12, 2002—Ground Zero Plus
Six Shooters In The Sky
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, July 12--There's a sheriff in the
sky--about 35,000 feet high. He's the pilot, armed and ready to
shoot the bad guy.
This Wednesday, July 10,
Congress passed a bill 311votes to 113 votes allowing airline pilots to be
deputized as federal flight deck officers and carry guns during flights.
The bill specified that guns were to be used only in the cockpit.
"Guns used only in the
Let's see, if I get this one
right, a Terrorist rushes into the cockpit with a box cutter. The
pilot turns and draws his gun. The Terrorist backs out of the
cockpit, grabs a passenger or stewardess and holds the box cutter to his
victim's throat. The pilot has a clear shot at the Terrorist's
head, but the Terrorist is no longer in the cockpit. Just an inch
outside it. Dilemma! Dilemma!
I find the bill a little disturbing.
Pilots carrying guns? To be used only in the cockpit?
It seems to me a Terrorist boarding a
plane knowing a gun is on board would slather about the mouth in
excitement. Not that Terrorists need guns anyway.
A ladies hat pin would work just as well as a box cutter when threatened
to be shoved through someone's eye into the brain, as would a sharpened
piece of wood, or, a vial of acid.
But now, a Terrorist knows a gun is aboard.
A weapon. Instead of a threat, the gun may be an invitation.
Interestingly, I didn't hear much about the
vault-like door between the captain and the passengers....the
anti-Terrorism gate. It seems that all one needs to do is push
a button and the door is locked and can't be opened until the plane lands.
That seems so much easier a solution.
I'm just not a big fan of putting weapons
at the easy disposal of Terrorists. Most cops will tell you
the majority of shootings during the commission of a crime result from the
bad guy taking the gun from his proposed victim. Unless
one's primary job is shooting people, a gun is more of a danger than a
Our younger daughter carries a loaded weapon when she
flies. As a federal agent, she's required to keep her firearm at the
ready, even on flights. But she's a little different.
Every day her mission in life is to capture the bad guys, and pulling out
her gun is a regular business.
Pilots have a different mission--passenger
safety--getting the plane up and down safely, on-time, sans
collisions with other planes.
Asking a pilot to switch from captain of the ship
to sergeant at arms in the blink of a an eye seems pretty radical to me.
I'd rather see the doors shut to the cabin and stay locked until the plane
descended. I just can't imagine a pilot being able to outdraw
a Terrorist, and, the old rule applies, whomever shoots first wins.
Vigilance is not a synonym for "vigilante."
It seems to me the Airline Pilots Association, major promoters of the
bill, would be lobbying for "quick shut" doors rather than guns in the
cockpit. Even if someone pushed the button in
error and the plane sealed shut and dived for the nearest airport, and
later the passengers found it was only false Terrorist alert, no one
Yesterday I walked past a local Lower East
Side hospital and clinic. A big bomb scare emptied the
building. FDNY and police swarmed the area, only to find there was
no bomb. No one complained. Vigilance of that order was far
more effective than giving bomb-sniffing dogs to the interns, nurses and
doctors. Dialing 911 is a lot easier than trying to be a
police or fireman, specializing in his her art.
As a Citizen of Vigilance, I opt for
getting those security doors installed between captain and cabin. At
the first hint of a Terrorist, one of the crew members punches the
alarm, like those in banks. The cabin doors to the cockpit
automatically shut. The plane beams a Terrorist Landing Call, and is
routed to the nearest airport.
That makes it simple. Pilots
don't have to shoot anyone. They just have to fly their
Be Vigilant--root for the Anti-Terrorism
Cockpit Door today.
To July 11--The Seven Million Year Old "Child Of Vigilance"
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