North American Network Operators Group

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RE: front sight [OT]

  • From: David Schwartz
  • Date: Fri Sep 14 22:24:10 2001

> I'm a bit ignorant in this respect, but wouldn't shooting a gun in an
> airplane risk depressurizing the plane and/or shooting innocent people on
> the flight?

	There is no risk of depressurizing the plane if the guns are designed for
use onboard an airplane. Armor piercing bullets will leave a bullet-sized
hole in the plane which is very unlikely to harm it in any significant way.
However, the ideal ammo to use is solid nylon slugs. These are about as
lethal as normal bullets and will do nothing but dent a plane's body.

	As for the risk of shooting innocent people, yes, of course. That's the
reason to train the pilots and co-pilots rather than just giving them guns
and hoping they use them safely. Previously, one might think that it's much
wiser to wait for the plane to land and then deal with the situation on the
ground but that was before we realized that someone could use a hijacked
plane to kill thousands of people. On balance, losing a *few* innocent lives
is a better deal.

	On the other hand, even if we had armed pilots and co-pilots, it's possible
they still would have chosen not to use force in this situation. I find it
hard to imagine a pilot or co-pilot would have allowed more stewardesses to
be stabbed. So had we done that in the past, it still might not have avoided
this incident. However, now I think people will look at hijacking much
differently, so this could be part of a way to prevent a repeat, assuming
the 'rules of engagement' are carefully drafted.

> This doesn't sound like much of a solution.  Maybe
> we can equip
> pilots with chinese stars, nunchucks, and commando knives????????   Would
> that work?  Does that sounds ridiculous?  I think so.

> 	Everyone is angry and wants to be protected, but do we want
> to become a
> society where we need to carry our AK-47s to the grocery store to pick up
> milk?  Great Britian police don't carry firearms...

	You are asking precisely the wrong question. Nobody wants a society where
we need to have guns on planes, but that's the society we live in. The
question to ask is whether we want to live in a society where we are
disarmed by force such that we either have to consent to frequent invasive
searches or be vulnerable to any criminal who chooses to break the rules.

> 	I don't know what the solution is, but guns in planes don't
> make me feel
> safe (regardless of who's carrying them).

	The goal is not to make you feel safe. The goal is to avoid a repeat
incident. That is, the goal is to make it so people actually *are* safe.
Would you feel more safe knowing that only those the hijackers are armed?

	Personally, I think it might make more sense to randomly arm a subset of
the flight attendants and other crew members. It may also make sense to arm
relief crew and other people who may happen to be onboard a plane.