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The Mile High Gun Club

By thelizman in Op-Ed
Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:25:31 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

Minutes ago, the US House of Representatives passed a bill by a margin of 197 votes that would allow volunteer pilots who undergo firearms training to carry firearms with them when they perform their piloting duties.


With only mild controvery, the idea of allowing pilots to be armed gained tremendous popular support among both pilots, airlines, and air passengers themselves. Flight attendants would not be allowed to carry firearms, but would be required to undergo self defense training. The bill also encourages the Transportaion and Safety Administration (TSA) to consider airline requests to allow pilots and flight attendants to carry non-lethal weapons such as stun-guns.

Proponents of the bill, including the pilots themselves, have argued that since passenger safety is the responsibility of the pilots, that they should be given the ability to defend themselves and the cockpit. Opponents of the bill have cited safety concerns with respect to firearms on the plane, and have stated that the pilot should concentrate on landing the plane as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the weight of either sides reasonings are neither antithetical, nor do they necessarily apply post-9/11 air safety. Here's why.

The sole reasoning behind allowing pilots to be armed is the defense of the cockpit. However, on analysis, the cockpits are not defensible because they are too small. Moreover, if an assailant were similarly armed, the cockpit (with its predictable layout) actually becomes what is known as a "kill zone"; an area of constriction which reduces the probable separation between a bullets vector and the target. In a real world example, a kill zone would be a doorway between rooms. Anyone attempting to go through the doorway isolates the total target area a defender or assailant would have to "spray" with bullets, making it easier for them to hit anyone coming through.

In order for an armed pilot to properly defend the cockpit from an onboard assailant, they must keep themselves between the assailant and the cockpit at all times. At the same time, they must neutralize the assailant. Otherwise, the constant threat to the cockpit remains a flight safety risk.

In an ideal situation, the entire forward cabin of the aircraft would be sealed off during flight so that the pilot could set up a defensive perimeter, and establish their own kill zone. Additionally, the pilot would only be responsible for the defense of the cockpit, while the flight attendants or (if aboard) Sky Marshalls would subdue the assailant. Unfortunately ideal situatons are the rarity. We cannot expect all flight attendants to be able to act affirmatively in such a situation, nor can we reasonably expect all flights to include Sky Marshalls. There is also no guarantee that a given pilot would be willing or able to act in defense of the cockpit.

Another factor to consider is the wildcard. Since 9/11 no one who has been fool enough to get disorderly on a domestic flight has done so for long before being 'subdued' by fellow passengers (and in more than a few cases, gratuitously slapped around and then hog-tied). Just as the three planes on 9/11 that reached their targets relied upon the passivity of the passengers, cockpit defense post 9/11 will require the cooperation of passengers - but may not receive it.

On the other hand, the oppositions reasoning is just as weak and unrealistic. One of the first issues cited is the pilots responsibility for flying the plane. Quite frankly, the words "Auto Pilot" should suffice, but it is also comforting to know that every commercial flight has at least one co-pilot, and trans-continental flights usually have a third crewmember or a backup aircrew. It is a valid concern that the controls of an aircraft should always be in human hands while in flight, but the concern is quite tempered by the presence of a copilot and a navigator.

The next concern is that of passenger safety, and there are two points. The first is the danger of decompression should a bullet pierce the aircraft. The answer to this concern lay in the use of "frangible" bullets; a type of bullet which is made of compressed metal powder, and which disintegrates upon hitting a solid surface. Grades of frangible bullets exist which cannot even penetrate the human skull, much less the metal exterior of an aircraft. Another answer lay in the fact that explosive decompression from bulletholes is a popular hollywood myth and nothing more. Most airliners have a bleed valve that is constantly open, and much larger than any bullet that fits into a handgun will make. Explosive decompresson itself is typically the result of structural failure, and not the cause of it.

Of course, there is a valid concern with bullets flying around an aircraft cabin. I had previously talked about "kill zones", and in truth the entire aircraft is a kill zone between the rows of seats. The passengers in their seats would invariably become either innocent bystanders or human sheilds in the gun play, with the advantage going to assailant who is already determined to endanger passenger lives. On balance, the cold math of the matter is that it would be better to risk accidentally killing a few passengers in order to prevent the plane from falling in the wrong hands and resulting in potentially tens of thousands of deaths (the WTC complex can and did at any one time house up to 50,000 people).

The alternatives offered instead of armed pilots include piloting the aircraft in such as way as to keep the assailant off balance. Again, this is an impractical expectation: large aircraft are not designed to tolerate the stresses of extreme maneuvers like barrel rolls, dives, and twists. An aging air fleet already demonstrating structural failures should not be trusted to these kinds of maneuvers, nor can a pilot be expected to perform these manuevers during final approach or throughout an entire flight.

Allowing guns to be carried by pilots is the more reasonable alternative for maintaining flight safety. Pilots are already trusted with the lives of their passengers, so this would not represent a signficant new responsibility for them. Additionally, the combination of trained and armed pilots, vigilant flight crews, and the possibility of Air Marshalls and vigilante passengers will likely keep US domestic flights safe.

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Poll
Guns In The Cockpit
o A Good Idea 28%
o A Bad Idea 19%
o Another Crasy USian Gun Nuts Idea 32%
o Just As Long As We Don't Give Them Free Drinks In the Cockpit 19%

Votes: 131
Results | Other Polls

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Display: Sort:
The Mile High Gun Club | 242 comments (226 topical, 16 editorial, 2 hidden)
Pilots are like captains of a ship..... (2.57 / 7) (#1)
by madgeo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 06:41:43 PM EST

and captains have historically been allowed to be armed on their ship. That plus the freedom to keep and bear arms is all I need to endorse pilots carrying sidearms.

Major difference: (2.75 / 4) (#24)
by CanSpice on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:40:52 PM EST

Ships don't have the potential of sinking if a bullet goes through the cabin wall.

[ Parent ]
Read... (4.00 / 2) (#30)
by Danse on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:51:28 PM EST

Read the article. Neither do the planes, at least as far as bullets piercing the aircraft itself. About the only problem would be bullets damaging cockpit instruments (or pilots, but that's going to be an issue either way), but that might still be better than the terrorists having control over a working plane. Better that the pilots have a chance at keeping control rather than simply be stabbed, shot, or whatever and then the terrorists can kill everyone on the plane as well as everyone in whatever target they might have.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Ignoring the Obious... (2.66 / 3) (#32)
by thelizman on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:57:13 PM EST

  1. They do when the bullet passes through the hull below the water line
  2. And planes don't have the potential of crashing when a bullet passes through the skin. I explained this in the article. Shame on you!

--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Ignoring or ignorant? (4.00 / 4) (#35)
by kwsNI on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:39:10 PM EST

I highly doubt a bullet hole, below the water line of almost any, non-inflatable, ship would cause an emergency. You'd have a leak, that would eventually need to be pumped out, sealed or have the entire area sealed. Most large passanger ships have the ability to seal off any given room/hallway.

kwsNI
[ Parent ]
Broad Generalizations (none / 0) (#135)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:12:12 PM EST

"Most boats"?

buh bye now...
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Armed captains of ships? (2.00 / 1) (#41)
by Coriolis on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 09:41:36 PM EST

Are you refering to passenger ships such as cruise liners? Or do you mean freight ships and tankers? I think the main reason for arming the captain and crew is to control mutiny and stop pirates. I don't think these are major issues on a passenger plane. Plus the pilots of a plane are more like the navigators/steersman/engineers of a ship rather than the captain of a ship

[ Parent ]
You contradict yourself (4.00 / 1) (#65)
by pediddle on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:35:35 AM EST

I think the main reason for arming the captain and crew is to ... stop pirates. I don't think these are major issues on a passenger plane.

Isn't a pirate just another word for hijacker?  Well, maybe hijackers aren't interested in robbing a plane's cargo, but the concept is exactly the same.  Recent events prove that this is a major issue.

Plus the pilots of a plane are more like the navigators/steersman/engineers of a ship rather than the captain of a ship

Isn't that what a captain does?  A captain has complete control over everything that goes on in the ship: the direction, the speed, and the passengers.  A pilot does the same thing: he steers the plane (note that there are also navigators and copilots on a plane, just as on a ship) and has final authority over the passengers and everything else that happens while the plane is in the air.

[ Parent ]

Another major difference: (3.66 / 3) (#43)
by Pseudonym on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 09:48:54 PM EST

You may have the freedom to bear arms, but I have the freedom to refuse you entry onto my property if you're carrying.

An aeroplane is not public land, it's private property, and you have no right to bear arms there.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Uhm, bone up on those reading skills, bub (3.00 / 1) (#62)
by greydmiyu on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:21:15 AM EST

He did say that the pilots have the right and the private property in question is in control of those pilots.  He wasn't talking about HIS rights.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]
Chris Rock got it right... (4.16 / 6) (#2)
by greydmiyu on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 06:51:31 PM EST

"Don't go to parties with metal detectors!  Sure, you feel safe on the inside but the niggas on the outside know you ain't got one!"

Same theory applies here.  By disarming pilots future terrorists know the dangers and know that even with primative arms they have the advantage on the plane.  Allowing pilots the option of being armed alters the equation so that planes are safer because the risks of successfully taking control of one have dramatically increased.  In fact this also provides some safety net for flights that are unarmed.  A popular bumper sticker illustrates why:

"My truck is guarded 3 nights a week by a S&W .357.  You pick which 3."

If the possibility of pilots being armed is allowed then any potential terrorist in the future must presume that the flights will be armed.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.

Nope. (3.00 / 3) (#6)
by ghjm on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:07:28 PM EST

Given sufficient budget, terrorists could easily observe flights and crews to determine which pilots tend to carry a gun and which don't.

[ Parent ]
Even so... (4.00 / 2) (#13)
by greydmiyu on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:16:04 PM EST

With a law against them carrying the budget needed is $0.  I'd rather they have to work at it than we handing it to them on a silver platter, don't you?

Furthermore your statement has a telling word in it.  "Tend to."  They still won't know.  Far cry different than knowing.

Besides we could always hope that a postal inspector is on the flight.  They're allowed to carry weapons.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]

worthless argument (4.50 / 2) (#15)
by markaze on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:17:36 PM EST

well, given sufficient budget, terrorists could build their own fighter jets and do whatever the hell they wanted to.

The Sept. 11 terrorists did not have the budget to "observe flights and crews".  If a similar terrorist group had the same idea, it is likely that they would be noticed by the stepped-up airport security.

_
"To each of them it seemed plain that things were just at that stage when a word or so of plain sense, spoken in a new voice, would restore the whole room to sanity" -C.S. Lewis
[ Parent ]

really? (3.50 / 2) (#37)
by rhyax on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 09:01:23 PM EST

i thought they found out they rode those flights many times before? am i imagining that?

[ Parent ]
yes, really (4.50 / 2) (#39)
by markaze on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 09:13:38 PM EST

there is a vast difference in the budget needed to take a few domestic flights and that needed to construct an illegal flight monitoring program with the purpose of figuring out which pilots carry guns (you'd almost certainly need insiders for that which means _huge_ bribes or getting a plant through all the security screens and into employment as a flight attendant)

_
"To each of them it seemed plain that things were just at that stage when a word or so of plain sense, spoken in a new voice, would restore the whole room to sanity" -C.S. Lewis
[ Parent ]

oh yes (none / 0) (#224)
by rhyax on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:22:50 PM EST

yes, i agree that "observe[ing] flights and crews" for the purpose of seeing if weapons were carried wasn't done by the 9-11 people, clearly. what i was saying was that i thought they were observed to some degree. the original poster didn't specify to what end the observation was aimed.

[ Parent ]
Sorry, Wrong Answer (5.00 / 4) (#18)
by thelizman on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:27:29 PM EST

There are several concealment methods used for carrying guns. I carried one at work (in the work place) for 6 months after 9/11 and nobody ever knew (in spite of the fact that it's a rather large gun).

More importantly, the guns would be stored in a lockbox in the cockpit - the proverbial black box.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
I can't decide (4.00 / 3) (#34)
by _cbj on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:30:10 PM EST

There are several concealment methods used for carrying guns. I carried one at work (in the work place) for 6 months after 9/11 and nobody ever knew (in spite of the fact that it's a rather large gun).
More importantly, the guns would be stored in a lockbox in the cockpit - the proverbial black box.
I don't know which of those to make my sig.

[ Parent ]
First one probably won't fit. [n/t] (none / 0) (#137)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:21:52 PM EST


--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Where do you work? (3.66 / 3) (#42)
by Pseudonym on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 09:42:49 PM EST

Where do you work? I want to ensure that I never apply for a job there.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
I wanna know to... (3.00 / 2) (#60)
by greydmiyu on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:12:01 AM EST

...so I know where I could work next.  I'd rather have someone trained with a gun in the workplace than noone at all armed at the workplace.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]
Well... (3.50 / 2) (#68)
by Pseudonym on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:52:03 AM EST

I understand your position, but there's no way I'm working at a place where someone is carrying a gun and they have not told me about it. This goes double for the case of someone I don't know.

If they don't trust me with the information, I don't trust them with the gun.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Paranoid? (none / 0) (#138)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:22:17 PM EST

If they don't trust me with the information, I don't trust them with the gun.
Do you also require disclosure should a person be carrying a concealed pen, letter opener, or pocket knife? Believe me, if I were inclined to just kill you, it doesn't matter what I use to do it, I could still kill you. The only thing that keeps anyone from killing anyone else in this world is sanity and respect for life. Outside of that, I'd rather be shot than bludgeoned.

The problem with people like you is that you have a religiously fanatical disrespect for guns that defies reality and logic.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Problems With This (none / 0) (#171)
by virg on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:36:20 PM EST

> Do you also require disclosure should a person be carrying a concealed pen, letter opener, or pocket knife?

Nice thought, but there's a big difference in scale. If you think it's easy to kill someone with any of those items (barring that you're a trained short weapons combatant) you're sadly mistaken. Try stabbing a piece of pork roast with one of the first two, and you'll find they tend mostly to bend. Try to kill someone with a pocket knife and you'll find they have the annoying tendency to run away before you can inflict much damage. Most, however, can easily inflict a fatal injury with a single pull of the trigger. Also, the odds that you'll try to kill me with a pocket knife and accidentally kill someone else in my vicinity is rather lower than with a firearm.

> The problem with people like you is that you have a religiously fanatical disrespect for guns that defies reality and logic.

The problem with people like you is that you have a religiously fanatical disrespect for people who fear guns, and a cavalier attitude about how effective they are that defies reality and logic. I agree with the idea of arming pilots, but taking a concealed weapon to your workplace when your job doesn't require it is unnecessarily dangerous. Guns are dangerous, even in the hands (and holsters) of trained shooters, accidents happen even to the best of marksmen, and exposing others to that danger without informing them is irresponsible. If you feel that you're not safe without a firearm on your person, then that's fine. But if you're going to be working in proximity to me, I have the right to know that and you have the responsibility to inform me so that I can take what steps I feel are necessary to ensure my own safety. Dismissing my concerns by saying that I'm being paranoid is simply not good enough, and is the main reason why so many anti-gun advocates are anti-gun advocates. If you can't show the maturity to recognize my point of view, why would I assume you're mature enough to handle a firearm safely?

Virg

P.S. I am a trained shooter myself, so don't talk to me about a fanatical fear of guns. I have a healthy respect for them, but not the aversion you seem to imply.
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
I'm Sorry But You Are Paranoid (none / 0) (#175)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:10:42 PM EST

Most, however, can easily inflict a fatal injury with a single pull of the trigger.
In order for a person to actually kill someone with a gun, they have to plant the bullet either in the heart, liver, base of the skull, or manage to pierce a major artery. 97% of the rest of the bullet injuries are quite survivable.

This is where we come to the concept of "finite occuption of space", or as we redneck gun-toting thugs like to say, "fucking stay still". You see, given a unit of two dimensional space (I say 2 because the bullet is already travelling along the third dimension more quickly than we can deal with), a human body occupies a given fraction of that space (depending on the size of the person, so fat people beware). Then you have the further issues of the 2 dimensional area of space occupied by the prime bits of the target, i.e. the area of the upper sternum which sits in front of the heart, or the base of the brain that sits quite a bit behind the nose, or the hepatic artery which is an undefined sliver of space betwen the bottom of your rib cage and the top of your belly button. Then, and finally, the cross sectional area the bullet will affect as it traverses these dimensional areas of space.

Therein comes the concept of "aim", which requires that you make sure that guns barrel is aligned along a trajectory that ensure that it will pass precisely through the 2 dimensional portion of space that houses the sweet spot. Aside from Annie Oakley and Carlos Hathcock, you're dreaming a little dream if you think *anyone* who has not had extensive firearms training comes close to being able to make that happen. At best, even Law Enforcement Officers and military types are trained to aim for center mass. Headshots are a wet dream for action movie directors and gangsta rappers.

Then we have the next concept: A moving target. Your brain is then taxed with the more complicated issue of dealing in 3 dimensions and extrapolating the time bound location of a given body and compensating the trajectory of the bullet before it is fired to intersect with that area. Now we are definately down to Annie Oakley and Carlos Hatcock terrain. I mean you have to have been using a gun since youth to accomplish this feat with any degree of reliability.

So in short, firing a gun is a massively complicated task, and actually hitting targets is a more impressive feet.

On the other hand, gimme a knife and a hammer. I, or any reasonably fit person, can close a distance of 7 yards and attack with a knife or blunt-force instrument before even trained firearm users can draw, aim, and fire their weapon. If you change your position in space, I can readjust my strike to compensate on the fly.

In general, firearm experts agree that a gun is not necessarily an advantage. It is a "force multiplier" in the hands of a trained user, and it is an "equalizer" in that the users strength doesn't matter.

Once again, as someone who once had a great deal of interest in forensics, I must state that I can think of no better way to die than a bullet through my brain, and no worse way to die than having to wait for the 20th or so hammer whack to make it into my cerebellum.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Not Sure How This Applies (none / 0) (#179)
by virg on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:55:44 PM EST

...to a discussion of carrying a concealed weapon, but just the same, a 75 year old woman cannot kill a thirty year old man with a pocket knife. Your mention of "equalizer" is the part that concerns me, because the equalizing is done upwards, not down. With a pistol, virtually anyone becomes capable of delivering a lethal injury, given a small measure of luck. Therefore, I am completely justified in feeling less safe around someone with a gun than with a baseball bat, since the subset of people that can do me in with a bat is significantly smaller, and the likelihood of someone killing me accidentally with a bat is small in the extreme.

Next point is that someone who shoots me once is likely to shoot again, just as they're likely to swing again if they hit me with a bat. However, again, the number of people who can do me sufficient harm with the first swing to prevent me from escaping is much smaller than the number who can hit me in any part with a gun, and since a firearm's escape radius is so much larger, they're more likely to get that second shot even if they miss and I bolt for the door.

Another point is my "single pull of the trigger" statement. How many people do you think are capable of killing someone with a pocket knife in a single stab? I'll warrant that it's lower than the number that can kill with a single shot. More importantly, what's the range of a hand weapon? That single shot travels much farther, and it doesn't matter as much if you miss because unless I'm well trained in hand-to-hand combat, I'm not going to be able to get to you and immobilize the gun before you can retarget and fire again.

And to close, your favored ways to die are irrelevant to the discussion. I would suggest that a better way to die than a bullet to my head would be in my sleep at home when I'm very old, and I feel I'm more likely to get to that age without firearms in the hands of every yahoo who thinks he's doing the world a favor starting firefights. I've been involved in a gunfight precisely once, which started because two goofballs who thought they knew what they were doing got into a bar fight and we all ended up hiding behind the bar because they were both packing heat. If they hadn't had their guns, it would have been a simple boxing match. As it was, it was a perfect example of why I'd like to know who's carrying, since I'd have left long before the fight had I known they were armed. You can label that paranoia as often as you like, but paranoia didn't break the liquor bottles over my head, and my day would have been much better with a little more knowledge.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
BIG difference (none / 0) (#186)
by Pseudonym on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:24:17 PM EST

Do you also require disclosure should a person be carrying a concealed pen, letter opener, or pocket knife? Believe me, if I were inclined to just kill you, it doesn't matter what I use to do it, I could still kill you.

I'm sure you could. Obviously on my salary I can't fully protect myself against someone who is determined to kill me (even if I had a gun). Given this, I'll be charitable and assume that you do not mean to cause me any physical harm.

Why did the original poster carry a gun to work? It wasn't for show (otherwise it wouldn't be concealed). The only thing I can conclude is that the person intended to use it to defend himself should the need arise.

Regardless of how well-trained the gun owner is, if such an incident did occur, the addition of more guns greatly increases the probability that I might get caught in the crossfire. On the other hand, the risk that I could be seriously injured accidentally by a letter opener or pocket knife is negligible. (The important word here, by the way, is "seriously". I've accidentally injured myself with a pocket knife before, but it's never needed more than a "band aid".)

Now before you dismiss this as the ravings of a liberal anti-gun nut, consider this: I do not apply this argument is just to guns. I don't trust my trained and licensed fellow motorists, either. I'd have been in a lot more accidents if I weren't wary around cars, both when driving and when not driving. The problem where this analogy is that it's difficult to conceal a car and drive it around the cubicle farm, but if that were possible, I'd be extremely concerned if someone tried it without telling me first.



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[ Parent ]
Guns and ISPs (none / 0) (#234)
by thesync on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 12:48:26 PM EST

When I worked for a major ISP, people brought in rifles and cleaned their handguns in the office.  The gun range was our equivalent to golf.  Maybe this was just an East Coast thing? ;)

[ Parent ]
Guns are not the sollution (1.00 / 1) (#81)
by Beltza on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:47:33 AM EST

Carrying a gun at work??? Why? To shoot at the jumbo about to crash at your office???
Believe me, things are a lot safer when people are not allowed to carry guns! Who tells me that you´re the good guy? This is the problem with all the criminality at street: it is way too easy to get your hands on a weapon.

 


Be alert!!! The world needs more lerts...
[ Parent ]
Why? (none / 0) (#96)
by The Private Fedora on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:11:41 AM EST

Carrying a gun at work??? Why? To shoot at the jumbo about to crash at your office???

To shoot my co-worker who goes "postal" before he can kill anyone else. To shoot the terrorist attempting to take over my plane. To shoot the terrorist attempting to steal viruses from my lab.

Believe me, things are a lot safer when people are not allowed to carry guns!

Which people? All people? No guns for anyone? Or are some people allowed to carry guns, and some aren't? Then who?

This is the problem with all the criminality at street: it is way too easy to get your hands on a weapon.

Easy for who? Easy for ciminals to get guns, or for law-abiding citizens to get guns? Gun laws do not stop criminals from getting guns. By definition, they are criminals, and are not going to obey these laws anyway. Gun laws only stop law-abiding citizens from having guns, giving a distict advantage to the criminal element.

-------
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?"
Patrick Henry, The War Inevitable, March 23, 1775
[ Parent ]

That´s not the solution (5.00 / 1) (#139)
by Beltza on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:22:47 PM EST

To shoot my co-worker who goes "postal" before he can kill anyone else. To shoot the terrorist attempting to take over my plane. To shoot the terrorist attempting to steal viruses from my lab.

This also gives your co-worker the right to shoot you, because he thinks you´re going to shoot people with this gun of you. The problem is that it´s a circle: everybody wants a gun, because they feel insecure with so many guns around... A law against guns would remove 99% of all guns around, and would make the place a lot secure. You´re right, in that case you're defenceless, but the risks that something like this is happening is really, really small. A lot of shooting incidents happen because a teenagers 'borrows' his father´s weapon. And most criminals usually don´t have any reason to shoot at innocent people.

Which people? All people? No guns for anyone? Or are some people allowed to carry guns, and some aren't? Then who?

A lot of countries have more strict laws concerning this than the USA. In these countries, the only people allowed to carry weapons on street are the police and teh army. Furthermore, LICENCED members of shooting clubs can transport their weapons unloaded. Sounds like a good set of rules to me.

Easy for who? Easy for ciminals to get guns, or for law-abiding citizens to get guns? Gun laws do not stop criminals from getting guns. By definition, they are criminals, and are not going to obey these laws anyway. Gun laws only stop law-abiding citizens from having guns, giving a distict advantage to the criminal element.

Yes, criminals will always have guns. But I think that you should make it as difficult as possible. At this moment you can just walk in a shop and buy it. Every teenager knows where his father hides his weapons. I have no numbers, but I´m sure that the number of shooting incidents in countries where guns are easily available are a lot higher than in countries with more strict laws.

 


Be alert!!!
The world needs more lerts...


[ Parent ]
Re: That´s not the solution (5.00 / 1) (#144)
by The Private Fedora on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:19:28 PM EST

This also gives your co-worker the right to shoot you, because he thinks you´re going to shoot people with this gun of you.

If I shot someone because I thought they were going to shoot someone, I go to jail for murder. If I shoot someone who stands up on a plane, branishes a weapon, and says "I'm taking over this plane," than that is a completly different story.

In these countries, the only people allowed to carry weapons on street are the police and teh army.

This becomes a problem in two instances: inability to prtect, and corruption. In the USA, people have had to wait up to twenty minutes between calling the police and having them arrive. This does not bode well for their ability to protect me. Just to clean up the mess afterwards. Also in the USA, the police are under no legal obligation to protect you, as you cannot sue them for doing a poor job. As far as corruption is concerned, if the police force or army falls into the wrong hands, the people will have no means to protect themselves. This occured in Nazi Germany, where laws were passed to disarm the Jews before they were rounded up. Although a discrimanatory law such as this has very little chance of being passed, disarmmament of all the citizens would make a dictatorship or military coup very easy.

I have no numbers, but I´m sure that the number of shooting incidents in countries where guns are easily available are a lot higher than in countries with more strict laws.

I am not as sure of this as you are, but I also do not have any numbers. I know that within the USA, states with less restrictive gun laws tend to have fewer gun crimes, because the criminals in those states would rather prey upon an unarmed population than an armed one. A criminal with a gun is going to feel much stronger in a society with no guns than a society where 10% of the population has a gun. Again, no references, but I will try to find them.

-------
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?"
Patrick Henry, The War Inevitable, March 23, 1775
[ Parent ]

No Simple Answers (5.00 / 1) (#176)
by virg on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:21:42 PM EST

> If I shoot someone who stands up on a plane, branishes a weapon, and says "I'm taking over this plane," than that is a completly different story.

However, this adds a level of complexity to the situation. Let's put it in a more likely setting, since the odds that you'll ever be allowed to take a handgun on an aircraft is vanishingly small. Let's say that you're in your local convenience store, and someone comes in, pulls a gun and says, "This is a stickup!" From your post I can assume you'll draw your weapon. Let's assume that the robber sees this, and takes a shot at you, but because he's firing fast at a new target, he shoots early and drops the patron standing next to you instead. Now, although you're not legally going to be held accountable for that person's death, you must consider the very real possibility that if you'd left your gun in the holster, he'd still be alive, since the vast majority of holdups do not result in a shooting (FBI statistics put it at less than one percent at last check). There's even the consideration that having the gun put you in more danger because posessing it allows you to deploy it, and in my example, if the hood had fast reflexes and good aim you'd catch a bullet that he may not have otherwise fired. This is the real balance that must be weighed when discussing arming the population, and there are statistics on both sides of the argument about whether arming the population increases or decreases the number of times they're employed in an altercation.

> In the USA, people have had to wait up to twenty minutes between calling the police and having them arrive. This does not bode well for their ability to protect me. Just to clean up the mess afterwards.

This is a very real concern, but again the question becomes whether having civilians carrying is better than making efforts to decrease response times. The simple fact is that according to the numbers, you're just as likely to be a victim of violent crime in Texas (loose gun laws, 545 per 100,000 people) as New York (stricter gun laws, 554 per 100,000) and more likely in California (very strict gun laws, 621 per 100,000) (statistics here) which shows that crime rates don't necessarily follow gun laws, for good or bad.

> Also in the USA, the police are under no legal obligation to protect you, as you cannot sue them for doing a poor job.

This is incorrect. They are legally required to protect you from crime, and it's actually fairly easy to press a lawsuit for negligence or dereliction of duty.

> As far as corruption is concerned, if the police force or army falls into the wrong hands, the people will have no means to protect themselves.

This is very true. Remember, though, that our discussion involves concealed carry, not simple posession, so this point is outside the scope of this thread.

> I am not as sure of this as you are, but I also do not have any numbers.

You are correct to question this statement. There are numerous examples that support both sides of this argument, which simply indicates that the existence of guns is not sufficient to demonstrate a rise or fall in gun crime.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Agreed: no simple answers (none / 0) (#212)
by The Private Fedora on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 09:24:31 AM EST

Let's say that you're in your local convenience store, and someone comes in, pulls a gun and says, "This is a stickup!"

One thing that cannot be accounted for in statistics is the number of crimes that never would have been committed in the first place. Most criminals are not willing to put their life on the line for a few hundred dollars, and if there were a 10% chance of being killed in every robbery, they would be much less willing to take that risk.

Re: Gun Laws
As far as I recall, concealed carry laws in Texas are comparable to those in New York or California, with the possible exception of large cities. However, the laws in Vermont are a much better example. In Vermont, anyone is allowed carry a handgun, concealed, with no license or permit or fee. According to the page you linked to, Vermont had 113.5 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. Note that violent crime does not denote the use of firearms. Vermont also has 1.5 murders per 100,000 residents, compared to Texas with 5.9, New York with 5.0, and California with 6.1. Vermont was ranked 48th in the nation for violent crimes, and 46th for murder. (All stats year 2000 from page you linked to.)

This is incorrect. They are legally required to protect you from crime, and it's actually fairly easy to press a lawsuit for negligence or dereliction of duty.

People who pressed lawsuits:

  • "...a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen..." -- Warren v. District of Columbia
  • "Neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable for failure to establish a police department or otherwise provide police protection service or, if police protection service is provided, for failure to provide sufficient police protection service." -- Hartzler vs. City of San Jose
  • "Law enforcement agencies and personnel have no duty to protect individuals from the criminal acts of others; instead their duty is to preserve the peace and arrest law breakers for the protection of the general public." -- Lynch v. NC Dept. Justice
  • See also South v. Maryland, Riss v. City of New York, Keane v. City of Chicago, Kircher v. City of Jamestown, or Dial 911 and Die (or at Amazon.com)
That said, suing the police is somewhat pointless after you've been killed.

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"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?"
Patrick Henry, The War Inevitable, March 23, 1775
[ Parent ]
Even Less Easily Answered (none / 0) (#215)
by virg on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 10:24:28 AM EST

> One thing that cannot be accounted for in statistics is the number of crimes that never would have been committed in the first place.

You are right on this one. I will concede the point with the caveat that many with criminal intent are notoriously bad at forseeing bad outcomes, so I think the deterrent effect of a crime gone wrong, while present, may be less than one would reasonably expect.

> However, the laws in Vermont are a much better example.

I'm not so sure that's the case. The three states I chose tend toward the same social dynamic (large immigration, high population, large percentages of the population concentrated in relatively few centers, and other such social considerations). Vermont does not reasonably fit the population, density or social models of these other states, so it's easy to argue that their lower crime rate can be attributed to things other than their gun laws. That said, you may still have a point, but you should be careful not to say that your evidence proves your point (and I'll take care not to say that my evidence disproves your point).

Pertaining to People who pressed lawsuits:
I admit that my wording is incorrect in a legal sense, so I have to eat crow on that. In all of the cases mentioned, however, the plaintiff's assertion was that the police are legally liable for damage done by a criminal because they did not respond, or did not respond sufficiently to prevent the crime. The difficulty here is that the courts are not saying that the police do not have a responsibility to prevent crime, they're saying that they cannot be held legally (and therefore monetarily) responsible for failing to act in sufficient manner to prevent given particular crimes. The reason is quite simply that if the court establishes that the police are legally liable for not preventing a given crime, any crime victim could sue the police for damages for not preventing the crime that affected them. Notice that in almost all of the cases, the decision contains the word "individual" so as to indicate that no individual can demand specific police protection from a criminal situation. On the other hand, cases of negligence or dereliction of duty frequently involve police officers who observe a crime and do nothing about it, and that's where legal responsibility kicks in. To give an example, if I call you and say, "I"m going to kill you" and you call the police, they are under no legal onus to do anything to protect you. If, however, I put a gun to your head, and an officer sees it, and does nothing, you'd have a very good case. Note that this is not the same as my putting a gun to your head and you calling the police, as they are not on the scene and legal liability doesn't exist until they are. I must admit, however, that the information I found is disturbing, but not in the same way as the site operators would have me see it. Thanks for the food for thought on this one.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
No answers (none / 0) (#218)
by The Private Fedora on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:00:43 PM EST

Re: State laws
I completly agree with you. The dynamics of each state make any comparasons very weak. I was unable to find any lagre city with lax gun laws to compare to a large city with strict gun laws, and so I resorted to Vermont, as it is a case I knew about.

Re: Liability of police
Again, you are correct here in drawing a line between police presence and response to calls. I did not make that distiction clear enough in my previous post. My original point had to do with the inability of these victims to protect themselves. Due to the fact that they cannot carry a gun, they are forced to rely on the police, who will most likely not show up on time, nor are required to. If I am cornered by someone who has threatened to kill me in the past, I'd rather pull a gun out of my pocket than a cell phone.

Thanks for the food for thought on this one.

And you too. There are always cases where guns merely complicate things, but I find it impossible to say whether things, as a whole, would be better off with or without them. There simply isn't enough data either way. When in doubt, I tend to lean towards more personal responsibility, but always need to see the other side as well.

-------
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?"
Patrick Henry, The War Inevitable, March 23, 1775
[ Parent ]

A Few More Thoughts (none / 0) (#226)
by virg on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:19:10 PM EST

Our discussion has made me think about a few things that I thought I'd toss your way. I find that again and again, when I tend toward disallowing handguns to the general population, I find that the reason is that untrained people with guns can cause more damage than they prevent. This, however, got me to thinking what's missing in the training, and I came to a startling realization that gives the argument for training a lot more teeth. I realized that the training that's missing is situational analysis, not how to handle the weapon. In looking into it, I found that knowing when to use the weapon is rarely (if ever) addressed, merely how to use it. To give an example, when I was learning to shoot, my instructor took a few of us out to the range and sent us through a walk-through test, target shooting, and what he called "shooting situations" to get us used to wielding the gun safely and properly. One of the shooting situations was set up much like a convenience store, and basically you'd stand by the door, and then a target "assailant" would pop up at the counter, gun in hand, facing the clerk. The assignment was to "protect yourself using as few bullets as possible" and the two things he primed us with was that on the first run-through, we were to concern ourselves only with our own safety, and in the second, to concern ourselves with protecting as many innocents as possible. In all situations, the other shooters drew a bead on the "assailant", but would only shoot once, and grades for hitting "kill zones" were good to fair. One guy decided the second bullet was necessary in both cases, and lost points for it, but his kill zones were excellent. Here's the rub: in my first run-through, where my own safety was paramount, when the assailant popped up I ducked out the door. On the second run, I approached the assailant, pointed my pistol at his back, "grabbed" the gun arm and told "him" to freeze (which he did, nyuk, nyuk).

I'm the only one who passed, and I fired zero bullets. Seven of the other nine shooters shot the assailant from so close with such powerful weapons that they shot right through the assailant and hit the clerk as well (one hit the clerk right between the eyes, although to her credit her shot hit the assailant in the back of the neck from five paces). This is why I'm generally afraid of civilians with guns. Nine people were presented with a situation that didn't really require a firefight, and every one of them got so intent on shooting the gun correctly that it never occurred to them that they didn't need to shoot it in the first place. Moreover, none of them ever considered that the situation could end without fatal injury.

Part of police training encompasses when to use a firearm and when not to use it. Civilian training doesn't cover this except in rare cases (I took the "advnaced weapon training class", at extra cost, because I liked the instructor, but I didn't need it to get a permit). Until these sorts of situations are addressed by general firearms trainers, I won't be comfortable with the general population carrying guns.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Absolutely (none / 0) (#228)
by The Private Fedora on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 03:00:27 PM EST

Excellent point. I completely agree with you.

Very few people are properly trained to diffuse situations like the one you mentioned. Congratulations on your quick thinking. I hope I would have had the same reaction as you did in the second scenario (in that the situation could be handled much better by threatening to use your gun, rather than by actually using it). I think in the first scenario, where personal safety was the priority, I would have acted just like any other customers until the assailant left.

I, too, think people should have much more training before they are allowed to carry in public. At the risk of sounding haughty, it seems that most people are idiots. They will rely too much on what they see of guns in the movies, while knowing nothing about their actual use in real life.

People fail to realize the proper use of a gun as a deterrent. This is the same reason that shotguns are suggested for home protection. Just the sound of a shotgun being pumped is probably going to scare away a burglar, let alone the sight of a gun. Using this sound as a warning also reduces the chances of accidentally shooting someone who belongs there, as they will definitely call out when they hear this sound.

That said, I think that anyone who can complete a training course such as the one you mentioned (all scenarios included, advanced situational analysis) should be allowed to carry in public.

-------
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?"
Patrick Henry, The War Inevitable, March 23, 1775
[ Parent ]

Laws and violence (5.00 / 1) (#160)
by bgalehouse on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:28:51 PM EST

I have no numbers, but I´m sure that the number of shooting incidents in countries where guns are easily available are a lot higher than in countries with more strict laws.
You don't have to look very hard to find that the relashionship between gun laws and gun violence is not simple. Brazil has strict laws and lots of violence. But then, Switzerland has lots of legal guns and shooting ranges, but a low homicide rate. You can also find examples of the other two possible extremes.

I'm not saying that there isn't an interdependence. But obviously there are other dependencies as well. Factoring out those dependancies is hard enough that claiming to be sure either way seems a touch silly.

[ Parent ]

Given sufficient budget... (4.00 / 2) (#28)
by cyberformer on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:50:57 PM EST

They could buy their own private jet. That would be less likely to arouse suspicion.

I support the right of pilots (and pilots only --- not passsengers as in ESR's lunatic rant) to carry guns, but not the compulsion: They should only do so if they're trained and comfortable with firearms. They should also vary where in the cockpit they keep the gun, if they have one, so that a terrorist doesn't have an obivous place to look for it.

Does anyone know how it would work with international flights, to countries with fairly strict gun control? Do US air marshals store their weapons with airport police when they land at Heathrow, for example?

[ Parent ]

And terrorist of course are stupid. (3.66 / 3) (#82)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:54:45 AM EST

 "If the possibility of pilots being armed is allowed then any potential
   terrorist in the future must presume that the flights will be armed."

And surely we don't expect they will act in consequence? Now they know they don't need a gun. They have one there, courtesy of the authorities.
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[ Parent ]

Why do I feel. (4.00 / 9) (#3)
by steveftoth on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 06:51:33 PM EST

Why do I feel like I'm the only one who thinks that guns on planes is a really bad idea. You must assume that somehow, a terrorist will get ahold of one of these guns. I don't know how, but just assume the worst case. When dealing with extreme cases like the WTC, you have to assume that they will do whatever is needed. You've just given them a weapon to use against you.

Besides, we all know that this won't happen again. The problem with this kind of attack is that it only works once. They knew this, and that's why they tried to do at least 4 attacks at the same time. 3 worked, one crashed, and we don't know (for sure) if there were more on the west coast. All people will realise that if a plane is being hijacked that it is time to mindlessly attack the assailant as at that point all their lives are over anyway, it won't matter if they die trying to stop the hijacker.

We should be focusing our attention to figuring out how who these people are before they get a chance to strike, but that's too hard and doesn't make headlines.

Its just like the Air Marshals..... (3.50 / 2) (#5)
by madgeo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:04:08 PM EST

They will only put Air Marshalls on SOME flights, the terrorists have to guess which one though, and thats the point. El al Airlines now has a fairly terrific record of non-hijacking because they put lots of air marshals with guns on planes.

This pilot idea just makes it easier to prevent attacks cause they have to figure out which pilots are armed AND if there is an Air Marshal onboard. Oh and by the way, hijackings have occured before too, they just didn't fly them into tall buildings. The armed pilots coulda prevented the hijackings as well.

[ Parent ]

No, we must not assume... (4.60 / 5) (#11)
by greydmiyu on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:13:23 PM EST

We must not assume somehow that a terrorist will get ahold of the gun.  Even if we do that is not argument enough to prevent it.  It is a rather poor argument because it totally discredits the times when a terrorists would not get ahold of it and such a device would have prevented disaster.  

It is akin to saying that a fighter pilot should not have a parachute on his plane because we must assume the parachute will rip on the damaged plane or canopy when the pilot punches out.

Sure, the chute can be ripped but chances are it won't and having it there will save that pilot's life.

BTW, this is a variation of the "Rapists/Criminals will take your gun away" argument.  One that I personally don't subscribe to.  Read the following for some good counterarguments to that clap-trap.

http://www.a-human-right.com/RKBA/staysafe.html
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]

Maybe I can Convince you Otherwise (5.00 / 7) (#16)
by thelizman on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:25:13 PM EST

You must assume that somehow, a terrorist will get ahold of one of these guns. I don't know how, but just assume the worst case.
The problem is, you can always assume that a terrorist will be able to get a gun on the plane. In the past, they've smuggled them aboard in dinner trays. There are also ceramic guns, bullets, and knives which don't show up on metal detectors. If we are to play "worst case scenario", then I'd be happy to recount the events of 9/11, where undefended cockpits resulted in box-cutter weilding nuts taking over airplanes and killing thousands of innocents.
Besides, we all know that this won't happen again. The problem with this kind of attack is that it only works once.
I'm afraid historical precedence is against you. In the early 90's, Arab terrorists in Morroco took over a plane and flew it to Marseilles. They let the passengers go there, but intended to fly the plane into the Eiffel Tower (presumably to punish france for their imperialist oppression, since that is supposedly why the WTC was attacked, but I digress). Passengers overheard the plot and French commandos stormed the plane and killed the rotten bastards.

The point is that *we* all knew about this. The concept of using airliners as weapons against tall structures was not new. It is why El Al already has armed pilots and reinforced cockpits before 9/11. The problem is we became complacent, and on 9/11 just about 400 passengers sat like sheep while a bunch of fools with a cause flew them to their deaths.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Every flight has.. (none / 0) (#159)
by steveftoth on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:24:21 PM EST

Every single flight has the possibility of being hijacked, but I think that the rules have changed. It used to be that if a flight was hijacked, that as long as you followed their orders, it was ok and nobody got hurt. Now that's not the case. Now we know that they are willing to kill everyone on the plane and themselves. There's no denying that. So how do you protect yourself from a person that is willing to die to kill you? Even if you have a gun, is that going to be able to stop the terrorists? What if they get more terrorists then you have bullets?

[ Parent ]
More terrorists than bullets? (none / 0) (#198)
by bgalehouse on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:34:59 AM EST

Now there is an idea. "Yeah, there might be so many terrorists that you might need a second clip". That is just the idea to make pilots feel safe enough to leave their guns at home.

But the important thing to remember when dealing with suicidal terrorists is that you don't win by being willing to die. Patton pointed this out quite well in a speach once.

[ Parent ]

The point is... (none / 0) (#227)
by steveftoth on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:30:29 PM EST

that no matter what, once the terrorists are on the plane, depending on the pilot to stop the terriorist is not the best idea IMO, rather a sky marshal is better.

The best idea is to make sure that they never get on the plane in the first place, but that is much more expensive then just giving pilots a gun.

[ Parent ]

wrong on pretty much all counts .. (none / 0) (#64)
by gbroiles on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:31:28 AM EST

The "what if someone tries to take the gun away?" problem is already well-known; police cope with this every day. There are two components to this - training, and what are known as retention holsters, like this one. Is any system perfect? No, of course not. But many advances have been made over the past 20-30 years towards good weapon retention against determined, prepared attackers.

Even so, it's much more likely that a hijacker will just bring his own gun - that way, he's sure to have one, and it's not that hard, given the failure rate of airport weapon screening, even after 9/11.

Also, what makes you so sure this won't happen again? If you're right, why are we bothering with extra security? Besides, isn't it much better if, given an hijack attempt, it's foiled with the loss of no life, or one or two lives, not ten or twelve or twenty?

The idea that we can reliably identify people who are going to do bad things in the future sounds a lot like a current science fiction movie. I think it's a little early to start putting our eggs in that basket.

[ Parent ]

Police? (none / 0) (#156)
by steveftoth on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:10:53 PM EST

Using police as a rebuttal doesn't work, sorry.  They are trained to do that, they expect to be shot at, they expect to put their lives on the line every day and no amount of training will fix that.

Contrasted to a pilot, where they know that as long as they are doing their job correctly they have a very high chance of success.  They also put their lives on the line every day, but not in the same way.  They don't deal with people in the same way that cops do.

Look at it this way, when a cop gets into a situation where his/her life is on the line, they know about in advance.  They saw something happen, they were pulling someone over, etc.  
A pilot on the other hand is probably trying their best to make sure that the plane doesn't crash, and also to be ready in case one of the many alarms go off to avoid any collision that might happen with another plane.  They are not worried about what's going on in the cabin so much as what's in front of them, or more likley, everything that in front of them for 50 to 100 miles.

If there was another hijacking attempt, I would bet money that it will be foiled not by the pilot, but rather by the passengers.  I don't think anyone will let another repeat of 9/11 happen and would rather die trying, rather then let that happen again.

[ Parent ]

Kinda agree (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by nhl on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:01:44 AM EST

If the aircrew is allowed to carry guns (or have access to firearms) on a flight, my guess is that it's just a matter of time before terrorist organizations try to infiltrate the aircrew and thus get access to the only firearm on the flight with little hassle, then taking out the rest of the crew with it.

Who knows, maybe there already is a bunch of Al Qaeda trained stewards/co-pilots/pilots?

[ Parent ]
anecdotally (4.37 / 8) (#9)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:08:54 PM EST

the vast majority of commercial airline pilots have spent time in the military and already have a background in handling firearms. It's not exactly a supportive statement but it's nice to know that we're not putting guns in the hands of novices.

I personally support it. If a terrorist wants merely to destroy the plane and passengers, the situation doesn't really change. A gunfight in the cockpit will achieve exactly that anyway. However, this will at least provide a measure of deterrence for a terrorist who wants to take over the helm in order to slam them into buildings and kill even more lives.

-Soc
I drank what?


Really? (3.50 / 2) (#80)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:47:27 AM EST

So from giving the terrorist a chance to choose where to hit with the plane, now a cowboy fight at 10Km of altitude, perhaps on top of a metropolitan area, should makes us feel safer?

Um, Yessss.
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[ Parent ]

the alternative... (none / 0) (#131)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:29:27 PM EST

...is that he gets control anyways and he can choose a high density target which means more lives are in danger. Preventing control of the cockpit means your odds of being impacted by an attack are reduced, your emotional reluctance notwithstanding.

So, yes, you should feel safer. The world is surprisingly uninhabited. Most planes that explode mid flight cause minimal injuries on the ground and you'd be surprised how unpopulated most cities are. There was a plane that crashed directly into an apartment complex up in Los Angeles, and destroyed about 6 units. There were no ground injuries because everyone was at work.

Except for the WTC, does anyone know of a crashed plane that caused more injuries/fatalities on the ground than were on the plane, particularly for commercial airlines?

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Arming the pilots is a bad idea. (3.71 / 7) (#17)
by Anoymous 22666 on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:26:24 PM EST

It just introduces more weapons and variables onto the airplane. Just more shit to worry about managing on the aircraft. Same with air marshals. You're just introducing more weapons into an already dangerous situation.

Why don't they just build a 6 inch steel wall between the cockpit and the rest of the airplane? The pilots get their own food, drinks and bathroom behind that wall. They get on the plane first and lock the door from the inside. (No way to unlock from the outside.) They get off the plane last. In between - no one unlocks that door. Ever. For any reason.

Sure, the terrorists might take a person or two and threaten to kill them if the pilots don't open the door. But the pilots will not open the door even if they do kill passengers, no matter what. After a few murders on a few flights, the terrorists would get the idea that the doors don't open. There is no way to take control of the plane. Terrorism (the kind in which they intend to take control of the aircraft) is practically eliminated.

That doesn't solve the problem of them blowing up the plane, but if they're gonna do that, they don't need into the cockpit anyway, do they?

I just farted... And I blame the fiction section. - Psycho Les


Use of plane as missiles and few other points (4.50 / 2) (#22)
by strlen on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:36:10 PM EST

I think no one will use planes as missiles again, as that plane will be shot down by a US fighter before hitting the building anyway. They will attempt some hijackings or on-plane bombs, which is what we're trying to avert now. What about an on-board technician needing to interact with the pilot? Etc.. the door may be opened for these purposes. Also an armed pilot can stop other sorts of terrorism on the plane. As for the gun being a variable, I fail to see how that complicates anything for those defending against the terrorists. They're the ones in control of the weapon. If anything, it makes it harder for the terrorists by introducing more variables they can't control.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
A complication (3.00 / 2) (#36)
by sholden on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:53:12 PM EST

Also an armed pilot can stop other sorts of terrorism on the plane. As for the gun being a variable, I fail to see how that complicates anything for those defending against the terrorists. They're the ones in control of the weapon. If anything, it makes it harder for the terrorists by introducing more variables they can't control.

Watch Con Air.

Knowing there is a gun on the plane held by a person  who's primary training and concern does not involve the firearm (I assume the pilot will be a better pilot than he is a police officer/whatever) means the terrorist doesn't have to bring a firearm onto the plane (something which i not trivial at most airports, I hope anyway). Since they can just take the one they know is on the plane.

I'm not claiming that would be easy, but I suspect it would be possible. Now instead of a terrorist armed with a box cutter you have a terrorist armed with a gun. I think think that would complicate things for the those trying to defend against the terrorist.

--
The world's dullest web page


[ Parent ]
I now issue a challenge... (3.00 / 2) (#61)
by greydmiyu on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:20:06 AM EST

...to anyone claiming that someone can "just take the gun away."  I'll get my P226, it's "only" a 9mm, and you can try to take it away from me.  But first you'll waive all liability, we'll have the police on hand to show that you did wave all liability, and you get to pay the ambulance bills for the shot you will take.

BTW, the gun take in Rush Hour was far better.  That's the movies.  #1 rule, most of what you see in Hollywood doesn't work or doesn't happen in the real world.  If it does, it is 99% has hard as it is shown.

Now, if you're willing to bet your life that you can "just take" a gun that you have no idea where it is and where I know you're coming (let's not forget that cockpit doors are now armed and the pilots WILL have forwarning) let's finish this little bet, eh?

I'm tired of hearing this BS.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]

Not being a terrorist... (3.50 / 2) (#71)
by sholden on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:49:00 AM EST

..to anyone claiming that someone can "just take the gun away."  I'll get my P226, it's "only" a 9mm, and you can try to take it away from me.  But first you'll waive all liability, we'll have the police on hand to show that you did wave all liability, and you get to pay the ambulance bills for the shot you will take.

I didn't say it would be easy. I do claim it would be easier to take a gun from someone who is busy flying a plane, then it is to get a gun past X ray machines, metal detectors, and security guards actively looking for things like guns. Of course maybe airport security in the US is different than here in Australia?

Remember the terrorist probably doesn't care much if they get shot in the process. If they die so be it, if they manage to crash the plane in a populated area before they bleed to death even better (from their point of view)...

BTW, the gun take in Rush Hour was far better.  That's the movies.  #1 rule, most of what you see in Hollywood doesn't work or doesn't happen in the real world.  If it does, it is 99% has hard as it is shown.

The gun take in Con Air was a gun take from someone who was obviously nervous about the weapon and obviously not primarily trained in handling said weapon. A far more likely scenario I suspect. But it's been years since I saw that film so maybe I recall incorrectly.

Now, if you're willing to bet your life that you can "just take" a gun that you have no idea where it is and where I know you're coming (let's not forget that cockpit doors are now armed and the pilots WILL have forwarning) let's finish this little bet, eh?

I don't think the terrorist planning on crashing the plane into a conveniant building and dying in a huge fireball cares to much if he gets killed trying to take the weapon.

Another thing to remember is the terrorist has possibly been training for years on how to get the gun under their control. The pilot probably did a 1 week course on how to stop someone from doing so.

I'm not saying it is trivial. I'm not saying it is easy. I am saying that a well trained terrorist might just possibly be able to take a weapon off a not so well trained pilot. Which I think is something may "complicates anything for those defending against the terrorists" which the post I replied to claimed it could not.

PS. I translated 'doors are now armed' to 'doors are now locked'. You don't actually have remote controlled lasers mounted on the doors do you? :)

--
The world's dullest web page


[ Parent ]
Serious defense (5.00 / 1) (#79)
by godix on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:40:16 AM EST

"PS. I translated 'doors are now armed' to 'doors are now locked'. You don't actually have remote controlled lasers mounted on the doors do you? :)"

Hey, we're getting serious about airplane defense now. Next step is spring loaded knifes in seat cushions. The terrorists may take the plane, but woe unto them if they sit down again.....

[ Parent ]

Tactics (5.00 / 1) (#101)
by dennis on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:38:24 AM EST

I do claim it would be easier to take a gun from someone who is busy flying a plane

1) Keep the door to the cockpit closed and locked.

2) If someone starts trying to break in, stop flying the plane (turn on the autopilot, or just take your hands off the controls, the plane will continue flying straight and level).

3) Pull out your gun, point it at the door, and if the person succeeds in breaching the door, pull the trigger.

The only time you might have a problem is if you have to go back into the cabin. In that case, your copilot gets the gun ready. This is the only part that would be dicey, but I'll bet our guys at Delta Force and whatnot can come up with a standard procedure that works well.

The terrorists may have had years of training, but basic tactics weight the odds heavily against them.

not primarily trained in handling said weapon

I assume you by "primarily trained" you mean a professional. Certain elements of the U.S. government have done a great job convincing people that self-defense with a gun takes an extraordinary level of skill and training. This is simply not the case. Civilians successfully use firearms in self-defense every day, even against assailants with their own guns. Cases in which civilians had their guns taken from them are relatively rare.

[ Parent ]

When your opponent wants to die... (2.00 / 1) (#110)
by sholden on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:42:34 AM EST

1) Keep the door to the cockpit closed and locked.
  1. If someone starts trying to break in, stop flying the plane (turn on the autopilot, or just take your hands off the controls, the plane will continue flying straight and level).
  2. Pull out your gun, point it at the door, and if the person succeeds in breaching the door, pull the trigger.
Unless there are two terrorists and the one of them is willing to charge you and take the bullets  so his partner has a chance wrestling the gun off you. Or three...

Or they shove a steward or passenger into the doorway as they kick the door down. How will the pilot cope with having just shot a work mate or innocent civilian? Will he let his guard down after what most would find a very traumatic experience?

I assume you by "primarily trained" you mean a professional. Certain elements of the U.S. government have done a great job convincing people that self-defense with a gun takes an extraordinary level of skill and training. This is simply not the case. Civilians successfully use firearms in self-defense every day, even against assailants with their own guns. Cases in which civilians had their guns taken from them are relatively rare.

Using a gun isn't difficult. Coping with shooting an innocent in the face and having their blood/brains splatter over you might be though (I've never done so I don't actually know...)?

Facing well trained terrorists who are perfectly willing die in order to get a step closer to you might be a little more difficult than facing someone holding up their first corner store.

I am not saying that arming pilots will make it easier for terrorists. I saying that I think the post I originally replied to was stretching it a bit by implying that there was no way doing so could possibly make a terrorist situation more complicated...

--
The world's dullest web page


[ Parent ]
Hard targets (2.00 / 1) (#120)
by dennis on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:32:55 AM EST

These are good points. From reading accounts of people in defensive situations, I think the emotional trauma generally kicks in later. When people are in the middle of fighting for their lives, they tend to be pretty focused on attending to business, even when family members are involved.

Even later, I think it would be easier to deal with it when the issue wasn't just saving yourself, but an entire planeload of people.

Lots of terrorists ganging up would be tough, but it's not so simple for them - they have to get through a narrow door, and there's a body in the way, which the next guy has to get around while someone's shooting at him. If he fails, the third guy has even more difficulty. The guys in the back are getting tackled by passengers. If I were a terrorist, I would prefer an easier target.

[ Parent ]

You're forgetting a few things. (none / 0) (#132)
by greydmiyu on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:54:25 PM EST

1: Most pilots today are ex-military.  How does this jive with anything you have to say about the weapons or their handling?

2: While their primary job is to fly the plane it doesn't mean they cannot be proficient in other things.

3: You're still ignoring they'll know it is coming.

Yes, I meant locked, thank you.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]

Two words: (none / 0) (#113)
by ocelotbob on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:04:24 AM EST

Smart Gun

Okay, a few more words. What about using a smart gun, so that only the flight crew is able to use the firearm? Seems to me, that would solve the problem of unwanted persons gaining access to the firearm quite nicely.

Why... in my day, the idea wasn't to have a comfortable sub[missive]...
--soylentdas
[ Parent ]

Practicality, Logic, and Reason (4.00 / 4) (#29)
by thelizman on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:51:16 PM EST

It just introduces more weapons and variables onto the airplane. Just more shit to worry about managing on the aircraft. Same with air marshals. You're just introducing more weapons into an already dangerous situation.
How is this any more dangrous than a plane full of defenseless passengers and crew in the path of an armed madman? There is simply no logic in not providing for the defense of the aircraft, especially when a clear threat has been established.
Why don't they just build a 6 inch steel wall between the cockpit and the rest of the airplane?
Because it would require a rebuild of the entire aircraft. It is simply impractical (and unreasonable). You don't just remodel a plane as if it were a house.
Sure, the terrorists might take a person or two and threaten to kill them if the pilots don't open the door. But the pilots will not open the door even if they do kill passengers, no matter what. After a few murders on a few flights, the terrorists would get the idea that the doors don't open.
Okay, so your position is that we should allow the wanton slaughter of innocents at the hands of terrorist with the eventual prospect of terrorists giving up? And this is better than the possibility that a firearm *might* fall into the wrong hands on an airplane? Again this is neither logical nor practical. It also ignores the fact that a terrorist doesn't necessarily have to get into the cockpit to bring down a plane. Finally, it assumes that a person whose charge is the safety of their passengers and crew would ever sit idly by and allow them to be harmed.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Such wonderful bandaids you use, America. (2.00 / 31) (#20)
by The Littlest Hobo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:33:50 PM EST



You're Useless.... (1.80 / 10) (#23)
by thelizman on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:37:00 PM EST

...and pointless...
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
If only they could conceal the bruise [nt] (1.00 / 3) (#56)
by buglord on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:33:57 AM EST



I'm happy so much now I know how to use a gun!
Die Technik bereit und stabil... wir wollen zurück ins Telespiel!
welle:erdball - telespiel
[ Parent ]
Yay! (3.50 / 4) (#31)
by DesiredUsername on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:53:06 PM EST

So it turns out that arming the right people reduces violence. Nobody's been saying that for years.

Play 囲碁
Personal opinion (4.50 / 12) (#38)
by spaceghoti on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 09:07:59 PM EST

Pardon me whilst I don my asbestos underwear....

In the last couple of years, physics experts observing the American sport of baseball announced that statistically speaking, it's damned near impossible for anyone to hit a moving baseball with a bat, moving at the speeds they do. Somebody apparently forgot to tell the players.

Physics and statistics are wonderful things, but when dealing with the human element a lot of "common sense" goes out the window. Cockpits weren't designed to stand against armed terrorists, but then again, airplanes as a whole aren't designed with security threats in mind. Regardless of kill zones and defense strategies, humans are pretty good at mixing up the odds. At present, the odds of a weapon-toting terrorist winning against an unarmed pilot severely favor the terrorist. The possibility of armed crew can change those odds significantly, just as any change over zero is remarkable.

Arming pilots will not solve the problem. Anyone who believes so is deluded and should take another look at human nature. But armed pilots will complicate the plans of any terrorist choosing to use violence to achieve their objectives. I favor evening the odds against terrorists.



"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

Uhm, I hate To Point This Out (Well, Not Really) (none / 0) (#174)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:03:20 PM EST

The only problem I see is where you write "Arming pilots will not solve the problem." However, you don't really specify the problem, which is, that unarmed aircrews on planes packed with fuel and people make great targets for terrorists.

Then you say "But armed pilots will complicate the plans of any terrorist choosing to use violence to achieve their objectives", which readily acknowledges that a terrorist realizes that he has a chance of failing at taking over an airplane with armed aircrew.

So, given that a terrorist committed to martyrdom only cares about one thing (completing their mission), it goes without saying that armed pilots will solve the problem.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Perhaps this is more political than practical. (4.75 / 8) (#45)
by jolly st nick on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 10:23:53 PM EST

It seems to me from what you are saying, that arming pilots in itself is not going to make much difference. Personally, I think that sealing off the area in front of the first class section would in itself be worthwhile. For one thing, aside from the tactical advantages you mention, it could in some circumstances buy time.

I had to laugh about the stewardesses having to take "self defense classes". This, at least, is pure political fantasy. I have been a serious martial artist for over ten years now, and I'm convinced that the "self defense" classes I've seen are practically worthless. It's not that the women aren't hitting and kicking hard and doign hold-releases and throws pretty well, but as somebody who practices these techniques all the time I know that if you don't practice them all the time they aren't going to be there when you need them. And in any case, even a trained hundred pound woman is going to lose most of the time against a fit two hundred pound man (especially one who has probably had commando training).

However, I think simulations that promote "thinking on your feet" might be worthwhile. Example: what does the pilot do when a hijacker has a flight attendant hostage and is threatening to kill her? The reaction is probably better worked out in advance than in the heat of the moment.

This leads to something I've seen personally in some government reaction to preparing for terrorism post 9-11. I've been involved in some discussions that revolve around security from bioterrorist or chemical weapons attack (I won't go into details). Much of this this has a "throw it against the wall and see what sticks" quality, rather than being a reaction to a realistic threat assesment. The measures being discussed often wouldn't foil a Richard Reid, much less the people who dreamed up the WTC attack.

Don't Say That Aloud (none / 0) (#169)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:30:57 PM EST

I had to laugh about the stewardesses
'eh heh, sir, we're called flight attendants now, tee hee'

(They'll only tolerate being called "stewardess" twice, unless its a woman, then you've got one strike)
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
This may be a silly idea.. (4.00 / 5) (#46)
by AnalogBoy on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 10:28:06 PM EST

and have no merit whatsoever.. but why not have anesthetic gas available in the event of a hostile takeover (or incessantly screaming child in seat 4B)?   The pilots, still in their locked cockpit with oxygen masks on, with the rest of the cabin so loaded with N2O (or some other fairly harmless gas) that the would-be assailants couldn't walk, at least without a) holding their breaths, b) oxygen-masking their way across the cabin?   Would a respirator make it through inspection?

The behavior of gases at altitude might be an issue, of course.. and nothing like this has a chance of ever happening.. just a thought.

Then again there's always the idea of redundant array of aggressive pitt bulls (RAAPB) before the cockpit door. :)
--
Save the environment, plant a Bush back in Texas.
Religous Tolerance (And click a banner while you're there)

yes, it is silly. (5.00 / 4) (#47)
by gbroiles on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 10:56:03 PM EST

There is no such magical "knock-out gas". The closest analogues that we have are used very carefully in controlled settings, where someone with serious medical training (a medical doctor, and some dentists) monitors each person who's been rendered unconscious, adjusting the dosage as needed (and in light of the levels of oxygen, etc., in the patient's blood). We don't have the technology to deliver that sort of thing to hundreds of people at once, who may have wildly different reactions to the gas, much less deal with medical emergencies which may occur as a result.

[ Parent ]
Hows about.. (none / 0) (#108)
by tonyenkiducx on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:30:11 AM EST

Some kind of electrical system? There are plenty of ways to stop any assailant in his tracks without hurting him. Including that riot foam stuff. Its just the cost of doing it on all planes that is too great.

Tony.
I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called utopia. And I see us invading that planet, because they'd never expect it
[ Parent ]
sounds great - (none / 0) (#133)
by gbroiles on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:00:38 PM EST

do you have a reference to something like that which works reliably without manual intervention, doesn't need to be aimed or targetted, can't be defeated easily, and doesn't pose substantial risk or cause significant pain to the people subjected to it (since it's going to happen to maybe a couple of hundred innocent people, along with a few hijackers).

I can't think of anything like that - the closest things I've heard about are Tasers, which shoot wires connected to little darts which pierce the skin, and an electrical current is then sent down the wires; but these need to be aimed by a human being, sometimes need multiple applications to be effective, the effects wear off after a few minutes, don't work against people with heavy/thick clothing on, and cause pretty serious pain to the subject. I don't know what they do to people with pacemakers or other cardipulmonary complications, but I suspect it's not necessarily good.

Or, maybe "stun guns" - which need to be applied directly to the subject, sometimes work and sometimes don't, the effects don't last long, and are likely to be pretty uncomfortable for innocents.

I don't know much about riot foam - maybe that would work, if it can immobilize everyone in the cabin quickly, and is safe to use in a closed space (e.g., it's not going to block people's access to oxygen by overfilling the cabin, even for short/seated/prone people).

You said there are "plenty of ways" to do this - do you have references to some of them that we could read? If this is such an easy problem to solve, I don't understand why prison riots still happen - whatever technology would solve hijackings would certainly solve those, but I'm not sure it exists.

[ Parent ]

Because.. (none / 0) (#208)
by tonyenkiducx on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 05:16:39 AM EST

..airlines are barely staying afloat at the moment, they cant afford to retro-fit there entire fleets with expensive counter-measures. A system of riot-foam that is basically just very sticky foam that sets hard, but when setting expands to allow air to flow through it, would probably be the cheapest, but would also mean cleaning it up afterwards :P

Tony.
I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called utopia. And I see us invading that planet, because they'd never expect it
[ Parent ]
Yeah, ok, Airplane I was pretty funny too. (4.17 / 17) (#48)
by eLuddite on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 11:01:05 PM EST

Armed marshals belong in the coach, with the terrorists. Duh. It does not matter if a pilot is armed, the cockpit can still be breached at the small loss of one martyr. The remaining martyrs-to-be can then spring into action, seize control of the plane and dive it into a tall building. In contrast, it is mathematically impossible to penetrate an El Al cockpit once the plane is in the air. You cannot hijack an El Al jet. The cockpit door does not open.

This is what airline security looks like.

Here is the problem: Americans want safe airlines, but American airlines do not want to pay for the genuine safety of their passengers. The American "solution" is to engage its culture's fetish for the gun; all the right noises have been made, all the 2nd Amendment goons have been placated, and all that remains of a false sense of security is one incident with a trigger happy Child of Liberty who couldn't previously land a job with the Buttfuckville Police Force.

Is an oversimplified model of security better than no security at all? You're all computer professionals here, you tell me if it's worth being lulled into a false sense of security.

---
God hates human rights.

I should have said... (4.25 / 4) (#49)
by eLuddite on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 11:12:45 PM EST

Why is this a false sense of security? Because the only people hijacking American jets are people not easily dissuaded by threats to their life. There is no epidemic of casual, weekend hijackers who, given the sobering second thought of an armed pilot, realize they'll be happier back home, mowing the lawn. Come to think of it, there is no epidemic of hijackers, period.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Re: Yeah, ok, Airplane I was pretty funny too. (none / 0) (#66)
by valins on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:46:59 AM EST

All the FAA is looking for is a cheap (cost effiective buzzwords ...) security ... otherwise business (that damn holy word in US ...) suffers a lot.

In the end customers pay so who cares anyway ...

[ Parent ]
Wrong wrong wrong (none / 0) (#94)
by BadDoggie on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:10:25 AM EST

Armed marshals belong in the coach, with the terrorists.

The Sept. 11 terrorists were sitting in first class.

Stupider still, afterwards, when they were taking even 8cm sewing needles and nail clippers away from you at the security checkpoints (which you could then buy again in the shops 5m further away) and giving business/first class plastic knieves, as well, business/first class passengers were still getting drinks in thick, heavy glasses and the fork and spoon were steel, and it's real easy to bend one or two of the fork tines to make a nice weapon.

Glass shards are better than a knife, and with a little harmless masking or cellophane tape and a rolled-up in-flight magazine, you have enough to seriously threaten someone's life. The FBI guys who questioned me in Atlanta in November, 2001 didn't like it at all when I pointed out to them all the things that ould be used as a weapon.

woof.

Truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.
[ Parent ]

No no no (none / 0) (#134)
by eLuddite on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:08:31 PM EST

In my inimitable obscurantist style, I failed to make the connection between the downtrodden and terrorists. For the record, then, if all you can afford is coach, you are a terrorist or at least an unsmart leftivist.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

But Osama bin Laden (none / 0) (#140)
by davidduncanscott on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:39:29 PM EST

has flown first-class most of his life, when he wasn't flying in the family's own plane. He's about as down-trodden as one of the Kennedies.

[ Parent ]
No no no. (none / 0) (#143)
by eLuddite on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:16:06 PM EST

Ossama is merely trolling the elites. The Kennedys are the genuine article, America's intelligentsia. If you take Ossama's sumptuous living at face value then the Central Committee of Home Defense will establish the right of the Party to exercise guidance over the press and literature in the name of Objective Liberal Capitalist Scientific Realism. The intelligentsia will be forced to withraw its support of the Freedom Coalition. Challengers to the New Regime will be summarily deported to faith-based gulags or, if they are big and brawny Schwarzenegger Kennedy, escape to publish stinging attacks from abroad.

Your comment weighs heavily on my mind. Please stop spreading indeliberately misleading information.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

As Opposed to (2.33 / 3) (#170)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:32:51 PM EST

engage its culture's fetish for the gun
As opposed to the rest of the planets innane and superstitious fear of the gun?
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
What are you trying to say? (5.00 / 1) (#182)
by eLuddite on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:08:20 PM EST

Are you saying America does not have a Second Amendment gun culture, or are you suggesting all peoples everywhere use guns to kill? The latter is false; the former is as conspicuous as the weather. Are you a weatherman? Tonight will be dark.

I'm trying to be a good scribbler. I'm trying to write clearly for your benefit. I'm trying to use small words and uncomplicated sentences so you will not -- can not -- infer my opinion ahead of me. I am failing miserably. No! That is crazy, defeatist talk. I have not begun to fail miserably. You have not begun to uncover the enemies of your patriotic imagination! In order to make sense of both our comments, I shall rewrite mine (slowly) with your suggestion in mind.

The French "solution" is to engage its cultural fetish for the escargot; all the arrogant waiters have taken their orders, all the dictatorial chefs have been placated, and all that remains of an upset stomach is a dead pharmacist and trigger happy Child of Liberty tourist who could not translate Alka-Seltzer into French.
I await your reply. I know you will not disappoint me. You never have in the past.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

oops (none / 0) (#183)
by eLuddite on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:10:31 PM EST

invert the sense of former and latter

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

cold math eh? (3.25 / 4) (#50)
by KiTaSuMbA on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 11:35:15 PM EST

Well, cold math says, most hijacks are made to *keep* the hostages, not crash them at some place. The plane and its passengers are the "wares" to trade. What experts and non wish is that a hijack ends without a shot on the plane while passengers are aboard. Arming the pilots means, shots *will* be fired by non-specialized people under extreme conditions. So this would prevent planes being used as bombs but I can argue that this will probably not happen again for a long time. A clever man would never use the same trick twice. They know it, We know it. A pilot playing sheriff can be very dangerous. As a matter of fact it is a lot more dangerous than negotiations on the next airport the plane stops for refueling and even a specialized police/army team attacking.
While explosive decompression is NOT a hollywood myth (hollywood actually represents it rather weaker than what would really happen on those "aging" planes) I will accept the arguement that a frangible bullet will not pierce an alluminium foil plus fiber (this comes assuming that the terrorist uses them too, unless of course the pilots' bullets miss but those of terrorists don't and thus the whole discussion is void - they will be dead).
While autopilot is good and fine on flight, landing *has* to be man-operated/assisted. Don't tell me you believe hollywood on a flight assistant landing a mastodontic 747! So the pilots can play cowboys and indians with terrorists on flight but they better win! Since at least someone must stay alive, probably only one pilot will assume the duty of the gunman. Terrorists never travel alone. What are the odds? And if they take him down? Should the second try again at the very same odds and even worse, bearing the psychological weight of the situation, or should he surrender? If he chooses to fight, cold moth says he is as good as dead (and so are the passengers). If he chooses to surrender, well, nothing is won and people have died.
Commenting on the people's passivity: normally, that's what they are supposed to do. Playing Van Damme with an armed terrorist can get you and the entire plane killed. A terrorist usually wants to keep his trade alive. How were the passengers supposed to know that they would be crashed instead of deviated? What are the chances this happens again in contrast to an all-around "normal" hijack? Don't expect people to play heroes. What if this was planned to be a normal hijack but the terrorist realizes he cannot gain control of the plane and detonates a bomb? Hoops!!!
Man, now I'm *definately* NOT travelling with an american airline.
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
An interesting sort-of-related question (4.50 / 2) (#54)
by Irobot on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:14:56 AM EST

Part of your point, if I understand it correctly, is that a terrorist would be less likely to hijack a plane because now it'd be likely to get shot down. You're right - if a terrorist wants to actually take hostages, they're less likely to be able to do so. In fact, it seems they're less likely to get out alive at all. So my question is, do you (or anyone else) think that the events of 9/11 may serve as a deterrant to future hijackings? Rationally, I'd think so - it's certainly less attractive if the passengers are going to fight back or you're going to be shot out of the sky. But then, IMHO, someone who hijacks a plane to commit suicide isn't a paragon of rationality to begin with.

Having grown up in the '70s, I remember there being *lots* of hijackings. (This may be a trick of my childhood memories; it just seems like there were an awful lot of people who wanted to get to Cuba for free.) I did a quick Google search and came up with a page from the FAA on criminal aviation acts. From the article:

The fact that the number of incidents against civil aviation has declined over the past five years, and longer, may be interpreted as an indication that the threat is decreasing. This, however, is not true, as several events in the past few years attest...There is every reason to believe that civil aviation will continue to be an attractive target to terrorist groups. The publicity and fear generated by a terrorist hijacking or bombing of an airplane can be a powerful attraction to a group seeking to make a statement or promote a particular cause.
Now, that's from 1997; does 9/11 change this at all? Has the rate of hijackings gone progressively down? Is it plausible that a positive effect of 9/11 will be to further reduce attempted hijackings?

Irobot

The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous. -- Margot Fonteyn
[ Parent ]

not exactly (3.50 / 2) (#59)
by KiTaSuMbA on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:08:03 AM EST

my argument is that it's less probable than ever someone uses a commercial plane as a "weapon" in the manner the 9/11 attack did. Estimating the overall rate of hijacks on the basis of any law is not reliable. What has (probably - any statistics there people?) kept hijacks low after the 9/11 is the increased police scrutiny and controls. Pretty much the same after the 70's, when airplane hijacking was revealed to be a major tactic of terrorists and tougher airport controls and safety regulations (plus the necessary technologies) were implemented.

 
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]

No argument; just discussing (none / 0) (#93)
by Irobot on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:06:46 AM EST

Yes, it seems to me the "increased police scrutiny and controls" are the direct cause of any reduction in hijackings. Like you, I was looking for statistics and wondering on-line whether the "increased police scrutiny and controls" would actually reduce (or had actually reduced) the overall rate of hijackings. I mean, with the increased chance of passenger activity and the greater chance of force being used to stop a hijacking (rather than negotiations), doesn't it seem that the entire proposition of hijacking a plane suddenly got way less attractive? In other words, now that there'll be a more drastic reaction to a hijacking, will it serve as a deterrant for milder forms of hijacking (i.e., those that would've required negotiations)?

Irobot

The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous. -- Margot Fonteyn
[ Parent ]

hmmm (none / 0) (#102)
by KiTaSuMbA on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:56:45 AM EST

probably until they figure out some new tricks. It's always been such a race between criminal minds and law enforcement, from the small-time thief that steals cars on any random city to organised international terrorists.
I think however that tougher airport controls are more efficient (read: they will be harder to work around) than a popular feeling of resistance onboard. If they shoot the person just next to you what do you do? Keep attacking or run away? It depends on your character and emotional state of the moment. What if they deploy gass? It's a pretty unpredictable situation. I agree with you that a terrorist needs to complete his suicidal or other mission and right now there are just too many unpredictable variables (passengers) and other "difficulties" (police scrutiny to the level of annoying even totally unsuspectable people) to make a serious plan over a "normal" hijack. But this is a double edge knife... If they can't do it the "common" way, at least some of them might start thinking a new breed of "extravaganzas" (pardon the term) to exploit any weak points left. It all comes down to this question:
Are they decided enough and have an interest to gain by making another/more "hits" (certainly not in the WTC style, they'll have to get some fresh "ideas") with all the consequent retaliation waves that are sure to follow?
Since I don't believe they browse K5 to answer us directly (J/K), we will have to wait for time to show...

 
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]

Glad you're not flying on an american airline (5.00 / 1) (#67)
by greydmiyu on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:49:11 AM EST

First off the "mastodontic 747" is one of the most stable flight platforms in the air.  On its test flights the pilots were amazed at how easily it handled.  This is born out with a little thought.  Let me lead you up to it, ok?

Driving down the road in your little VW bug you hit a cross wind.  You car is blown around like a leaf.  The 18-wheeler in front of you, while having a far larger profile, ain't moving an inch.

Now, your little Cessna hits some crosswind and instead of landing on 260L you're now lined up on 260R.  What's going to happen to the 747?

Hint:  Read what's happening to the 18-wheeler and realize the Cessna is your VW bug.

Furthermore the industry doesn't think that automatic landing is bunk.

1995, Boing and NASA are running trials on automatic landing systems:
http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/1995/news.release.950802.html

1994, A 737 goes through 110 automatic landings.  At least that's how I read this article:
http://einstein.stanford.edu/gps/ABS/auto_land_737_cec95.html
And this might be related to the above:
http://atrs.arc.nasa.gov/atrs/95/kaufmann/950066/950066.refer.new.html
1998 article with reference to the above:
http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/spinoff1998/t2.htm

2000, Accident report on a passenger 747 with a rough landing at Heathrow.  336 passengers on board.
http://216.239.51.100/search?q=cache:0wKSokiw7CEC:www.aaib.detr.gov.uk/bulletin/oct00/gbdxj.htm+landing+boeing+auto+OR+automatic+-microsoft&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

What was that about the "mastadontic 747" not having automatic landing.  Your facts are way off and your logic is even worse.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]

RE-READ (2.66 / 3) (#70)
by KiTaSuMbA on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:31:26 AM EST

The whole idea about the "mastodontic" 747 is that a non-trained flight assistant CANNOT land it: it was making fun of a rather famous hollywood movie and was meant to show that at least one pilot needs to survive, hence only one pilot can attempt to play sherrif in his plane.

GOT IT KNOW?
NOW SIP MORE BEER 'TILL IT GETS CLEAR!
Thank You

P.S: I will also consider your remarks on my logic.
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]

Replies to 5 or 6 comments (4.14 / 7) (#52)
by ennui on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:16:32 AM EST

First, a bullet won't cause explosive decompression of a jet. Jets are hardly airtight. Second, a bullet below the normal draft of a boat won't sink it, big boats have bilge pumps because big boats are generally not watertight. Third, US air marshals are:

  • Allowed to take whatever flights they want
  • Always fly first class
  • Are allowed to sleep on the planes they're guarding
  • Do not carry frangible, plastic, jello, or otherwise joke bullets, because they lack the stopping power of hollowpoint lead

The National Guard do not carry their weapons locked and loaded at airports. They are instructed to carry full mags, but not to keep full mags in their weapons. National Guardsmen are not instructed in some of the finer points of police weaponcraft, including weapon retention.

In terms of alternatives to armed pilots, airline passengers and pilots came close to being equipped with a "shoot me down" 800 number so they could notify the authorities as soon as they're highjacked so F-15's and 16's can be scrambled and blow the 747 you're on out of the sky. I'd rather the unlikely chance of a carom bullet igniting a fuel tank than a Sidewinder doing the job with a 99.8% success rate.

"You can get a lot more done with a kind word and a gun, than with a kind word alone." -- Al Capone

you sir, are WRONG (2.00 / 1) (#75)
by techwolf on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:16:04 AM EST

the sidewinder would have a 100% chance of hitting. I mean shit those jubo jets have a radar sig the size of a mountian, and a heat sig like the sun. A sidewinder/choose your missle would put one of those things out of the sky 100% of the time. but if it is any consolation to you the jet wouldn't blow up, it would just kinda take a dive into the ground as one of the wings would be the likely place a missle would hit due to the engines being there.

I think arming pilots was the best choice. I mean geez people, many of the airline pilots are ex military. Military people get very good weapons training in basic and OCS ect.. and they are required to keep thier training current, so many of those piolts can handle a firearm much better than the sky marshals so many want on board planes. I will take an armed pilot any day of the week thank you very much!


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

fat lot of good it did them (3.00 / 2) (#83)
by bluehead on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:57:43 AM EST

on 9-11-01
many of the airline pilots are ex military. Military people get very good weapons training in basic and OCS ect.. and they are required to keep thier training current,
oh and the ex-military ppl have also been trained in martial arts. and to resist torture too I suppose.
whatever


Hard like a criminal.
[ Parent ]
Pilot Training (5.00 / 1) (#90)
by Bios_Hakr on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:58:52 AM EST

Most pilots are trained in combat arms and self defense.  Some pilots go through additional training on how to handle themselves in a capture situation.

Virtually every movie you see has a guy sitting there being hit/tortured and the bloody prisoner being obstinate.  This is NOT REALISTIC.  Ever since the middle ages, people have known that, faced with torture, you WILL talk.  Everyone talks.  Everyone!  It doesn't matter how tough you think you are.  When you get a wire brush pushed in unspeakable places or are forced to sit on top of a pile of rocks for 5 days and nights, you will tell them what they want to know.

Here's the kicker.  If you are important, you will be given a propaganda packet to memorize before takeoff.  It will have numbers that seem to be right, but are intentionally misleading.  You will be given a false target, a false mom/dad, a false home town...everything.  If the pilot is captured, he can talk after a small bit of torture and still maintain mission security.

Please try to keep this in mind:  Even though all military pilots go through combat training, they do it when they are 22.  by time you see them in the cockpit, they are closer to 50 than 20.

[ Parent ]

Age has its benefits (none / 0) (#241)
by obyteme on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 06:51:15 AM EST

Please try to keep this in mind: Even though all military pilots go through combat training, they do it when they are 22. by time you see them in the cockpit, they are closer to 50 than 20.

Closer to 50 with a wife, kids, a condo in Orlando and many more reasons to survive. Hell yeah, give me someone armed and with an extreme desire to live!


---------------------------------------:-p
To err is human, or I could be wrong.
If you can't poke fun at it, get a sharper wit.


[ Parent ]
yes they are (none / 0) (#128)
by techwolf on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:12:19 PM EST

however I doubt very much that a terrorist is going to try and torture them. all the terrorist wants (or any hijacker for that matter) is COMTROL of the plane not to torture. and I spoeak from experiance when i say once you have weapons training you retain that lnoledge even if your skill slips a bit over the years you still know how to handle, respect and use a firearm without endangering any more people than is required. anyways the choice has been made and if YOU don't like then don't fly. simple as that. I do like it and will continue to fly


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Not Entirely (none / 0) (#155)
by virg on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:06:36 PM EST

Well, he's probably close to correct, due to two factors. First, Sidewinders have a small but not nonexisent failure rate. Also, since a number of big jets use engines hanging off the wings, if the missile locks on to the engine (not the exhaust coming out the back of the plane on models that do that), there's a small possiblity that it'll simply blow the engine right off the wing, without rupturing the wing itself. Most airliners can (barely) fly after dropping an engine, so by combining these things there is a small possibility that you'll still be flying after the hit.

By the way, if a Sidewinder split the wing when it hit the engine, the resulting explosion would in all likelihood split the plane, since the fuel tanks in most big jets extend out into the wings, so pinwheeling to the ground is less likely than doing the Challenger in that case, which is actually more comforting to me.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
hmmm (none / 0) (#197)
by techwolf on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:31:28 AM EST

very good points.... the whole tanks-in-the-wings slipped my mind at the time of writing...


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

In my case: (1.50 / 4) (#53)
by Icehouseman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:09:32 AM EST

I can't afford to go on a plane anyways; why would I care?
----------------
Bush's $3 trillion state is allegedly a mark of "anti-government bias" on the right. -- Anthony Gregory
True though your statement may be... (1.33 / 3) (#55)
by Irobot on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:20:19 AM EST

...it's still a dick question. Do you live in a vacuum or are you just a sociopath?

Irobot

The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous. -- Margot Fonteyn
[ Parent ]

Good Article (2.33 / 3) (#57)
by Talez on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:44:05 AM EST

But seriously, you don't need guns.

If someone tries to take over a plane using a shitty weapon like box cutters then just use your superior numbers to gang up on the terrorists and beat the living fuck out of them.

A KISS type solution if I do say so myself.

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est

That happened... (3.00 / 1) (#58)
by MickLinux on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:04:33 AM EST

... on 9/11.  Although the plane was lost, there was no additional terror strike.

I make a call to grace, for the alternative is more broken than you can imagine.
[ Parent ]

Those people kick ass (4.00 / 1) (#63)
by Talez on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:27:28 AM EST

Think of how many lives they saved.

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]
unfortunately (5.00 / 1) (#86)
by tps12 on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:53:43 AM EST

Those people were a minority. Americans have had it drilled into their heads that the correct response when threatened is to obey your attacker and wait for the authorities to save you. The events of September 11 have shaken this up, but it's still quite common to hear that a woman being raped should just comply and hope she isn't killed.

[ Parent ]
Perhaps (none / 0) (#95)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:11:00 AM EST

it's still quite common to hear that a woman being raped should just comply and hope she isn't killed.

Maybe (where is hearing this common?), but if 3 guys run in with box cutters and try to rape 60 people, there may be resistance.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
comply? (none / 0) (#104)
by YetAnotherDave on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:13:34 AM EST

That's odd, I thought the general recomendation was to scream "fire" while trying to cripple the bastard.

Apparently screaming "fire" has better odds of drawing more people.  I think that's a rather sad statement, but...


[ Parent ]

it depends (none / 0) (#105)
by tps12 on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:17:17 AM EST

I guess people are told a lot of things. Very rarely are they told to carry a gun and shoot him in the face, which is what he deserves.

[ Parent ]
KISS totally rocks (none / 0) (#112)
by HypoLuxa on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:03:49 AM EST

If KISS would just rock out every airport departure lounge, everyone would be feeling good and superpumped. No more terrorism.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]
They'd have to stay in the lounge, (none / 0) (#124)
by squinky on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:50:06 AM EST

because you can't let Gene Simmons on the planes wearing those pointy teeth boots-- decompression risk.

[ Parent ]
Too bad... (3.83 / 6) (#69)
by fluxrad on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:07:08 AM EST

no one seems to realize that the best possible security measure was put in place on all airplanes on 9/12. THE PASSENGERS PEOPLE!!!

Fuck the pilots carrying guns. I'm happier to see the 50+ guys on a plain turn in to a mob of relentless thugs the minute someone pulls a knife out of their coat (or tries to light their shoes for that matter).

Hell, I'd say it differently, but JFK actually did say it best, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

Either way, this conversation is academic, as Al Queda won't hit the same spot twice. Look for chemicals coming soon to a metropolitan area near you!

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
9/12 (5.00 / 1) (#74)
by Rasman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:06:06 AM EST

Actually, all the planes in the US were grounded on September 12, but I get your point. :-)

It's true that the problem with the passengers not overtaking the terrorists on 9/11 was the fact that they had no idea what the terrorists objectives were. Maybe they just wanted free passage to Cuba, for example. But post-9/11, everyone will naturally assume the worst and probably lose a lot of the fear and non-involvementism that kept the 9/11 passengers in their seats.

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
Actually (none / 0) (#168)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:23:36 PM EST

Military, government, and red cross workers were flown all around the country.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Exactly! (none / 0) (#190)
by fluxrad on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:29:28 PM EST

I don't think large group of people will ever again sit still for a couple of knife wielding yokels from the middle east.

I'm glad you didn't correct me too much on the 9/12 thing. I know it was closer to 9/18 or thereabouts, but I didn't really have the inclination to double-check the exact date, and 9/12 seemed to have more allegorical impact ;-)

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
Crazy gun nuts? (2.00 / 2) (#72)
by Thinkit on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:59:07 AM EST

Aren't we all libertarian atheists? I thought all geeks love guns, or at least support the right to keep and bear guns, drugs, nuclear weapons, whatever. Well, most geeks are waiting for rail guns and lasers--powered by antimatter of course.

geeks? where? (none / 0) (#119)
by avdi on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:25:17 AM EST

The geeks became the minority in this club long ago.  

--
Now leave us, and take your fish with you. - Faramir
[ Parent ]
Sorry, I'm not the pedophile wing... (none / 0) (#147)
by Thinkit on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:38:14 PM EST

That likes japanimation. I have better things to do than watch cartoons that do nothing but make older men want to rape very young girls. That's the evil side of the geeks.

[ Parent ]
that's my .sig, silly (none / 0) (#181)
by avdi on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:06:30 PM EST

I think you mistook my current .sig for part of my comment...

--
Now leave us, and take your fish with you. - Faramir
[ Parent ]
Stun guns? (3.66 / 3) (#73)
by Rasman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:00:14 AM EST

Do we really want high voltage discharges in the cockpit of a commercial passenger jet!!?!???

Does that scare anyone else? Also, I seem to recall in many movies that people are warned not to fire guns in airplanes because of fears of losing cabin pressure (from a hole in the fuselage, I assume). Are frightened pilots discharging firearms in the cockpit or cabin really what we need? What about stronger doors with some sort of double door system (like a sci-fi airlock) to prevent someone being overtaken while going through the door?

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
Well ... (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by Hektor on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:54:02 AM EST

I seem to recall in many movies that people are warned not to fire guns in airplanes because of fears of losing cabin pressure (from a hole in the fuselage, I assume).

And I seem to recall seing a "super hacker" crack an RSA encryption in 45 seconds, aided only by a blowjob by Halle Barry and a gun pointed at the back of his head.

Gosh, darn it - if it's in movies, it's got to be true!

[ Parent ]

Concerns (5.00 / 1) (#84)
by Rasman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:19:27 AM EST

How do you know what's possible and impossible when aided by a blowjob from Halle Barry?

There is clearly some danger involved with firearm discharge within the cabin of an aircraft. If not from fuselage breach, then from the many tubes (and tanks?) of oxygen running throughout the cabin. Are the fuel tanks bulletproof? Flight controls and computers and wires? How much redundancy is there? It seems to me a very real possibility that a bullet that doesn't find flesh could bring down the whole aircraft.

My concerns may be completely unfounded, but "it happened in a movie, so it can't be real" isn't a valid argument.

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
True, but ... (4.50 / 2) (#87)
by Hektor on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:07:01 AM EST

My concerns may be completely unfounded, but "it happened in a movie, so it can't be real" isn't a valid argument.

That wasn't my point; my point was - don't take movies as "the gospel truth". Hmm ... wait - let me change that, DO take movies as the gospel truth, because that should certainly be taken with heavy doses of salt. :-)

And no, getting a blowjob from Halle Barry doesn't make you able to break an RSA code in 45 seconds, but it certainly helps you relax. Trust me - I know. ;-)

[ Parent ]

ok but... (3.50 / 6) (#77)
by bluehead on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:08:24 AM EST

Pilots can have guns only after they take a breathalyzer.

Seriously though, FUCK NO!!!

Have not we already proven that the terrorists won by changing our lifestyles, making us live in fear, and the fact that cannon-fodder like you are consistently on the front page of Kuro5hin?

You go die first!!! I'll be right behind you (hehe)


Hard like a criminal.
FUI (none / 0) (#92)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:05:53 AM EST

You're only worried about drunk pilots if they have guns?
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
You're Right... (1.00 / 1) (#166)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:20:15 PM EST

...we should all ignore the fact that these biatches want to kill us (they don't merely disagree with us, moron, they want us dead and wiped from the face of the earth), bury our heads in the sand, and pretend nothing is up. Real smart bumpkin. Do you even balance your checkbook?
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Good Ideas (4.00 / 3) (#78)
by sypher on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:30:46 AM EST

There are some good ideas there, but i think personally that putting ANY kind of weaponry on the plane is a bad idea.

Why? because the people with the guns are not likely to have any combat training, just range training, they are going to be using 'lightweight' firearms (such as the fractile bullets) and their weapons could be used against them as a replacement for the box cutters the terrorists (who are trained in armed combat sometimes) bring along.

I think the only solution would be to have the cockpit door on the exterior of the plane, and no access to the cabin possible from the passenger area.

Allowing arms on airplanes will turn them into shooting galleries, with everyone on the plane fair game to receive bullet wounds.

Someone also mentioned gas defences. This is a good idea.

Couldn't the pilot subdue passengers by lowering the level of air in the passenger galley as well, or that just another hollywood myth?

I dreamt of it once, now I fear it dreams of me
King's Langoliers (none / 0) (#85)
by Rasman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:26:22 AM EST

Couldn't the pilot subdue passengers by lowering the level of air in the passenger galley as well, or that just another hollywood myth?

The Langoliers, great movie!

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
I liked it too (none / 0) (#107)
by sypher on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:28:11 AM EST

It was the movie i was thinking of

I dreamt of it once, now I fear it dreams of me
[ Parent ]
The Sun Dog (none / 0) (#111)
by ethereal on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:49:26 AM EST

Incidentally, "The Sun Dog", another short story from the same collection (Stephen King's Four Past Midnight) will also be a movie fairly soon.

I'd hope that they'd make a movie out of The Gunslinger someday, but on the other hand given how some of King's books get turned into movies, maybe I don't want to hope too hard for that :)

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

Guest appearance (none / 0) (#114)
by Rasman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:07:21 AM EST

What's cool is that Stephen appears in nearly every movie as some minor character. He's not the prettiest fish in the sea, but if I were a bestselling author, I'd do that too.

The Shawshank Redemption movie was exactly like the short story. One of the closest book-to-movie migrations I've seen. (Except for Morgan Freeman's character having red hair, hence the name 'Red', but I think we can all agree that he was the best actor for the job) The result: a fantastic movie...

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
cameo (none / 0) (#141)
by ethereal on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:42:56 PM EST

Mostly I haven't noticed him in his movies; he did sort of stick out in The Stand, though. They shouldn't let him talk much :)

Really, I think The Gunslinger (the whole series) and The Stand are about my favorite works of his; they're postapocalyptic but still oddly hopeful, and full of people that are scared by more than just the monster in the closet. There's sort of an "Old Testament" sense of destiny under the surface of those tales.

Was King in The Shawshank Redemption or The Green Mile or any of the "bigger budget" movies based on his works? I can't complain about the production values of those; it's movies like IT that I found hard to watch. Christine wasn't too bad, though, for an older King movie.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

Not the big budget ones (none / 0) (#163)
by Rasman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:40:33 PM EST

"Cameo"! That's the word I was looking for! Naw, he wasn't in the big budget ones. You can see at the bottom of the imdb page which ones he's appeared in.

My favorites are the ones with just great story telling like Shawshank and Stand By Me (story called The Body) and the ones that just creep you out, like Apt Pupil. Not the scary ghost/monster ones (Cujo, etc.), but the ones that are scary and seem like they could happen to you...hard to explain.

I suppose we're a little off topic, eh? :-)

(yes, I know Shawshank, The Body, and Apt Pupil all appear in the same Different Seasons series, but I swear I've read more!)

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
Special effects (none / 0) (#118)
by Rasman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:16:12 AM EST

When I saw it, I was in a dorm lounge with a bunch of 16 and 17 year old males, and the keen observation that the big space-time rip they fly into looked a lot like a part of the female anatomy. For weeks we made references to the "cosmic clit". :-)

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
Not likely to have combat training? (none / 0) (#130)
by Pointed Stick on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:27:36 PM EST

Actually a great many commercial airline pilots are retired military personal. I would imagine that have plenty of experience, not only with a gun but with using one in the confines of an airliner. Cheers! -Pointed Stick

[ Parent ]
Logic Failure in the sypher Unit (1.00 / 1) (#165)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:17:17 PM EST

Someone also mentioned gas defences. This is a good idea.
So, on a pressurized aircraft with common ventillation, you want to use what...CS, OC, Sleeping Gas? That's real smart Forest...

Of course, I suppose you'll rebutt with "well the pilots can wear gas masks", and we can continue to get more outlandish and dangerously impractical ideas than simply allowing the pilot to have a firearm.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Seperated Areas (none / 0) (#188)
by sypher on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:17:14 PM EST

I envisioned the cockpit being self contained if there was no way of getting from the passenger area to the cockpit.

There are oxygen masks in most cockpits AFAIK. These would need to be provided by a seperate supply.

I dreamt of it once, now I fear it dreams of me
[ Parent ]
Again with the 'redesign the plane' issue [n/t] (none / 0) (#219)
by thelizman on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:43:51 PM EST


--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
You misunderstand (none / 0) (#229)
by sypher on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 03:44:56 PM EST

We have got into a series of replies which digress from the question originally pondered.

It is my firm belief, and has been since the jet takeover that planes should be more segmented.

If this involves refitting aircraft at the expense of profit vs. likelihood or allowance of sep 11 occuring again, then it should be done.

There is certainly no other panacea, arming people on board regardless of qualification is robbing peter to pay paul and merely discouraging further attempts, not preventing or even implementing closing paths terrorists have to take control of gigantic flying bombs.

There is no panaceas i will say again, prevention is always better than cure.

I dreamt of it once, now I fear it dreams of me
[ Parent ]
Armed Pilots Are The Prevention (1.00 / 1) (#230)
by thelizman on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:49:38 PM EST

You proposal for isolating the cockpit would require a redesign and significant refit of the plane, which is simply not feasible.

Moreover, pilots are better able to respond to a variety of threats than simply targeted solutions like blocking off half the aircraft, which raises more problems then it solves.

Again, I must observe that the flaccid and irrational regard for firearms among some K5'ers is simply leading to a dizzying array of illogical, ill conceived, and outlandish alternate solutions.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Madness (4.50 / 2) (#88)
by EvilNoodle on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:39:16 AM EST

Seal the cockpit so entry and exit is from the outside only (like - when it's landed).

Pilots are vulnerable to someone holding a sharp object to the throat of a stewardess. You cannot guarantee that they will shoot the stewardess so they may hand over the gun. Then you are in deep shit. This really is a stoooopid idea.

Yeah, good idea.. (4.00 / 1) (#97)
by kitten on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:22:57 AM EST

Seal the cockpit so entry and exit is from the outside only (like - when it's landed).

Terrific, and when the plane has to make an emergency landing where there isn't a ground crew available, the pilots are just stuck there.

Or god forbid, the pilots may have to go get food or water. Or use the restroom. Or take a nap (on long-haul intercontinental flights, a backup crew member will relieve pilots so they can take a break, as they are only allowed to fly for x number of hours straight, so this is fairly common).

Or.. I don't know, any number of possibilities. One or more of the pilots is injured somehow and none of the flight attendants, or perhaps a passenger who can fly, can do anything except sit there.

After 9/11, I think no pilot is going to "hand over a gun" to a terrorist, sharp object or no.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Sealed cockpits are already in use, and working. (5.00 / 1) (#116)
by raygundan on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:11:46 AM EST

Seal the cockpit, the front bathroom, and a row of seats for your extra pilots. Stick a mini-fridge in there. Put a retractable ladder near the pilot's exit-- even just a rolled-up rope ladder for the "emergency landing with no ground crew" situation you describe.

In any event, it's all moot because we already know it can be done, and works pretty well. El Al (Israel), one of the few airlines that has never been hijacked has been using sealed cockpits for years. If it works for them, most of the minor kinks you mention have probably been worked out.

For reference about El Al's sealed cockpits:

http://www.chaosinaustin.com/trypn/trypn003.html

And some more, with additional tidbits about their other super-strict security measures:

http://www.israelinsider.com/channels/security/articles/sec_0108.htm

[ Parent ]
Perhaps (none / 0) (#149)
by virg on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:43:03 PM EST

Perhaps you were discussing "never hijacked" with a time frame in mind, but to say that El Al has never had a plane hijacked is incorrect. A quick Google confirms at least three.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Stupid lying articles. (none / 0) (#158)
by raygundan on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:19:29 PM EST

I try to be good, to check my sources, and to look things up-- but apparently one of the articles I linked is wrong.

I quote, from the first article, "Airlines are now studying one of the few airlines that has never been highjacked in the 40 years it has been in service, El Al, Israel Airlines."

Which is from:

http://www.chaosinaustin.com/trypn/trypn003.html

This article says "El Al's sole hijacking was in 1968, before the system began." which would imply more than zero, certainly-- but indicates it was before their current security measures.

This article would seem to back up the "no hijackings since that one back in '68" story. So, the first article seems to be incorrect, but El Al's record still seems to be pretty damn good. I can't seem to find evidence for more than one anywhere, though-- could you post links?

[ Parent ]
Misread (none / 0) (#177)
by virg on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:30:35 PM EST

Actually, the three hijackings incident didn't involve El Al. I munged two articles in my mind. There's just record of one.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Not relevant any more (5.00 / 6) (#89)
by richieb on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:43:51 AM EST

I think arming pilots may make pilots and the passengers feel better, but will not make much difference.

The big difference is that the social contract of hijacking has been changed on 9/11. I don't expect that any crew or group of passengers will cooperate with hijackers. Even if it means crashing the airplane.

BTW, every airliner cockpit today is equiped with an ax. It didn't help on 9/11.

Finally the article says:

Again, this is an impractical expectation: large aircraft are not designed to tolerate the stresses of extreme maneuvers like barrel rolls, dives, and twists.
Actually, a barell roll is a 1-G maneuver that when properly flown can be done in any airplane (eg. there is a famous photo of the prototype 707 being rolled by its test pilot). The airliners can tolerate a lot of "extreme" maneuvers, it's the passengers that cannot.

...richie
It is a good day to code.

Rolling an airliner (5.00 / 4) (#103)
by Sawzall on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:09:57 AM EST

Besides the famous footage of Tex rolling the 707 prototype (twice, actually), there has been at least one case of rolling a 727 in actual flight with passengers.

A common practice at one point was to lower the front slats on a 727 in order to maintain higher altitudes when heavy. The plane could maintain the required speed, but the wing could not maintain the required lift. So pilots would lower the slats, pop the circut breaker, and they would remain out, thus generating the required lift.

Once upon a time, for some reason, one side of the wing's slats retracted while the other side remained out. This caused the plane to complete a 360 degree roll. The pilot was able to keep it in the 1g range, thus after inspection, they found no damage to the airframe.

Needless to say, there were some issues with rolling an airliner, and the practice of using the slats in this manner was "restricted" - it was never approved in the first place, but not prohibited.

(As an aside, some wings have slats that automatically deploy in high angle of attack postitions, such as the Citation X business jet.)

[ Parent ]

MD-11s as well (3.50 / 2) (#122)
by MactireDearg on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:44:45 AM EST

I was working security at the M-D test facility in Yuma, AZ when they got final approval for the MD-11 from the FAA. The pilots had the plane up at the time for some final stress test readings. When they announced over the radio that they had approval the pilot called back for everyone to get outside and bring their cameras. As everyone came out he brought the plane over the facility at about 2000 ft and performed a perfect 360 barrel roll.

I have never in my life, before or since, seen anything that big doing something that outlandish. It was like watching the highest definition widest screen special effects shot in history.

He then brought it back around and pulled into a near vertical climb (at least 85deg) right over us.

I regret to this day that I didnt have a camera or know of anyone who caught it on film.

The MD-11s are built way overpowered thrust-wise since they also use them as cargo jets. So they have enough power to pull those moves even loaded with passengers.

I've felt a lot safer flying ever since knowing what those things are capable of.

If you must make mistakes, it is more to your credit to make a new one each time. - Unknown
[ Parent ]

Barrel rolls (none / 0) (#125)
by richieb on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:50:13 AM EST

Barrel roll is an impressive looking, but not particularly stressful maneuver. There is a movie of Bob Hoover flying a barrel roll in a twin shrike while pouring a glass of ice tea. It's funny to see the horizon spin around, while the tea just goes from the pitcher to the glass.

Now, snap rolling an airliner is a whole other thing...

...richie
It is a good day to code.
[ Parent ]

B-52, B-36 (none / 0) (#154)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:05:03 PM EST

Both of which are massive planes, have been filmed doing barrel roles. As the other poster pointed out, I should have said snap rolls. Regardless, we're talking about high use aircraft that have (in some cases) extreme metal fatigue. Not sure I'd trust them to handle any extreme maneuver
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
You're Right, But... (none / 0) (#148)
by virg on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:39:52 PM EST

You're missing an important point. While a barrel roll doesn't particularly stress an airframe, it also doesn't particularly stress the passengers, and the suggestion was to "pilot the plane to keep the hijackers off balance." Any maneuver that will toss the passengers (and, theoretically, the assailants) around will necessarily stress the airframe to a much higher degree than a barrel roll. To wit, I doubt you'll ever see someone (successfully) performing a high power snap roll or a wingover in an airliner, and that's the sort of move you'd need to pitch a passenger off balance. This is the point to which the original comment applies, and his error is merely in mentioning barrel rolls among high-G and high-lat maneuvers.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Speak for yourself. (none / 0) (#162)
by iggly on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:36:50 PM EST

I've been talking to my friend and co-workers. I can only find one of us who "doesn't really care" whether the pilots are armed or not. I and my co-workers have already contacted our home office to let them know that we aren't comfortable with the idea of flying with armed pilots. So, we've actually got them already contacting the travel agents to let them know that we don't want to fly with armed pilots. I will ask before taking a boarding pass whether the pilot is armed or not. If armed, I'll miss that flight. The pilot should fly the plane. If you want someone armed, put an Air Marshall on board.

[ Parent ]
And then.. (3.00 / 2) (#167)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:21:51 PM EST

I will ask before taking a boarding pass whether the pilot is armed or not.
After which you will be escorted to a nice little room and questions ad nauseum for hours. Brilliant mover sherlock, you think they're going to advertise when and which pilot is armed?
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
why? (none / 0) (#233)
by thesync on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 12:39:34 PM EST

Put me in the category of "does not care."  Piror to 9-11, HAD pilots been armed, a few thousand fewer people would have died.  But now things are different.

While I agree with many posters that controlled-flight-into-building is no longer possible, there are some advantages to a mild gunfight in the cockpit over uncontrolled-flight-into-ground during a hand-to-hand struggle.  But I consider the chance of this affecting me so small that I still can't care much.  It is up there with a pound of explosive secreted in the anus.

Why do you care? During the 70's when many pilots were armed and there was no problem, did you care?  Moreover, you are going to be oncerned about 40 year old trained pilots carrying handguns when the airports are already filled with 18-year-olds with M16s and police-drop-out armed rent-a-cops?

My gut instinct is to turst reasonable people who want to carry handguns.  If they think it is needed, or not needed, I say let them choose.  I guess I'm just "pro-choice" on the matter...

[ Parent ]

A few thousand fewer people (none / 0) (#237)
by vectro on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 01:32:17 PM EST

Don't assume that. The rule of thumb for hijackings then had been to acquiesce, because in general the worst outcome would be destruction of the plane. This attitude has, of course, changed since.

As another poster pointed out, the cockpit had (and has) an axe in it. This did not help.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

Speculation: Bombs on planes (none / 0) (#98)
by jseverin on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:23:15 AM EST

Arming the crew won't help if a bomb gets on the airplane. To everyone's credit, it is much more difficult to hijack a passenger airliner today than it was a year ago. But it's less certain that getting a bomb on board an airplane is harder. Is all checked luggage X-Rayed now? What is a passenger checks luggage and doesn't board - is their luggage removed? What about security checks on the catering and ground crews? If anyone can answer these questions I'd appreciate it.

I can answer one of those. (5.00 / 1) (#100)
by tonyenkiducx on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:26:28 AM EST

If a passenger doesnt make it to the flight, there bags are supposed to be removed. But occasionally(As with lost luggage) things do get misplaced.

Tony.
I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called utopia. And I see us invading that planet, because they'd never expect it
[ Parent ]
Bombs on Planes... (4.00 / 1) (#153)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:58:08 PM EST

Are no longer sufficient for terrorists of the ilk of Al-Qaeda. That's is why 9/11 involved crashing planes into buildings, and not merely crashing planes. Honestly, if TWA 800 and all of the other "mysterious" plane crashes don't dissuade passengers from flying, you thing the threat of a bomb will?
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Decompression.. (4.00 / 5) (#99)
by tonyenkiducx on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:24:33 AM EST

There is indeed a bleed hole, but it is built into the metal structure of the plane. A bullet through a window would shatter it, and the resulting increase in pressure on the glass pane would break it entirely. But saying that, if the terrorists managed to smuggle a gun on board then there probably in a position to sneak several terrorists on board, and no matter how well trained your pilot is there not going to be able to defend themselves against multiple armed assailants.

Im all for the sealable cockpit idea. They can threaten to kill the stewardess's, but if the cockpit is totally sealed off, the pilots wont know about it. And terrorists are'nt so stupid as to take over a plane with no forseeable way of gaining control of it.

Alternatively, store several kilos of weed in special burning chambers, and incinerate it as soon as terrorists appear. They'll be so busy discussing why god doesnt exist, and searching the galley for jaffa cakes and pringles, they'll forget about the whole hijacking lark.

Tony.
I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called utopia. And I see us invading that planet, because they'd never expect it
Shattering windows (5.00 / 2) (#106)
by C0vardeAn0nim0 on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:25:06 AM EST

in an airplane is not a critical failure.

a few monts ago a Foker 100's window poped of in flight here in brasil. the airplane was almost full and in cruise altitude. only the passenger siting beside that window died when she was pulled trough the window.

if you check for old airplane accidents, you'll find cases of airplanes that lost entire sections of the fuselage (the hawaian 737 is a "classic". I heard about a 747 that lost part of the right side too) and yet they made their way to the ground safelly. only the few ones ejected from the plane died.

since the Dehaviland(sp?) Commet, with it's nasty tendency of blowing in small parts in the midle of flight, airplane manufacturers learned a lot how to prevent catastrophic failures in case of decompression.

http://www.comofazer.net
[ Parent ]

Interesting.. (3.00 / 1) (#109)
by tonyenkiducx on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:33:10 AM EST

I can see what you mean. The case I was directly referring to was the pilot shooting/being shot at in the cockpit. The pilot then has to fly and land the plane with his oxygen mask on, a 500 MPH headwind blowing in his face, and all the while trying not to be sucked out of the window. I dont know enough to comment on that though.. Would he be Ok to land in those conditions?

Tony.
I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called utopia. And I see us invading that planet, because they'd never expect it
[ Parent ]
Military pilots do (4.50 / 2) (#115)
by C0vardeAn0nim0 on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:09:28 AM EST

specially here in tropical grounds where military bases are usually surounded by bushes and woods with lots of birds. brasilian air force has much more than just a couple of stories about pilots returning home with fighters after beeing hit by birds.

let's check some facts. a 737 can fly as slow as 0 (yes, zero) MPH relative to the ground as long as the wind passing through the wings is faster than (IIRC) 130 knots (240 km/h or 150 MPH). as a biker, I know that it's possible to deflect this kind of wind with a decent pair of glasses add to this the fact that if the cabin door is kept shut, the wind inside wont be so strong.

you can do an experience. in a windy day, open your room's door AND window. your room will become a wind tunnel. now shut the door. the wind inside the room will be reduced to almost nothing.

other thing, believe you or not, varig (brasil's largest air line) had a 737 hijacked in late 80s. the guy was later diagnosed as a complete mental case. his idea was to force the pilot to land the airplane over Planalto Palace (home of the executive branch. brasil's white house if you like). as soon as he entered the cabin he fired 2 or 3 shots. one killed the copilot and the others damaged the _dashboard_. with his copilot dead and the flight engineer and himself under the maniacs sight, the pilot engaged the speed break sending the airplane in a 4000 meter (aprox. 1300 feet) dive making the hijacker bump in almost all the surfaces of the cabin. the crew then took the guy to the back and the plane landed safely.

as the arcticle said, the cabin is a kill zone. a hijacker who enters this killzone with guns ablaze will be standing while the crew will be seated. the shots will come from a higher place to a lower one wich reduces the possibility of breaking a windshield but this may not save the crew's lifes, which is IMHO a much grater danger than having a window shattered. the example i gave above shows that is possible to dominate a lone hijacker without guns, but it may not be efective against a group of terrorists. against a group the best thing is probably a combination of methods wich may (or may not) involve guns.

http://www.comofazer.net
[ Parent ]

Pilots not incommunicado (4.00 / 3) (#117)
by ethereal on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:13:14 AM EST

They can threaten to kill the stewardess's, but if the cockpit is totally sealed off, the pilots wont know about it.

One of the other components of this bill is to provide wireless communications between the cockpit and the crew, so it probably will not be the case that they would be incommunicado.

IIRC, the 9/11 hijacking worked because the terrorists threatened to kill the crew/passengers and thus lured the pilots out of the cockpit; in no case did they actually break into a defended cockpit. From that perspective, I don't see how guns would have helped - the pilots voluntarily gave up the better tactical position, because they thought that fewer people would get hurt if they gave in. Even if they'd had guns, the situation would have been the same.

Now that the dynamics of hijacking are forever changed, probably all we need to do is to provide a reinforced cockpit door. The pilots now know not to leave the cockpit during a hijacking, and the passengers now know not to sit still for anything. I don't think that arming the pilots will cause too many things to be worse, but I don't think it will improve matters significantly either.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

Solution.. (3.50 / 2) (#121)
by tonyenkiducx on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:38:24 AM EST

Once a hostage situation starts, the pilots should press a button to terminate communications. The terrorists are then left with no options, and considering that these things are fairly well planned before hand, they probably wouldnt attempt this again. Of course Im sure they would think of another way of taking over.

Tony.
I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called utopia. And I see us invading that planet, because they'd never expect it
[ Parent ]
But what's the trade-off? (3.66 / 3) (#123)
by TuRRIcaNEd on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:45:16 AM EST

Sealed cockpits... hmmm.

My mind keep going back to the Sioux City crash in 1989, when a training captain, originally travelling as a passenger, became something of a lifeline for the regular crew (the plane's controllability was so adversely affected, it required at least 4 guys to fly it!). He'd have never made it to the flight deck if the cockpit was sealed.

OTOH, putting more guns up in the air is only going to make the problem worse, IMO.

Tc.

PS. Heya Tony, how's trix? ;)

"We're all f**ked. You're f**ked. I'm f**ked. The whole department's f**ked. It's been the biggest cock-up ever and we're all completely f**ked. - Sir Richard Mottram expounds the limits of spin
[ Parent ]

Probability Error (3.00 / 1) (#145)
by virg on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:28:42 PM EST

Okay, that's one instance where a sealed cockpit would be bad. I counter with mention of an El Al flight where a locked door saved the plane from a hijacking attempt. That leaves us at one-up. Can you provide any examples of a situation that's likely to occur where having a sealed cockpit would be worse than not having it? One incident is certainly not sufficient to rule it out.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Again with the "explosive decompression" (3.00 / 1) (#152)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:54:04 PM EST

There is indeed a bleed hole, but it is built into the metal structure of the plane. A bullet through a window would shatter it, and the resulting increase in pressure on the glass pane would break it entirely.
That would be true if they still *used* glass in the passenger compartment. They don't. It's a high density plastic. Besides which, worst case scenario: you lost a glass pane. So everyone has to grab a mask, big whoopity doo da.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
In one of the last wars, (none / 0) (#126)
by squinky on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:00:13 PM EST

I don't remember which, I remember an interview with some high ranking officer. He was being asked about the danger of torture and national security.

I recall him saying that military personel are now told to tell their captors everything they know and not resist at all (for their own safety).

The theory being that, the captured person doesn't really know that much anyway (in the grand scheme of things), and the important stuff that do know will change as soon as they're captured.

Of course, he could have been saying that to protect the guys captured...


oops-- sorry (none / 0) (#127)
by squinky on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:09:52 PM EST

that was supposed to be a reply to this.

[ Parent ]
Your point!!!!!!! (none / 0) (#207)
by lordhighofeverythingelse on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:27:18 AM EST

In case I am ever captured.

[ Parent ]
I am a gun nut! (3.00 / 2) (#129)
by nytflyr on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:16:36 PM EST

I love guns, the bigger the gun the better... that being said... this is a BAD idea 1) a pilots job if to fly a plane, if you want someone with a gun, hire a security guard 2) hijackers are powerless now, as said earlier, NOBODY will cooperate, they will just assume they are dead anyway and take the bastards out 3) bullets and airplanes dont mix, I would rather see them armed with a shotgun loaded with rubber rounds.

I am not a gun nut! (none / 0) (#136)
by hatshepsut on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:15:06 PM EST

And I totally agree with nytflyr's points 1 and 2. #3 still gets me as you are still putting a (loaded?) weapon right where it shouldn't be.

Passengers and flight crew won't cooperate any more. Too many would rather die trying to stop the takeover than risk becoming a weapon against others (and dead anyway). If you REALLY feel that you want to deliberately put a gun on a plane, hire yourself a sky marshall and have fun. But tell me what airline, so I don't use it any more.

OT: Loved the El Al links way up. Knew a guy who emigrated from Isreal AFTER his military service was over. Oh boy!

[ Parent ]

Mayday (none / 0) (#142)
by kyrin on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:15:11 PM EST

So, this's smart.  Yeah.  Give the PILOTS guns, which gives them a sense of bravery, and in doing so causes them to get shot by a hijacker, for example.  Now, in the chaos the hijacker(s) would probably be overthrown and the plane would be returned to good hands.  Without a pilot.

Am I the only person here who sees this as a bad thing?  Wouldn't it be pretty bad if we had planes crashing into buildings that weren't driven by terrorists, instead driven by helpless passengers who were trying to land a 747 and couldn't because that takes years of practice and training, and you can't really be "walked through" it (despite what movies would have you believe).

Screw this, I'm taking trains from now on.
--
"God's in his heaven, all's right with the world" -Robert Browning

With or Without, They'd Still Get Shot [n/t] (none / 0) (#151)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:49:00 PM EST


--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Point/Counter-oh wait...something's missing (none / 0) (#187)
by kyrin on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:10:39 PM EST

If you're trying to argue that fact you're going to need to back it up with something. In fact there's a very good chance they wouldn't get shot if they didn't pull a gun. Why? Because they're the pilots, and most terrorists don't know how to fly (they're too busy learning the ins and outs of suicide bombing to worry about airspeed and wind resistance). Hence, they need the pilot, and they rely on the threat of force to control the pilot, but in reality they wouldn't harm a hair on his head if he put up a fight. Well, the might blow away one of the pilots and have the other continue flying, but they wouldn't kill both at once, because unfortunately even terrorists aren't stupid enough to leave a sophisticated jet without people who know how to operate it.
--
"God's in his heaven, all's right with the world" -Robert Browning
[ Parent ]
terrorists can fly, they just can't land (none / 0) (#220)
by thelizman on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:45:13 PM EST

and most terrorists don't know how to fly...
Did you at all pay attention last september?
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Taking trains (none / 0) (#205)
by lordhighofeverythingelse on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:18:20 AM EST

Good for you. I hope your Amtrak flips over in a nice swampy area of Florida.

[ Parent ]
Lets not let common sense ruin things (none / 0) (#240)
by obyteme on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 06:23:23 AM EST

OH MY GOD! This is redicorous (oops I misplaced my continents - ode to Tigger) You people amaze me. First a pilot is not going to leave the cockpit to go after a terrorist. They above all others know that they have to fly the plane, do you think that just because they are armed they no longer care about survival?!!! There are two or possibly three pilots on a plane. If a terrorist is trying to get into the cockpit, one flies and the other sits and waits for the asshole to stick his head through the door. These men are not going to run around an airliner like friggin Marshal Dillon. An armed Pilot is the last line of defense against a terrorist taking control of the COCKPIT. Nothing else.


---------------------------------------:-p
To err is human, or I could be wrong.
If you can't poke fun at it, get a sharper wit.


[ Parent ]
Sheer lunacy (none / 0) (#146)
by svanegmond on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:29:45 PM EST

Why are you talking about gunplay on airplanes? Even on 9/11, not a single projectile weapon was used to accomplish the attacker's deeds. Their missions were accomplished with low-grade technology (boxcutters) and social engineering (luring the pilots out of the cockpit).

This is what irks me about all this 9/11 new stuff: none of the measures proposed or enacted deal with the actual threats or risks demonstrated on that day.
-- Steve van Egmond · http://svan.ca/

Ignoring the Obvious To State the Useless (none / 0) (#150)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:48:16 PM EST

Hae you ever heard the saying "don't bring a knife to a gun fight"? The terrorists were only armed with boxcutters and carpetknives, true, but the pilots were unarmed and without a mandate to fight back. We've fixed the mandate problem without a word, but a terrorist can still get a ceramic gun aboard a plane, and the pilots and passengers are still merely targets.


--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Not very familiar with firearms, are you? (none / 0) (#196)
by Dee Kaos on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:13:18 AM EST

First off, even if they could get a hypothetical (and currently nonexistant) "ceramic gun" through whatever full-body-cavity search passes for airport security, (Mind you, i dont think their particularly effective, but thats another rant), Bullets are made of metal. Thats right, Met-al. As in, shows up on metal detectors. And if the terrorist in our hypothetical example can get bullets past airport security, (s)he can probably get an actual, existing metal gun through as well, and at that point, isnt it better to have armed pilots who could defend the plane?
Dee Kaos

[ Parent ]
Logan (none / 0) (#204)
by lordhighofeverythingelse on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:15:06 AM EST

Shit (s)he could probably get a laws rocket through Logan. Thank You all you 1980's Liberal voters (cocksuckers)

[ Parent ]
Quite Familiar Indeed (none / 0) (#222)
by thelizman on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:06:02 PM EST

The Czechs have been producing guns made from composite plastic/fiberglass and ceramics since the late 70s. Typically the customers are government and military, but there's presently no export restrictions in either the Czech Republic or the Former Yugoslavia on these items. The technology is not all that hard to replicate, especially since molded composites are available by mail-order. Knives are just as common, and ceramic knives area availble from just about any good cutlery store or mail order catalog.

As for bullets, there are a small number of manufacturers who offer caseless bullets. Although they're expensive, and mostly a novelty because they foul the guns they're used in quickly, they are quite common.

And yes, it does make sense to arm pilots, which is what I'm arguing for.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Ceramic gun (none / 0) (#213)
by Citori on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 09:51:49 AM EST

Could you post some reference to indicate that a ceramic gun actually exists?

You may have been influenced by the Movie <i>Die Hard</i>, in which Bruce Willis' characther mentions a 'ceramic Glock 7' that does not exist.

[ Parent ]

Are Your Fingers Broken? (none / 0) (#221)
by thelizman on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:49:25 PM EST

There's this thing called google, look it up yourself. This is about as moronic a request as asking me to prove that the ocean covers most of the earth.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Totally original idea... (or not) (3.66 / 3) (#157)
by The Private Fedora on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:15:34 PM EST

Let the airlines that want armed pilots allow (or require) their pilots to carry guns. Let the airlines that do no want armed pilots forbid their pilots from carrying guns. Disclose this information to the public.

Now, let people decide which airline they prefer. Let those that prefer armed pilots choose airline A. Let those that prefer no guns on their flight choose airline B. Everyone is now happy, as they can fly with or without guns on their flight.

-------
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?"
Patrick Henry, The War Inevitable, March 23, 1775

Why does nobody else mention this... (4.00 / 1) (#161)
by GreenCrackBaby on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:31:33 PM EST

What if it is the pilot that is the terrorist? They would then have a pretty good insurance policy that their plans would as planned, without any interference.

Or just ignore the word terrorist. What if the pilot just caught his wife in bed with another man that morning and he wants to commit suicide by going out in flying colours? Who's going to stop him if he has a gun?

I could sit here and come up with 100s of scenarios that guns on planes won't help, and plenty more where guns on planes make things worse.



If they were.. (none / 0) (#184)
by influx on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:33:55 PM EST

What prevents them from simply crashing their own aircraft with no firearm needed?

---
The more you know, the less you understand.
[ Parent ]
It the pilot wants to go out with flying colours (none / 0) (#185)
by mercutio on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:04:19 PM EST

Why doesn't he just crash the fucking plane?

[ Parent ]
We all could (none / 0) (#203)
by lordhighofeverythingelse on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:10:21 AM EST

We all could. But as a terrorist attack, No not an american pilot.

[ Parent ]
Trusting the lives of their passengers (3.00 / 2) (#164)
by sludge on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:01:54 PM EST

Pilots are already trusted with the lives of their passengers, so this would not represent a signficant new responsibility for them.

Yes, but this does require more trust from the passengers. In the old situation, you only had to trust your life is in good hands as much as the pilot had to trust his own. In the current situation, it is possible, and even convenient in a terrorist situation, for a pilot to shoot a passenger (think hostage or passenger in the way) in order to get to the hijacker.

In this case, the pilot remains intact, where the passenger dies. This is a new responsibility the pilot has, and a new sort of trust the passengers must have. The pilot is no longer directly walking the rope with them in all possible life or death situations.
SLUDGE
Hiring in the Vancouver, British Columbia area

Rambo (none / 0) (#178)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:50:24 PM EST

Why do people ASSume that if you allow the pilot to be armed, he'll suddenly turn into Rambo? I would hope that the pilot has more common sense and clear thinking ability than the average bozo, and AFAIK, guns don't make intellegent people stupid!
Information wants to be beer.
The average bozo? (none / 0) (#235)
by joto on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 05:30:16 PM EST

I don't think people assume that an armed pilot will become Rambo. But let me make one thing clear: Rambo is not the average bozo!

Rambo is probably the most efficient weapon in the United States Army (with the exception of a nuclear bomb). If there was anyone I would want in the cockpit during an airplane hijack, it would be Rambo. (Rambo is actually capable of flying a helicopter, but if that still makes you nervous, there's always the co-pilot).

Remember that what you want when dealing with international terrorists in hi-jack situations is not calm people with common sense and clear thinking ability. You want deadly people with years of training into killing armed badguys. Think about it: do you think they learn much about negotiation at SAS og GSG-9? You do not want a fat, sissy, middle-aged man who carries a gun, but have no idea how to use it in an actual gunfight, you want Rambo. At least I do...

[ Parent ]

"The pilot should concentrate on flying the p (4.00 / 1) (#180)
by avdi on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:04:51 PM EST

Considering that in the sort of post 9/11 scenario this law is supposed to address, the alternative to subduing the terrorist(s) is having the plane be used as a weapon to kill hundreds or thousands, I'd say that this argument is moot.  If the pilot focusses on flying the plane and finds himself under the power of the terrorists as a result, he's dead anyway.  And since the alternative to subduing the terrorist(s) is death for all involved, the risk of the plane doing some violent maneuvers while the pilot is otherwise occupied is relatively unimportant.  Given the choice of being hurled about the sky for a bit while the pilot fights for his life, and being calmly flown into the side of a building, I'd much prefer the former thank you very much.

In an age when hijacking merely meant using living passengers as bargaining chips, it made sense for the pilot to cooperate.  When the alternative to resistance is certain death however, it makes sense to use any means necessary to avoid that fate.  No matter how risky.

--
Now leave us, and take your fish with you. - Faramir

Finally (none / 0) (#202)
by lordhighofeverythingelse on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:05:08 AM EST

Now here is an answer to the question. Let it be known that there is a co-pilot in the cockpit to take over while the pilot is busy blowing away the guy that wants to make your wife a widow for allah. Let us realize that we are a superpower and certain factions around the world have had enough of our bullshit (that's their problem) but If you look at Europe we are the least Security sensitive country around when it comes to airline travel. It's time we started protecting our own.

[ Parent ]
Fair enough but.. (none / 0) (#209)
by tonyenkiducx on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 07:59:23 AM EST

..how do the pilots know what is going to happen? Wouldnt they look foolish if they fight for there lives, end up crashing the plane to save "thousands", and then it turns out they were only after using the plane/passengers as a bargaining chip? Dont forget the 9/11 terrorists took control of the planes, and then crashed them, the pilots probably had little idea what was going to happen(Please correct me if Im wrong there, Im not 100% sure they didnt know)

Tony.
I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called utopia. And I see us invading that planet, because they'd never expect it
[ Parent ]
it's a fair point but... (none / 0) (#217)
by avdi on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:32:21 AM EST

I really don't see how, given the experience of 9/11, any pilot can ever responsibly assume anything but the worst.  I believe there were even reports, I don't recall the source, that the 9/11 terrorsts told everyone aboard that they'd all be fine as long as they cooperated.  There's really no way for a airplane captain to know for sure until after the fact, and it's very possible they'll never know if they successfully defeated the terrorist.  But given the price of being wrong about the terrorist's intentions, how can you justify anything other than assuming the very worst?

--
Now leave us, and take your fish with you. - Faramir
[ Parent ]
question (none / 0) (#189)
by jnemo131 on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:28:03 PM EST

does anyone have an article/link on how exactly the bullets aren't going to bust through the wall of the plane and cause obviously very bad things? I'd just like to read it.

"I heard the droning in the shrine of the sea-monkey"
-The Pixies
James Bond myth again? (none / 0) (#194)
by BobRobertson on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:34:00 AM EST

Guess what happens when a bullet penetrates the skin of the aircraft: A small hole occurs.

That's it. No one gets sucked out windows, no disasters. That's Hollywood and the New York Times filling your head with lies.

However, I believe you are correct that it should be a concern, and I will gladly carry only the frangable ammo that the airline's own policy requires.

Oh, that's right, the Fed.Gov.US has decided there's no constitution on airplanes, and I and everyone else is to be disarmed. Another "gun free" zone, another multiple-victim murder. No surprise.

What disgusts me is that these prohibitionists would rather see the entire plane go down in flames, shot down deliberately if even *suspected* of being hijacked, than "allow" passengers and crew to be armed if they want to be. Even the worst of mistakes by an armed passenger would do less damage and cost few or no lives in comparison.

Bob-
September 11, 2001. The most successful day for gun control and central planning in American history.
[ Parent ]

mew (none / 0) (#195)
by auraslip on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:19:37 AM EST

Sure it may be just a small hole. But if it's in the cockpit, a small can cause quite a lot of damage. If it hit's the wings(fuel), or engine it can cuase quite a lot of pain.

124
[ Parent ]
Size of the cockpit (none / 0) (#201)
by lordhighofeverythingelse on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 03:53:32 AM EST

Do you know how small that box really is. And plus there is a bullet that was made not to penetrate airline walls.

[ Parent ]
That is not the point (none / 0) (#225)
by hatshepsut on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:31:02 PM EST

I don't like the idea of guns on planes. I don't want to fly (and won't fly, if I have any choice or any knowledge of the situation) on a plane where the pilot (or anyone else) has a gun.

I am not worried that the "magic bb" effect will occur (even from inside the plane). I don't want to put an additional weapon in a place where it may be misused...not just by a terrorist, but by anyone.

How many people, before and since 9/11 have been detained/arrested/whatever for surly, drunken, panicky or hysterical behaviour on aircraft? How many of those (especially the belligerent ones) would have caused MORE trouble than they did, had they been able to gain access to a firearm?

There are enough potentially damaging weapons available to anyone, anywhere (arms, legs, hands, feet and head to start with), why do we need more when any attacker will have 10's or 100's of people available to subdue them who are now no longer passive bystanders?

[ Parent ]

Frangible bullets (none / 0) (#232)
by lnxcwby on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 11:19:16 AM EST

What air marshalls now carry are what are called frangible bullets. They are (to simplify it) like VERY small shotgun shells. The bullet is designed to break into very small pieces when it hits anything harder than itself. So if you were to shoot at say, the control panel of an aircraft, it would barely penetrate the surface, and cause very little damage. There is virtually no chance of it penetrating the fuselage of an aircraft. BUT if you were to shoot a pile of Jell-o with it, it would tear a nice hole in it.
--
"Bother," said Pooh, as he chambered another round...
[ Parent ]
What about Flight Attendants? (none / 0) (#191)
by FreeBarking on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:19:20 PM EST

Pilots are ususally pretty busy flying the airplane -- I doubt that they are going to have the time to effectively defend the airplane from terrorists.

But Flight Attendants are ordinarily not doing anything more important than serving peanuts; why not arm them?

The only reason I can think that I haven't heard this suggested is simple, if subtle, sexism: most Flight Attendants are women, and those proposing arming pilots don't think of women as being able to handle a firearm.  But the NRA types have been encouraging women to learn to handle guns for years, and there are also a lot more Flight Attendants on most flights than there are pilots.

Forget the pilots; arm the FA's!

(I'm not 100% sure that I really think this is a good idea, but I do think it's a better idea than arming pilots...)

Re: What about Flight Attendants (none / 0) (#192)
by SteveTheRed on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:41:59 PM EST

Before I moved on to bigger and better things, I was a correctional officer at a medium/high security state prison. The prison that I worked at was a converted state psychiatric hospital, so the inmates were housed in open dorms (Which is a horsesh*t design for a prison, BTW.)

At any given time I and a partner were in open contact with about fifty to one hundred inmates, and neither one of us carried a gun. Our main weapons were good manners and a radio.

The reason that I didn't have a gun wasn't sexism, racism or any other kind of -ism. I didn't carry a gun because the 50:1 ratio virtually guaranteed that any weapon that I had would be taken away from me by one or more of the prisoners

I believe that the same logic applies to the Flight Attendants: the risk of becoming the supplier of weapons to the hijackers is just too great.





[ Parent ]
50 to 1 odds... (none / 0) (#223)
by The Private Fedora on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:22:07 PM EST

True, if a plane has 50 hijackers on it, a gun is not going to help.

That said, I agree that arming flight attendants is risky, as they will have no warning of someone attempting to get it. A pilot, on the other hand, would have a few minutes of someone trying to break into the cockpit to prepare for it.

-------
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?"
Patrick Henry, The War Inevitable, March 23, 1775
[ Parent ]

Problem with that... (5.00 / 1) (#193)
by Eater on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:42:37 PM EST

If you arm a flight attendant, one need only subdue one or two such flight attendants and become fully armed without needing to smuggle any weapons on board. Pilots, on the other hand, are not in contact with passangers, and would probably notice if someone entered the cockpit with the intent of taking their weapons or gaining control of the plane.

Eater.

[ Parent ]
Really bad idea (3.66 / 3) (#199)
by onemorechip on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:49:44 AM EST

Just having guns in the secured part of the airport (and not in the hands of law enforcement), let alone on actual airplanes, is enough to raise red flags about this.

I'd like to know how we plan to track the guns that will be brought into airports by pilots and make sure each pilot's gun stays with her until she leaves the airport at her destination. Gotta worry about theft or loss of a gun that may not get noticed or reported promptly, since the pilot has other duties to attend to.

Let's hope the airport security guards are better than the guys who were supposed to guard this guy. Otherwise, how long before some hijacker figures out how to impersonate a pilot and brings his own gun, no suspicions raised by the security guards since the guy is carrying a pilot's license.

It might have been wiser to try this with tasers first, say for a period of three years, before deciding whether to allow pilots to carry lethal weapons.

Let's hope they do very, very good background checks on those pilots who ask to carry guns.
--------------------------------------------------

I did my essay on mushrooms. It's about cats.

Are you kidding me (3.00 / 2) (#200)
by lordhighofeverythingelse on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 03:50:06 AM EST

Let me tell you something. Most of these guys that you trust with your life @ 30 thousand feet are all X-military and have been trained in gun control. And those who are not,will be thoroughly trained to make sure that they get that son of a bitch right in the chest. (Fucking dead center). Have you forgotten about Sept.11 you liberal fuck.

[ Parent ]
The gun is the problem? (none / 0) (#211)
by Citori on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 08:52:36 AM EST

So you are more concerned about the fact that a terrorist might impersonate a pilot, thus being able to bring a gun on a plane?

What about the giant missle full of jet fuel that he will have access to?

[ Parent ]

Great (3.75 / 4) (#210)
by Betcour on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 08:28:51 AM EST

Let me sum this up :
A lot of people, stacked up closely in a small metal box loaded with gas, will fly at high speed and high altitude in presurized environement. The guys who are normally responsible of staying in the cockpit to keep the things from crashing in a ball of fire will be equiped with a gun and instructed to leave the cockpot and shoot hijackers amongst the other passengers.

Now I feel so much safer...

Your sum doesn't add up (none / 0) (#239)
by obyteme on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 08:50:07 AM EST

...instructed to leave the cockpot and shoot hijackers amongst the other passengers.

WHAT?!!! Where in the hell did you get this from? Let me see, an armed pilot upon hearing from an attendant that a hijacking is taking place. Is going to unlock the cockpit door (thereby giving anyone the chance to get into the cockpit) and then yell for everyone (except those of you who are trying to hijack the plane) to duck so that he can shoot the bad guys. It always amazes me how logic plays no part in a liberals point of view. Pilots train their whole lives to stay calm during a crisis, and yet liberals would have you believe that if you allow them to carry a gun to defend the plane, and its passengers,they are going to turn into Barney Fife and just shoot anything that moves or rattles. Good lord folks...use your head.


---------------------------------------:-p
To err is human, or I could be wrong.
If you can't poke fun at it, get a sharper wit.


[ Parent ]
September 11th will never happen again (none / 0) (#214)
by Herring on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 10:02:10 AM EST

(At least not on a passenger jet).

In fact, I think any hijacking is now unlikely. Passengers, cabin crew and flight crew are now expecting the worst in any hijacking situation. Between them, they would subdue any hijackers before the plan could hit anything major with or without firearms. If the passengers and crew fail (unlikey) then the plane will be blown out of the sky by a military jet. 9/11 will not happen again.

Something else might ....



Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
fighting the last war (none / 0) (#238)
by lateral on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 07:12:05 PM EST

I believe there is a saying in the military. "You always train for your last war".

Which is of course exactly what is going on now and why we were so unprepared for something like the events of September 11th, it was totally new. I concur, passengers are a real threat to terrorists now and the with so many other options for causing dispruption available I'd be astonished if we saw another plane hijacking in the USA.

L

[ Parent ]

International Flights? (4.00 / 1) (#216)
by andymurd on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:28:45 AM EST

Is this only domestic US flights or international too? The article isn't clear and the link to CNN doesn't mention it.

I only ask because here in the UK, we're going to end up with a lot of pilots filling our jails for possession of a firearm.

You know, I'm pro-gun, but this is nuts. (none / 0) (#231)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:35:20 PM EST

Pilots aren't police, airlines aren't going to tolerate the lawsuits if a pilot shoots someone, the risks to the aircraft from gunfire, jeez.....

Can't they just feed the passengers bad fish for dinner, like usual? Then they'll all be too nauseous to hijack anything...


--
The gift that lasts a lifetime: Give your child "mental blocks" this christmas!


Incredible ignorance (5.00 / 1) (#236)
by Rduke on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 11:47:13 PM EST

about firearms, "kill zones", stun guns, extreme maneuvers, etc. Has nobody posting here ever fired a gun in their lives? 1. "Pilots should be worried about flying the plane and landing it safely." Oh My God. How do you think he's going to fly with his throat slit? Or do you think he should move the plane into position for the hot Sidewinder coming up his ass? 2. "We don't need any crazy pilot to go off and shoot people." OK, these are people who most have had military training, have shot guns in the past, who are trusted to fly you safely 30,000 ft above the ground, but you put a pistol in his hands, and next thing you know, he can't be trusted. Cut the BS. Chances are, if a pilot has to shoot someone, it's because he's got a damned good reason to. 3. "He could do maneuvers to keep the terrorists off-balance." And your ever-helpful Air Marshall. 4. "We should just use Air Marshalls." Too bad AM's only travel on planes going in and out of DC (to protect the politicians), cover only 2% of all planes in the air, and, as stated in another post, are generally incompetent. 5. "We need more security on the ground." No, we need BETTER security on the ground. No more harrassing little old ladies from Siuox City about their nailclippers. Remember the shooting at LAX on the Fourth? The guy killed 2 people before he was shot dead by, you guessed it, A MAN WITH A GUN. Think of how many people would have died if the Law had taken away that security guard's gun. Hurts, doesn't it, liberals? 6. "A bullet hole will cause a plane to decompress." Guess what, people, HOLLYWOOD HAS LIED TO YOU. Jetliners are designed to be able to fly and land safely with a 5 foot by 5 foot hole ripped in the fuselage. A plane will not explode if shot with a bullet. If that were the case, every WW2 fighter pilot would have been an Ace his first day in battle. 7. "Kill Zones and Stun Guns." The kill zone for a pilot is the cabin door. In a recent video filmed by the pilots union, it showed how fast a typical door can be kicked down. 13 seconds. Enough time to land the plane? No. The video then shows the effects of stun guns compared to bullets. Stun guns in a cockpit is a terrible idea. They can be negated by seat cushions. A bullet, on the other hand, isn't impeded by a cushion, and if it's fired towards the door (pilots have to get special training, folks. It'll be more than a day at the range) they will kill whomever is trying to kill them. I know that this type of logic simply astounds liberals, but then again, common sense usually does.

Chose (none / 0) (#242)
by obyteme on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 07:46:39 AM EST

You have an airliner with everyone you have ever cared about on it. There are also 3 terrorists on board armed with razor blades smuggled in the soles of their shoes. When the terrorists make their move they all rush towards the cockpit. The passengers fight back and struggle with 2 of the terrorists but the 3rd is able to get to the cockpit door. It takes the 3rd terrorist just seconds to break through the cabin door. All of this has taken less than a minute. The Pilots have not had time to unbuckle themselves and get to the axe in the cockpit. They are able to let air control know that they believe they are being hijacked, so now a fighter is being dispatched to intercept them.

What would you want to happen now?

Terrorist slashes his way into the cockpit and nosedives the plane into the ground? Lets be honest, if another terrorist attempts to hijack a plane it will not be to use it as a missile but just to kill everyone on board. They know that once they have control that is only a matter of time before they are shot down. In fact he probably doesn't have to take complete control of the plane but in a fight with the pilots he may be able to force the plane to crash.

I think I would prefer that the co-pilot pull out the gun and put one right between the eyes of the 3rd terrorist as he puts his head through the door.


---------------------------------------:-p
To err is human, or I could be wrong.
If you can't poke fun at it, get a sharper wit.


The Mile High Gun Club | 242 comments (226 topical, 16 editorial, 2 hidden)
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