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Fears of Armed Pilots Unfounded

From: "Angel Shamaya" <>
Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2001 12:22:13 -0700
Subject: Fears of Armed Pilots Unfounded

Fears of Armed Pilots Unfounded

by Angel Shamaya Founder/Executive Director

Nothing would better serve to deter skyjackers than to know that once they get to the cockpit, they are going to get shot and fail at their mission. The vast majority of the opinion columns being printed by newspapers around the country are just that -- opinion -- and opinions have no good purpose in a decision that must be made based on facts.

We hear people telling us that an airplane is going to be shot down by a handgun even though Certified Airline Mechanics and Engineers tell us this is not the case. Airplane-safe ammunition has been around for many, many years. Even in a worst-case scenario of an airplane window being shot out -- highly unlikely if airplane-safe ammunition is used -- Boeing's planes can handle just fine with a missing window.

And most systems on planes today have redundant backup -- as one of our pilots put it, a bulldozer with wings. We hear people telling us that we'll have "shootouts in the sky," but nobody is talking nationally about arming terrorists, so they'd be taking a plastic knife to a gunfight and eating a bullet when they foolishly attempted to commandeer an armed cockpit. And for those who honestly believe a jihad warrior is going to try to hijack a gun-defended cockpit with a plastic knife, let's do take note of the fact that these terrorists are smarter than that, even if today's fear-mongering anti-gun forces are not.

We hear people telling us that a terrorist is going to take a gun from a pilot and use it against him. A turn to physical science is in order. Look at the size of a cockpit door on commercial planes today and tell us how far through that door an unauthorized person would get and how difficult a target he would be from four feet away. Airplane-safe ammunition wouldn't go through him any more than he'd get through a cockpit door. In other words, a terrorist coming through a cockpit door would not only be a fish in a barrel, he'd be a bullet-stop, as well. A Sky Marshal in the rear of a plane is at much greater risk of having his/her weapon stolen and used against him than a pilot would be, several times more likely, in fact.

Ignore the many emotion-laden ploys from those who do not want to admit that guns in the hands of our pilots are the single most effective deterrent against skyjackers. Their lack of logic and fact presses us to question their intelligence and distrust their motivations.

The probable result of even multiple terrorists attempting to take a gun-defended cockpit are very simple: dead terrorists on the floor outside the cockpit door, and a need to replace some carpet. It may happen once, but it won't happen twice -- because those who downed our World Trade Center buildings do not wish to die in disgrace, and that is the best result they could hope for if they tried to overtake an armed pilot.

Angel Shamaya
Founder/Executive Director
1109 S. Plaza Way, Suite 136
Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
(520) 522-8833
(New area code is 928, in case 520 doesn't work.)

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By a very conservative estimate, a hundred million people have died at the hands of their own governments in this century. Given that record, how bad could anarchy be? Joseph Sobran

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