Aug 28, 2020

“Packing” and Flying Don’t Mix

If you must fly, don’t bear arms

By Ed Goldman

It’s one thing to pack before taking a plane trip. It’s quite another to be packing while on the trip.

I’m referring to an Associated Press story this month that revealed a staggering number of airline passengers are attempting to board while armed. “With air traffic nearing a five-month high, airport security is finding guns in passenger carry-on bags at three times the rate recorded before the pandemic,” AP reported, adding as a stand-alone paragraph, “And 80 percent of the guns are loaded.”

Okay first point: Granted, checking bags in advance with loaded guns would be an iffy enough effort, but trying to take them on in carry-on bags?! Why not simply walk over to a Transportation Security Administration official and request your being taken into custody on charges of being armed and exceedingly stupid?

“Officers found 15.3 guns for every million people screened in July, compared with 5.1 per million in July of last year,” the AP story continued. In short, in just a year, being exceedingly stupid became exponentially stupid.

What I also found of depressing interest is that “many of the firearms purchases are being made by first-time buyers,” according to the news service.

ADULT SON: “Hi, Pop, it’s me. Just about to go through the TSA checkpoint and it looks like our flight to Akron will be landing on time.”
HIS FATHER: “Great, son! Your mom and I can’t wait to see you! We’ll meet you at the baggage terminal.”
TSA OFFICIAL: “Uh, sir? Is this a First-Generation Glock 17® in your carry-on tote bag, taped to your laptop?”
ADULT SON: “It is! It’s brand-new and I didn’t want it to be jostled if we hit any air currents.”
HIS FATHER (Listening): “Son? Is there a problem?”
TSA OFFICIAL (grabbing cellphone from ADULT SON): “Sir, your son just tried to smuggle a Glock handgun past us.”
HIS FATHER (After a pause, the rustling of aluminum foil may be heard on the father’s end of the call): “What? No can hear! No got son! Hello? Is this Census Bureau?”

The capper, for me, is that the AP story also reported that “FBI figures show there were more than 3.6 million firearms background checks requested in July, a 79 percent increase from July 2019.” I’m guessing these might be some of the questions on the background check:

1. Have you ever owned a gun before (check one)?

__It’s my patriotic right, along with my not having to wear a mask unless while using a gun to commit a bank robbery.

2. What do you plan to use the gun for?

__Protecting my family from malefactors and pistol-packing Jehovah’s Witnesses.
__Target shooting to improve my hand-eye coordination as well as take out a few masked Libtards. And I don’t mean to dinner and a movie.
__Celebrating New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July by standing on my front lawn and shooting it into the sky, in the profound hope that Darwin’s theory of gravity (and that’s all that it is, according to experts I’ve seen quoted on the Internet) doesn’t pertain to un-spent bullets.

3. Are you aware that you’d be granted a permit to carry but not conceal your weapon of choice?

__Meaning what, exactly? I should wear it on my neck to indicate I’m going steady with someone in, like, Long Beach?
__Yes. I plan to carry it in my waistband like cops and perps do in 1940s movies and try to remember not to consume bloating foods or soft drinks.
__How about in my luggage when I get on airplanes to attend class reunions of my alma mater, the School of the Exceedingly Stupid? I was proud to serve as valedictorian in all three of my senior years.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).