Friday, January 28, 2011

Size doesn't matter. . . to the folks at Gatwick airport

Here's what happened:

"The crouching, camouflaged figure is most certainly armed. But few would say he was dangerous. Security officials disagreed however when he passed through a scanner at Gatwick Airport. His three-inch, plastic toy gun was branded a ‘firearm’ and banned from a transatlantic flight."

Here's the full story. Well, as full as you ever get from a newspaper.

And a lot of people are outraged, but I'm with the officials on this one. I mean, not a week goes by when I don't wander into my son's room to give him a kiss good night and step on a toy soldier in my bare feet. Bloody hurts! So don't stand there with your civil rights wrapped around you and try to tell me this kind of so-called "toy" isn't dangerous.

And another thing: feather boas. Just last night I snuck into my eldest daughter's room (her turn for a goodnight kiss) and I was attacked by a ferocious, snuggly-blue boa. Wrapped it's evil self around my ankles and nearly took me down. Ban those suckers, too.

Also, the last time I was on a plane some ne'er-do-well had his iPod blaring out "Danger Zone." Seriously, that song was taking us both on a highway to the danger zone, it bloody well said so! Ban it.

I like the way this is going, these flights could soon become super safe with all that kind of nonsense outlawed.

What else can we think of. . . ?


  1. Airport security has become like some grand, absurdist performance art. It certainly felt that way the last time I went through international customs.

  2. Grits, I remember that blog entry of yours. And I think you were/are right that our best weapon against flight-related terrorism is probably the alertness of our fellow passengers.

  3. Lego blocks. If you think stepping on a toy soldier in your bare feet is bad, wait until you unexpectedly put your full weight on one of those sharp-cornered bricks. That'll leave a mark.

  4. In the “bad old days” of flying you needed a real gun or a bomb to actually force a plane to change destinations or to turn around. Now in these “good days” of hyper ludicrous security it seems that all you need to is stand up, make some vague threat, give a flight attendant the evil eye and before you know it (1) there’ll be a fighter escort on either side of your wing tips (2) the flight will be diverted (3) there will be security hysteria wherever you finally do land. Of course you’ll probably end up in jail, but hey ho, no system’s perfect!

    God forbid the terrorists ever figure this all out. If they want to bring the world to a grinding halt again all they have to do is plant one person on each and every flight everywhere, with no pesky smuggling of weapons or explosives required.

    (Okay, tongue in cheek, but only slightly. On a more serious note ...)

    I’m British, and security at Gatwick is a farce. A friend of mine was in the queue for security and realised that he had packed his Leatherman (force of habit, he uses one for work). It was too late to get rid of the item, so he jammed it in his backpack next to some other items and sailed right through.

    In the meanwhile they are confiscating plastic toy guns.

    Just fills you with that warm glow of confidence in our elders and betters, right?


  5. Whoops ... forgot to add: if you think preventing a child taking a three inch toy gun through is crazy enough, how about this story I remember from my neck of the woods a couple of years ago, where a guy wearing a Transformers T-shirt was stopped at Heathrow airport security:

    This is what really scares me: those working on the security detail THINK they are being “reassuring” and “thorough”, and yet all there really is a robot-like box ticking mentality and bureaucratic pettiness that ends up frightening me a little, as all I can think about is the fact that the safety of me, my loved ones and everybody else on the flight is in the hands of a system like this.


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