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Posted: 4/30/2002 8:55:00 PM EDT
The Wall Street Journal May 1, 2002 Guns in the Cockpit Editorial http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB102020793234090680.djm,00.html Last fall Congress authorized the Transportation Department to consider arming pilots with guns. But while support among pilots and the public for the idea has only grown in recent months, the Bush Administration has yet to act. So yesterday Representatives John Mica (R., Florida) and Don Young (R., Alaska) introduced a bill that would take the decision out of Transportation's hands. Trained pilots would be given the right to carry guns along with the same liability protection as undercover federal air marshals. The objections expressed by the Administration are weak. "I don't feel we should have lethal weapons in the cockpit," says Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, who also insists that grandmothers be screened at airports with the same intensity as suspicious-looking young men. Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge adds, "Where do you stop? If pilots carry guns [then] railroad engineers and bus drivers could ask to do the same." The response seems obvious: Control of a cockpit can turn an airliner into a lethal weapon. Hijacked trains and buses can't be flown into the Pentagon or a nuclear plant. The new legislation is a response to a campaign by the nation's pilots, who overwhelmingly want the right to carry guns and have refused to let the issue go away. In recent weeks they've collected more than 41,000 signatures on a petition (www.petitiononline.com/apsa1) telling Washington that "Common sense and logic dictate that the men and women we trust each day with our lives when we board an airliner can and should be trusted with firearms in order to provide the critical last line of defense." Surveys show that about three-quarters of commercial pilots and a similar percentage of the public favor arming pilots. Some 70% of pilots have served in the military and are already familiar with the use of firearms. None of this means turning airplanes into the OK Corral. Representatives of the major pilots unions suggest a voluntary program in which pilots wishing to carry guns will be screened and trained by a federal agency, perhaps the FBI. Experts would approve special guns and ammunition (probably frangible bullets, which break apart on impact and won't penetrate the fuselage) to minimize risk to passengers and aircraft. And only when the cockpit door is being breached would pilots be authorized to use their weapons. Arming pilots is an important security measure. Federal air marshals will never be able to protect more than a small fraction of flights. Reinforced cockpit doors, while an improvement, aren't impregnable and will still need to be opened periodically during flight. Stun guns, favored by Mr. Mineta, can be rendered ineffective by thick clothing, and they immobilize attackers for mere seconds. In short, the same Transportation Secretary who's letting the phony issue of racial profiling stand in the way of effective airport screening is now refusing to authorize the best defense should terrorists get on board an airplane again. Maybe it's time for the White House to exert some policy supervision over Mr. Mineta and his bureaucracy. Failing that, we're all for Congress taking the law back into its own hands. It shouldn't take another disaster before we get serious about keeping hijackers out of the cockpit.
Link Posted: 4/30/2002 10:32:02 PM EDT
It's obvious that Bush Lite is going to let this idea die if he possibly can. Glad to see that congress is picking up the ball he dropped.
Link Posted: 4/30/2002 10:36:38 PM EDT
This is an idea whose time has come. We have to keep the issue alive. Airline Pilots’ Security Alliance ACTION ALERT! Immediate Action Required! Pass This Alert Along To Everyone You Know! We are approaching the end game with the White House. Today, they floated the stun gun “trial balloon.” We need you to tell the White House in no uncertain terms that stun guns will NEVER be an adequate defense or deterrence against the terrorist threat. Call the White House NOW at 202/456-1111 and tell President Bush that airline pilots need to be armed WITH FIREARMS! Send the President an email at president@whitehouse.gov. Tell the President that you want him to implement a solid program for arming pilots NOW! FINALLY, RIGHT NOW, PLEASE, LOG ONTO THE APSA WEB SITE AT http://www.secure-skies.org, CLICK THE LINK TO SIGN THE PETITION AND ADD YOUR NAME to the 40,000+ that support arming airline pilots. Thanks so much for your steadfast support!
Link Posted: 5/1/2002 3:37:23 AM EDT
Amazing that our liberal Washington folk can't accept the idea of doing bodily harm to hijackers who intend to murder as many as possible. They worry and pick nits over "liability", "cowboys in the cockpit", depressurizing the aircraft, and other totally worthless arguments. Pilots are the last line of defense. .. and the other defensive perimeters aren't very comforting.
Link Posted: 5/1/2002 4:04:01 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/1/2002 4:05:17 AM EDT by ECS]
Tom Ridge adds, "Where do you stop? If pilots carry guns [then] railroad engineers and bus drivers could ask to do the same." Yea, so what? Forgot to add. At that rate, pretty soon EVERYBODY who felt they needed to be armed would be.....now we CANT HAVE THAT NOW CAN WE?
Link Posted: 5/1/2002 4:22:03 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/1/2002 4:38:17 AM EDT by redray]
anyone else think that Tom Ridge is sort of a wuss? anyone else feel like Tom Ridge was just thrown into the position he holds now? kinda like in hi school when you didnt do your assigned report so you sit in the back and physically force yourself to shrink in size but the damn teacher calls you anyway. its just the way i think of Ridge when i see him on TV. wait, he did do his report. he made that color chart thingy.
Link Posted: 5/1/2002 4:50:02 AM EDT
This is opposed by the same people who send a pair of F-16s up to shoot down the entire airliner if it's hijacked. Some priorities!
Link Posted: 5/1/2002 5:00:14 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ECS: Tom Ridge adds, "Where do you stop? If pilots carry guns [then] railroad engineers and bus drivers could ask to do the same." Yea, so what? Forgot to add. At that rate, pretty soon EVERYBODY who felt they needed to be armed would be.....now we CANT HAVE THAT NOW CAN WE?
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Very well said! The pilot has the lives of hundreds in the air and possibly thousands on the ground in his hands, as events have shown us. Why then can he not be trusted with a pistol and 15 rounds of ammunition?
Link Posted: 5/1/2002 5:16:09 AM EDT
Anybody see that Comedy Channel show last nite 4-30-02 where the guy cracks jokes, gives news and pretends to interview people? Last nite he was screwing the recent NRA meeting. Specifically screwed for connecting the meeting to 9-11. Played the LaPierre comment that the airplanes wouldn't have killed all those people if the pilots had guns. He chastised NRA for this. I bet a million dollars that if he had been seated on one of those planes as the hijackers slit the stewardesses throats with razor blades and before he and all others lost his life, he would have prayed to almighty god that the pilot might somehow have a GUN. F'ing anti-gun hypocrits. F'em all M4-AK [pissed]
Link Posted: 5/1/2002 5:20:38 AM EDT
I don't know of anyone saw this but TaurusUSA offered to arm any pilot free of charge. There was a small article in American Rifleman about it.
Link Posted: 5/1/2002 7:21:04 AM EDT
And Frontsight in Nevada has offered to train them all free of charge.
Link Posted: 5/1/2002 7:47:31 AM EDT
keep guns out of the cockpit to resist a takeover, keep the passengers defenseless. i guess they always have the fall back position of having the military blow your aircraft out of the sky. WTF is wrong with this picture? Ridge is a pu**y. we needed someone in this position that understands that Homeland defense begins in the home. The average citizen will be the one defending this country, there just aren't enough police and military to do it alone. Too bad the gov't fears its citizens.
Link Posted: 5/1/2002 1:31:03 PM EDT
Guns in the Cockpit? "That's why they call it the cockpit, baby." - George Kennedy, Airport '79 "The is my weapon, this is my gun. This is for fighting, this is for fun." - USMC
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