T Nation

Arming Pilots: Good or Bad?

No, he doesn’t get drunk before flying, but often has three days to layover in a strange city, and nothing wrong in winding down with a glass of wine.

You don’t trust a pilot with a gun, but you TRUST HIM TO TAKE OFF, FLY YOU AROUND AT 30,000+ FEET FOR HOURS AND LAND.

Excuse me if I’m a little baffled.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
JustTheFacts wrote:
I notice they didn’t once mention it was perfectly fine to carry for 40 YEARS until just two months prior to 9/11.

The aviation agency said, however, that throughout the life of the rule not a single U.S. air carrier took advantage of it, effectively rendering it “moot,” according to one agency official.[/quote]

THEY also said, they received no prior warnings about al-Qaeda. Rescinding a 40 year rule ASSURED there were no armed pilots on the flights.

A rule on the books for 40 years is suddenly taken away because nobody uses it? In all of American commercial aviation not a single pilot/gun advocate who wouldn’t carry if he could?

[i]John Ogonowski was captain of American Airlines flight 11. Ogonowski was an Air Force fighter pilot in Vietnam.

Victor Saracini was captain of United Airlines Flight 175. Saracini was a former Vietnam fighter pilot.

Chic Burlingame was captain of American Airlines Flight 77. Burlingame was a graduate of Naval Academy and flew F-4s in Vietnam.

LeRoy Homer was the first officer of United Airlines flight 93. Homer was a former Air Force pilot.[/i]

It seems to me that trusting pilots to carry or not doesn’t cover the whole issue. In the 9-11 hijackings there were multiple hijackers and if you stack 5 or 6 guys with no fear of death outside the cockpit door no matter how good of a shot the pilot is if he opens that door he is going to get taken down. A really good shot may take a few with him but he will be overpowered.

In the case of a hijacking the best thing a pilot can do is get his plane on the ground, once it has landed there are plenty of special ops teams capable of assaulting and retaking an aircraft. So wouldn’t the best option be making the cockpit completely inaccessible, that way the pilots can focus on doing their job, getting the plane down safely.
–WhoIsJohnGalt

WhoIsJohnGalt is right on the money.

[quote]Rebecca wrote:
No, he doesn’t get drunk before flying, but often has three days to layover in a strange city, and nothing wrong in winding down with a glass of wine.

You don’t trust a pilot with a gun, but you TRUST HIM TO TAKE OFF, FLY YOU AROUND AT 30,000+ FEET FOR HOURS AND LAND.

Excuse me if I’m a little baffled.[/quote]

I’m sorry that this confuses you. I don’t know how to make it any simpler.

I trust a pilot to do his job, not to do the job of law enforcement, especially in a situation as sensitive as in an airplane flying at 30,000 feet where one mistake with a handgun has the potential to kill everyone and the pilot is working off of a week long gun safety program taught by the federal government (or taught by the entity that offers the lowest bid). I feel even more strongly about this when the problem we are trying to solve, to keep people out of the cockpit, could be solved by simply not allowing people to access the cockpit. Apparently that solution is too obvious, and does not include the use of guns which increases the “cool” factor I guess.

Again, I apologize if this is confusing to you. I’m not sure I can simplify this any further for your benefit though.

Also, it seems the “drunk” comment went over your head. Re-read my post and take another stab at it.

I am licensed to carry concealed, and I would never choose to carry a handgun on an airplane given only a government regulated week long course because I don’t feel that training is sufficient to prepare me for such a sensitive environment, and no matter how good I think I am with my weapon one mistake (in discharge or in having it taken from me forcefully) could have utterly disasterous effects. I would rather defer that duty to trained law enforcement agents. Thanks for your comments.

As a side note to this serious discussion…Can anyone imagine if we actually did make it impossible to access the cockpit from within the plane, and all of the pilots had simultaneous heart attacks?

I can just imagine being on that plane as it goes down, a passenger there that can fly but ironically can’t access the cockpit, and you of you guys sitting there muttering: “shoulda just gave’em guns”. My last minutes proving you fuckers right. What a nightmare.

most pilots are former military anyway so most can us guns well enough, with specialized training they con do even better. so i’m all for it.

semper fi

What is your point? No one was carrying guns before the rule change!

Do you think this was a conspiracy?

[quote]WhoIsJohnGalt wrote:
It seems to me that trusting pilots to carry or not doesn’t cover the whole issue. In the 9-11 hijackings there were multiple hijackers and if you stack 5 or 6 guys with no fear of death outside the cockpit door no matter how good of a shot the pilot is if he opens that door he is going to get taken down. A really good shot may take a few with him but he will be overpowered.

In the case of a hijacking the best thing a pilot can do is get his plane on the ground, once it has landed there are plenty of special ops teams capable of assaulting and retaking an aircraft. So wouldn’t the best option be making the cockpit completely inaccessible, that way the pilots can focus on doing their job, getting the plane down safely.
–WhoIsJohnGalt[/quote]

Who is-

Some good points. However, a handgun would have changed the balance substantially. Imagine if Atta was shot. The plane never hits the WTC. It crashes somewhere else. Additionally if I was the pilot and they got in. I want a handgun. It’s the best weapon, in that situation, to deal with the problem.

Fortifying the cockpit is a great idea. A good long range solution. Seperate entrances etc. Great idea. Redesign and construction aside I think it is a good plan. arming the pilots works almost right away.

As to training and being prepared. The more the better. Until that happens, I’ll take a veteran pilot with a pistol over a stewardess with a pot of hot coffee.

The fear of death that a terrorist has can also be used against them. It’s not the strength that it appears to be. Our military has devestated many martyr’s precisely because of their excitement and passion to become martyrs.

The government has no Constitutional authority to selectively ban or “authorize” gun use anywhere - be it in airplanes, schools, malls, or libraries. The universal right of U.S. citizens to keep and bear arms was established in the second Amendment. Anything that came after is completely null and void.

[quote]Al Shades wrote:
The government has no Constitutional authority to ban or “authorize” gun use anywhere - be it in airplanes, schools, malls, or libraries. [/quote]

And upon what piece of Constitutional law analysis are you drawing upon to make that conclusion? The 2nd Amendment is not any kind of blank check to allow all kinds of gun use and is not interpreted as such… unless, you are making a different point that isn’t evident from your post.

I am labouring under the pretense that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land (in theory, not in practice). From this follows my previous statement.

[quote]Al Shades wrote:
I am labouring under the pretense that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land (in theory, not in practice). From this follows my previous statement. [/quote]

Fair enough. The edited addition to your original posted helped clarify as well what you were getting at.

There are a variety of means by which to interpret the Constitution and you are going with a face value reading of it, it would seem. The 2nd Amendment, even if taken as 100% face value, is not a universal right to bear arms. Hell, it is caveated right from the start:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
First off, we don’t even have militias now (except for those delightful bands of separatists, white supremacists, etc. roaming about the country) and we have a standing army.

Also, your interpretation would assume the Constitution was never meant to be a living document or interpreted over time (which is another approach). Just set in stone from the start and that is all there ever is to it again except for formal Constitutional amendments.

So sure, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land (at least in those areas where it applies to the actions of the federal government and not in those areas specifically left to the states).

I’m just not buying that the amendment is so obvious in its application, but you certainly do make an argument that some Constitutional scholars have made.

Kuz

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
What is your point? No one was carrying guns before the rule change!

Do you think this was a conspiracy?[/quote]

You ask me, “do I think this is a conspiracy?” I’d like to think not - but taken in context with the “hundreds” of other “coincidences” surrounding 9/11, it’s just one more improbability.

You’d like to think it’s not relevant because - “No one was carrying guns before the rule change!” - and you know that because an aviation spokesperson said so.

All I’m saying is, knowing how a majority of Americans feel about gun ownership, and being that a good majority of commercial pilots are ex-military besides (all four 9/11 pilots were) - don’t you find it odd that NOT ONE pilot would even bother carrying, even though they could?

But say that is entirely true - nobody bothered to carry even though they could. After FORTY years, they decide to rescind a rule that NOBODY took advantage of anyway.

As if they JUST decided - this rule that’s been on the books for 40 years that nobody uses is creating so many “problems” that maybe we should ban pilots from carrying handguns. Since no pilot is carrying anyway, pilots are now banned from carrying a handgun! (“coincidentally” only two months before 9/11)

All the while we now know the FAA was getting an average of TWO WARNINGS A WEEK that alQaeda is planning to HIJACK COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT and FLY THEM INTO BUILDINGS.

After 9/11, aviation officials were claiming they had no prior warnings of highjackings, so this particular could be blown off as purely coincidental - we now know that was total BS.

The government used 9/11 as a pretext to spend over $300 billion dollars of our money to invade another country that had nothing to do with 9/11 - NOTHING they said about Iraq has been true - and OBL is still on the loose… if it’s not all some big plan or conspiracy, then it’s complete incompetence on the grandest scale - take your pick.

When you ask yourself - “Who REALLY benefited from 9/11?” - it’s not too hard to figure out.

Not to hijack the thread…and, I know the Second Amendment has already been done…but.

I think that anytime you discuss the Second Amendment, or our Constitution in general, it is important to remember the time, and the conditions under which it was written.

The men who wrote the Constitution had just finished fighting a war against an oppressive government. Many of the soldiers who served in this war were carrying their own personal firearms.

It is my personal belief that our founding fathers cleary intended for the Second Amendent to set in stone the individual right to keep and bear arms. As a matter a fact, I think if any of them could walk among us today, I think that they would be amazed that this was even in question. The Constitution does not state that the government “gives” us these rights, but they are endowed by our creator.

As to the question at hand.

I would like to see inaccessible doors.

And I would also like for the pilot, and the co-pilot to be armed, just in case someone figures out how to get through the miracle door.

If the pilot goes bonkers, the fact that he has a gun, should be a moot point if he is back there behind that miracle door. Just be glad the co-pilot has a gun so he can take him out, and take control of the plane.

Speaking of whacky scenarios, I can see two pilots fighting over the affection of the long legged flight attendent… blam blam… crash.

[quote]vroom wrote:
Speaking of whacky scenarios, I can see two pilots fighting over the affection of the long legged flight attendent… blam blam… crash.[/quote]

Now that’s an accident waiting to happen.

I initially thought there was no reason for pilots to NOT carry guns, but there are a few reasons. One, there is in fact a plane full of people waiting to catch that bullet on the other end of some psycho’s body, and, though it might be irrelavent, they are in a pressurized cabin a few miles up.

[quote]veruvius wrote:
I initially thought there was no reason for pilots to NOT carry guns, but there are a few reasons. One, there is in fact a plane full of people waiting to catch that bullet on the other end of some psycho’s body, and, though it might be irrelavent, they are in a pressurized cabin a few miles up.[/quote]

Actually bullet holes through the fuselage would not have the catastrophic effect your thinking of - that’s really not one of the major concerns of arming pilots.

There is the possibility that a passenger or two or three gets shot - the alternative is, the plane slams into a skyscraper and 3000 people die.

You have to assume your protecting the plane from soneone who has managed to get a weapon onboard the flight in the first place - SOMEBODY needs to be armed. Otherwise your at the mercy of anyone with a pair of concealed nail clippers (that’s why they take em’ from you, right? - so you can’t commandeer the plane)

[quote]Kuz wrote:
Fair enough. The edited addition to your original posted helped clarify as well what you were getting at.

There are a variety of means by which to interpret the Constitution and you are going with a face value reading of it, it would seem. The 2nd Amendment, even if taken as 100% face value, is not a universal right to bear arms. Hell, it is caveated right from the start:

'A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

First off, we don’t even have militias now (except for those delightful bands of separatists, white supremacists, etc. roaming about the country) and we have a standing army.’[/quote]

A few points:

  1. Yes, I do take the Constitution at face value, because historical evidence suggests that it was meant to be a supreme and literal document. Particularly so for the Bill of Rights, which was ratified as a concession to those who felt that a strong and specific set of guidelines was needed in order to keep the power of the federal government in check.

  2. I do not share your interpretation of the militia clause in the Second Amendment, and therefore do not find any inherent caveat. I sense that the true purpose of having a domestic militia has been largely forgotten by modern day conservatives, who now misinterpret it as a voluntary defense force comprised of citizens serving only for the purpose of guarding against foreign threats.

This is an easy conclusion to arrive upon from the “popcorn history” that citizens are taught in government schools regarding Paul Revere, the Minutemen et al. However, it is incorrect and off-topic. The purpose of a citizen’s militia as described in the Second Amendment is not to guard against foreign threats but domestic tyranny. It is designed to be the perpetual watchdog of governmental power, and for this very reason, a well-armed and educated citizenry is deemed essential for the preservation of freedom.

Sadly enough, these days almost noone makes the connection between the right to bear arms in-and-of itself and the “watchdog” aspect inherent to this right, least of all conservatives. Sure, Billy Bob is proud of his gun because it enables him to shoot cooters, and he’s proud of his country because he has been told that people in other countries can’t own guns, but he has no idea of the significance of any of this. He views it as a basic right of ownership rather than the right of self-defense which it really is.

Since conservatives have almost entirely forgotten this fundamental connection, the government has been more than willing to capitalize on it. As a result, there are now a myriad of gun control laws which keep guns in the hands of criminals but prevent innocent people from obtaining them for self defense; there are bans on assault rifles and any other particularly effective forms of weaponry, which attempt to ensure that the citizenry can be subjugated at will by the State due to its command of superior technology; the State has cracked down on all the remaining vestiges of armed and independant citizens in its domain - for examples, look no further than Ruby Ridge and Waco.

Rather than a single standing army for defending its borders, as ordained in the Constitution, the State has established an Imperial Army which is used to police the entire world and maintain perpetual war for the benefit of the ruling class. The Second Amendment is null and void, as is the rest of the Constitution. The State has long since completed a natural transition from Democratic Republic to Textbook Tyranny.

http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew/articles/99/liberty.html

George Washington: “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence.”

Thomas Jefferson: “And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. . . . The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

There are many other statements by our Founders about our right to keep and bear arms. Reading what they had to say points out clearly that the Second Amendment wasn’t written into our Bill of Rights so that we could go duck and deer hunting or shoot clay pigeons over the weekend. The Second Amendment was given to us as protection against tyranny by the federal government and the Congress of the United States.

  1. I’m fairly sure that the United States had a standing Army when the Constitution was ratified.