http://www.oanow.com/opinion/columns/article_a27771d8-3e83-11e2-8bf5-0019bb30f31a.html This must be one of those "determined" threats Rugape talks about: Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 8:29 pm Douglas French Special to the News Tis the season to be jolly. But then there’s the TSA. No government agency inspires “Bah Humbug” like the Transportation Safety Administration. For those who travel, the agency is 65,000 employees dressed in blue to make airline travel as aggravating as possible. The TSA screening area is a logic-free zone as my wife and I were reminded over the Thanksgiving holiday. Grandmothers never like to arrive empty-handed when they visit grandbabies. A wooden flintlock toy cap pistol for a little boy in New Jersey was tucked away in our carry-on luggage. The gun was not detected by the x-ray, but two bottles of hair product spurred the TSA agent to action. His pawing through the luggage uncovered the wooden flintlock and he gingerly pulled the toy out of from under some clothes. He nervously said he didn’t know what to do and needed a supervisor’s opinion. We waited for a supervisor while the clocked ticked closer to our departure time. A young woman finally appeared. She asked what the toy was. “What’s it look like?” asked the exasperated grandmother. “I don’t know what it is,” the supervisor shot back, “and I won’t touch it until you tell me.” “It’s a piece of wood carved in the shape of gun.” The young supervisor picked up the toy carefully and said she needed to consult her bosses. In the distance, I watched her hand the toy over to a group of TSA higher ups hanging around the central command post located behind the inspection lines. Eventually the offending item was passed up to what looked to be a metro cop, who looked it over and passed it back with no conversation. The gathering of supervisors then looked over the wooden pistol again. Finally, one of them threw it in the trash. While this pow-wow was taking place, a discussion ensued about us returning to the airline counter and checking the bag. The TSA screener supported that idea until the supervisor returned, with another supervisor. “The gun can’t be taken on an airplane.” We calmly pointed out that the toy was not a gun. The supervisor countered that it was a replica of a weapon and TSA rules don’t allow replicas to be carried on planes. “OK, give us the replica back and we’ll go back and check our bag.” The supervisor thought quickly because they had already thrown the toy away. “You can’t store a replica of a weapon in luggage unless it’s in a hard case that’s locked.” At this point my fellow traveler threw up her hands. “You deal with these people,” she fumed. “I can’t do it anymore.” The supervisors then tried to convince me that they were really giving us a break. They should be writing us up for this offense and that we could be fined. After even more screening and a close inspection of some plastic curlers we were finally allowed to proceed. Sadly this story isn’t unusual and actually pales in comparison to stories of molestation and theft by TSA employees. It was just an average day with the TSA. “TSA has become the butt of countless jokes,” Charlie Leocha, director of the Consumer Travel Alliance told the House Aviation subcommittee last week. “TSA is set up like the Maginot Line, the poster child for generals fighting the last war.” Now the war is on us. Douglas French is former president of the Mises Institute in Auburn.