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2" GI Joe Rifle Confiscated in Airport Security Crackdown
August 5, 2002 9:43 AM   Subscribe

2" GI Joe Rifle Confiscated in Airport Security Crackdown Airport security staff confiscated a TWO-INCH plastic gun from a toy soldier. "They examined the toy as if it was going to shoot them . . . Then they asked me if there were toy grenades as well. I thought they were joking, but they weren’t smiling — they were deadly serious." Have the terrorists already won?
posted by dogmatic (43 comments total)

 
Security chiefs at Los Angeles airport said: “We have instructions to confiscate anything that looks like a weapon or a replica.

“If GI Joe was carrying a replica then it had to be taken from him.”


well, there you have it. just good soldiers, following orders.
say, is bush dead yet?
posted by quonsar at 9:49 AM on August 5, 2002


Obviously, this is a futile effort by security officers, since GI Joe only needs his lethal kung-fu grip to topple his foes.

But now they know, and knowing is half the battle.
posted by tittergrrl at 9:54 AM on August 5, 2002


tittergrrl, you took all the good gi joe cliche-jokes from me. the pain.

that said, at least 90% of the time people make laws to try to override common sense, they turn out failing miserably.
posted by oog at 9:56 AM on August 5, 2002


Ahem.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:57 AM on August 5, 2002


This sort of literal interpretation of their instructions indicates they are unlikely to be very flexible in the face of real threats ("Doesn't fit my paradigm!" [whistle-whistle]) and, subsequently, an imaginative and flexible enemy will have less trouble getting around them.

That ain't good. And I gotta fly in two weeks :(

Plus, being a jagoff to a kid with a frickin' GI Joe is cheap-ass bullying. What a bunch of scumbags.
posted by UncleFes at 9:57 AM on August 5, 2002


The silliness of this whole incident is compounded by the fact that nobody ever died on G.I. Joe.

Why bother confiscating a 2-inch rifle when the Cobra it shoots down is just gonna eject immediately before his plane explodes?
posted by bingbangbong at 9:59 AM on August 5, 2002


say, is bush dead yet?

No, and evidently, neither is dick cheney.

On preview: monju, what is your point? Just because it was posted on that other site it shouldn't be posted here? I personally don't visit that other site, so why should I know (or care, for that matter) that the geniuses there found it first?
posted by dogmatic at 10:03 AM on August 5, 2002


What if I had a comic book with a picture of a gun? Would they confiscate that?
posted by Ty Webb at 10:05 AM on August 5, 2002


Plus, being a jagoff to a kid with a frickin' GI Joe is cheap-ass bullying. What a bunch of scumbags.

Well, just for the record, Fes, they weren't being jagoffs to the kid, who wasn't even there. He was in London at the time, but that didn't stop the Sun from printing his I'm-so-sad picture.

And this from-the-mouths-of-babes horseshit rings entirely false: “I explained what had happened, but he just kept shaking his head saying it was silly and ‘Don’t those people understand the gun was a toy? and couldn’t shoot’.”

No, they didn't understand that at all. They probably spent a few hourse trying to figure out how to unload the thing. Was it a silly overreaction? Sure. Are we going to kind of have to deal with stuff like this and do our best to laugh it off? I hope so.
posted by Skot at 10:07 AM on August 5, 2002


Dogmatic: I'm just tired of this becoming newsfilter is all. I fully appreciate that you didn't visit fark before posting this piece, and certainly I don't think you, or anyone else, for that matter, is copying posts straight off the fark front page. I just like to see posts with more depth and more links to related issues, rather than the latest headline someone happens to be peeved about.

For example, do we need to see a post everytime an airport official confiscates a toy gun or electric shaver, or searches Al Gore, among various other obvious non terrorists? I think a more researched post observing an increasingly intrusive trend and citing various examples and commentary would be more interesting.

I'm not trying to insult you, or even to suggest this shouldn't have been posted. I'm just saying that I can get the headlines any number of places.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:09 AM on August 5, 2002


Goddam squares. I'm too web-stupid to figure out what happened.
posted by Skot at 10:10 AM on August 5, 2002


Anyone remember the episode that Zartan and the Drednaughts had their own rock band Called "Cold Slither" and their music would put listeners under a hypnotic spell? I'd like someone to confiscate that album and burn me a copy. Oh, and it is counter productive how these security people enforce the banned list of airplane items so strictly. They are just opening up huge holes in security for creatvie terrorists to slip through non-conventional hand held weapons. Woe is us when a hijacker starts to think outside the box and figure out how to benign household items into lethal instruments of terror.
posted by topherbecker at 10:11 AM on August 5, 2002


Ty Webb: the picture is a replica. the comic book contains the picture. therefore the comic book contains a replica. we have orders to seize all replicas. since the replica is inseparable from the comic book, we must seize the comic book. you are under arrest.
posted by quonsar at 10:12 AM on August 5, 2002


And say....what about Barbies shoes...! Has no body thought about THAT!?

Especially the heels, with their sharp points that might be used as weapon, not to mention that the shoes themselves could contain 3.78 milligrams of high explosive...enough to singe the nose hair from any one of the innocents aboard a toy-filled 747.

What is this world coming to? Toy Story on LSD?
posted by fred1st at 10:19 AM on August 5, 2002


topherbecker,
"Woe is us when a hijacker starts to think outside the box and figure out how to benign household items into lethal instruments of terror."

Geeze, we better pray that MacGyver never switches sides!
posted by DragonBoy at 10:26 AM on August 5, 2002


monju: Given the current form of MeFi, I doubt you're going to set back the clock and make people post the most recent Flash meme/poorly designed site/new geek product/famous weblogger say what? kinda threads they used to.

There's all sorts of communities and individual sites out there, and they're bound to overlap sometimes. Outside of limiting everything that's ever appeared on fark, daypop, plastic, kottke, rebecca's pocket, or any number of news sources, legit or not, I don't see what you expect people to do when they want to post a topic of interest so that it doesn't offend your personal sensibilities of what MeFi should be.

As an aside: Pot, Kettle, Black?
posted by dogmatic at 10:26 AM on August 5, 2002


The irony here is that GI Joe was obviously still armed when he got on the plane. Those airport security guards must not have realized that they were dealing with an experienced combat veteran.

Observe: this Joe is fresh from the store, right? And yet this is a mountain division model, which comes with an M4 carbine rifle with an M68 sight. But the weapon that got confiscated was a mere AR-15, made for use in tropical climates, and taken out of circulation in 1959! Ha!

Where, I ask you, is the M9 bayonet that Joe came with, not to mention the M1966 pistol? No doubt cleverly concealed by Joe in the canteen or under the parka, or perhaps even substituted for the ski poles!

Clearly, Joe is working undercover to test the security of this great nation. Didn't the simpletons recognize that here in their hands they held the man who saved us from the DREDNOKS, the Python Patrol, and SKAR?

The man was a Navajo code breaker, for the love of god! Who did these people think they were dealing with?! Amateurs.
posted by bingo at 10:30 AM on August 5, 2002


They examined the toy as if it was going to shoot them

...

*dies laughing*

(love the link, ryan. I don't do fark/slashdot/anythingelse either, so I would have never seen it otherwise.)
posted by precocious at 10:36 AM on August 5, 2002


Have the terrorists already won?

No, but tired chiches are making strong advances on the home front.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:38 AM on August 5, 2002


BingBangBong: This is an excerpt from the FAQ on the GI Joe site you linked to above: "We have nothing against DIC. We love DIC!"

Words escape me. Maybe they should have taken the action figure too.
posted by dr_dank at 10:44 AM on August 5, 2002


Didn't these folks, the security go through basic training boot-camp?
As in the saying this is my gun(private parts) and this is my weapon, a real working rifle that fires bullets. Yet a 2 inch gun, is no weapon to point with, right laddies?
posted by thomcatspike at 10:50 AM on August 5, 2002


I did spell the plural of lad with a "y", to make it cheeky as in a English lad, since this is a BBC post?
posted by thomcatspike at 10:57 AM on August 5, 2002


Well thomcatspike, you were using the plural, so even if the singular was "laddy," the plural would probably be "laddies" anyway.
posted by bingo at 11:02 AM on August 5, 2002


P.S. note that the story is from the Sun, which isn't always the best source for news FACT... but other than that, great link!
posted by SpecialK at 11:13 AM on August 5, 2002


P.S. note that the story is from the Sun, which isn't always the best source for news FACT...

The story is supposedly also in The Scotsman, but I'm damned if I can get the link to open, so maybe not.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:20 AM on August 5, 2002


Dogmatic said: Given the current form of MeFi, I doubt you're going to set back the clock and make people post the most recent Flash meme/poorly designed site/new geek product/famous weblogger say what? kinda threads they used to.

I don't want to turn back the clock, and I don't mind seeing posts about airport security, political scandals, or even--heaven forfend!--the Israelis and Palestinians. I'd just prefer that posts here be more in depth and more well researched than they have been. To clarify, this isn't a new problem, I just wanted to point out what I think is a deficiency in a great number of posts.

There's all sorts of communities and individual sites out there, and they're bound to overlap sometimes. Outside of limiting everything that's ever appeared on fark, daypop, plastic, kottke, rebecca's pocket, or any number of news sources, legit or not, I don't see what you expect people to do when they want to post a topic of interest so that it doesn't offend your personal sensibilities of what MeFi should be.

As I said above, I don't want to limit subject matter. Rather, mine is a complaint about the style of front page posts. It's exactly our style that separates our community from many of the other online filter-type communities. I'm not offended, I'm just self-policing, you know. As for my previous post which you pointed out, mea culpa. I need to remember to think about the kind of value I'm providing the community as much as anybody else does.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:44 AM on August 5, 2002


While waiting for our flight, my wife and I stopped at a candy shop in the Las Vegas airport yesterday and were told that we could not get a plastic knife to cut the fudge she had bought because "they and anything resembling a knife were banned from the terminal after 9/11" The cashier went on to list all of the fudge making tools they no longer could use and were substituting with spatulas (which I guess are OK). Not to worry though! We found a Cinnabon a few shops down was willing to provide the illicit contraband with the purchase of a cinnamon roll, and had we not been discovered this, our in flight meal came with a plastic knife as well. What should bother me more, a ban on plasitc knives or that the ban is obviously being ignored by many?
posted by plaino at 11:48 AM on August 5, 2002


Have the terrorists already won?

Have they already won what? Brainless dolts like the "airport security staff" member in this story, have existed looong before Sept. 11th. If Osama's goal was to create a society running rampant with blithering idiots... well, we do a fine job of that on our own... no help necessary. So his efforts would be better focused elsewhere. No terrorist threat can keep me from holding my personal stupidity in check, dag nabbit. But that's my way of "just saying no". No Osama, NO!

What should bother me more, a ban on plastic knives or that the ban is obviously being ignored by many?

Honestly, it fills me with joy that people may be ignoring the ban. Otherwise I might have to agree with the original poster as to the terrorists' level of success.
posted by Witty at 12:11 PM on August 5, 2002


plaino, I heard you could now have fingernail clippers per a news report on TV. But, when I wanted to mention this back in a past post about it, as it did pertain to the article. I was unable to find the current facts on the net.
And back with what monju_bosatsu said, would links to what is now prohibited to date compared to what was first stated in the industry from 9/11 be helpful in a better post? Why do I mention this, as from plaino's comments. It's obvious there are conflicting facts, not his but the establishments in the airport itself. To explain better, can't have a knife in the terminal but is given one on the plane. Or am I the only one in the dark?
Also again it pertains, did anyone realize before 9/11 you could have a 3(again can't find old info, so from memory, sorry) inch blade, I did not and my family is in the industry.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:20 PM on August 5, 2002


Yet another zero-tolerance/zero-thinking incident. Just because this case occured in an airport instead of a school doesn't make it different. This fellow should have known that airport security folks have no sense of humor, and that's the law.

I'll get off my soapbox before launching into my diatribe about zero-tolerance, mandatory sentencing, and the ability of people in positions of authority to exercise judgement.
posted by ilsa at 1:11 PM on August 5, 2002


"They examined the toy as if it was going to shoot them"

As silly as this sounds, I have no trouble picturing it.

On a recent flight out of Oakland I got asked to open my bag for inspection after it went through the x-ray. I went over to the table where another man was having his bag searched. The woman going through his bag pulled out a fountain pen and held it away from her body like it might blow up. I don't remember the exact words but she asked one of the other inspectors something like, "I think it's a pen. Should I open it?"

After some consultation they decided that, yes, the pen should be opened. Slowly and carefully, using only her fingertips, she unscrewed the cap and confirmed that it was indeed a pen.

Meanwhile the person examining my bag totally ignored the 30 pounds of metal and electronics gear I had and zeroed in on the clip I use to hold convention badges.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:27 PM on August 5, 2002


That airport security official's an idiot.
posted by drstrangelove at 3:48 PM on August 5, 2002


I believe the fine is 11k if a security person let's contraband slip. I can see them being asses about most things and even taking all too literal translations. Maybe they are merely covering their ass because their supervisor is that literal minded.

Anyway, I am still haunted by that GI Joe episode about the guy calling up GI Joe HQ saying something like, "I am the Viper. I will be coming on Wednesday." So the whole time they freak out about who the Viper is. He finally shows up and introduces himself as the window wiper.
posted by john at 4:35 PM on August 5, 2002


Isn't G I Joe one of the good guys, or did I miss a memo?
posted by ZachsMind at 4:41 PM on August 5, 2002


Maybe they are merely covering their ass because their supervisor is that literal minded.

DING! DING! DING! *flashing lights, whistles, change flowing out of john's computer into his lap*

I am still haunted by that GI Joe episode about the guy calling up GI Joe HQ saying something like, "I am the Viper. I will be coming on Wednesday." So the whole time they freak out about who the Viper is. He finally shows up and introduces himself as the window wiper.


wasn't that Three's Company? I get them mixed up.
posted by Ty Webb at 4:56 PM on August 5, 2002


No-one should have authority beyond their capacity to exercise judgement. These guys should be encouraged to seek work elsewhere, as the euphemism goes. Think for a moment: do you want someone that stupid in charge of your welfare?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:18 PM on August 5, 2002


The Viper is Coming -- a shaggy dog stretched out to a three-parter.
Did I mention lately that I love the web?
posted by dhartung at 5:56 PM on August 5, 2002


FFS. I carried a FRICKING KNIFE on a plane between Denver and San Fransisco and two bottles of wine. It never occured to them I might completely wasted and start stabbing people.

But my pointy pendant... ooooh boy, that almost didn't get through.
posted by Neale at 6:55 PM on August 5, 2002


In other news, G.I. Joe helecopter shot down over Lake Huron...no survivors.
posted by clavdivs at 7:14 PM on August 5, 2002


Individuals charged with securing airports , etc.. seem to be of a particular mind-set that does not allow for any deviation from their assigned protocol; trying to apply common sense is futile.
Next time try a covert op. using "Transformers".
"See officer... it's only a fire truck."
posted by buz46 at 7:36 PM on August 5, 2002


No no no, I went there. That episode was worse than my memories allowed Repression defense down. The horror.

Next time try a covert op. using "Transformers".

The only thing about that is that the only Transformer that turned into a gun was Megatron, a bad guy.
posted by john at 10:58 PM on August 5, 2002


If you link to terrorist-related anecdotes, the FARK have already won.
posted by sj at 8:13 AM on August 6, 2002


Whle traveling for work, I have been carrying around a set of sealed retail Motorcycle brake pads, waiting for when i get home for the install. I have been through 12 airports (including the federal security pilot program at BWI) with no problems, until i was stopped at Miami and the pads were promptly confiscated. 2 hours of delibrations with the head of security, i was permitted to check it into baggage. Funny, last time I witnessed, getting a gun checked required a declaration paper and handing it over - and that took 2 minutes.
posted by omidius at 9:04 AM on August 12, 2002


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