The TSA does so many ham-fisted pat-downs of seemingly undeserving innocents that it's easy enough to think of its agents as big ol' bullies. Then they find gun parts hidden inside a four-year-old's stuffed animals, and you realise they're big ol' bullies who have a pretty good point.
The frame of a .40 calibre gun frame. A loaded magazine. A firing pin. Those are among the weapons parts that were discovered inside the carry-on baggage of a very young child at Rhode Island's T.F. Green Airport. Or, more precisely, inside the bear, rabbit and Mickey Mouse stuffed animals the kid had brought to entertain himself during the two-hour flight to Detroit. They were, not surprisingly, discovered by the X-ray machine.
The father reportedly denies any knowledge of how gun parts came to be stashed in his kid's toys, and it doesn't seem that anyone's asked the kid (although given the kickback on a .40 calibre it's safe to assume a four-year-old would probably be packing something a little lighter). And while Rhode Island Airport Police Chief Leo Messier reports that the endeavour was part of a "domestic dispute" — one that was presumably not improved by the discovery and confiscation of the aggrieved party's weaponry — father and son were allowed to continue onto their flight.
So here's the takeaway from all of this. Kids, you're on notice. Stuffed animals, you too. Dads, if you try to sneak a gun onto a plane, do it in the most adorable way possible, and you won't even miss your flight. TSA, good work. Now back to the old ladies. [CNN, CBS]