First, it was a semi-satirical Glenn Beck. Now the cogitators at americanthinker.com have joined the conservative chorus asking if it’s time to let airline passengers to pack heat. Denis Keohane reckons no. Instead, he proposes a less-than-ballistic citizen militia. “As opposed to the increasingly absurd steps being taken to identify and keep weapons off commercial aircraft, it would be advisable and practical to identify and empower volunteer counter-terrorists among the passengers, initially at least on domestic flights or on international flights by domestic carriers.” Scribe Denis Keohane doesn’t want just anyone joining his imaginary flying militia. He reckons there should be a specially-selected cadre of trained passengers . . .

Qualifications can be set as to age, state of health, physical capabilities, absence of a criminal record, provision of character references, education level, and pertinent background, such as experience in law enforcement, the military, martial arts, or other applicable areas. Volunteers could agree to place themselves under the command of flight crews and to accept any seat they are asked to occupy, in understanding that there could be situations in which the crew would deem it a proper precaution to have such a volunteer or volunteers seated in close proximity to a possible threat. They could also agree to stay alert for the duration of the flight…

‘Cause the world needs more lerts. Citizen militia? I’ve got a better idea. How about we switch from electronic detection to the Israeli method of interrogation and profiling and then arm well-trained air marshalls to fly on board a statistically significant number of flights? Or train and arm the flight attendants?

5 Responses to Time to Arm Airline Passengers?

  1. "How about we switch from electronic detection to the Israeli method of interrogation and profiling?"

    Even if it was legal, it's logistically impossible. What works in a small country (less than the size of New Jersey)won't work here. Israel has two international airports, with one of them handling the bulk of the passengers. There are close to four dozen international ariports in the US. We have too many passengers and too many airports, and there is too little time to interview all the possibles. Moreover, the "Israeli system" would require too much training of TSA agents, many of whom have sub-room temperature IQs.

  2. How about arming folks with something less … complicated … than a firearm? For instance, hand everyone a bowie knife. No worries about whether the safety's on, no worries about whether it's loaded, no failure to feed, and it's pretty tough to over-penetrate, too. Plus no chance of hitting a fuel tank on accident. Sounds good enough to me.

  3. An e-mail has been sent to Mr. Farago requesting a public retraction. The article at American Thinker did not propose, endorse or suggest arming passengers with guns of any type, as he claims. Stand by.

  4. E-mail received, and it's true: I misrepresented Mr. Keohane's position. I've re-written the text to reflect his views. I apologize to Mr. Keohane for my mistake, which was made in haste rather than malice.

  5. Thanks for the clarification! Would just point out in addition that I am not aware of any "conservative chorus asking if it's time to let airline passengers pack heat" (as you claim) nor of supposed "cogitators" at American Thinker joining such a chorus. Then too, I didn't "reckon no, not yet" to such an idea, I explicitly ruled it out! Think volunteer fire departments, EMS and Rescue Squads, all of which we've had for decades to good effect. As I pointed out, it was passengers who acted beneficially on United 93, and with the Shoe and Underwear Bombers. And the reason for the federal-state partnership as with a militia is because the country has had legal templates for that since our inception that can be adapted. See "National Guard" for an example. Having said that, you're a stand up guy for admitting a mistake that I fully acknowledge was not out of any malice on your part. I've had to make similar apology myself. Regards!

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