by Christine Rousselle | Nov 19, 2015
Levi Zilka, a young boy from Pennsylvania, recently returned from his very first trip to Disney World. His favorite souvenir, however, did not. His Buzz Lightyear grabber claw was confiscated and thrown away by the TSA, because the bright purple and neon green plastic toy apparently resembled a weapon in the eyes of the Orwellian agent.
Yes, the very same TSA that failed 95 percent of undercover security tests and forces elderly grandmothers to strip, is apparently extremely effective at stopping plastic toys from Disney World from going on airplanes. Thank heavens.
Check out WWMT’s interview with Zilka and his father:
The toy in question appears to be the Buzz Lightyear Star Command Flip Grip Grabber Claw Arm. Buzz Lightyear is a character in the Toy Story film trilogy.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve personally never seen any sort of firearm that looks like a purple and green plastic toy with a claw on one end. I don’t understand how any rational person can see that toy and decide that it looks like a “replica” of a firearm. It doesn’t even look like a toy gun or a toy version of a weapon–it looks…like a regular toy. Additionally, considering that Zilka was flying out of Ft. Lauderdale, one would think that TSA agents would be familiar with Disney paraphernalia. Toy guns sold at Disney World are displayed alongside a warning that the toys would have to be placed in checked baggage–but the “flip grip grabber claw arm” isn’t a toy gun.
And again, the TSA regularly misses actual loaded guns that go through the security screening checkpoints–so while it’s easy to joke that the TSA might not be able to recognize a gun if it were placed in front of them, this story kind of proves that point.
There needs to be common sense in airline security. The TSA shouldn’t be wasting its time making old women strip and throwing away a little kid’s toy. The world isn’t a safer place now that the TSA has taken a grabber claw away from a child. The TSA has never stopped a terrorist attack, but by golly are they doing a great job at stopping a child from playing with a toy.
There may, however, be a happy ending to this story after all. Over on the subreddit r/WaltDisneyWorld, where this story received considerable attention, a Disney employee offered to send Zilka a replacement toy.