Murphy's Law: February 16, 2005


After a century of getting away with it, American troops are finally being blocked from bringing home their favorite battlefield souvenirs. Since World War I, American soldiers have, in large numbers, been bringing back souvenirs from foreign battlefields. After World War II, the military got pretty strict about bringing back weapons, and, particularly munitions. After both World Wars, there were tragic incidents were small shells or hand grenades brought home as souvenirs later exploded. For a long time, troops could ship the stuff back in the mail, often hidden inside something else. Their personal gear often underwent search before they got on the ship or aircraft taking them home. But now troops have to face the array of anti-terrorism efforts, and that is what is stopping the weapons and munitions from getting home. New scanners and procedures that detect guns and ammo are not perfect, but they make getting caught too risk for the average trooper. Its still possible to get weapons and munitions back home. If your unit is shipping back home, you can hide weapons or munitions in a cargo container or vehicle being sent back. Its illegal, and commanders are under pressure to keep an eye out for this sort of thing and punish offenders. Moreover, there are laws back home making it illegal to have many military type weapons without clearing it with the federal government. So its the end of an era. But not the end of the practice. You just have to be more discreet with your souvenirs, and be ready to deal with the feds if you get caught.


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