Pilots must be armed to
protect U.S. airplanes
Every time there is major act of violence
or terrorism we are faced with questions about how our country should change
in order to prevent
further conflict. A popular topic concerning
the "imminent" terrorist attacks on American soil is whether we should
arm our pilots. For the last
few weeks the media, and President Bush
have discussed this issue.
The airline security law enacted after
September 11 enables the new Transportation Security Administration to
decide whether or not pilots
should carry firearms. The agency has
since voted against the proposition, with Transportation Secretary Norman
Mineta and Homeland
Security Director Tom Ridge outwardly
opposing the idea.
Due to recent events, in the future, if
any plane is hijacked there is a good probability that it will be shot
down. So then, why not at least give the
good guys a chance? If the pilot or co-pilot
had a gun, the chances of retaking the plane would improve dramatically.
Think about it. What terrorist would configure
a scheme like the one used September 11 and be dumb enough to try it if
the pilots had guns.
Maybe some, but I would like to see the
size of a box knife that would scare a pilot from blowing the terrorist's
head clean off. I do realize that
these terrorists we are dealing with are
not exactly the sanest people in the world, so I would not put it past
them. I'm saying the possibility they
would succeed would drop considerably.
There are some major concerns regarding
the outcome of allowing pilots to carry guns. In various scenarios it could
lead to an innocent
bystander or important piece of equipment
being shot. However, I fail to see how one person dying of a stray bullet
or an engine being
destroyed compares with thousands of people
from all nationalities and religions being murdered.
In a recent discussion on KSEV talk radio
there was one caller who said, "even if I got shot while they (the pilot
and co-pilot) are trying stop the
terrorists, I wouldn't mind." And I would
have to agree. If it means the plane not being slammed into a building
with thousands of innocent
people I would be perfectly willing to
take that chance.
Pilots would have to go through extensive
training, but I'm sure many pilots would be willing to make it safe to
fly, especially since the attacks of
September 11 in which the pilots were
among the first to be killed.
In early history books it is stated that
pilots used to be required to carry guns when they where responsible for
delivering the U.S. mail. If it was
mandatory for pilots to have guns to protect
small pieces of paper, why are they not given the right to protect human
On the downside the question was raised
"What if the pilots were the crazy people?"
In 1997 Air Force One hit the box office
in the number one slot. The premise behind it, as one reviewer said, is
as follows: "Harrison Ford plays
a U.S. president who single-handedly employs
his rigid antiterrorism policy when a band of Russian thugs hatch a takeover
of Air Force One."
Now that everyone has had ample time to
view this movie on late night television, we all know who started it. An
American traitor used his
position inside the plain to secure a
majority of the weapons for the terrorists; however, after helping to raise
the death toll he is left in the
crashing special effects montage.
So what if this scenario were to happen
in real life? It is possible that there are some American pilots who could
get greedy and decide to take
an offer in exchange for control of the
ship, but where do they think they are going? It is not likely that terrorists
are going to drop off a pilot before
they go on a suicide run. Though it could
make an interesting plot twist in a summer movie, it holds very little
bearing here in the real world.
Arm the pilots; give them a fighting chance
before you force another pilot to kill hundreds of innocent victims.