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News & Editorials

Is it time to arm our airline pilots?

By Captain Dennis Jackson
Armed Females of America Advisor

You can bet your sweet ass it is!

April 7, 1994 a disgruntled engineer facing disciplinary action attacked the flight deck crew of Federal Express flight 705. The hijacker planned to overpower the crew by bludgeoning them with a hammer and crash the heavily loaded DC 10 in to the FEDEX headquarters. His plan was thwarted by the resolve of the crewmembers; although severely injured, they fought the hijacker and brought the damaged aircraft to a safe landing.

On July 23, 1999 a hijacker was able to force himself into the cockpit of an All Nippon Airlines Boeing 747 loaded with 517 passengers. After he gained entrance to the flight deck he proceeded to attack the crew with a 12 inch knife and fatally stabbed the captain before being overpowered by the remaining crew and passengers.

Today, September 11, 2001, similar events occurred in America. However, we all know the final outcome of these senseless acts of war against innocent civilians. In the two examples above there were three crewmembers on those aircraft to assist one another in fending off the attacks from a lone hijacker. In the four terrorist hijackings Tuesday there were only two pilots on board the aircraft and were virtually helpless against a surprise attack by multiple hijackers.

Pilots are well trained and equipped to deal with every emergency imaginable in the air. We are even trained in specific ways of dealing with hijackers. There are obvious reasons why I won't go into the details of such training and tactics. For the most part pilots are trained and instructed to negotiate with hijackers and try to minimize the risk to loss of life; adhere to the demands of the hijacker and get the aircraft on the ground as soon as possible.

What the pilots in the four aircraft involved had to deal with on Tuesday was something not covered in our training…determined and fanatical individuals who are Hell bent to take out as many innocent people as possible! There was no hope or expectation of negotiation since these people consider it an honor to die for their God! They weren't asking for a free trip to Cuba or a pizza and six pack!

Since pilots are treated the same as passengers when arriving for work and to pass through the same kind of security, it is impossible for a pilot to have any device suitable for self-protection. Much less, any item suitable to ensure the safety of the other crewmembers or passengers in the event of an act occurring such as we all witnessed on Tuesday.

It should be noted that there was not a break down in airport security on Tuesday. There was nothing more that security could have done to prevent this tragedy. No laws were broken, except for the evil intent of the perpetrators.

The last line of defense is always the flight crew.

Pilots are entrusted with the safety and security of multi-million dollar aircraft and the lives of hundreds of passengers a day. Why in the world can they not be trusted with the possession and control of a simple firearm? I can understand that not all pilots would want to carry a firearm, and I don't have an issue with that. But what right does anyone have in telling me I can't exercise that right for myself? There are many professional pilots with law enforcement experience and many more with training in personal protection with firearms. I am sure many more would sign up for such training.

The four aircraft that crashed Tuesday with suicidal murderers at the controls could have been prevented by armed crewmembers at the controls. Because of our ignorant and self-serving laws, an unknown number of hijackers took control of the lives of 266 passengers and crew and caused the deaths of ten of thousands more innocent victims armed with nothing more than BOX CUTTERS!
These tragic crashes could have been prevented!

People, this is insanity in its purest form! We need to demand more accountability from our government and reverse these laws that stifle a pilots' ability to take full control of any threat or situation that might arise on board his or her aircraft.

If arming pilots is not the answer, what is? You want Sky Marshals? You also want to pay an additional tax on your ticket price to pay for them? If the law was to be reversed tomorrow and no pilot ever carried a firearm on an aircraft the cowardly cretins who committed these acts of war would know better than to bring a box cutter to a gunfight. Just the possibility that a victim pilot might be armed would be an acceptable deterrent to future air piracy.

Every person who ever flies on commercial airliners or has loved ones that do, should immediately call or write their representatives in Congress and demand that this law be enacted now on an emergency basis to prevent more of these tragedies.

America can never return to a time before September 11, 2001, we can only go forward. The only question left is: Are we going forward standing up, or are we going forward dragged along on our butts by those who will continue to terrorize us? You decide!

Related Reading

The F.A.A. "Increased Security Measures" Are Insultingly Fraudulent
Press Release from the F.A.A. (Feeble-ize America Association)
And a Response, Plus Action Steps



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Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands? — Patrick Henry, 3 J. Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions 45, 2d ed. Philadelphia, 1836

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