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Should TSA Confiscate Things That Look Like Grenades, But Aren't?

March 18, 2014 at 11:02 AM | by | ()

It's been a week since we've had a post describing some potentially stupid TSA confiscation - the last one involved Lena Dunham and something shaped like a cat - so we're practically overdue. Meet country music promoter, PreCheck member, and perfume wearer Lois Lewis. Two Saturdays ago, she tried to get a 2 ounce bottle of Jimmy Choo perfume through security at PHX. The perfume comes in a case shaped like a grenade.

Cue "womp womp womp" music. The security lane was closed for an hour, bomb experts were called in, and so on. We've embedded a news report at the bottom.

This kind of story usually goes one of two ways. Either it's an example of TSA agents being untrained and frankly kind of dim - see here for a recent roundup on that point - or its an example of TSA agents following stupid regulations, which they have to obey or they get fired. TSA has been trying get rid of the silliest regulations, but back in the day stories about searching grandparents and patting down babies were difficult to avoid.

In this case it's tough to know who to side with.

On one hand, TSA does have rules against carrying anything that even looks like a weapon on airplanes. The official reason is that you don't want to scare the other passengers needlessly, which is what they told Lewis. The real reason may be that they don't want terrorists trying to smuggle guns into terminals via slapstick comedic routines. Imagine someone trying to bluff his way through a checkpoint - "See? It's just a bubble gun! It makes bubbles" - and you begin to get the picture.

On the other hand, it was just some perfume. What do you guys think?

[Photo: AZFamily.com Channel 3]

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