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Zibrant LIVE! Our World | November 20, 2017

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When is a weapon not a weapon?…

When is a weapon not a weapon?…

Our World | On 20, Jul 2011

…When it is a Swiss Army knife of course!

I have to share a recent airport experience with you, one that had not perplexed me quite as much since I had a disposable razor taken off me by Easyjet a few days after 9/11.

Yesterday, I flew back from Geneva to London where I had that other dangerous weapon – spray deodorant – taken off me because it was over 100ml. It was an ‘honest kop guv’, so I handed the offensive weapon over to the very polite x-ray machine operator. He told me to be careful next time as parting ‘helpful’ advice!

So, there I am with an hour to kill (no pun intended), wandering around the shops when I saw something I’d always wanted – a Swiss Army knife (a boy thing, I think?). Actually, I need to correct that; I saw a choice of 6 Swiss Army knives, of all sizes and colours. Thinking it somewhat strange that you could freely purchase an offensive weapon in the departure terminal of an international airport, I bought one!

The nice lady behind the counter asked me whether I was transiting to get home…“No, I’m heading directly to London from here”, which seemed to be a perfectly acceptable answer. I handed over the money and she handed me the goods; without a bag. I then wandered through the departure lounge opening my exciting new toy. I opened each of the 14 ‘tools’ to check them out, I actually nicked my finger when I carelessly put the larger of the two blades away; no one said anything to me, so I popped it in my bag and headed to the gate for boarding.

Now I am aware that you are able to take a ‘blade’ in your hold luggage, as long as it is no more than 6cm long (mine is on the limit), but I have to confess to being completely confused over the fact that a can of deodorant is classed as prohibited, yet a tool with 14 different (and mostly sharp) gadgets is perfectly acceptable. So as a seasoned traveller, I have decided to now give the person in front of me at the x-ray machines the benefit of the doubt when I see a pointed comb or hair clip taken off them. I will no longer sigh, wondering what is wrong with these people, I will no longer get antsy because they are holding up the line – in fact, I will now keep my new Swiss Army knife in my hand luggage, with a print out of BAA’s own list of prohibited items (just in case) and wander through security safe in the knowledge that if I were a terrorist, I could unscrew the lock on the pilots door if I felt so inclined, give him a haircut (the scissors are really sharp) or perhaps even cause a real security alert by holding people hostage with one of the blades or other sharp, pointy bits! Complete madness.

One last question – does anyone have a clue as to when you might use the ‘universal hook’ on the Swiss Army knife?

Whilst being very flippant in this piece, I would point out that I am in no way likely to become a security risk with my new ‘tool’ honestly!

Chris Clarke

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