Well, we can all rest easy as the TSA fearlessly stops another plane hijacking.
It seems a 17-year-old girl tried to board a plane in Jacksonville, Florida, carrying a purse with a small, plastic revolver embossed on the outside. Embossed, as in part of the design. TSA stopped her, conducted a most thorough investigation, confirmed that it was indeed just a small, plastic, hollow fake, but insisted that she either check the purse or surrender it. Because it looks like a gun. Questioned by the media afterward, TSA insists that the purse is a replica gun, as are the belt buckles worn by many men (see video starting at 2:02).
What's next, TSA? Sir, those do not look like replica shoes but the genuine article. Shoes. Real shoes. Do you know how many people are bludgeoned to death every year with footgear? I don't either, but we take the threat very seriously. I'm afraid you'll have to return to the counter and check your loafers. And ma'am, there are no high heels on this flight; you can either surrender them or check them.
Just for the record, the young lady is mistaken in averring that the weapon on her purse is "an old western gun." No, it's a Smith & Wesson double action design. "An old western gun" would have been a Colt Single Action Army. But a pilot carrying either would make me feel safer on my next flight.
Henry Percy is the nom de guerre for a technical writer living in Arizona. He may be reached at saler.50d[at]gmail.com.