80-year-old lady surprised when TSA finds sword inside her walking cane

I would lay long odds that it was make in Pakistan or India and it was identical to this:

Which you will have seen if you watched the RDJ Sherlock Holmes film(s) in the hands of Dr. Watson. You may also have seen one in my home or the homes of many other people who pick up such items.

These were mass produced and cheaply made specifically for export to people who wanted something antique and/or reminiscent of the Raj period of British occupation. You can find them in shitty antique shops all the time and they are never worth what they are asking. They are ginned up “antique” items that were probably stained with tea or coffee.

Cold-Steel makes probably the best easily available sword-cane there is, but you’ll get popped with that one too.

If you want to fly armed but don’t want to buy a pistol, locking hardcase, CCW permit for wherever you go, and pay baggage fees I suggest this:

Which is a good walking stick/cane, does not get taken by TSA (they will stow it and return it at the destination), and as effective in the hands of most folks as a blade.


This happened to Bayard Rustin, the civil rights and peace activist, back in the 70s. He was arrested in Time Square for carrying a sword in his cane. He was a noted cane collector, but had no idea there was a sword in that cane.

Also, every gentleman was expected to carry a cane with him as a fashion accessory, at least during the early 19th century. There was a whole calling custom of keeping one’s hat and cane for short calls, but giving them to the butler for a longer call.

Sword canes were never very common, but they could be useful for self defense in a place where guns were uncommon. Sherlock Holmes carried a cane hollowed and filled with a heavy metal core, a Penang lawyer, as they called it back then.


of course she travels with that cane, her crutches are too bulky…


Swords are genuinely dangerous items, not to be confused with bottles of water and pocket knives.


I am a bit surprised that the sword didn’t pop out by accident at some point when he was using it.

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Screw the sword bit. A nicely built cane will probably make a decent weapon itself. This is why we need to ban old people from flying…



Together, those are sufficient but not necessary conditions for sword-cane ownership. All you really need is to understand that having a sword cane is badass-awesome. Badawesome.


“not an easy weapon to use effectively.”

Quite true and most sword canes are “novelty items” with a sword only slightly more useful and of similar qualitry to a barbecue skewer.

But since we Americans have become such sheep about defending ourselves, the mere presence of something people think i=s a deadly weapon is enough to accomplish one’s goal.

Not long after 9/11 a plane was grounded, evacuated and searched because a picture of Osama Bin Laden was found on board.

TSA also regularly confiscates toy knives and guns that wouldn’t fool anyone outside of TSA,one time seizing a bracelet charm in the shape of a tiny revolver, suitable for threatening mice perhaps but so obviously not a real gun one is left stunned at the mindset of a TSA “officer”.

(Please, never call them agents, that is a special category in law enforcement with arrest powers. TSA likes to make people think their “officers” have such powers, they do not, in any form.).


A pocket knife has better chance of being sharp, since most people who own a sword (usually as a novelty) never sharpen it properly, but will just as soon buy another cheap knife when the old one loses it’s edge. Swordfighting also requires practice with the weight. Even well balanced swords (which most are not) take some experience to wield efficiently, let alone while getting the blade edge to strike the moving (possibly panicking) target accurately and straight. Finally there’s a reason a long straight sword has been one of the most frequently improved upon (shortened and curved) blade designs in history; it’s terribly designed for thrusting or slicing. It’s basically a pole weapon with an edge. Inside a modern airplane a pocket knife is a far more effective weapon. You know, until the air marshal stuns you and the crew behind the impenetrable door makes an emergency landing so they can drag you off to Cuba.

I prefer to call them what they are, the rejected rentacops of the Trained Sexual Assaulters.


They also make canes with hidden flasks inside for . . . well . . . shampoo, I would assume.

Wonder if the TSA finds and confiscates those very often.


Others have said most of what I’d say, but I’d just add that the danger of an item heavily depends on context. There are any number of items people regularly take on airplanes that, in the right context, could be dangerous. But the blanket removal of all such items from every person, without consideration of whether it actually poses a threat to the passengers of the craft in a reasonable situation, is just lazy.

Now, having said that, there is the possibility that it might run afoul of concealed weapon permit requirements (or other weapon legality issues) depending on location. But just taking it away because it’s “dangerous” is a cop-out.


“Do you know what a cartel is, Johnny?”


“I find more use for ze telescope, mon ami.”


They’re actually incredibly useful, unless you happen to be fighting clowns


I may have told this story here. My friend’s father – a Marine and Vietnam vet – is suffering from an Alzheimer’s type dementia. Back when he was pretty functional, he flew to one of this daughters. His wife packed his stuff, brought him to the airport, got him on, and the daughter was there at the other end to get him. No big deal. When the daughter got him home and settled she found a huge combat knife in his carry on luggage. The father had no idea how it got there but it was most definitely his … clearly he added it in and it slipped through.


As someone who uses canes (but not sword canes), I happen to know that you are wrong.
Fashionable canes lists 2 pages of sword canes

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That’s exactly what that highly trained 80 year old assassin wants you to think.

Her blade’s only sharpened on one side, and she’s well versed in close quarters techniques. She can spin with the tip held only inches away from her body, or do a short arc slice that’ll open you up like a side of beef.

I highly suspect that the outcome may have been quite different had said accidental sword cane carrier been in a different age group or GASP “of swarthy complexion”. (and I’m not even going to go to the “had she been wearing a hijab” place…)


ah, but the cane is a form of subterfuge

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I can empathize here, too. Perhaps it will happen less now that I’m on the wrong side of sixty, but I’ve certainly been hassled by security people for a perfectly ordinary walking stick, needed for a knee injury. At the time, they just couldn’t believe that an apparently fit 45-year-old would need one, and somehow, once they executed the retaliatory strip search and discovered the knee brace and compression bandage, they were so caught up in confirmation bias that they were wondering why I didn’t have a doctor’s letter attesting that the stuff was necessary - they were, in effect, accusing me of wearing them to give credence to the otherwise unlawful cane.

When I told one family member the story, he replied that we require medical exams for pilots, and maybe we should have a certain minimum standard of physical ability for passengers, so that the ill and injured wouldn’t get in the way of security. He actually thinks that way. (Although he also enjoys tweaking my nose.)


So who wants to see Betty White make an appearance in a Highlander reboot?