Let citizens participate in their own defense in the skies: Pilots should be allowed to carry weapons - Allow the military to do their job without interference via environmentalists' lawsuits

TRACKSIDE © by John DíAloia Jr. 

August 20, 2002

A free people have the right and duty to protect themselves from harm. When government prevents citizens from defending themselves, it takes on a responsibility that it cannot fulfill and diminishes a basic freedom, their right to life. 

In fact, when a government denies its citizens that right, it is acting counter to its purpose. It is thus that the Administrationís position against the arming of airline pilots makes no sense. The inconsistency and ineffectiveness of procedures (including the idiotic ban on profiling) is borne out by the reports of inspectors able to pass weapons through security undetected a large percentage of the time. (The federalizing of security workers was not a panacea. It was nothing but a power play to increase the size and scope of government and government employee unions.) 

My own experience with airport security since 9/11 is that security as seen by the passenger is window dressing, confirmed by story after story of farcical episodes and harassment from the curb to the plane. A former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate noted that Osama bin Laden has converted our airports into police-state nightmares. And from published reports, the level of security on the tarmac is no better.

With the apparent ease with which weapons can be smuggled on board an aircraft, it makes no sense at all to say that the passengers and crew must be sitting ducks, that by boarding the aircraft, they have given up their right to self-defense. The number of sky-marshals are few, the number of flights many; the odds that a sky-marshal will be on a given flight to battle it out with a terrorist is small. T

he pilots of a terrorist-threatened plane will always be in a position to make a last ditch stand on behalf of their passengers and themselves. 

And as an airline passenger, having one more line-of-defense between a terrorist and someone authorizing the Air Force to shoot down the plane provides a bit, just a bit, more comfort. 

I just do not understand the shoot-down option being preferred to a pilot defending the cockpit. I do not understand the willingness to assure the death of all on board instead of the odds that several may die as the pilots defend the cockpit, and their passengers, reserving the shoot-down option as the final, absolutely no-other-choice decision. 

Just what is the difference between a pilot using a gun and a sky marshal using one? "Aircraft safe" ammunition? Load their guns with that used by the sky marshals. Training? Surely it would not take as much defending-the-cockpit training for the pilot (many of whom served in the armed forces) as it does for a sky marshal whose battlefield is the entire cabin. 

Bottom line - I do not understand the unwillingness of the Administration to let free citizens participate in their own defense.

An absolute duty given the federal government by the Constitution is to defend our sovereignty, to defend our nation from invasion. One has to read no further than the Preamble to the Constitution - "We the People of the United States, in Order to .... provide for the common defense ... do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." 

To make this possible, the Founders gave the federal government all the constitutional authority needed to maintain armed forces, and when needed, wage war. 

Although today we are "at war" with Jihadistanis world-wide and an attack on Iraq appears in the cards, there are elements in our society who are making every effort to hamstring and reduce the effectiveness of our armed forces. 

If you do not think that the eco-fascists and watermelon greens have an abhorrently different agenda for our country than does the vast majority of the public, consider how they are using environmental law and the courts to prevent military training and the development of military systems.

Congressman James Hansen (R, UT), in an August Eco-Logic article, related the scope of the problem. Marines in California cannot practice amphibious landings at Camp Pendleton because the endangered fairy shrimp might be in mud puddles. Night desert maneuvers cannot be conducted because a desert tortoise might be squashed. Air Force pilots cannot practice low-level flying because they might disturb mating elks. Soldiers in Texas have to use tape to simulate digging foxholes because they might disturb bird nesting areas.

The environmental assaults on our military and on our private property rights are just as dangerous to our nationís survival as are Jihadistani attacks. It is time common sense - and the Constitution - prevailed.


See you Trackside.

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