSA's Office of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs:
"Sorry Sharon, but for security reasons we are not able to discuss why certain items remain on the prohibited items list."
Let's see. Golf clubs, which have been used to murder people, can be carried on board airplanes even though they are unlikely to be damaged when checked; meanwhile paddles, which are ill-suited to combat and more fragile, can't be carried on board. (We typed "murdered with a golf club" into Google and got 33,800 results. "Hit with a kayak paddle" yielded just five, and none involved aggression, let alone murder.)
Aggressive canoeists aren't the TSA's only concern, of course. Checkpoint efficiency also figures into these decisions. "Imagine how congested the checkpoint would be if under the existing screening procedures we allowed a broader array of items, such as paddles, oars, ski poles, snow board, water skis and the likes," Castelveter noted.
But again, we find this disingenuous. How many canoeists and kayakers travel with paddles? (Not many per day, we would venture.) And does it really take longer to scan a paddle than it takes to scan any other carry-on item?
Clearly, the golf lobby is more effective than the paddlesports lobby.
If this bothers you, send a message to the TSA Contact Center at TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov or call 1.866.289.9673 and tell them why paddles ought to be permitted on board. And please post your letter here in comments, too, for others to see.