If you thought brass knuckles only existed in novels about tough detectives, just look at the list of items confiscated by security officers stationed at state office buildings around Missouri in the wake of Sept. 11.
In addition to knives and illegal drugs, officers found two brass knuckles, which are heavy metal finger guards worn over the fingers to inflict serious damage in a fistfight.
Law-abiding Missourians might wonder why anyone visiting a state office building would possess brass knuckles. Or why they would risk trying to enter a guarded building with checkpoints while carrying illegal drugs.
Much of what has turned up at these security checkpoints probably was being carried in and out of state buildings before Sept. 11, state officials say. But the increased security has provided a glimpse at how much of a problem there is.
In this regard, the stepped-up security is not only protecting state buildings from terrorists, but also from thugs and drug users.