We have all become accustomed to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) overreacting to harmless items carried through security by passengers. Among the most egregious examples of the agency’s mindless zero tolerance policy was the confiscation in 2011 of a six-inch plastic toy hammer that served as a security blanket for a severely developmentally challenged 25-year-old man.
Agents also appear to be trained to take notice of deadly clothing, as evidenced by the federal case made that same year over the pistol design on a teenager’s handbag.
But the TSA’s most recent act of vigilance left a passenger at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport not speechless but shoeless. According to Fox News, the woman was flagged at a security checkpoint when the x-ray scanner detected the following item of apparel in her carry-on luggage:
I’m guessing that the fact that shoes have stiletto heels didn’t help much.
TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said the stilettos had heels in the shape of handguns and faux bullets around the sole. They were in the woman’s carry-on luggage, along with bracelets lined in faux bullets.
The agency prohibits passengers from carrying “replica guns or ammunition” through airport security checkpoints. Farbstein said the woman was told that she could put the items in her checked luggage. The woman tried to check the items, but ended up leaving them with the TSA in order to catch her flight. The shoes did not appear to be custom made, and similar gun-centric heels are prominently available online.
At least we can all rest easy in the knowledge that the if the TSA is guilty of anything, it is overreacting, not underreacting. If agents were guilty of the latter, we might hear of glitches such as a woman with a dagger in her luggage being waved through security or the greenlighting of a handyman with two box cutters — the weapons of choice of the 9/11 hijackers! — in his carry-on bag. Such stories are, of course, unheard of.