Friday, July 16, 2004

Terror in the Skies, Again? Big Deal.

So what?

Justene at Calblog says this shows we're psychologically unfit to win the war on terror. Others say it shows we're not ready for the next one.

I say they have blinders on. The concerned public does, like Hugh Hewitt, not the airlines or the government.

We're talking about a plane that was not hijacked. That is a nonevent. Under our system, we're worried about planes that get hijacked. And we've got a fairly fool-proof plan to beat the bad guys.

First, airport screening. It didn't work so well that nobody found a cause for alarm, but again, it didn't fail so that there was a hijacking.

So what if it fails? Then the second line of defense comes in. Our Air Force will race to the plane and blow it up in midair, so that it falls to the ground in a million one-pound pieces instead of one million-pound projectile.

Saving the passengers and crew? Giving them time and training to repel terrorists? Talking them down to a safe landing? Nice if it happens, but nobody's counting on it.

Go reread that article with this in mind: everybody in this story is a security write-off. Had their worst fears been realized, we'd have killed them all ourselves.

Because nearly 9 out of 10 people who died on 9/11 weren't on board a plane. By the time they knew their peril it was too late. They didn't agree to take any risks with their lives, like the people who bought a ticket to ride in an airplane.

So faced with a possible disaster that will kill everyone in the plane AND many more on the ground, or averting that disaster by simply destroying the plane and all aboard it, we're going to choose option B. If the passengers overcome the hijackers faster than a speeding jet, great. If not, we've got a workable solution.

And as to psychological preparedness, the ace who will fire the missles into the airliner is a volunteer for the duty. I will gladly put my ground-bound life in the hands of people like him before I trust a hundred random passengers to stage an impromptu riot in the face of death.

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