Two of the 9/11 flights took off from my home city of Boston and crashed into NYC (a city I regard as my second home). I met Captain John Ogonowski on a flight back in December 2000 when he flew my family out to LAX
. Since I'm angling for a pilot job in the future, I believe I have a personal stake invested here.
I believe guns should have been a required item way before 9/11. I remember writing a paper advocating the use of firearms to deter air rage in high school. My belief was further augmented by the near disaster of an Alaskan Airlines plane that almost went into the drink after a demented individual almost managed to subdue the flight crew. I believed that if a passenger knew that a pilot had a gun and was trained and willing to use the firearm then he/she wouldn't be so quick to beat up the flight crew.
As I learn more and more about the hijacking scenario, the only way that I can think of to stop them would be to have a gun in the cockpit. It's easy for these armchair pilots to object to this tactic when it's not their ass on the line day in and day out. Do you know who's sitting next to you?
If you think the TSA
is the holy grail that is going to stop a potential hijacker, you're in candy land. When the TSA
isn't roughing up properly credentialed flight crews and old ladies, they're failing FAA and DOT tests. In fact when they were tested last July they had an 80-90% failure rate! That's just as bad, if not worse, than the rent-a-cops we had before. As of today, there is nothing to suggest that anything has changed. Sure the next hijacker isn't going to carry something as egregious as a box cutter, but a credit card whittled down to a knife can do just as much damage and last time I checked the TSA
doesn't check wallets.
Also, I haven't been flying recently (last flight I took was in January) and I noticed that on my flights the cockpit doors still weren't reinforced (unless you count a bar as reinforcement). If they are, a reinforcement is akin to the watertight doors on the Titanic to a determined hijacker; they buy you time and time only.
Thirdly, it has been stated that for the sky marshall program to be truly effective they need to have 4-5 marshalls PER
FLIGHT. Since there are around 4,000-5,000 flights airborne at a peak time that would mean that the TSA
would need to employ around 16,000-25,000 marshalls at a minimum. Let's just double that number to around 50,000 for misconnects, vacation time, sick time, and shift change. For comparison the Secret Service employs only 5,000 agents in TOTAL for their duel missions of counterfeiting and protection of dignitaries.
In summation, the only true way to make 100% certain that there is a way to fight back is to arm the pilots. If a hijacker manages to gain control of that weapon, well then all is lost. Isn't all lost if he manages to breach the door and subdue the pilots anyhow? At least this way we have a chance to change the outcome.
Thank you for your time.
- Neil Harrison