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Mike
20-08-2002, 10:01 AM
Tighter airport security targets toys

By David Paulsen Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers

There are few who would seriously suspect 9-year-old Ryan Scott of Plover is a terrorist or worry that he might hijack an airplane, certainly not with a 4-inch G.I. Joe rifle or the other tiny toy pistols he packed in his carry-on.

Yet earlier this month, security screeners at Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee, sticking to the letter of the law, confiscated the boy's toys as federally prohibited items.

Ryan's mother, Amy Scott, said when she and her fiancÚ questioned the measure, she was searched, even though she only intended to walk her two children to the gate. The screeners threatened to destroy the toys.

"I'm all for increased security because those are my babies on that plane," said Scott, who sends Ryan and Kaitlyn, 7, on escorted flights to visit their father in Idaho twice a year. "But what can you do with a 2-inch, rubber, bendable G.I. Joe toy?" On Monday, she learned from an airport official that the toys were being held for her at the airport. Still, the incident raises questions about when common sense should prevail over strict interpretations of security restrictions put in place after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

The Transportation Security Administration, a federal agency established after the attacks to handle airport security, prohibits a long list of items from passing through security checkpoints and onto planes.

The items range from golf clubs to crowbars and from pocketknives to portable power saws. Cattle prods also are unacceptable.

The last item on the list is toy weapons, but the TSA does not specify which toy weapons are prohibited.

"It says toy gun and that's a toy gun," said Millie Swatloski of Global Security, the company that provides security at CWA under a contract with TSA. Swatloski would not comment further.

A spokesman for TSA said that although he was unaware of the specific incident, "it may be that we had an overzealous screener that wanted to follow the letter of the rule." An employee in the TSA's Milwaukee office said discretion is left up to the screeners and the police, but he could not say if the TSA has any further guidelines for confiscating items.

Options range from simply holding minor items until the traveler returns or arresting the person if he or she attempts to take an illegal weapon on board, said airport manager James Hansford. He, too, was unable to say exactly which items fall into which categories.

"The airport doesn't control any of this anymore. It's totally controlled by the TSA," Hansford said.

Tony Yaron, the airport's director of operations, tracked down Ryan Scott's G.I. Joe guns and held them for the family after Tim Haferman, Amy Scott's fiancÚ, called to complain.

Yaron was just as puzzled by the confiscation as Scott and Haferman. The screeners receive a directive saying no toy weapons and they take that to mean any toy weapon, he said, not just those that could be mistaken for actual weapons.

"I personally think it's foolish, but that's how it's being interpreted," Yaron said. "It seems to me ... a small, plastic, pliable toy gun is no more dangerous than a nail clipper, which is being allowed on now." Since they left, Ryan has asked about the toys every time he has talked with his mother. He and Kaitlyn will return on Aug. 21 and Amy Scott said she will pick up the items before then to give to him when he arrives.

Source: http://www.wisinfo.com/journal/spjlocal/275606260847049.shtml

Chris Wilson
20-08-2002, 11:25 AM
sheesh.

Scott Bartley
20-08-2002, 12:39 PM
G.I. Joe should know better than to try and check his weapons in with carry on... Can't have one rule for some and a different rule for others...

Biggles
20-08-2002, 12:44 PM
G.I. Joe always was a smuck. Big Jim was the man" "I'm going in..."

antmannz
20-08-2002, 12:48 PM
I :^O when I discovered that airlines had replaced real knives with plastic ones on the meal tray. Whoever decided to do that obviously hadn't eaten an airline meal .... I mean you'd have to just about be Arnie to cut through one of the buns.
Still, at least the plastic knives could be snapped to make a nice sharp point. :p

dot_com
20-08-2002, 03:15 PM
Just wish I had enough dosh to FLY on a plane.

Regarding airport security.... goes to show that the Yanks are about as paranoid, as paranoid can get. Do they still serve alcohol on flights? You can go like a raving lunatic if you are tanked to the hilt, and weilding one of those plastic knives (heaven forbid) LOL

Terry Porritt
20-08-2002, 03:46 PM
Reminds me of the time in the 70s, just after UK went into the Common Market, had to rush to Italy as one our machines had seized up, mad panic. No time for paper-work, dismantled the machine, put the bearings, 7" diameter into my briefcase, back to the airport, trying to walk upright as though there was no weight in my case, and through the metal detector. In broken (ie.no Italian at all).. I hava muchas metal in deese case.
Not a tweet from the detector, and I was waived through.
They didnt understand fortunately. This was the time of the Red Brigade bombings etc.