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Air marshals on airplanes(18 posts)

Air marshals on airplanesWoof the dog
Jan 7, 2004 12:03 AM
I really don't get the whole deal about issues with security with guns on board of the airplane.

It seems I would feel a lot safer knowing that no passenger would take over the plane (at least without any resistance).

Guns and bulletproof pilot doors should have been implemented years ago.

ok, ok, so make the friggin airplane bulletproof so it doesn't lose pressure, or whatever other engineering difficulties with firearms they may encounter.

Anyway, I am obviously missing the other side of the argument... so just what is it?

Enlighten me why wouldn't you want armed security of the planes?

screw gunsMJ
Jan 7, 2004 2:48 AM
they should give those air marshalls rocket launchers
The weapons have special loads.dr hoo
Jan 7, 2004 5:53 AM
The loads are designed to have little penetrating power. Of course if you fire one at a window it would blow out, but they won't go THROUGH human bodies and cause depressurization. You can't make planes bulletproof, they would be so heavy and require so much fuel that tickets would cost $1000+.

What are arguments against armed guards on airlines? Well you can argue that armed guards don't make flights any safer than without armed guards. First of all the events of 9-11 cannot happen again. Everyone KNEW that you cooperated with hijackers (even ones with box cutters). Now we know you don't. I have my ball point pen ready every time I fly, and I bet at least 50 others do as well.

The cockpit doors are locked and barred. Pilots will crash the planes before opening those doors. What good is a gun for them?

A case can be made that given our new attitude, armed guards make flights less safe. Depressurization sure. But also, a gun can be taken away. By putting weapons on board you are providing potential weapons for the terrorists, weapons they are (should be) denied by security procedures. Terrorist #1 jumps up and waves a ceramic knife. Marshall draws weapon. Terrorists 2-6 disarm marshall and now have a gun.

Personally, I think air flights are safer now because of the attitude and willingness to act by the passengers, and the decisions pilots will make. Having a person with a gun onboard does not make me feel any safer, and probably does not make me any safer. But guns on board probably don't make me much LESS safe either.
Why a gun?jrm
Jan 7, 2004 8:50 AM
Why not a non fatal tranquilizer dart? You would neutralize the person and have them alive so they could be debriefed. Why is it that people think its better to kill someone then to keep them alive.
Martial artists at least.128
Jan 7, 2004 6:40 AM
Seemed immediately clear to me that there should be a visible security presence on airlines after September 11th.

At the very least it would provide a feeling of security in an otherwise unnervingly isolated environment, and would add trained muscle to the new way of dealing with fk ups on planes: attack them now. This should not be left only to the passengers.

I'd give them (appropriate) firearms, and every other conceivable tool to use before putting daylight through any joker who dares.

Why not? safety, cost and principle I suppose.
some better ideasmohair_chair
Jan 7, 2004 7:22 AM
What I don't understand is how banks have armed security but they still get robbed.

What I don't understand is how armored cars have armed security but they still get robbed.

What I don't understand is how the high school in Columbine had armed security but the school was still taken over and a bunch of people died.

Obviously guns on planes are the answer. All passengers should have them.

Stop pressurizing the cabin, so you don't have to worry about depressurization issues. Sure, it's really uncomfortable for the passengers, and some could even die from the cold or thin air, but what price safety?

Everyone has to fly naked, too. No hiding stuff in your pockets.

Hire Samurai warriors as air marshals and let them carry swords.
Political question53T
Jan 7, 2004 7:37 AM
There are several logical arguments against armed air marshals, to wit: a)It puts a gun on a plane. Prison guards in the population do not have guns for the very same reason. b)it costs some finite amount of money but may not yield any benefit.

Of course there are many arguments in favor of armed air marshals, but I won't get into them here.

What I find are the most motivating factors for the public on this issue is whether they like guns or like gun control. Real gun control people don't like to see a gun being used as a solution to a problem, ever. They would rather the gun be seen as the problem to further their legislative objectives. There are also Bush-haters who like to deride any aspect of the war on terror to further their electoral objectives.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just call 'em like I see 'em.

Then there is El-Al. Never had a hijacking, always have visble armed guards on planes. It's all about attitude, I guess.

One other question, another poster made reference to armed security guards at Columbine HS. Is this true, or just convenient? What kind of Colorodo neighborhood has armed guards in high schools?
El-AlDave Hickey
Jan 7, 2004 9:58 AM
EL-AL is often used as an example of a very safe airline. They are safe but their security measures aren't possible in the US. EL-AL flies around 8 flights/day so it's possible to take every passenger in a room and screen them prior to boarding. Here at DFW, we have 1300 flights per day. That's just Dallas/Fort Worth. Let's say there is an average of 100 people per flight. That's 13,000 people/day that need to be taken aside and interviewed.
correction: that's 130,000 people/dayDave Hickey
Jan 7, 2004 10:03 AM
correction: that's 130,000 people/dayNo_sprint
Jan 7, 2004 10:20 AM
Aren't many El-Al flyers are cross checked in all the various crime fighting databases including Interpols', Codis types, etc? If you never had a file, well, fly El Al and you probably do now. I also understand there is no or virtually no last minute or perhaps last week ticketing and flying in order for lots of background checking time where deemed appropriate.

Then there is the absolutely not American PC profiling that goes on. Wow, just imagine the fun all the ridiculous groups here would have with that!

Just more hinderances to prevent United Shuttle from becoming El-Al.

I did a little check, 40 flights per day total.

All in all, this is just like everything else. The steps required to solve most things people deem *problems* are more steps than most could stomach climbing.
correction: that's 130,000 people/dayDave Hickey
Jan 7, 2004 10:26 AM
Yep. I don't think the American public will stand for El-Al type screening. When I said 8 flight/day, I meant to/from the US. It might be larger but that's what they flew a couple of years ago...
How many hijackings since 9/11?Spoiler
Jan 7, 2004 7:56 AM
If we had a hijacking say, every four months, we'd have a problem worthy of armed guards. If hijackers are willing to blow themselves up, they'd have no problem taking one in the chest while their buddies wrestle the gun away from the guard.
what I would doDougSloan
Jan 7, 2004 8:25 AM
This is too simple. First, give the pilots video surveillance if the whole plan, possibly such that ground can see it, too.

Next, outfit the planes with some kind of tranquilizing gas, and give the pilots a button to push to knock everyone out while they suck oxygen from a mask.

Finally, as a last resort, put technology on board that will take over the auto pilot and steer the plane to a safe landing place, and disable human intervention. I saw this on television recently, and it does work. The planes can be computer or remote controlled entirely. They also have technology that will not allow the plane to be steered into any object like a mountain or building; between GPS and radar, the plane's computer knows what's out there, and simply cannot be guided into buildings. Might be expensive, but it works -- making the entire security issue moot, except for maybe blowing up the plane mid-air.

Cool. Very 'Batman-esque'. A Penguin on every plane. nm128
Jan 7, 2004 8:37 AM
Immobilizing gassesAlex-in-Evanston
Jan 7, 2004 9:24 AM
I'm not sure if you're serious about these proposals, but I'll shoot away.

A concentration of tranquilizing gas strong enough to quickly render an adult male unconcious would kill small children and old people. Witness Russia's attack on the Chechnyan's in the movie theatre. Dosages are far too variable based on body weight and other factors.

Personally, I think a big steel door between cockpit and cabin is enough. You can boxcut people to death in the cabin while the pilots land the plane safely, but you could do the same thing in a restaurant or a theatre.


PS - did the Russians ever disclose the gas they used? I remember just after the fact it was only speculation.
ok, no gassesDougSloan
Jan 7, 2004 3:12 PM
Ok, I'll give up the gasses. Never heard what the Russians used, but that was a big booboo.

The auto-pilot system is really going to happen, according to what I heard on this program. You simply cannot steer the plane into an obstacle.

Some planes now can be 100% automated from take-off to landing, inclusive. I think the 767 is one of them. Don't even need a pilot. With that capability, seems like it would be easy to program in the inability to hit buildings. You could kill all the pilots, and the plane would still land where it is supposed to.

Now, I suppose you'd need an override for emergencies or holding patterns, but it wouldn't be too hard to require some secret code to access the override.

remote control, now THERE is an idea that...dr hoo
Jan 7, 2004 5:18 PM
... would make terrorists drool.

What can be controlled from a distance by legitimate sources can be hacked by illegitimate ones.
Yeah, I agree. Remote control: stupid.purplepaul
Jan 7, 2004 6:05 PM
Planes have been flying themselves for many, many years. You know when you have a hard landing? Well, that's usually because the pilot was at the controls. The FAA requires them to actually land the plane twice a month, I believe. The rest of the time, a computer is doing it. According to FAA records, the overwhelming majority of accidents is due to one thing: pilot error. So, doing away with pilots would make flying much safer than it already is. But, just one crash that can be attributed to computer failure and the public would be clamoring for humans in the cockpit.

I believe a plane can be made impossible for a terrorist to control. But I don't see any way to keep them from blowing it up over a densely populated area.