Fashion Bytes

On 1 December, it was reported that a Florida teenager had been detained by the Transportation Security Administration at Norfolk International Airport because of the design on her purse: an ‘old west’-style gun. The reason given by the TSA officials was that it was a violation of Federal law, and they then had to determine whether the gun was real or not. By the time they had finished their investigations, the teen had missed her flight and had to be redirected to Orlando, causing considerable worry for both her and her parents.

Monica has previously discussed TSA’s detainment of a woman who wore a gun pendant on a necklace, and the fact that they would not allow a woman with nipple piercings to board her plane.

Thomas Jefferson once said “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.” Are these detainments based on sartorial choices and personal expressions of style the inconveniences attending too small a degree of liberty? Are these sorts of detainments a price we should be willing to pay in order to be assured that we are as safe as possible when we travel? Or is this just another example of TSA being focused on the wrong things: a teenager with a gun emblem on her purse is detained, while a person with terrorist connections on the no-fly list is allowed to board a plane and try to set his underwear on fire? Are there any other incidents — either in America, or the rest of the world — that you have heard about, or even experienced yourself?

Please share your thoughts.

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