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The Slice: They’re just looking out for the kids

Sun., Nov. 28, 2010

I haven’t talked to any small children about this.

But it seems safe to assume some of them are concerned that their stuffed animals might attack the security folks at airports.

Some kids probably have envisioned the website headline already: “TSA Screener Mauled by Teddy Bear/Boy, 4, Held for Questioning.”

If you are at all familiar with the imaginations of preschoolers, you know they are capable of believing some rather amazing things.

So it just stands to reason that at least a few of these kids would weigh the possibility that, say, a toy tigress might take exception to what seems like the rough handling of her human bunkmate.

“Small Bengal Blamed for Bloodbath/Tot Warned Screener: ‘Orange Kitty doesn’t like you touching me.’ ”

Now I am not suggesting kids get an unseemly kick out of fantasizing about violence. They don’t. At least not until they become 11-year-old boys.

I’m just saying that a lot of children have experienced air travel in recent days. And many have a return trip coming right up.

As you know, kids pick up on adults’ tension. So it would be totally natural for these youngsters to wonder if their stuffed animals might be forced to defend the family.

Try to see this through the eyes of a 3-year-old. And just imagine.

“Oh, the Humanity!/Toy Orca Leaves Trail of Carnage.”

“Plush Toy Takes Revenge/Dazed guard: ‘That bunny had a mean streak.’ ”

“Stuffed Dino on Rampage: Screener poked toddler and ‘It hit the fan.’ ”

“Furry Dolphin ‘Incident’ Shuts Down Terminal.”

Fortunately, none of that is apt to happen.

But little kids with a tenuous grasp on reality might not understand that.

So if you are out at the airport in the next day or so, don’t be surprised if you see some intense, whispered negotiating between little kids and their best friends.

“Tragedy Averted as Boy Calms Angry Grizzly/‘It could have gotten horribilis.’ ”

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; e-mail Do you ever use viewer discretion?

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