back to article Idiot brings gun-shaped iPhone to airport

Cops at Stansted airport in Essex, UK, couldn't believe their eyes when a passenger turned up for a flight with what looked like a gun in his bag. The unnamed pillock had chosen to protect his iPhone with a black case that sported a realistic-looking handgun built into the base. It's difficult to see the attraction of such a …

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Should come with life insurance

and the owner a place on the waiting list for the Darwin Award.

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Trollface

Re:"............ the waiting list for the Darwin Award"

Known from here on in as the iDie award.

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Trollface

Re: Should come with life insurance

Well, maybe he's just a really big Mr. Bean fan - he did get away with almost the same thing in the exact same place after all...

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Headmaster

I take objection to "Shooty McBangbang"

It should obviously be Shooty McShootFace

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Re: I take objection to "Shooty McBangbang"

How about "Shoot McShootFoot?'

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Re: I take objection to "Shooty McBangbang"

"It should obviously be Shooty McShootFace"

Or Shooty McShootFirst - ask questions later.

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Re: I take objection to "Shooty McBangbang"

"Or Shooty McShootFirst - ask questions later."

The military equivalent is halt who went there?

Long story but whilst aiding a pair of US marines in Beirut in the eighties, they called a helicopter gunship in to take me out. That was despite me standing under the flag of their allies and pointing it out, despite me pointing at very unusual rifle and green beret and despite me assuring them on radio in queens English that I would give them top cover.

Luckily bubba flying the helicopter recognised me for what I was and turned from guns on to a salute out of the window.

From then on I never knowingly aided an America soldier as I deemed it as a risk that was not worth taking. Sadly a policy of blue on blue is unavoidable with these people.

During the first gulf war the French army would not accept any air cover whatsoever from the Americans. I found that out from the father of a lad killed when the American air force took out a well marked UK Warrior vehicle. The father in question wistfully said to me "I wish my son had been in the French army".

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Unhappy

Re: I take objection to "Shooty McBangbang"

" the American air force took out a well marked UK Warrior vehicle"

IIRC the American excuse at the time was "it had a flag we didn't recognise", this despite the fact that the vehicles had fluorescent markings that could be seen from 14,000 ft.

1991 Friendly fire incident

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Re: I take objection to "Shooty McBangbang"

"IIRC the American excuse at the time was "it had a flag we didn't recognise", this despite the fact that the vehicles had fluorescent markings that could be seen from 14,000 ft."

It had the fluorescent panel of the day correct and a UK flag. When i was in Beirut I had a massive French flag above me and was 5 stories above the Americans. I was doing the same as they were in that I was tracking shelling that was coming in to about fifty meters from us. I just wanted to cover them as they were down in a hole and very exposed, I can still see them now.

There is some very nasty video out there from the first Gulf war that shows American chopper pilots being ordered to take out there own men on a flank of a unit. The pilots knew they were US troops but were ordered to take them out anyway despite many arguments to and fro. In the end the commanding officer of the pilots said he would do it and as he hosed them down he said we are going to regret this. After a short time they were told to cease fire as they were firing on friendly troops.

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Re: I take objection to "Shooty McBangbang"

"Long story but whilst aiding a pair of US marines in Beirut in the eighties, they called a helicopter gunship in to take me out."

Remind me of a saying my dad told me that dates from WW2:

When the English shoot, the Germans duck.

When the Germans shoot, the English duck.

When the Americans shoot, everybody ducks...

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Go

How about "Shoot McShootFoot?'

No, that one's been reserved by Slurp. Do keep up.

Or perhaps that should be "Shooty McShootFoot?

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Re: I take objection to "Shooty McBangbang"

Hi Bloakey, my wife says "Hello to that nice Mr Bloakey." She still thinks you're charming despite my best efforts to convince her otherwise :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I take objection to "Shooty McBangbang"

Yeah... this pretty much confirms what I'd already heard about the Americans' reputation in this area.

Seriously, what *is* it with them and friendly fire? I'm not a remotely military type, and even I know that they're notorious for it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I take objection to "Shooty McBangbang"

Seriously, what *is* it with them and friendly fire? I'm not a remotely military type, and even I know that they're notorious for it.

I suspect that's their way of population control as abortions are apparently more of a sin than killing someone.

/sarcasm

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Vic
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Re: I take objection to "Shooty McBangbang"

Sadly a policy of blue on blue is unavoidable with these people.

There was a joke doing the rounds at the time about a new weapon in the Iraqi armoury. It could be fired from a mortar tube, and would deploy a parachute to slow descent as it approached the target. Three robot arms would then spring out and paint a Union Jack[1] on the top of the target.

The USAF couldn't miss...

Vic.

[1] Yeah, I know...

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Re: I take objection to "Shooty McBangbang"

The pilots can fire high. They are allowed to miss. Common sense should always prevail. Pilots are typically rather more intelligent than the grunts on the ground.

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Re: I take objection to "Shooty McBangbang"

"Hi Bloakey, my wife says "Hello to that nice Mr Bloakey." She still thinks you're charming despite my best efforts to convince her otherwise :-)"

Well there you go!

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Re: I take objection to "Shooty McBangbang"

"Seriously, what *is* it with them and friendly fire? I'm not a remotely military type, and even I know that they're notorious for it."

The gold standard for 'friendly' fire was set by four incidents from WW2:

1 on the night of 28 Feb/1 Mar 1942, the Imperial Japanese Navy managed to sink four (out of 58) troop transports, including the ship carrying the general command the landing force, and a minesweeper. All were victims of Long Lance torpedoes. Two of the troopships were later refloated, the other ships were total losses. All three ABDA (American, British, Dutch, Australian) Force ships involved, an American heavy cruiser, an Australian light cruiser, and a Dutch destroyer, were sunk, that being what you'd expect when two cruisers and a destroyer attack a force of five cruisers, 12 destroyers, a minesweeper, a seaplane tender, and an aircraft carrier. Plus the 58 troop ships.

2 HMS Trinidad managed to torpedo herself while escorting PQ-13 to Russia, killing 30+ of her own crew. The damage was sufficiently severe that she had to be towed out of action. After temporary repairs she got into Murmansk under her own power, had additional temporary repairs done, and left for Britain, though running at reduced power due to the damage. On the way back she and her escort were attacked by just under two dozen Ju-88 bombers, and she was again hit and severely damaged. She had to be scuttled by torpedoes launched by one of the escort.Torpedoing yourself is pretty much the ultimate in 'friendly' fire.

3 in mid-to-late 1944, before the Allied breakout from Normandy, the United States Army Air Force was ordered to use B-17s for close air support. This worked almost as well as you might think. On one spectacular occasion, they bombed very short and allegedly managed to put a 500-pound bomb into a two-man foxhole then occupied by a lieutenant general, later identified because the largest piece of his uniform that could be found had part of his collar with his stars on it. The USAAF managed to kill the highest-ranking American killed in action in WW2, the Japanese having managed to nail some two-star admirals at Pearl Harbor and a few other two-stars having stoped bullets or bombs in the Pacific and elsewhere. That's gotta count almost as much as torpedoing yourself.

4 in late 1944, USS Albert W Grant, a Fletcher-class destroer, was one of the ships attacking Nishimura and Shima in the Suriago Strait. Jesse Oldendorf's battle line, normally deployed to give naval gunfire support to MacArthur, consisted of six battleships and eight cruisers, one of them Australian. Grant was hit multiple times by six-inch shells, fired from one or two of the American cruisers, and was severely damaged with heavy casualties. Grant's damage and casualties would have been the worst American casualties of the Battle of Leyte Gulf except that next morning Clifton Sprague's escort group woke up to find Kurita's battle line inside of main gun range of them. In the resulting mess, Kurita's guns got one carrier and two destroyers. Another carrier would be hit by a kamikaze in the confusion which followed.

Two other incidents, one from WW2 and another from earlier, weren't really 'friendly' fire, but deserve mention. During the Russian-Japanese War, the Imperial Japanese Navy showed that they had, indeed, studied the exploits of their idols, the British Royal Navy (and the Imperial Japanese Army showed that they'd studied the exploits of _their_ idols, the Prussian/Imperial German Army, but I digress) and had swept the Russian Far East Fleet into oblivion. So the Russians sent the Baltic Fleet, all the way around the world. On their way there, one dark night some of the Russians spotted what they were certain were Japanese torpedo boats. In the North Sea. The Russians opened fire, sinking multiple British fishing boats, and nearly starting a war with Britain. Things were patched up and the Baltic Fleet continued on its way to a place named Trushima where they would meet a man named Togo, who was possibly as good as his hero, Nelson. Firing on British fishing boats wasn't 'friendly' fire, but it certainly was _mistaken_ fire and almost led to real fire from a pissed-off Home Fleet.

Finally, in May 1940, vast numbers of French troops ran like hell from what they said were German tanks. At the time, the nearest German tanks were on the other side of the river Meuse, and any tanks visible to the French troops were French tanks. This wasn't really 'friendly' fire, as the French tanks didn't actually shoot at anyone. They just showed up, and lots of troops legged it for the rear. That's gotta count for something.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I take objection to "Shooty McBangbang"

@James O'Shea; Interesting reading! If anything though, your post makes everyone else sound just as incompetent as the Americans. :-)

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Re: I take objection to "Shooty McBangbang"

I didn't even mention the brilliant, just brilliant, original design for the Hawker Hunter jet fighter. The Hunter was armed with four automatic cannon, which worked quite well. There was a problem, though. Sometimes Hunter pilots would report engine trouble after firing their guns. In one case, a pilot had to eject (using a very unreliable first generation ejection seat) because the engine failed. Investigation revealed that the guns were placed so that the spent ammo casings were ejected directly into the engine's air intake, and the engines had problems due to foreign object damage, the foreign objects in this case being empty shell casings chewing up the turbine blades. The Hunter, as designed, would shoot itself down. They moved the guns and their ejection ports. Problem solved. The Hunter went on to be one of the best British fighters of the 1950s.

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Re: How about "Shoot McShootFoot?'

"No, that one's been reserved by Slurp"

What has this got to do with Google??

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Anonymous Coward

Holding it wrong takes on a whole new meaning and could prove fatal.

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Anonymous Coward

US police "restrained"

US police aren't as restrained

While they never were particularly restrained, for the current madness you need to blame Shrub and Obama. In addition to getting USA miltary gear, US police nowdays uses the same grant system to get USA military training. Out of world armed forces, USA is probably the most trigger happy and uses the most aggressive ground force deployment doctrine. On top of that, while getting the gung-ho aggression shoot em up part the US police does not get any of the things that counterbalance that for the military such as rules of engagement training, code of conduct, etc.

Potential hostile observed, hostile eliminated by any means necessary. Extra points for the hostile matching a hostile racial profile.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: US police "restrained"

Well. just listening to the Chicago police scanner for a few hours made me realize that I might well end up with my agressivity off the charts after a single year of service especially when "people of color" might be involved.

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WTF?

Re: US police "restrained"

Hey, are you the guy with the bunker up Cloverfield Lane?

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What a tool....

As an armed police officer my split-second decision would be to pop him in the head and ask questions later.. But only if he was white of course.

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Holmes

"If only his dad had been firing blanks"

I'll second that.

Excellent subtitle sir.

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Coat

Re: "If only his dad had been firing blanks"

If only his dad had been firing blanks

For all we know, his dad was firing blanks, but the milkman wasn't.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "If only his dad had been firing blanks"

> For all we know, his dad was firing blanks, but the milkman wasn't.

Unlikely, the milkman was at least smart enough to have a job.

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Apparently he was allowed to continue his journey

After being told the error of his ways, he contiuned onwards and upwards. Suggests a bit of common sense for once on the part of Plod, unlike that chap who got prosecuted for the joke tweet.

Ironic really, because if he had have been questioned and charged I've have had zero sympathy, unlike the tweet case which i think was harsh

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Trollface

Re: Apparently he was allowed to continue his journey

The lesson may have been engrained more deeply though had he been restrained by officers in possession of the real thing (and having them on show and it made clear of quite how things could have gone), and then made to continue his journey without the opportunity to change his underwear.

And also perhaps contacted ahead to the US immigration and homeland security people to make sure they gave him a good talking to as well at the other end of the trip to make it truly memorable...

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Re: Apparently he was allowed to continue his journey

It's not really plod who decide on tweets tho it's the CPS, a cop can't really say "excuse me sir, but that looks likes you're about to do something against the law, you see how this is both dumb and illegal, and you agree to not do it anymore?" when someone is twattering. Might be good, although I prefer the option of informing the posters mum of what they said.

Tweeting is also considered more "public" by some laws, since it can be seen by many people. Not saying I agree, but laws have their own logic.

But in a face-to-face situation, the plod can make such a call (subject to whatever directives they have). Since this could probably be filed under "plonker with a toy gun" a warning and public service announcement should be enough. Arresting him would have been a waste or resources.

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Re: Apparently he was allowed to continue his journey

"...without the opportunity to change his underwear."

That's a way to get an unoccupied row but definitely bad on the stewardesses and upgrades are out of the question.

Put that in your Wi-Fi enabled, pressurized cabin and tweet it.

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Re: Apparently he was allowed to continue his journey

Funny how in America, the cops carry guns, but the TSA doesn't (would you trust people whose only qualification is 'has high school diploma' with a gun?). In the UK, the cops don't carry guns, but airport security sure does.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apparently he was allowed to continue his journey

In the UK cops don't carry guns? Funny, I could swear I've seen plods packing in London every time I've been there. Am it my imagination?

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Re: Apparently he was allowed to continue his journey

Hmm, I think the 'unarmed British Police' thing has been a bit of a myth, since at least the 1970s, which was about the last time I saw British police hiding behind trash can lid shields on news paper front pages. I have seen them with personal arms, grenades and swords. Swords still work just as well today as in the middle ages and require no batteries or propellant.

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Re: Apparently he was allowed to continue his journey

"The lesson may have been engrained more deeply though had he been restrained by officers in possession of the real thing (and having them on show and it made clear of quite how things could have gone), and then made to continue his journey without the opportunity to change his underwear."

Maybe they should have got the rubber gloves out to check for "concealed" weapons?

And also perhaps contacted ahead to the US immigration and homeland security people to make sure they gave him a good talking to as well at the other end of the trip to make it truly memorable...

There appears to be only 2 routes flown from Stanstead to the USA, everything else flies to somewhere in Europe (geographically speaking) so odds are he wasn't flying to the US.

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Re: Apparently he was allowed to continue his journey

In most parts of the UK, the average beat bobby or traffic cop still doesn't carry a gun. Few are armed for "instant access" unless on specified duties at certain location, guns are more likely to be in a safe in the back/boot of the car. Tazers are becoming standard issue though.

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Re: Apparently he was allowed to continue his journey

"In the UK, the cops don't carry guns"

Yes they do. It's just that it is restricted to specialist highly trained officers - so they don't all carry guns. And they also tend to use standard issue NATO weapons and not cowboy pistols like the yanks.

"but airport security sure does."

No they don't in the UK. The only guys normally with guns at the airport are the Police.

Who look something like this:

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01798/police_1798383a.jpg

or this:

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/7/3/1404375360548/British-armed-police-patr-014.jpg

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Stanstead?

The Only way is Essex (naturally)

He probably thought it was cool. There are places for people like this plonker. Rainham Marshes come to mind.

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Re: Stanstead?

Oi, leave Rainham Marshes alone. Go bury the bodies somewhere that's not an RSPB reserve. ;-)

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Re: Stanstead?

> Go bury the bodies somewhere that's not an RSPB reserve

Well - there is that nice area just off the mouth of the River Thames.. Might not want to bump any underwater obstructions though!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Richard_Montgomery

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Albert Einstein was right...

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

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FAIL

For sale on the Internet, but...

...currently sold out.

Listed as a "cool case" for the encouragement of the terminally stupid.

I just wondered where on earth you would get such a thing in the UK. Shipped from Hong Kong apparently.

Still, if you can buy realistic looking plastic guns for "dressing up" from eBay I suppose there is nothing illegal about it. Although you would have to be an even bigger idiot (assuming that is possible) to try and take a plastic gun on a plane.

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Happy

Re: For sale on the Internet, but...

Do they still sell toy guns in Toys'R'Us? Me and my mates used to have a toy arsenal to rival any fundamentalist nutter. Guns with fake clips you pull out and pretend to reload as you sprinted and died ( in slow-mo of course! ) in a hail of imaginary bullets! Happy days arguing who was dead and why such-and-such wouldn't lie down on th eground and just accept they were dead, that was until the biggest kid in the group pushed them on their arse told 'em to be dead! Ha ha!

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Joke

Maybe it was a double bluff and he had one of these in the case:

http://metro.co.uk/2016/03/26/theres-a-gun-designed-to-look-just-like-an-iphone-which-is-slightly-concerning-5776537/

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Not THAT realistic

When looking calmly at a photo I wouldn't mistake that thing for a real gun. If I were a police officer and had a split second that guy would be on the ground before he knew what hit him. By a rugby tackle if I was close enough and behind. By gunpoint and forcefull commands if he was sensible and I was positioned in front of him. By accute lead poisening if he did anything stupid.

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Re: Not THAT realistic

You did read the bit about how the perp did _not_ have the faux firearm in his hip pocket as the photo shows. It was found during a routine security check. Perhaps whilst x-raying his carryon luggage? We don't know actually.

Stansted (no spellcheck, it's not stagnated) does tell people[1] that toy guns and replica weapons may not be carried in hand luggage, although if you saw the whole thing[2] in an x-ray, instead of just part of it, maybe you wouldn't be nearly as quick to pop a few rounds into the twit. Or maybe you would!

[1] http://www.stanstedairport.com/at-the-airport/security/hand-baggage/

[2] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/content/dam/news/2016/07/07/102660472-iphone-NEWS-large_trans++rXQPXGvM58CJoUBPwmOnP8ZizxpLuZqzh9z0a2I7-Dw.jpg

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Holmes

Re: Not THAT realistic

"I wouldn't mistake that thing for a real gun."

Are you sure about that? This is a real gun. How would you tell the difference between an iPhone shaped like a gun and a gun shaped like an iPhone?

Gun shaped like an iPhone.

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Re: Not THAT realistic

I appear to be in a minority but why are we so willing to accept the situation where a bit of plastic in the back pocket is seen as a legitimate cause for concern?

Yes, the guy's an idiot because its a stupid looking case - you'd have thought that anyone old enough for a phone has grown out of their love of toy guns, but is it any more sensible to imagine that someone with malicious intent is going to act like this? Ask him to put it in his checked bag and not to do it again because it slows down security checks. Actually I'd be curious to know which bit of the "gun" causes concern. Is it the handle, which is fairly non-lethal, or the metal barrel bit, which is iphone shaped? If all you need to do to get a gun through security is make it oblong with rounded corners, we're in serious trouble. If security can easily deal with this sort of thing, why are the police making a big deal of it? I forget the name for it, but I do expect trained security and police not to fall for the fallacy of intensely fearing the unusual out of all proportion to its likelihood.

To put it in perspective, do we fear this sort of thing at an airport more than outside Morrissons? Would the police act differently there than at the airport? Surely we should expect that the standard security processes at airports will catch someone trying to take a real gun on an aircraft, which means we don't need to invoke an extraordinary response outside of those processes, unless those processes are useless and don't do what they are supposed to do. If he's trying to get his toy around a scanner, or something like that, that's the time to take a "special interest" in him.

Admittedly in the US the police are likely to shoot you with or without a gun-shaped case, so that isn't going to help you there, but I'd rather hope that our saner security methods mean we can cope with childish phone cases without making an incident of it.

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