Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 411, April 1, 2007

"It's the business of mass media to distract Americans
from everything that's actually important."


Bringing Stuff On Airplanes
by Jonathan David Morris

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

It seems like the Transportation Security Administration really put a lot of thought into which items they decided to ban from airplanes. I was checking out their guidelines the other day before making a trip for St. Patrick's Day Weekend. Unfortunately, you can no longer fly with rolled-up tubes of toothpaste. On the other hand, there's no limit to the number of prosthetic breasts you may pack.

The TSA currently requires all liquids, gels, and aerosols to be in three-ounce or smaller containers. These containers can't be loose in your carry-on luggage. You have to place them in a single, clear, one-quart, zip-top plastic bag. All other plastic bags are obviously for terrorists. Which is weird, because the TSA doesn't specifically ban you from packing terrorists inside your clear, one-quart, zip-top plastic bags. As long as you have just one of these bags, you can probably pack as many terrorists as you'd like. Just make sure to leave room for all those prosthetic breasts you'll be packing. My idea of a fun vacation involves clear plastic terrorists and unlimited prosthetic breasts.

Under "Makeup & Personal Items," the TSA allows airline travelers to travel with such things as cigar cutters, nail clippers, and Toy Transformer Robots. I'm not sure whether these robots count as makeup or personal items. The TSA doesn't say.

The TSA also allows you to travel with toy weapons, as long as they aren't realistic replicas of actual weapons. However, you aren't allowed to travel with brass knuckles, throwing stars, or snow globes.

Under the "Sharp Objects" category, the TSA bans box cutters, ice picks, and meat cleavers. This makes no sense, since I routinely need to cleave meat while in the air. The TSA also prohibits bringing sabers onto airplanes. I can't imagine any situation in which I would even carry a saber, let alone bring a saber onto an airplane. But I guess it happens more often than you think.

Most tools are prohibited, such as axes and hatchets, cattle prods, and hammers. I do most of my hammering on the ground, so that won't be a problem. However, I wouldn't mind packing a cattle prod sometimes. It really annoys me how slow people move when it comes time to get off the plane.

The TSA doesn't say whether you're allowed to store your wives or kids in the overheads, if you happen to come from that kind of culture. My guess is you can bring any and all chattel slaves, as long as you put them in one of those bins when you take off your shoes at the x-ray machines.

Of course, the agency goes into great detail about a number of other items, such as firearms, fuels, and pieces of sports equipment. But at the end of the day, I'd like to think they could save us all a lot of trouble by simply dividing every single material object in the world into one of two basic categories. Either it's stuff that can kill people, or stuff that can't. That's it. Those are the only two distinctions you need. The only problem with this is you can probably find a way to kill people with just about anything—including airplane seatbelts, in-flight magazines, and even clear, one-quart, zip-top plastic bags.

I guess that's just the kind of world we're living in.

Jonathan David Morris writes from Philadelphia. He can be reached at


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