In the furor of the Post September 11th attacks, a subject seems to come up again and again — that of whether or not flight crews should be able to carry firearms in the cockpit. To answer that question, I offer a resounding NO — and for a number of reasons. If you are interested in learning why I think this is a bad idea that will kill more people than it could ever save, read on.
GUNS FIRE BULLETS
Bullets are ballistic devices that travel in whatever line they are fired. A bullet can pierce the thin skin of an airplane, and if it does so in the wrong place, can cause explosive decompression. Explosive decompression isn’t always a bad thing, considering that you might have terrorists on board, but consider what will happen…
- 3 out of 10 passengers do not keep their seat belts buckled in flight, even though the airlines recommend it. If a hole develops, the wind velocity could suck them right out of the plane.
- Where will the pilot be when he is shooting this gun? Chances are, he will be in the cabin, without a seatbelt. Our Captain may quickly join his unbelted passengers in a quick trip to the outside of the airplane, without a parachute.
- One gun, 4 terrorists. Need I say more? With today’s sophisticated weapons, all you need to do is smuggle two guns on board, and you have enough to take over the cabin AND get a fully loaded, third gun in the bargain to help you with the takeover! How convenient for the terrorists!
- Pilots fly airplanes. Some shoot guns as a hobby, but many have no experience. The chances of those with little experience being a little nervous, and potentially injuring or killing a few passengers in that mad minute is real, and a significant possibility, given the close quarters in the cabin of the plane.
These bullets break into smaller pieces when they strike things like terrorists, bulkheads, and yes, passengers. They would help protect the skin of the airplane from puncture, but would come with a significant toll. Would you want to be hit with one?
HOW ABOUT STUN GUNS?
Yes, that’s a good idea! Lets give the terrorists something they can TORTURE PEOPLE WITH! Passengers won’t do what they are told? Stun em and shock em until them do! Yep, that will work all right.
REMEMBER WHAT THE RUMORS SAID
Some of these terrorist loonies were ‘deadheading,’ pretending to be airline pilots flying back as a passenger in the cockpit. In that same cockpit, where they would have ready access to the gun that so many people want to give to the pilots. Talk about giving the bad guys the upper hand!
STOP TERRORISTS AT THE AIRPORT — NOT IN THE PLANE
Iron clad screening of ALL people who board airlines, including food service and maintenance personnel, and even the pilots and ‘deadheading’ pilots will be far more effective at stopping further hijackings than placing a weapon in the cockpit. If they can’t smuggle it on board, they won’t be able to use it to hijack the plane.
THE NEW LINE OF DEFENSE
Three words: United Flight 93. Passengers will not stand for any more nonsense. Aside from the 9/11 terrorists who were overcome by their captives, Richard Reid (a.k.a. the shoe bomber) found this out the hard way when he tried to ignite his shoes on a flight from Paris to Miami last December. Others will find out the same thing. Since we pretty much know what will happen if we do nothing, passengers now know that they might as well do something.
With this information, you and your fellow passengers can be more effective than any flight crewmember with a single gun. With F-16 escorts available (and scrambled) at the first sign of an unruly passenger, and well prepared passengers, having a gun in the cockpit of commercial airliners not only doesn’t make sense — it’s just plain nuts!
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed above are those of the author, and should not be mistaken for an official iPilot position — we remain neutral and encourage you to continue the debate in iPilot’s forums. Note that a recent iPilot poll shows that close to 75% of you disagreed with George when this article was added to iPilot’s homepage. Plus, a poll of more than 60,000 professional pilots represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) found that 70% support guns in the cockpit. However, Tuesday, May 21, undersecretary for transportation and head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), John Magaw, stated the Bush administration’s position that guns will not be allowed in airline cockpits.