Select Page

Safety First

Regardless of what you may have read or heard about me, I do believe in the old adage

“Safety First.”

Although to be truthful, I don’t always practice what I preach either.

In case you were wondering I have references to support my lack of safety awareness too.

But this article isn’t about me, it’s about how “we” have gone overboard on safety and security.

I grew up before the world lost its collective mind to make everything “safe.”

That’s right kids, there was a time when people actually rode bicycles without helmets, gloves and knee pads. It was nature’s way of weeding out the dumb kids.

For example:

You watch as Timmy unsteadily pedals his bike towards Mr. Davis’s brick and mortar mail box, and sure you want to warn him, but you choose instead to silently watch him glide towards the mailbox and smash into it.

EDITORS NOTE: Don’t judge me, it’s natures way.

People smoked cigarettes anyplace they wanted too including the hospital and in their own damn cars and they weren’t treated like they were criminals.

EDITORS NOTE: Say what you want. But I know that “IF” second hand smoked really killed people there wouldn’t be anybody in America alive above the age of thirty- five.

We didn’t wear safety belts in cars and we rode in the back of pickup trucks and didn’t hang on.

EDITORS NOTE:
In case you were wondering, we didn’t need warning labels on laundry detergent to remind us not to eat the damn stuff either. Just saying…

There weren’t any airbags and no whistles or bells that alerted the driver to danger.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am all about the current safety features on vehicles and I don’t really care if children are forced to be safe on bicycles or not. But this safety thing has now gone too far.

Just the other day, I was walking from my vehicle in a driving rainstorm to a government building.

Two ladies were under an awning out of the rain talking to a security guard and they hadn’t entered the building yet. As I got closer I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation.

One of the ladies asked, “Why can’t I take my umbrella into the building?”

Security Guy: “It’s a safety and security hazard ma’am.”

My chivalrous attitude forced me to inject myself into this situation, so I asked

“why”?

The security guy began to detail how “dangerous” umbrellas were, particularly the “end” of the umbrella could be used as a weapon or someone “could” even fall and impale themselves on the “end” of the umbrella.

Although I was soaking wet and could have entered the building without any issue I couldn’t honestly believe what I had heard. So, I asked, rather politely

“So, when was the last time somebody attacked someone with an umbrella James Bond?”

Apparently, my movie reference went over the security guard’s head, because he gave me the same look I am used to getting in Tennessee when I say the correct pronunciation of Knoxville as OBknoxville.

After a few more minutes it was determined that the security guard was standing by his flashlight.

EDITORS NOTE: The security guard didn’t have a gun, hence the reference to his flashlight.

These ladies couldn’t bring their deadly and terribly unsafe umbrellas into the federal building.

I walked in ahead of the ladies and walked through a metal detector and

“BEEEEEEEEEEEP”

A lady in an identical uniform as the security guard outside asked me to empty my pockets into a small plastic container which I did immediately.
Wallet….
Cell Phone….
Chapstick….
Fingernail clippers….

The security lady startled me by yelling, “HE’S GOT A WEAPON!”

In all fairness I started looking around for someone with a “weapon” that had entered the building, well, until I realized that everyone (everyone) was looking at me.

The uniform clad security guards closed in on me slowly while the woman security guard was pointing accusingly at the set of fingernail clippers I had placed in the plastic tub.

I stammered something to the effect….

“Those are fingernail clippers”

The accusatory security lady pointed at the offensive device and yelled,

“IT’S A WEAPON!”

I attempted (unsuccessfully I might add) to explain that fingernail clippers were “NOT” a weapon and I cited several examples of why they were NOT indeed classified as a weapon.

You don’t fill out reams of paper and get a background check to have fingernail clippers

You don’t have to wait three days after paying for a pair of fingernail clippers to pick them up

They don’t make ankle or shoulder holsters for fingernail clippers.

One doesn’t have to apply for a “carry” permit to have a pair of fingernail clippers.

I don’t even know how you would injury someone with fingernail clippers, maybe trim their nails down to the cuticles?

So, while I am currently being momentarily detained in a separate room, due to my apparent lack of knowledge on all things “Weaponry” it got me to thinking.

After all I have a few minutes on my hands.

Why do people think every damn thing under the sun is some sort of a weapon?

I was going through the airport last week and the TSA people wouldn’t let me take toothpaste on the plane. Seriously, I couldn’t take toothpaste on an airplane?

How am I going to threaten somebody outside the state of Tennessee with brushing their teeth?

“I will scrub the plaque off your teeth unless you fly this plane to Cuba!”

And what was the deal with the umbrella ladies earlier too?

Have these security people never seen Mary Poppins?

Mary never hurt anybody with her umbrella during the entire two-hour movie or during the remake.

The people making these decisions are WAY overthinking this “weapons” identification thing.

I went to a military base to visit a friend of mine last month and I was stopped at the gate, as expected but they weren’t military policemen, they were some sort of a contract security guard service.

I opened the doors to my vehicle, glovebox and center console for the guards to inspect.

(I know the drill as they say..)

I also opened the trunk and the guard looked horrified and stated rather loudly

“YOU can’t bring that on the base, it’s a WEAPON!”

EDITORS NOTE: “Spoiler Alert”, what it was, was a rock. “Yes” I said, a rock. Don’t judge me it was a nice rock, and my buddy likes rocks, so I picked him up a rock.

Yeah, it’s that simple.

I told the young energetic security guard it was a rock, which is what it was.

He appeared angry when he asked me “IF” I knew it was a weapon?

I told him I had spent an inordinate time of my life in the Middle East and I was quite familiar that it could be used as a weapon, I also added I had read all about David and Goliath, but I don’t think anybody has been killed with a rock lately.

You probably guessed it already I was forced to leave my rock at the gate before I entered the base.

Seriously?

What kind of damn terrorist enters a military base with a rock?

EDITORS NOTE: It’s a rhetorical question you don’t have to answer or send me an email.

Do they expect the conversation to go something like this?

Ali Baba: Take the rock to the base and strike the infidels with terror!

Baba Baba Ali: Should I bring the umbrella too, it looks like it’s going to rain.

Ali Baba: NO! NO! That is TOO Much Terror!

As if that wasn’t enough, my buddy and I went off the base for lunch and my vehicle was searched once “again” as I was entering the base.

Same drill, open everything, step away from the vehicle, etc.

Guess what the security guards found this time?

Wait for it….

The security guard held the item in between his gloved fingers and asked me “What is this?’

I answered politely, “A spent shell casing from a .45 pistol.”

Now the conversation got extra stupid.

Security Guy: “You can’t bring ammunition onto the base.”

Me: “It’s not ammunition anymore it’s all gone, see look inside of it.”

Security Guy: “Why is this ammunition in your vehicle sir?”

Me: “If you must know, I was shooting into the liquor store from the car to cover my buddy after he finished robbing it.”

Suffice to say, after enduring another search of my vehicle complete with canines I might add we were on our way once again.

We have lost our minds and our collective sense of humor right along with it.

It sounds like a joke someone would say in a bar doesn’t it?

What does toothpaste, fingernail clippers, a rock and an umbrella have in common?

Maybe the people in charge of determining such things spent too much time watching MacGyver?

I don’t know when we lost our minds on this topic, I just know that we have.

I have other examples of this foolishness that I will detail sometime in the near future.
But at the moment It looks like I am going to be subject to a cavity search.

EDITORS NOTE: In case you were wondering this “cavity search” has nothing to do with dental hygiene.

But that ass-side, I just hope they will be gentle.

RTR
MEB