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May 28, 2002

On Arming Pilots

So far I have yet to hear or read one single coherent argument against allowing pilots to be armed. I mean the most obvious thing should be that they are already in complete control of a proven weapon of mass destruction (a commercial airliner) so having a gun seems a fairly trivial threat. I have always been for the idea, but I think I may be changing my mind.

Right now the strongest defense we have against terrorists taking over an airplane is the passengers. It's pretty much understood from every passenger, that if some moron with a nail clipper, a box knife or even an Uzi were to gain access to the cockpit, they can pretty much consider themselves soon to be smoldering grease spots. So even the most cowardly can understand the immediate need of such a moron being stopped, quickly, and with great prejudice. No one with any intelligence takes the new Federalized airport security seriously (cartoon characters could do a better job). The INS has obviously done a beautiful job packing the nation with potential suicide bombers, and the FBI and the CIA seem to be too busy blaming each other while the media eggs them on. The Democrats are obsessed with finding something to blame on Bush, and the Republicans give every appearance of being obsessed with becoming Democrats. In other words, we're on our own. And most people know and understand this.

What happens if pilots are armed? Sure that adds a certain additional level of security, that would be handy since the pilots would be motivated by actual need to stay alive rather than votes, being PC or blaming someone else. But one flaw we Americans have always had, is to sit back and let someone else take over. If pilots were armed I fear than passengers may feel that their effort would not be needed if a terrorist tried to take over the plane. Some, maybe all, might just sit back in assumed safety, and let the armed pilot defend the plane. Maybe it would work, maybe it wouldn't, but it sure as heck would be no where near as effective as 250 frantic people pounding some terrorist into new and amusing shapes.

Let's be realistic, panicked passengers fearing for their lives are a much better deterrent to any terrorist takeover of an airplane than an armed pilot. I'm an NRA member, and strong 2nd amendment supporter but in this case I vote for the terrorists being ripped apart by his fellow passengers.


Posted by Jack Lewis at May 28, 2002 11:10 AM