In 2013, the TSA confirmed a 30% increase in the number of guns showing up at airport security stops, but this recent one is raising a few eyebrows.
The tiny monkey sock puppet “Rooster Monkburn” found himself unable to board a plane in St. Louis armed with his tiny, plastic toy gun.
Rooster’s owner, Washington resident Phyllis May, makes sock puppets for a living and had been traveling with her husband and products across the country. She reached the TSA checkpoint in St. Louis confident that she had nothing to hide. She was “appalled, shocked, and embarrassed” when an agent approached her about a gun the X-rays revealed in her carry-on luggage.
May told King5 News that the agent insisted that the small plastic toy was a gun and a “flight risk,” telling her, “If I held it up to your neck, you wouldn’t know if it was real or not.” This was despite the toy’s diminutive size — a whole five centimeters. After confiscating the gun (but not Mr. Monkburn), the TSA agent called the police to report the incident. Ultimately, however, neither May nor her monkey sock puppet were detained for attempting to bring firearms onto an airplane.
May handled the incident with humor and sarcasm. She told the news, “Rooster Monkburn has been disarmed, so I’m sure everyone on the plane was safe.” Mr. Monkburn possessed the gun to begin with because he is a monkey version of John Wayne’s character in True Grit and needs his gun because he is a wild west renegade.
The TSA is a billion-dollar endeavor whose programs more often than not yield, at best, mixed results. Nor is Mr. Monkburn the first radically harmless passenger to receive the threat treatment — the TSA have famously detained a child in a wheelchair and a man with extraordinary genitalia.