So I mentioned our upcoming trip to Ryan the other day. Wow, was he ever excited! He immediately began listing ideas and plans for the trip and things to do with his friends. Almost the first thing out of his mouth was a list of all the weapons he planned to bring. I probably should not have mentioned our trip while he was attired in full Sir Ryan Knight regalia.
Of course it had never occurred to me that he'd want to bring every gun and sword he owned on the airplane. He told me it was to help the Security Guard Peopleguys guard the airplane. See? Isn't he thoughtful? He's only trying to help!
I told him we didn't have room in our luggage. Which is true. No worries! He'd carry them on!
Then I explained that the Security Guard Peopleguys don't want us to bring any weapons to the airport. He simply couldn't fathom why. Why wouldn't they need his help? Besides, they are only toy guns and he'd be happy to explain that to them.
So then I told him that they don't even want us to bring pretend guns and swords. (I just checked the website and it says we can bring toy weapons, as long as they are not realistic. Sadly for Ryan, his are all pretty realistic, because he is very serious about being a Military Peopleguy.) Well. It was plain to see he thought that was just ridiculous!
So then he says to me, he says, "Well, if I can't bring them, that's fine, but I'm still going to tell them all about my guns and swords that I have to leave behind."
It's funny, but it's not, you know?
And then I'm imagining trying to get through the security check with 2 kids, a car seat, a laptop, Epi-pens, diabetic devices, and sanity when all of a sudden my frighteningly loquacious boy pops up with something interesting and helpful like "Well, see, I WAS going to bring my guns today but my Mom told me to leave them at home." And then we're all strip searched and in lockdown because my 5 year old said the word "gun" at an airport security station.
Still reeling from that mental image, I tried to explain that they really don't even want us to talk about guns and swords to the Security Guard Peopleguys. Well of course that sounds silly--even to my 5 year old! Actually, according to the website, they don't want any "threats":
Talk to your children before you come to the airport and let them know that it's against the law to make threats such as, "I have a bomb in my bag." Threats made jokingly (even by a child) can delay the entire family and could result in fines.
What constitutes a threat? Who gets to decide if a threat has been made? I know that Ryan would never threaten a real, live Security Guard Peopleguy because he holds them all in highest regard out of respect for the important job they do protecting us from Bad Guys. (Sigh, if only I could really believe that.) But I can see how an innocent, "Well, I wanted to bring my guns today" might be construed by the highly paranoid and/or fanatical rules-follower as a "threat."
Ryan and I discussed this again a little while ago and he is still on the "I'm gonna tell them about my guns" Plan. Why? Because he wants to share a genuine common interest with people he admires. I get that . . . but I'm not so sure I can trust that they will. So I told him it would be best if we really didn't say too much at the security check-in.
I don't know . . . all this is hard to explain. He asked me why there were so many rules and why we can't bring certain things on airplanes. "Why, Mom, because sometimes there are real Bad Guys?" Yes, sweetie. Sometimes there are real Bad Guys. He looked a little worried, but I think he finally got it.
He doesn't know about 9/11 yet and I don't think 10 days before an airplane trip is the best time to enlighten him. !!! But the real reason it's so hard to help him understand all this is that he lacks context. He has a real need for lots of detailed information, but most importantly, context.
So if you hear of any unusual airport security stories next week that involve a little boy talking about swords and guns, please send me your sympathy. And bail money.