I was recently airside (i.e. on the part of an airport with the tarmac and airplanes, as opposed to the part with the car rentals, gift shops, metal detectors and baggage carousels) at an international airport in the United States. There might be no place in the world more uptight than an American international airport. Take the attitude of homeland security, the FBI, the FAA, customs officials, and security guards and roll them all together with an eight-foot fence, then top that with four strands of barbed wire, and you get the idea. You could cut the paranoia with a knife. Which is ironic, because I needed a knife, and discovered that I'd left mine in my other handbag. How girlie of me. What are the chances of getting a hold of a sharp knife airside?
Quite good, actually. The very first person I asked, less than a hundred metres from my airplane, was able to provide me with a genuine boxcutter knife. They are extremely useful tools. The presence of the knife passed from one pilot to another and back (thank you again, sir) didn't compromise anyone's security, just amused me because of its status as one of the least welcome items on a passenger aircraft.
Clearing customs, the border guard had had the temerity to ask us if we were carrying any "knives? guns? weapons of mass destruction?" And we weren't, at that point. One of the most excruciating thing about clearing customs is having to pass up the straight lines. I could have replied to the last with, "We looked, but we couldn't find any."