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Pilots and Stun Guns

Date sent: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 11:25:46 -0800
From: Bob <rwstaker@pacbell.net>
Subject: One teensy little question---
To: World@MSNBC.com

I couldn't help but be amused by the ticker on your cable presentation this morning.

It stated that United Airlines would be the first to employ stun guns on their aircraft. Two problems with that. The first is that Mesa Airlines beat them to it. They announced a similar plan several weeks ago.

The second problem is more serious and gives rise to the question, "What are those people smoking?" Perhaps you or one of your experts could enlighten me on exactly how a single shot/use weapon will deter a band of 4 or 5 terrorists?

How does the knowledge that aircraft personnel can disable one terrorist give me any sense that the plane is somehow more secure by disabling a percentage of the threat? All of the pitiful "security enhancements" we have seen since 9-11 are, as a representative of the flight attendant's union so eloquently expressed, are nothing but window dressing. It remains so even today. The fact that weapons continue to get beyond security measures shows how ineffective they are and will continue to be.

If someone happens to get on board an aircraft with a gun, THAT is the plane I want to be on. At least there is someone on board who can prevent what happened on September 11. There is no security in any group of people who are unable to protect themselves and further disarming them of knives, and other miscellaneous metal objects only makes them less safe than they already were.

One of the favorite weapons of the anti-gunners as a protection for women was to carry their car keys so they could slash out at an attacker. If this implement is so useful as a weapon, why are we allowing those weapons on board aircraft while at the same time confiscating such widely used terrorist tools such as nail clippers, scissors and pen knives? Hmmm?

It is perfectly clear to me that if you a: prevent or hamper access to the cockpit which they have done or are in the process of doing and you arm the pilots, not with tasers but with multi-shot weapons such as provided to police for their own protection, the rest of the "security measures" are unnecessary. The only thing you need to prevent getting on the plane is a bomb which according to the experts is still possible because checked luggage is not inspected for bombs in most cases.

If I'm flying and I am not armed, trust me, my confidence in reaching my destination is vastly improved if I know other passengers are armed. If I am armed or allowed to carry a means for my own protection, I am even more confident of reaching my destination since I have the means to prevent someone else from carrying out any disruptive behavior. There are hundreds of thousands of U.S. Citizens who have permits to carry concealed weapons. Somehow it is imagined that if they are traveling on an airplane they become mentally deranged. Is that an altitude induced behavior or is it a behavior that doesn't exist except in the minds of those who somehow think being an unarmed and helpless person makes you something other than a potential victim. Our government needs to abandon this ludicrous logic that somehow they can prevent some lunatic from carrying out his or her dangerous plan. The only protection from these incidents is when the intended victims are in a position and have the means to prevent their own victimization.

If our airlines want passengers to return with their dollars, they must arm the pilots while also preventing access to the cockpit. As long as the cockpit is secure and defendable any other security measure has little effect since the aircraft cannot be taken. Killing all other passengers would net a terrorist nothing if they were unable to commandeer the plane. All of their weapons would be meaningless if they are unable to take control of the plane. A bomb taken on board would be a major problem but would certainly be no worse than having the plane flown into an office building. But, if a terrorist with a bomb is unable to gain control of the plane for his purposes whatever they might be, what would be the point?

For now, I choose not to fly. It will remain my choice as long as the airlines put my safety in the hands of minimum wage baggage inspectors whether or not they are government employees. While they continue to prevent citizens the right to provide for their own safety by allowing them to carry their own protection or prevent the pilots from having the right to protect their own lives, I will drive to where I need to go. At least I can carry my own protection in my car, legal or not. Laws and regulations didn't stop the terrorists and never will.

Think about that key thing. I'm sure they will decide you may not carry keys on planes very soon. You will have to find alternate means to get to and from the airport or check your keys when you board. This is starting to get amusing. High heeled shoes might be next.

Bob Staker
Antioch, CA
--
Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have. ~~ Barry Goldwater

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