Commentary

 By Garion Frankel  January 2, 2022 at 2:47pm

It’s no secret that the Transportation Security Administration is not popular with the traveling public — and for good reason.

On one occasion, I was held up for 15 minutes at New York’s LaGuardia Airport because TSA agents wanted to put some kind of weird scanning gel on my laptop. On another occasion, they yelled at me because I forgot that I had left a full tube of toothpaste in my carry-on bag. Stories like that are not uncommon.

Nevertheless, some people really do try to bring some weird stuff through airport security.

In a Dec. 28 tweet, TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein posted a photo of a seemingly normal Darth Vader teddy bear. However, she soon revealed that there were two knives located inside the bear, which had later been resewn.

Lions and tigers and bears–oh my! Oh no, no, no! @TSA officers at @PHLAirport detected two knives concealed inside a child’s stuffed animal yesterday. TSA officers noticed the back of the bear appeared to have been resewn. Toy belonged to a 9-year-old boy traveling with his mom. pic.twitter.com/RaLfy7jaBQ

— Lisa Farbstein, TSA Spokesperson (@TSA_Northeast) December 28, 2021

According to Farbstein, the bear belonged to a 9-year-old boy at Philadelphia International Airport.

By the looks of it, the knives appear to be pretty standard dinner knives. As one commenter pointed out, it’s hard to think of a nefarious reason that someone would put knives like that in a teddy bear:

I dont know why someone would go to the trouble to smuggle a pair of butter knives in a teddy bear. Not exactly a dangerous weapon…

— michael charles (@michael91856332) December 29, 2021

But sarcasm aside, incidents like the teddy bear prove a point.

Even a seemingly mundane object can cause injury either accidentally or on purpose.

One of those knives could have pierced the fabric of the teddy bear and injured the boy.

And every American should know that the 9/11 hijackings were accomplished with boxcutters. In hindsight, of course, they’re much more potentially dangerous than butter knives, but hindsight is 20/20.

Do you think the TSA is necessary for safe air travel?

The whole reason the TSA exists in the first place is to head off threats that seemed innocuous before that deadly September day in 2001.

Even more to the point, the teddy bear incident highlight just how many ways there are — in the country’s crowded airports — to smuggle a weapon onto a commercial aircraft.

The TSA won’t be winning popularity contests any time soon. And its procedures are going to keep infuriating Americans for good reason, and, in all likelihood, for a good long time.

But every once in a while we get a reminder of why it’s there.

Garion Frankel is the senior policy advisor for the Texas Federation of College Republicans. He enjoys and has published articles and academic works on public policy, philosophy and political theory.

Garion Frankel is the senior policy advisor for the Texas Federation of College Republicans. He enjoys and has published articles and academic works on public policy, philosophy and political theory.

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