Tales of the TSA: “It’s not a gun, it’s a prop for my monkey”

The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) is back in the news for confiscating a toy monkey’s toy gun that’s all of 2 inches long.

You really have to see the photo of the gun to appreciate how small it truly is.

tsa-monkey-gun

Even better was the TSA agent’s explanation for why the gun would be confiscated:

“She said ‘this is a gun,’” said May. “I said no, it’s not a gun it’s a prop for my monkey.”

“She said ‘If I held it up to your neck, you wouldn’t know if it was real or not,’ and I said ‘really?’” said May.

Phyllis May has a business making sock puppets.  And the “gun” belonged to her cowboy character “Rooster Monkburn.”

Rooster-Monkburn

I get that the TSA has rules about no guns, even toy guns.  And we’ve written before about the goofy “toys” that people try to bring on planes.  My favorite was the moron who brought toy, but real-looking, grenades on a flight. Though the guy that brought realistic looking plastic explosives, detonator wires and all, is a close runner-up.

Inert grenades found by TSA in carry-on bag

Simulated IED found by TSA

So there are certainly circumstances in which “toys” are unacceptable.

But a clearly-toy miniature gun?

Granted, it’s a judgment call.  And I can see TSA saying that, rather than saying how big the gun, or knife, or fake bomb has to be before it gets confiscated, it’s far easier to just tell people, don’t bring fake weapons in your carry-on.

Still, Al Qaeda is not going to be hijacking a plane using Rooster Monkburn’s pistol that’s the size of your pinkie. (It almost sounds like a Saturday Night Live, or Monty Python, sketch: “Do as I say, or I’ll pretend to shoot you.”)  And who can forget “Lamby,” the lamb doll that was confiscated from a crying 3 year old girl named Lucy, in a wheelchair, just in case Lamby contained explosives:

tsa-little-girl-and-lamby

Lucy and Lamby, in better days.

At some point, there has to be some discretion used to acknowledge that not every rule broken is grounds for calling in the SWAT team.

Since 9/11, both airlines and TSA have gotten a bit of a stick up their butt about the rules.  Personally, I’ve generally had great experiences with the TSA (other than the folks who man the Southwest Airlines wing of DCA – flew them for the first time recently, and the TSA folks there were generally brusque and obnoxious as compared to the other ones at National Airport).  And I find flight attendants run the gamut of nice and friendly, to Sister Jude à la American Horror Story.

Absolute power corrupts.  But so does simplemindedness.  There ought to be a supervisor to step in and acknowledge that Rooster Monkburn won’t be terrorizing the friendly skies anytime soon.


(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    More like two empty soup cans and a string.

  • Jafafa Hots

    I once argued with one that no, the terrorists are NOT coming to Kansas to blow up his grain silo.

    He said “how can you be so sure?”

  • Jafafa Hots

    My cousin’s husband is an arrogant ass, very stupid and totally incompetent. Almost killed her, she went into a diabetic coma because he convinced her chiropractic would be a better treatment for her diabetes than insulin.

    Has never been able to hold down a job – until he joined the TSA.

    He is very proud of the TSA and is convinced he’s helping save the world.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    That’s right. Guns kill people not sock monkeys……..

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Define ‘without a problem.’

    How many ostomy bags were dislodged through rough handling? How many wheelchair-bound disabled were forced out of their chairs and made to crawl through metal detectors? How many people with prosthetic limbs were forced, in public, to remove them? How many mastectomy survivors were forced to show their surgery scars?

    How many people experienced sexual assault PTSD flashbacks during the unnecessary groin-gropes? How many ordinary, harmless household items were confiscated needlessly? How many toys, toiletries, and travel comforts were taken away? How many children were kept away from their parents, screaming, as some scary blue-gloved stranger “bad-touched” them?

    How many people were forced to undergo two or three ‘random’ additional hand-searches? How many realized that ‘random’ really wasn’t random at all, but racial or ethnic profiling? How many false positives for explosives or other banned substances caused people to miss their flights?

    How many people are, for no valid reason, on a No Fly list, with zero recourse for getting off it?

    I am sooo tired of people giving up everyone else’s essential liberties for the illusion of security, thus proving we Americans, as a whole, deserve and will get neither.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Yeah, well if a toy gun is entirely equivalent to an actual firearm, by jharp’s logic the stuffed monkey should’ve been seized and taken away to a rescue shelter, and its ‘maker/owner’ arrested for cruelty to animals and negligence.

    I mean, really, who in their right mind gives a gun to a monkey?

    (end snark)

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Oh, never mind.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    We are laughing at you Harpo, not with you.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Run, run, run—Harpo has proof!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    When someone pulls a 3/4″ inch plastic gun on you, get back to us and we’ll protect you.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Nobody mentioned whether the monkey was arrested or not.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Afraid of a teeny, tiny bitty gun 3/4 of an inche long with no clear barrel? You poor thing.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    BS, wait until it happens to you, then get back to us.

  • lynchie

    but it looks good and justifies the billions spent since 9/11 scaring the shit out of us.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Everyone is tired of hearing these stories from the TSA… but each one is really just a small symptom of a larger culture of incompetence at the agency. They spend so much time confiscating children’s toys, fondling grandmas, harassing people with medical devices, confiscating your shampoo, and stealing from your checked baggage, that they time and time again miss the forest for the trees. Security experts have repeatedly tested and written about the current airport measures, and found them to be worthless. Just last week I was making a connection in Sydney, Australia – and they made everyone who got off the flight from the US go back through security screening as we deplaned. Me being me, I decided to inquire as to why. The lady laughed and told me that it’s because the US security is so pathetically bad, that they have to recheck everyone to make sure they don’t enter the secure area of their airport with things that should have been caught before they ever boarded a plane in the first place. Of course, they could have had another more specific reason, but I’ve chatted with security and airline people in many other places, and have been told basically the same things. It’s nothing but expensive theater, and nobody is actually any safer for it.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    If making a gun look like a keychain toy is so easy as you claim then making a gun look like a phone is a lead-pipe cinch.

    Oh, and by the way, it’s been done.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/3522785/Gun-disguised-as-a-mobile-phone-is-seized-by-police.html

  • RepubAnon

    It’s more marketing than anything else – panicked people’s brains turn off, making the job of tricking them into voting Republican easier.

  • judybrowni

    My TSA stories: I was bringing, as a gift for a friend’s granddaughter, an orange alarm clock that looked like the old fashioned kind with “bells” on top, but instead of ringing, it meowed.

    Really.

    However, I got pulled out of line possibility because those old fashioned belled alarm clocks were once used to make bombs. Although I doubt those were orange, or meowed.

    I tried to tell the TSA agent, “This one doesn’t ring, it’s digital, it meows. I can push the button and make it meow, if you like.”

    Which horrified the TSA agent, I wasn’t to touch it, until after they X-rayed the thing.

    After which, I was given it back, and I pushed the “meow” button for ‘em.

    I’ve also been pulled out of lines for a pat down for underwired bras, and because I refused a bodyscanner in Phoenix.

    However, I suspect TSA agents are underpaid and undertrained, or given ridiculous guidelines the working stiffs are stuck with.

  • Tatts

    I am sooo tired of these TSA stories!

    Yesterday alone, almost 1,800,000 people flew on domestic flights in the US. And another quarter million flew internationally. The TSA–staffed by people with barely a high school education and not much training and pitiful wages–handled 99.9999999999% of them without a problem.

    Please–stop making a mountain out of a molehill. It’s just so fucking silly and pointless.

  • James Stewart

    You are all for banning clearly toy guns, but you are more than happy to sell any asshole a handgun for concealed carry in any other public space.

    Gun zealots have very little common sense as far as I can see.

  • James Stewart

    You cons are such pussies.

  • James Stewart

    See? Bullshit!

  • James Stewart

    That would be because the former is true and the latter is false.
    Truth and bullshit are not even remotely the same.

  • James Stewart

    The more conservative they are the more they spew bullshit.

  • perljammer

    It’s interesting that your response to the general topic, which is a plea for the application of common sense, is to advocate even less common sense. I suppose you think you’re leading the discussion into a Socratic blind alley, but I think you’re just wandering in the darkness.

    Anyway, with regard to the matter of toy pistol caps: as previously stated, they contain gunpowder. Gunpowder, regardless of its application, is a proscribed material, so I suspect you would be prevented from boarding a commercial flight while in possession of the caps. Toys not containing gunpowder or other proscribed materials are not prohibited and should not be a problem. Unless, of course, we abandon common sense.

  • jharp

    “No one has any business or compelling reason to carry a gun onto a plane.”

    I would bother to debate you if I wasn’t laughing so hard at your arguments

    Really? You find that funny?

    You are a strange bird.

    Meanwhile leave the guns at home when you fly if you don’t want to lose them.

  • http://www.newmillgay.com/ The_Fixer

    I would bother to debate you if I wasn’t laughing so hard at your arguments.

    I think you need to find someone else to argue with. You’re beyond tiresome.

  • jharp

    Yes it is.

    You are trying to defend the indefensible.

    No one has any business or compelling reason to carry a gun onto a plane.

    And it makes us less safe for TSA agents to waste time looking at toy guns to insure they are inoperable.

  • http://www.newmillgay.com/ The_Fixer

    Well, it does have the power of The Force behind it :)

  • http://www.newmillgay.com/ The_Fixer

    Really? You can’t tell the difference between the guns in those videos and the decoration that is the subject of this article? I can, and I am not a gun enthusiast.

    This is getting beyond silly.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I see that pattern too. The general citizenry being trained, quite deliberately, to fear things they shouldn’t and to blithely accept things they should fear.

    All I can figure is that a terrorized, irrational populace is easier to control than those who think rationally and who are afraid of actual dangers. Like guns in the hands of crazy people, as opposed to a tiny hunk of plastic in the hand of a sock-puppet monkey doll.

  • jharp

    Utter nonsense.

  • jharp
  • lynchie

    We are a nation that is consumed with cosmesis. It is all about how things look. We have the TSA and spend billions so we must be safe. Unfortunately there is a complete lack of common sense. If someone wants to do harm they can with little effort. I fully expect the next freedom to go is at malls because as we all know terrorists could kill people. In the same breath we give up any semblance of controlling who has firearms in this country. Can’t have a minature plastic gun but you can buy all the AR17′s, revolvers, ammunition, shotguns and no regulations kind of makes you wonder who the hell is really in charge.

  • http://www.newmillgay.com/ The_Fixer

    Your reading comprehension is suspect.

    First off, you are mislabeling a decorative item as a gun. Not everything that is shaped like a gun is a gun. In this case, it was painfully obvious that it is not a gun. How difficult is that to understand?

    I already told you that we’re talking a cursory, casual, examination. Which TSA agents do for any object that is carried on a plane. It was obvious from a casual glance that this is a decoration.

    I am afraid that we are at an impasse here.

  • jharp

    “What people want is a little common sense ”

    Common sense dictates that no one has any business carrying any kind of gun onto a plane.

    Airport security has better things to do than inspect every single “toy” gun to make sure it is inoperable.

    Check them in your bags like a decent human being trying to make security easier to implement and not harder.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Bravo.

  • junkhacker

    that a real gun capable of inflicting meaningful harm could not be made to be the size of this gun. thus, it is ridiculous that they considered this toy gun a threat

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I know. Which is why the comparison occurred to me.

  • jharp

    Yep. And they are toys.

    So what is the problem with me carrying toys onto a plane?

  • jharp

    And your point is?

  • http://www.newmillgay.com/ The_Fixer

    Well, I’ll answer your replies in one message.

    Cap guns, while not capable of firing a bullet, are capable of only one thing: making a bang noise, supplied by having a very small amount of explosive material in whatever you load into it. Cap guns that are obvious cap guns I would think would be permissible. The “ammunition”, no. Enough of it can create at least a fire hazard, at most a small explosion. You don’t want explosives on a plane, obviously. Not to mention that should someone fire a cap gun, panic would ensue.

    You are creating a strawman here, and ignoring obvious logic. It is quite obvious that this “gun” was a decoration. It does not take any more than a cursory examination to determine that.

    Additionally, nobody said anything about other more realistic toy guns. We are talking about an obvious decorative toy here. More realistic toy guns are a different matter.

    The problem with this is not allowing the use of the brain, and not permitting discretion. From reading everyone’s comments on the matter, it’s obvious that is the topic at hand. Nobody wants guns on planes, nobody wants realistic-looking toy guns on planes. What people want is a little common sense when it comes to obvious decorations. The TSA people apparently have no common sense.

  • junkhacker

    a 22 short is still more then 3 times as wide as the barrel on this toy gun.

  • Indigo

    Live safe and live dull. That’s a wide-spread prescription for how to live your life in our society these days. I’m not sure if it’s a Valley of the Dolls situation because folks are tranquilized into brainlessness or whether there’s an actual [socio-political] boogeyman under their beds? They’re zombies.

  • perljammer

    I think you’d have quite a time getting a jackass on an airplane, let alone getting it on the plane in combination with a gun. But maybe that’s not what you mean.

    Why do I need a compelling reason? It’s the security people who need a compelling reason, for confiscating things.

  • junkhacker

    so, countering viewpoints in the same format they were given attracts moderators? saying “if you are conservative, you are fearful” is fine, but “if you are progressive, you are fearful” is unacceptable? perhaps i have wrongly mistaken that this is a place where opposing sides can express themselves equally.

  • Whitewitch

    Oh Karmanot you goof…you know that would be discrimination…..

  • perljammer

    Caps contain gunpowder. Probably wouldn’t make it past the explosives screen. So I would say, feel free to try to carry as many caps as you want.

  • Indigo

    It strikes me as the fearfulness of frightened people with a bully’s behavior to cover the fear. That’s the dangerous kind of fearful people, the potential for them to lash out worries me.

  • jharp

    I used to travel with “toy” guns frequently (salemans samples) Even across international borders.

    I always had to check them in my bags. Always. And it was no big deal and I was happy to make airport security job easier by doing so.

    And amazingly enough I used to sell a line of waterguns that were all fashioned to look like real guns.

    And guess what happened. A child was shot and killed by police who thought they were looking at a real gun.

    Amazingly stupid idea to allow anyone to sell or manufacture such an item.
    And since the practice is banned.

    Question. Should I be allowed to carry a watergun that looks identical to a real gun on the plane?

  • perljammer

    The folks who post here on a regular basis tend to favor civil discourse over ad hominum. Suggest you tone it down a bit if you want to be taken seriously.

  • junkhacker

    far more vets are conservative then progressive

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    If that sock monkey is wearing a jilaba it should rendered, sent to Egypt. tortured and forced to admit where its hid a cache of Tony toy guns.

  • perljammer

    “And let’s ban hand gestures that emulate guns.”

    Sorry, Becca — already been done, just a couple of months ago. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/01/jordan-bennett-suspended-_n_4022494.html

  • Jasmine Herrick

    Laughing at my desk – kudos to you!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    next

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yes, you try that troll. I’ld like to be around to see it.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Brava!!!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Oh give it up pit bull Troll. You are making a fool of yourself.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Suggestion: Since you are so easily frightened—stay home.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Tell that to several million vets asshat.

  • jharp

    So then.

    Should I be allowed to bring my cap pistol and caps on the plane with me?

    Obviously a toy. And how many caps can I carry with me? A suitcase full?

  • jharp

    So then. You think it is time well spent for airport security to carefully examine all guns to make sure they are not capable of firing a round?

    Get a clue. They have a lot more shit to do than waste time on some idiot that thinks they should be allowed to bring a gun on a plane. Toy or not.

    And what compelling reason does any jackass have having a gun on a plane?

  • http://www.newmillgay.com/ The_Fixer

    I think a close examination of the toy in question would reveal it to be a toy.

    First off, plastic guns have to be a whole lot thicker than that thing in order to successfully fire without maiming the shooter.

    Second, it is too small to be able to fire a .22 caliber bullet – the bullet is too big. Someone would have to specially make ammunition to fit it. That’s assuming that it was strong enough to fire anything, which it’s not.

    Third, anyone, anywhere, could look at that and see that it’s not mechanically sound enough to be a gun. I can see that from the pictures. Look at the giant gap in the seam where the two pieces of the housing are joined.

    You are insulting our intelligence with your comments.

  • Moderator3

    I hope you haven’t come to this blog just to be disagreeable.

  • Snarki, child of Loki

    Seen Don Knotts in the last few years?

    One word: Gitmo.

  • Snarki, child of Loki

    At least one person (reportedly) got stopped/harassed/turned away because they had a PICTURE of a gun on their shirt.

    At least it wasn’t a picture of a snow-globe, and thank goodness for the TSA saving us from the threat of snow-globe wielding terrorists. The horror, the horror…

  • junkhacker

    if i want music, i listen to streaming internet services that don’t give me political vitriol, if i want news i read it on international news sites primarily, you can’t trust any domestic news agency to give you anything close to unbiased information. this article i stumbled upon thanks to the google news feed. I’m not familiar with “Breitbart and Free Republic”

  • jharp

    “Actually you’ve managed only to prove that nobody should be allowed to take anything at all on a plane, toy gun or not.”

    Utterly preposterous and you know it.

  • Monoceros Forth

    “I haven’t listened to radio in years…”

    Oh, dear. So it’s just Breitbart and Free Republic for entertainment now? I am sorry.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I’m done with you. It is impossible to reason with someone who simply will not pay attention to what is being written and deliberately misstates it in replies.

    A ‘longtime follower’ who’s never seen me writing in the comments before? Me, who has argued vehemently before in favor of gun control, even to the point of getting raked over the coals by actual gun-nuts.

    You seem to be perceptually challenged, too. Or else you have a very selective memory.

    Good bye.

  • junkhacker

    I haven’t listened to radio in years, just as i try to avoid all popular broadcast media, last I remember AM radio was mostly classical music, religious stations and retro radio-play broadcasts. so what was the AM radio “insult” supposed to mean?

  • jharp

    I am not new here.

    Longtime follower beginning with the Gannon Guckert story… …what was that 12 years ago?

    If you think carrying guns on planes is OK as long they are plastic and look like toys is clearly a position that only a right wing nut job could hold.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    And you owe me an apology for calling me a ‘right-wing nut job’ and implying I have a penis compensation issue. And for deliberately and repeatedly misrepresenting my position, which is that a tiny toy that is obviously not a gun shouldn’t be considered one.

    http://americablog.com/author/becca-morn <– that's me, by the way. Obviously you're very new here.

  • Monoceros Forth

    *sighs* I’m going to make one last try to explain how little sense your stated position makes. Becca’s already given up I suspect and I doubt you really care that much whether there’s much intellectual consistency in your statements, but here goes.

    Right from the start you said that confiscation of this toy was wholly justifiable because the rule should be “no guns on planes period”. This statement logically implies that the plastic toy should be, for the purpose of this rule, be classified as a gun.

    In response to incredulous comments about how it can be possible for anyone mistake the little toy gun for anything but a little toy gun, you keep hammering away at the notion that a sufficiently clever gunsmith could, by using small-caliber rounds made out of plastics and so forth, make a gun that is absolutely indistinguishable from an actual toy. Therefore your position is that no on-site examination of the toy is sufficient to tell whether it’s a toy or a weapon. Therefore it should still be considered a gun. Therefore it should be banned. “Period.”

    Yet that very rationale, which you keep pounding away it more and more histrionically with each post, must therefore apply to every single object anyone can carry onto a plane that’s more than an inch or two long. If by using clever design and exotic materials you can make a gun indistinguishable from a hunk of plastic, then you can do the same thing with anything in a passenger’s pockets. If making a gun look like a keychain toy is so easy as you claim then making a gun look like a phone is a lead-pipe cinch. Therefore, by your insisted reason, the reason that for some odd reason you seem to think eludes our grasp, for why the toy gun must be confiscated, one must confiscate all phones too because they are at least as equally likely to be made into hiding-places for a small gun.

    You imagine you’ve proved somehow, by talking repeatedly about small bullets and plastic parts and so forth, that your doctrinaire “no guns period even little toys” rule makes sense. Actually you’ve managed only to prove that nobody should be allowed to take anything at all on a plane, toy gun or not.

  • jharp

    “I stand for reason, rationality, and common sense.”

    Got it. And that’s why you think as long they are plastic and look like toys it should be OK to carry guns on planes.

    You are an idiot.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    What a hoot. You obviously know absolutely nothing about me. And didn’t even notice my name here. I have no ‘manliness’ to make up for.

    I’m probably further to the left than you on my views about gun control. I favor universal background checks. I favor confiscation of firearms from those unfit to have them. And I favor bans on large clips, assault/military weaponry, and a tax on bullets. I also favor requiring gun owners to buy special insurance riders in case they harm someone, and for those who negligently leave a gun where some kid can get at it to be charged with felony criminal offenses, with jail time. I believe there is no 2nd Amendment absolute right to own any and all firearms, because the gun fetishists always leave off the “well-regulated militia” part.

    I stand for reason, rationality, and common sense. I oppose terrorism in all its forms — including that being foisted on people by the government in the guise of pretending to keep them safe from harm. I refuse to confuse a toy for a gun just because someone says I should fear both equally.

    Help yourself to the bag of troll chow by the door. It’s right next to the fresh crow.

  • jharp

    As I posted below.

    Real guns can be made out of plastic that fire real bullets.

    And they can be made to look like a toy too.

    What is it with you right wing nut jobs and you gun fetish?

    Are you making up for you lack of manliness in other areas and need your big bad guns to feel tough?

  • jharp

    Real guns that fire real bullets can be made out of plastic you dumbshits.

    Again, no guns on planes. Period.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I continue to be dismayed by how many have bought in entirely to the ‘security theater’.

    It’s like they’re actively looking for more and more things to fear.

  • Monoceros Forth

    He probably thinks that listening to AM radio counts as “experience”.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM
  • Monoceros Forth

    And this is why schoolchildren get suspended or expelled for carrying aspirins or plastic forks, because of doctrinaire idiots like this fellow who imagines I suppose that he’s being really tough and pragmatic by mindlessly applying an inflexible rule.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Yet you continue to insist that this toy, which upon even the most casual of observation is clearly just a tiny plastic toy and not a gun, be considered totally the same as a firearm capable of firing bullets, and thus should be confiscated.

    Because it’s gun-shaped. Even though a device capable of firing a bullet doesn’t have to be shaped like a gun at all.

    You amaze me.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Are you seriously suggesting that no possible on-the-spot examination can distinguish between a plastic toy and a hypothetical dangerous weapon?

    That is what you are saying. Let’s just get that clear. You are really and truly saying that no object however small and light can be dismissed as a possible weapon, even if it’s examined or X-rayed or anything else. Confiscation is the only option according to you. But only if it looks like a gun.

    Fortunately the hypothetical maker of your hypothetical weapon that looks exactly like a little plastic toy, while really that good at hiding a weapon, is apparently not quite smart enough to make it not look like a toy gun. Zero-tolerance for hypothetical weapons apparently, by your rules, applies only to gun-shaped objects.

  • Monoceros Forth

    It is truly bizarre. The jingo patriots on the American right wing are obsessed with strength and force and trumpet their supposed tough-mindedness and bravery, yet they crap themselves in hysterical overreaction at the slightest imaginary hint of danger. It makes me think of a paranoid meth addict flailing around to get the hallucinatory bugs off himself.

  • jharp

    “Heck, why don’t we ban toy guns everywhere, since according to you they’re 100% equivalent to guns.”

    Not a bad idea at all. We currently ban toy guns that resemble real guns you know.

    And no, they are not 100% equivalent to real guns, idiot.

    And real guns can easily be constructed to look exactly like this toy.

    No guns on planes period.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    No. My reasoning is to let toys onto planes. ‘The one in question here’ is clearly not a gun to anybody with eyes to see and a brain to think.

    Heck, why don’t we ban toy guns everywhere, since according to you they’re 100% equivalent to guns. And while we’re at it, why just planes? Let’s ban everything that even vaguely looks like guns.

    I find bananas to be shaped suspiciously, too. If one of those was pressed against my back or neck, I wouldn’t know it’s not a gun — just like that sensory-challenged TSA agent. Let’s ban those also.

    And let’s ban hand gestures that emulate guns. Because someone could actually have a prosthesis with an index finger loaded with a .22 short round, and as you correctly say, that shouldn’t be allowed on planes. In fact, just to be sure, we should amputate people’s hands before allowing them to fly, because someone might make the gesture, and it’d be mistaken for a gun — and we can’t allow guns on planes.*

    That way we’ll all be safe, right?

    * = Yes, I am engaging in reductio ad absurdum rhetoric. But in my opinion, we have slid so far down the road of unreasoning terror, we’re like dogs that cower in fear from thunder, pissing ourselves in fear and coming up with ever more ridiculous and useless attempts to ‘be safe.’ A 1.5-inch solid plastic toy is not a gun, and no more dangerous than a pair of tweezers — which the TSA also confiscates. Irrationally. Pointlessly. And for no other reasons than to fool people into thinking they’re safer, when in fact the cargo loaded into planes is subject to far less scrutiny than the people in the cabin.

  • junkhacker

    my experience is that the more progressive a person is, the more fearful they are.

  • jharp

    “You make my own point for me: No matter how many toys we confiscate, nothing is going to stop an actual gun from getting on board a plane.”
    So your reasoning is to let guns like the one in question on board planes?
    Makes no sense.
    How about we do the best we can to keep guns off of planes? Including the one in question here.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    ,,,or an online petition somewhere they can sign or a Facebook page to ‘Like’

  • Just_AC

    Hey John, thanks for publishing the lead I sent you – you did a great job fleshing it out

    We Need a Czar of common sense

    Sigh, I was just talking with someone about how we sure as hell wouldn’t have put up with all this crap back in the 70′s I remember people protesting over all sorts of shit. Now? Ask a teenager to protest and they will want to know if there’s an app for that.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    You make my own point for me: No matter how many toys we confiscate, nothing is going to stop an actual gun from getting on board a plane.

    In fact, for all the searches and groin-gropes, the TSA is still missing large numbers of weapons.

    Thus the whole point of seizing a toy that is less than a finger long and which clearly has no working parts or a barrel is pure security theater.

    It’s intended to train people to be frightened sheep. So that we keep giving up more ‘essential liberties’ for the sake of the illusion of security.

  • jharp

    Yes I can.

    Until someone makes a real gun that looks exactly like the one that was confiscated.

    I am a gun owner. And you would be shocked at how little of a gun it takes to discharge a 22 caliber short. And a 22 short is a very deadly round.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Becca, I agree with you about fear ruling us. I feel that the more conservative a person is, the more fearful they are.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    What I find saddest of all is how over the last few generations, we Americans have come to be ruled completely by irrational fears. To the point where we no longer even TRY to think rationally or use common sense and reason. And it is epitomized in these ridiculous No Exceptions rules. When did we become such pants-wetting cowards? Oh right — 9/11. When something happened to America that happens all over the world, every day — people getting killed horribly, needlessly.

    Except the lesson we took from it was a bizarre, unreasoning fear and an irrational belief that if we simply have enough searches, enough seizures of harmless toys, and enough degrading groin-gropes, we can be safe.

    News flash: We can’t. Safety is an illusion.

    If I draw a gun on a piece of paper, is it a gun? Should it be confiscated? Or if I write the word GUN on a piece of paper, as Will suggests below, is that worthy? Or how about a Peter Gunn novel — that has the word ‘Gun’ on it — and guns are featured in the text. Should we arrest people who imagine what a gun looks like?

    Seriously, if people want to try to be 1000% safe from every possible danger, they should just stay home, cowering under their beds as they wait for the big bad terrah to come get them.

    I’d rather live. And know the difference between something that is and is not an actual gun.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Can you tell the difference between an absurd miniature toy and an actual gun? I can.

    We have brains for a reason. To use them.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Y’know what would be ‘absolutely certain’? If nobody traveled anywhere for any reason.

    But hey, let’s allow that maybe people need to fly. I say let’s make everybody wear airline-issued paper clothing, and be strapped down and sedated for the duration of every flight. I understand the CIA has expertise in this mode of travel…

  • jharp

    Disagree with you on this one John. Strongly disagree.

    No guns allowed on board period.

    What is to keep a bad guy from making a homemade gun the same size or even slightly larger that actually fires?

    It does not take a lot of gunpowder or lead or a large diameter bullet to make a pretty workable gun.

  • fletcher

    Reminds me of an old TV comedy sketch where Don Knotts played a grocery delivery guy who broke a banana off a bunch and held it like a gun to hijack an airplane. Later when they came to arrest him he ate the evidence.

  • Whitewitch

    Absolutely certain of what….that you are more likely to be hit by a car on the way to the airport than to be hijacked, attacked by crazed terrorists or that a sock monkey will come alive, shoot you with is plastic gun and then run away. If you are truly that afraid – then don’t fly.

    You know you are really really safe right. Read the statistics…you are more likely to be delayed than to have any type of death rained on you.

  • Kenster999

    My friend was not allowed to bring a Star Wars light saber toy on board because it’s a weapon.

  • Will

    You might want to try a piece of paper with the WORD “gun” written on it first. Wouldnt want to give that poor brain dead TSA agent a heart attack!

  • Will

    Hey you know whats a much bigger threat than toys guns on planes? The fact that apparently pilots DONT EVEN KNOW HOW TO MANUALLY LAND THE DAMN THINGS ANYMORE

  • annetteboardman

    I actually disagree, and I don’t usually disagree with you. I would rather be absolutely certain. There are too many possible loopholes if there are any.

  • cole3244

    this is a refrain the tsa might take into account from my time in the military, this is my rifle & this is my gun, this is for shooting & this is for fun, i kid because i care.

  • emjayay

    Judging by the little loop at the bottom of the grip part, the gun is actually a keychain fob or something like that. Can you bring a picture of a gun onboard?

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