The Right to Bear Arms in Flight

Should the price of boarding an airline flight be laying down all your weapons? Should we all agree to be disarmed? "Better safe than dead," is the answer many give. But what is safe?

"Wouldn't you rather give up your gun so that all the bad people on the flight will have to give up theirs?" the authorities ask. This would perhaps make sense if we thought that the majority of the passengers are bad and are plotting to bring down the flight. But should we assume that? Aren't the terrorists a minority? And in that case, would it not be better to arm the majority?

If we arm everybody, then we also arm the terrorists. But if we disarm everybody, then we are handicapping every well intentioned person who could be of help in an emergency. To some extent, our answer to this question depends on how we view others.

When we board a flight, we are surrounded by strangers. Should we assume that everybody else is bad and only we are good? Will this achieve the optimal result, where safety is concerned? Or might it be better to believe in the goodness of our fellow man? It is an issue of trust.

Flight 93 Memorial

Image Credit: The Wikipedia
Image Credit: The Wikipedia

Profiling and the In-Group

When my daughter was born, I was spending the summer in the US, but my permanent place of residence was Taiwan, where I held the position of associate professor at a local university. Getting ready for the new school year meant getting my daughter a passport, visa and eventually an alien resident certificate from the government of Taiwan. In September of 1999, when my daughter was less than two months old, I embarked on the first of many airline flights with an infant. I had never liked airline security, but the experiences that I was to have over the next two years were much worse than anything I had seen before.

Barely arrived at the airport in Chicago, my daughter tucked into my Infantino infant carrier strapped to my body, I encountered the first of many airport personnel who seemed to believe that babies were weapons of mass destruction or at the very least tiny bombs. They made me take off the carrier, and they insisted on searching my daughter and then completely dismantling the carrier, handing it to me in pieces and offering no assistance in putting it back together.

Over the next two years, almost every encounter with Amercian security personnel at airports was a nightmare. They would require me to pass through a security scan with the baby stroller in one place, but would insist the baby's bottle and formula and diapers had to go through a completely different scan someplace else. Or, just as I had gotten used to this procedure and had separated all the things that I carried in the stroller from the stroller itself, they suddenly decided that the stroller needed to go through the same scan as the formula, but my daughter and I were to go through a different scan. This unexpected change of procedure took place just at the time when my daughter was too heavy for me to carry any distance but not yet walking.

The worst of it was their attitude. You would think they had never seen a mother and a baby before. They never met my eyes. They were totally humorless, and I had heard that if I even attempted to crack a joke, I would be arrested. They acted as if they really thought that my baby and I posed a threat. They treated me like a bad person.

My father died in October of 2000, and I had to take time off to attend the memorial. The people at LAX were very ugly to me on our way in from Taiwan. Then in April of 2001, I had to go to Israel to help scatter my father's ashes. My daughter and I took a flight from Taipei to Bangkok, and the rest on the trip, from Bangkok to Tel Aviv was on El Al. This was the first time I had ever traveled to Israel from the East. I had not been to Israel since 1976.

The security personnel at the El Al check-in counter were dressed like soldiers. "Oh, great," I thought. "Now I'll have to go through a military interrogation." But here's where something quite miraculous happened. They talked to me. They smiled. They joked around. They let me know with every gesture that they knew I wasn't the enemy. Yes, there was going to be a delay and everybody's luggage from the previous flight would have to go through an x-ray scan. But that was just because we could never be too sure, because of "those other people." I could go get something to drink, they said. and they would call me when it was time to board. They didn't even ask to search the stroller and its contents.

It felt like coming home. They saw me. They recognized me. They knew I wasn't a terrorist. Why couldn't the Americans be like that?

At the time, I felt that Israelis were just nicer people. It took me a while to think it through. Would they have been this nice if I hadn't been Israeli? Had I just experienced what it's like to be a member of the in-group?

Treating Everyone Equally Badly

I have dual citizenship, American and Israeli. But as it happened, what I planned to do in Israel that spring was illegal. We were going to rent a private plane and scatter my father's ashes all over Palestine and the Sinai. It was his wish. And it was against the law. I had to lie to the security people in Eilat, but they gave me no problem, because they could just tell I wasn't a terrorist.

On the other hand, in all my other travels, the ones to and from the U.S., I wasn't doing anything illegal, and yet security treated me like a criminal. Did they do this because to them I looked like a terrorist? After all, I am from the middle east. I am short, dark and swarthy, and there is something distinctly foreign about me. Or did they do it because they had been instructed to treat everyone like a criminal? I'm not sure.

There is no way to tell an Israeli from a Palestinian by a visual inspection. There is no way to tell an Arab from an Israeli or a Palestinian from an Arab, just by looking at them. To tell the difference, you would have to talk to them, preferably in their own language and make a cultural assessment. But American security personnel have no inkling about such things. Most of them are monolingual English speakers. Of course, they could just check the passports, but they want to know more than where we come from. They want to know, presumably, what kind of people we are. And for security purposes, I think there are only two kinds of people: good ones and those who are not good. How can they tell? They can use their gut instinct, the way the Israelis do. Or they can treat everyone exactly the same.

Presumably, that's what American security personnel have been instructed to do. But even when treating all the same, there are two basic options. To treat everyone well. Or to treat everyone badly.

Officially, the American security position seems to be to mistrust everyone. No one is immune from scrutiny. Not the elderly. Not the handicapped. Not infants and children. The only ones who are above suspicion are the security people themselves.

Treating Everyone Equally Well

What would treating everyone well look like? It might mean not searching people for weapons at all. It might even mean encouraging all passengers to carry weapons so that, in case of an emergency, well armed individuals might help the authorities to stop wrongdoers on the spot.

If the American airport security policy had been to trust all, think how differently the events of September 11, 2001 might have unfolded.

The Example of Flight 93

The purpose of security checks is to confiscate all weapons. But in reality, anything can be used as a weapon, even our bare hands. And when all the easy-to-use weapons are removed, only the strong, the natural born killer and those with special paramilitary training stand a chance.

Listen to Leslie Fish's song on the story of United Flight 93. She tells it much better than I ever could. Except for four terrorists who were armed with box cutters and knives, everyone else on that flight was completely unarmed. The passengers and crew fought bravely till the bitter end to keep the plane from being used as a weapon against others. Think how much better they might have done, if they had had guns!

Conclusion

At  the time of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, my daughter and I had finished with our travels. We were in Missouri, staying in a motel, and waiting to take possession of our new house. I swore to myself that I would never fly again. I wasn't afraid of terrorists. It was the airport security checks that had me terrified. The last time we flew in through LAX, I nearly lost my temper with one of the security people there. When I recalled the incident afterwards, I counted myself lucky that I had not done anything to get myself arrested. I really felt like punching someone out, and I am not normally a violent person. Those LA security people really do know how to push my buttons. I did not trust myself to ever go through security again. Several years passed before I did.

In 2007, I was invited by a fellow primatologist to attend an exclusive conference and to present my evidence about Bow. On the way to the conference they confiscated my shampoo. On the way back, they took my toothpaste away from me. However, I wasn't traveling with a baby anymore, and I was able to laugh it off.

I know that my pro-gun position may seem extreme to others, However, I am willing to compromise, in the interest of national security. Let's allow guns on board flights, but disallow bombs. Bombs, after all, are something intentionally destructive, used only by terrorists. But guns can be used to save lives. I might even be willing to give up my shampoo, provided that they let me carry a gun. After all, despite the concerns of security personnel in St. Louis, I don't actually know how to kill people using shampoo. But I'm a pretty good shot with a gun.

(c) 2010 Aya Katz

Comments 77 comments

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago

I have a hard time following your logic wrt everyone should have a right to take a gun on a commercial plane flight. Of course there is no such right and for good reason. A gun shot on a plane, if it hits certain parts of the plane can bring the plane down. If memory serves, armed U.S. Marshalls are on some flights, and the doors to the cockpit have been strengthened to prevent terrorists from entering. Of course steps have also been taken to try to prevent terrorists or armed whackjobs from boarding commercial plane flights. Guns aren't allowed on planes for the same reasons they aren't allowed in courthouses or other public buildings, most workplaces, schools and the like. These are reasonable regulations which don't violate Second Amendment rights.

I can sympathize with your feelings about some of the TSA personnel who aren't polite and some of the regulations the necessity and purpose of which aren't clear. Also, the enforcement of all the regulations cost the taxpayers a huge of money and may not in all cases be justified by the likely terrorism risk.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, thanks for your comment. Did you listen to the Leslie Fish song? If you didn't, please give it a chance. It explains the reason why guns on board flights, in the hands of ordinary people, could save lives and even prevent a crash.

The truth is that in reading your comment, I also had trouble following your logic, just as you had trouble following mine. First you argue that bullets when puncturing the hull can bring the plane down, but apparently this danger is not present when the shooter is a U.S. air marshall. Then you say that guns aren't allowed on airplanes for the same reason they are not allowed in courtrooms. Are people in courtrooms afraid that the courtroom will crash if the hull is pierced? I was not aware of that.

In fact, all these regulations -- in schools, in court rooms and elsewhere do violate the second amendment -- and they leave innocent people at the mercy of wrongdoers. Try to see it this way: a good person uses guns to do good. A bad person uses them for evil. Now, Ralph, do you think most people are good or evil? Because that's what it comes down to.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago

Nice song, but I didn't find it persuasive. Reminded me of Gordon Lightfoot's song about the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. She may have borrowed a bit from it.

I'm not a fan of the theory of reducing gun violence by arming the citizenry. I own a shot gun and a rifle which I used to use for hunting, and I support the right of ownership of guns suitable for hunting and target shooting. Handguns and assault type weapons, especially those with large capacity magazines, should be banned. And all handguns should be licensed.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, I'm glad you got a chance to listen to the song. Leslie Fish's music is in the folk/filk tradition, so it's not surprising that you saw similarities to Gordon Lightfoot.

Hunting is fine, but the second amendment was not motivated by a love of hunting. The right of ordinary citizens to bear arms against other human beings was what the founders sought to protect.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago

A lot has changed in this country since the Second Amendment was adopted. For example, each state now has a National Guard unit which is under the command of the governor. As you know also, weapons have changed from crude muzzle loaders to high powered, large magazine weapons of war, hand grenades, machine guns, etc. This requires more effective enforcement of reasonable regulations which may be different in Wyoming or Alaska from New York City, Detroit, Chicago where gun deaths are a daily occurrence. My understanding is that reasonable regulations are permissible under current court decisions although some ambiguities remain.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, the technology changes, but the principles behind the bill of rights do not. You might as well argue that the first amendment no longer applies because we write online and instantly can reach many more readers than could be accessed by a single individual using a quill or a printing press. The first amendment still stands regardless -- and so does the second.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

If I ever catch a bear, I will sever his arms immediately, so as to execute my constitutional right! Then look out Commies, this Capitalist will be wielding freshly cut bear arms!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ben, go easy on bears! They means you no harm, and disarming a bear is cruel and unusual punishment. Leave that kind of treatment to the people who may deserve it: all of them human.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago

That's true the principles don't change, but they must be applied, taking into account the consequences of the way they are interpreted and applied. The First Amendment analogy doesn't hold water. The First Amendment should be applied in a way that takes into account the new features of communication on the Internet. For the Constitution to work as the founders intended it must be interpreted consistent with the current conditions. And the current conditions wrt gun mayhem in this country certainly weren't contemplated by the founders.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, I think you underestimate the power of words, which is why you are not equally as interested in licensing and regulating and curtailing the right to speak as you are in licensing and regulating and curtailing the right to bear arms. The spread of dangerous ideas can kill on a massive scale, too. But if you have faith in the people, you allow them to choose which words to listen to. The same principle applies to the ordinary citizen and modern weaponry. If you have faith in the people, you know they will exercise their rights wisely.


Misha profile image

Misha 6 years ago from DC Area

LOL Aya, arguing to Ralph is a losing proposition, he does not hear the opposite side. :)

Yet I find myself in partial agreement with him on this issue. I do agree with your general premise, yet in this particular case we do have some severe technical difficulties I think. Yes, modern airplane is quite a complex piece of machinery, and can easily be rendered inoperative by a single unfortunate bullet - unlike a courthouse. And if one person fired a shot, others are likely to follow...

Marshalls are trained about those dangers and know the vulnerable spots, and definitely are instructed to avoid those - unless government needs to bring this particular plane down of course...

I don't have an answer, though... :)


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Great Hub Aya, and I do get your point of view. Forgive me, but your sentence "I encountered the first of many airport personnel who seemed to believe that babies were weapons of mass destruction or at the very least tiny bombs." did have me in fits of laughter though :)

Also, like Misha, I don't have an answer, but I can see that not all people holding a gun would be sensible with it, and it only takes one trigger happy passenger to accidentally kill a plane full of people, or even them having a problem with a "Muslim looking passenger" who they believe might be a terrorist, could cause an incident that by them having a gun could prove fatal to many people!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Misha, good to have you drop by. I'm glad you're in agreement about the general premise.;-> I think the business about it being especially dangerous to shoot a gun on board a plane is a red herring intended to divert us from the main topic. Special guns could be designed that would shoot people dead but would keep the hull undamaged. The bullets could be made from plastic, or even ice. The fact is, current safety regulations prohibit people from carrying anything that would allow them to disarm and render unconscious an assailant. It's not because of what may happen to the plane. It's because the authorities don't know which passenger is the bad guy, and they don't trust the majority of good passengers to be able to sort it all out.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Misty, thanks! Glad you appreciate the humor. To me the idea that my shampoo or toothpaste pose a threat to national security is even funnier. I wasn't as good a sport about it when it came to my daughter, because I can get a new bottle of shampoo, but my daughter is one of a kind. And if they took away the diapers or the baby formula that would have been a real disaster!


Misha profile image

Misha 6 years ago from DC Area

It is definitely getting ridiculous Aya - but this is because populace demands safety and security, and such kind of measures are the most visible, and therefore good for showing off. Nobody really appreciates if the terrorists are quietly uncovered and captured long before they even get to an airport...

At the same time such measures are good for teaching obedience to the populace...


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Misha, I don't think it's the populace who are clamoring for safety and security. I think it's the authorities. Let's face it: there's not much they can do in advance to determine where an attack will take place. But they want to justify their position of power and to solidify it.

The September 11 attacks proved one thing: it isn't really about guns. You can cause damage with your bare hands or with things we don't normally consider to be weapons. Instead of conceding that no matter what they confiscate, a person intent on doing harm will be able to use the plane as a projectile weapon by overcoming others, the authorities decided to confiscate all sorts of things besides guns, bombs and knives. Instead, they just should have allowed guns for all, because that is the safest thing to do. If not guns, I suppose they could have issued Samurai swords to all the passengers. It's not about piercing the hull or about losing cabin pressure. It's about losing control!

The right to bear arms isn't specifically about guns. It's about any weapon. In order to be effective as a form of defense, the weapon you carry has to be at least as effective as the one the enemy has.


kartika damon profile image

kartika damon 6 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

I read through your hub and was in agreement about the rudeness and silliness of airport personnel - some wackjobs are probably enjoying their power and choose to be mean to everyone instead of nice - a bad choice in my opinion. But making it legal to carry guns on plans!!?? That would be like pouring fire on gasoline - the environment is already loaded with tension and adding guns to the mix is a recipe for disaster - also, the logistics would be a nightmare! I don't think anyone (with the exception of law enforcement) should be allowed to carry guns in public places.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Kartika Damon, thanks for your comment. I'm glad you can see the bullying by security people for what it is. The problem is that they have been given the legal right to behave this way. They have been instructed to forget all the rules of politeness that they learned in ordinary life, in the name of security. If they actually recognized a mother traveling with a baby for what they were, they wouldn't be treating everyone the same.

You probably don't know many people who carry weapons wherever they go. It has become less and less common for people to do so, and now the stereotype is that somebody carrying a gun, unless he is "law enforcement", is dangerous. It's a false premise. Most people are good. Most people, even when they do carry a gun, keep it holstered and are considerate of others. Being allowed to carry a weapon does not require someone to lose all common sense or personal responsibility. In fact, it works the other way around for most decent people.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States

Aya,

I appreciated this hub very much.

Admittedly, this isn't an exact parallel, but while reading your experiences, I couldn't help but think of my brother-in-law's experience about four years ago, traveling to the island of Spitsbergen, I believe. Everyone there carried a rifle...postings in the airport made it clear that it was illegal to leave the airport without a firearm, and there were firearms for rent. This was not because of terrorists, but because of polar bears. If I recall the numbers correctly, there were roughly ten times as many bears as human residents.

But the fact was, no one noticeably mishandled their rifle, and no one was overly excited about the presence of so many firearms...least of all the authorities or government.

I will no doubt get some horrified looks from certain readers for mentioning this, but my husband and I are careful to train up our children in the use of firearms, and got our son his first BB gun when he was four. Now, at seven, he actively practices his hunting and target skills, and will, no doubt, hone them to excellence in the years to come. I expect him to surpass my husband and I in our combined skills. Our daughter (three years old) is looking forward to her first gun...she likes to eat rabbit.

We are also teaching the children how to use knives, why not be afraid of work, and how to think for themselves.

So here are my supporting statements: The strongest weapons ever devised have all started in mens' minds. The greatest achievements, and the greatest follies, have also been birthed there. Weapons are a tool...nothing more, nothing less. I live on one of the safest streets in my town, for this simple reason - most of my neighbors have, understand, and use various firearms on a regular basis...we hunt with them, play with them, and understand them for what they are - and aren't. I am convinced that if more people took the time to train themselves (and their families) in the art of independence, these oftentimes rediculous laws and regulations would never have stood a chance. Alas, too many people would prefer to be sheeple. It takes less immediate risk, and less personal energy (decision making).

I'm proud of you for writing this hub.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Joy at Home, thanks so much for your heartfelt comment! This is exactly the response I have been waiting for. I am sure that you and I are not the only people who feel this way. Thanks also for sharing how you are raising your children to be responsible gun owners. We need more families like yours!


kartika damon profile image

kartika damon 6 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

Hi Aya, I think you are right on about the training of airport personnel. Why can't we be civil to one another - it should be required for airport staff to treat people with respect - it would help soften the terror we feel when in airports - the stress level is through the roof - we are losing our humanity. Now, airport personnel is treating innocent people like criminals - like they are guilty - like they are the terrorists. So once again we act like terrorists ourselves. It's really sad. But, I still don't want more guns added to the mix.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Kartika, I totally agree with you that we should treat all people with respect. Where the misunderstanding may come in is in how we define respect. Respect isn't formality. Respect isn't saying "Sir" and "Ma'am" and "please" and "thank you". A polite rapist is still a rapist. And a respectful family member may allow himself a lot of informality and even familiarity.

Informality and familiarity is what I experienced with the Israeli security people. By their words and deeds they let me know that they saw me for what I was. They joked around. They treated me like a sister. That was real respect! You can't train people to behave this way. It has to be genuine.

The other side of this is that there is no polite way to search through somebody's underwear. There is no polite way to tell a stranger to strip. There is no polite way to tell someone that they have no rights. True respect means respecting boundaries.


kartika damon profile image

kartika damon 6 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

Ah yes, mere formality can simply mask a current of disrespect - genuine respect has to come from the heart. However, simple civility can go a long way and good manners can help ease the pain of some of the affronts to our dignity.


TheMoneyGuy profile image

TheMoneyGuy 6 years ago from Pyote, TX

Aya,

If you ever need a gun give me hollar, I got plenty of em, and I like to see them in the hands of as many sensible people as possible. :-)

TMG


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Kartika, I don't really blame the security personnel for their attitude. I think this kind of hardening comes with the job. If someone is too generous and kind and considerate, they won't be able to do what is being asked of them. That's why I try very hard not to take it personally when they treat me badly. It's kind of like being a concentration camp guard. There is no good way to do it. The problem with this kind of job is that it shouldn't exist in the first place. It destroys the souls of the people who try to perform it as much as it humiliates and dehumanizes the people who are forced to submit.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

TheMoneyGuy, thanks for offering! At the moment, I am well supplied, and the only problem is that guns aren't allowed in all of the places where we need them the most.


Obscurely Diverse profile image

Obscurely Diverse 6 years ago from Tennessee, U.S., Earth, Milky Way via Cosmos

Just replace the guns with Tasers & Stun Guns on the flight, as surely, this will be safer on the plane's hull as opposed to an actual ballistic discharge from a firearm.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Obscurely Diverse, it's an acceptable suggestion. Tasers and stun guns are certainly better than nothing. They are not nearly as safe or non-violent as the authorities would have us believe when they are using them. Sometimes a taser can kill, but that may be fine for the purposes of flight safety and when all the passengers are allowed to carry them.

I think it's pretty obvious, though, that people who won't let us carry box cutters will also not allow tasers, and it has nothing to do with the fear of losing cabin pressure due to a pierced hull.


Obscurely Diverse profile image

Obscurely Diverse 6 years ago from Tennessee, U.S., Earth, Milky Way via Cosmos

As for your last statement: Yeah, something does not seem fair about any of this, does it?


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Obscurely Diverse, you're right. It doesn't seem fair. But you know the old saying: when box cutters are criminal, only criminals carry box cutters.


Obscurely Diverse profile image

Obscurely Diverse 6 years ago from Tennessee, U.S., Earth, Milky Way via Cosmos

So...box-cutting-carrying-criminals are the good guys after all? Ha-ha! Yeah, with that thought in mind, I think you just said: Law says what law says, no matter if it is right or wrong.

I think I'll retire with the belief of an old-fashioned vigilante - as a self-appointed doer of justice. What ya think?


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Obscurely Diverse, ultimately the good guys are the ones who do good. And the cornerstone of doing good is: first, do no harm. I've got nothing against vigilantes, as long as they respect the rights of others. You might say that every passenger aboard Flight 93 who took part in the revolt against the terrorists was a vigilante.


Obscurely Diverse profile image

Obscurely Diverse 6 years ago from Tennessee, U.S., Earth, Milky Way via Cosmos

I just re-read my comment, and it might have seemed sarcastic to some, but I meant it literally.

Law does dictate what is right or wrong, even though it is often for corrupt reasons which makes it wrong to start with...sort of like political correctness is rarely ever correct or actually true to its cause. A lot of BS in the world, to say the least.

I do disagree with your cornerstone of doing good, being to do no harm...but I don't disagree in a bad way. See, with that attitude around savage morons, you'll be the first to go or be labeled as weak. But, in a perfect world, you're absolutely correct!

By the way, I like your quick responses, thanks...


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Obscurely Diverse, what I am saying is that it would not be okay to launch a preemptive strike against a passenger because you had a hunch that this person was a terrorist. A bad guy isn't a bad guy till he does something bad. You have to wait till they do something that identifies them as terrorists. In that sense, the good guys always have to be reactive. If you're not, you become one of the bad guys yourself. You become just like the airport security person who treats innocent people like criminals. And that's exactly what the terrorists are hoping for.


Obscurely Diverse profile image

Obscurely Diverse 6 years ago from Tennessee, U.S., Earth, Milky Way via Cosmos

I wasn't thinking on terrorist grounds, when I said what I said. Maybe I lost you in this hub within the 'comment field' somehow. I don't think, in your last reply, you're talking to me, I think you're talking to someone or something else.

I leave this hub with the simple terms - with or without deities, life on Earth will simply & always bring a "chaotic infinity"...


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Obscurely Diverse, sorry I lost the drift of what you are saying. I wish you all the best. It just might be too obscure for me. ;->


ngureco profile image

ngureco 6 years ago

Hi Aya Katz,

Today I want to differ with you, but with your permission, please.

The modern day terrorist is a very complicated person because he/she is more than willing to die in the processing of causing terror. Look at the American soldiers in Iraq who have been provided with the best weapons money can buy in addition to first class military training but still they are dying from terrorist attacks. This is happening at ground level. At flight level 40,000 feet where the pressure is about 250 Hectopascals, giving a terrorist the chance to have a simple gun is giving him a field day. He will harvest everything on ordinary civilians.

Technically, it’s not a straight forward thing to use a gun inside a flying plane - armed marshals on planes are fully trained and it’s very unlikely they will use the guns, unless the worse come to the worse – the biggest use of those guns is for the people to see they have guns thus reducing any fear people may have of being unprotected against the possibility of terrorists in the plane.

El Al is the world’s safest airline. But try comparing the cost of maintaining security per plane with that of BA. El Al may be spending ten times as much. Security preparations will start 24 - 48 hours before flight departure or arrival.

“By their words and deeds they let me know that they saw me for what I was. They joked around. They treated me like a sister. That was real respect! You can't train people to behave this way. It has to be genuine.” That’s exactly how El Al and Israel security are. They will treat you very well, and I have always felt indebted to the Government of Israel – but ONLY if you are citizen of a friendly country. If my friend you are citizen of a country that have ever tried to show aggression against Israel, it doesn’t matter if it was 35 years ago, you will grilled again and again and you will be surprised at how much information they have at their finger tips about you.


Obscurely Diverse profile image

Obscurely Diverse 6 years ago from Tennessee, U.S., Earth, Milky Way via Cosmos

@ngureco - your last statements = superstition, ha!


kartika damon profile image

kartika damon 6 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

Aya, your words are so true - these jobs destroy people's souls. It would be heartbreaking to be required to be so cold to people. There are so many jobs that force people to be callous. Kartika


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ngureco, it's not a straightforward thing to use a gun on board a plane. But what about a knife? A cross-bow? A sword? A razor blade? They take all of these things away from the passengers, because they want them unarmed. It has nothing to do with cabin pressure. They want everyone unarmed, because they don't trust the majority of the passengers to do the right thing. The example of Flight 93 shows what a terrible mistake that is.

If I do nothing else with this hub, I would like to drive that point home. It's not guns in particular -- it's weapons of any kind.

As for the fact that the Israelis don't treat everyone the same, I concede. I surmised as much myself. I'm not saying "follow the Israeli example." I suggest we go one step beyond and trust everyone -- until the moment when they stand up and identify themselves as terrorists. And then, let everyone on board train their weapon on that person at once, and acting as one, we can beat the terrorists! We outnumber them. They use fear to divide us. Don't let them!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Kartika, yes, it is soul destroying work to treat all people like dirt. Whenever I encounter an official who behaves this way, I try to reserve most of my anger for the government that employed him and not to take it out on the individual. But in the heat of the moment, sometimes that is hard to do.


Obscurely Diverse profile image

Obscurely Diverse 6 years ago from Tennessee, U.S., Earth, Milky Way via Cosmos

@ngureco - cancel my last comment. It was late in the day for me, and I misread your last sentence. I see what you're saying, now.

@Aya - sorry for the interruption, I just had to correct a minor, erroneous statement I made yesterday.

By the way, I like your positive thinking, but terrorism can, often times, be an uphill battle that seems endless. It seems that there will always be evil out there, no matter what favorable, warm conditions we provide. I hate to say it, but it is just the way it is...


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Obscurely Diverse, you may be right that "evil" will always be out there. The question is: what to do about it. BTW, did you listen to the Leslie Fish song? It's not about providing "warm" conditions. It's about arming the average passenger so that when and if a terrorist attack occurs, we can do something positive -- like kill the terrorists and save the rest. Give it a listen, if you haven't yet.


Obscurely Diverse profile image

Obscurely Diverse 6 years ago from Tennessee, U.S., Earth, Milky Way via Cosmos

Leslie Fish song? Never heard of it. I'll check it out.

When I mentioned "warm" conditions, I wasn't talking about being on the plane with terrorists. I was making a point that no matter how good you treat some people, some will always be inclined for evil doings.

A lot of things that I say are in a general, broad perspective and not always confined to an individual hub or idea.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Obscurely Diverse, your general broad perspective on evil fails to take into account the objectives of terrorism. Terrorists aren't necessarily crazy or just malevolent. The people who send them out have a plan. Their plan calls for an eventual outcome. It's important to make sure that the sacrifices of their followers do not in fact achieve the objective. That's why I emphasize the importance of trusting your fellow man.

The Leslie Fish video is embedded into this hub. It is part of the content of my argument. If you don't watch the video, you miss the point.


Obscurely Diverse profile image

Obscurely Diverse 6 years ago from Tennessee, U.S., Earth, Milky Way via Cosmos

Yeah, the video fit this hub very well. I agree totally with a right to bear arms...totally!

I think we are making two different points, though. I didn't say all terrorists were crazy or ill-minded (some are fruitcakes), but how do they not display malevolence - whether ordered or not, the duty is done with sinister, nefarious intentions. I don't think it is right to kill thousands of people with a plane, like 9/11, for example. It's hard to believe you couldn't be evil, like you implied, and still commit these terrorist acts.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Obscurely Diverse, I'm glad you got to see the video! The Leslie Fish song is more persuasive, I think, than anything I could say in prose. And it is based on fact.

We don't have to agree about the degree of "evil" in the hearts of the terrorists. We can just agree to shoot them before they are able to execute their plans!


fitman profile image

fitman 6 years ago from Ankara,Turkey

I enjoy reading this thatnk you


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Fitman, thanks!


KateGladstone 6 years ago

Aya -- you'll enjoy this filksong on the issue, which our mutual friend Leslie Fish also likes: http://filkarchive.scrumpy.org/cgi-bin/song.cgi?Fi...


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Thanks, Kate! I will take a look.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Kate, good song! Now all you need is some instrumental backing!


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 6 years ago from Central United States of America

Great hub and comments too. Gotta find the answer somewhere...

Enjoyed the song video.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Frogyfish, thanks! Glad you enjoyed the hub and the discussion in the comments. The Leslie Fish song says it all!


Humma Ofi profile image

Humma Ofi 6 years ago from Detroit, MI

There are those who would take our right to defend ourselves away as we speak. I have encountered a problem trying to get ammunition for my firearms and for firearms in my family. I think that if terrorists knew Americans had a gun with them everywhere they went, they would be less likely to try any of the stupid shit that they've been doing recently. We should be able to carry our firearms with us wherever we go. I know that it is highly dangerous for guns to be on board airliners, but it is also highly dangerous for one overlooked terrorist to be aboard a flight as well. I think pilots and flight attendants should be armed and highly trained to use a weapon. I also believe that the airlines should employ armed individuals to accompany air marshals to cut down on the possibility of a terrorist attack. The more people in the air with the specific purpose of protecting the passengers as well as the airline's property, and employees, the better.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Humma Ofi, thanks for your comment. I agree completely. I especially liked your statement that "it is highly dangerous for guns to be on board airliners, but it is also highly dangerous for one overlooked terrorist to be aboard a flight as well."

I'd like to add, also, that no matter how many paid gunmen the airlines hire, ordinary passengers who bear weapons are the best defense against terrorism.


Cagsil profile image

Cagsil 5 years ago from USA or America

Thank you Aya for posting your link in the forums and I have to say that it is certainly an interesting point of view you have. I'm going to give it more thought and might touch on it in my hub(the one I'm going to write). I can understand the sad and pathetic mentality of security personnel, but it comes from higher authority, which wants to demonstrate power and nothing more. The fact that it has been sold to the American public as safety and security is where the message is actually lost, because if people were actually more educated on handguns(not machine rifles), then there would be less incidents involving them. Thank you again. Very much appreciated. :)


John Holden profile image

John Holden 5 years ago

Even if it was possible to discharge a firearm on a plane without risk to the plane, what are the chances of, on a crowed aircraft, not hitting an innocent person?

And, what are the chances of the terrorists being unarmed if all passengers are armed?

It just ratchets up the risk all round.

Can I just remind you of Pan Am flight 103?


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 5 years ago from The Ozarks Author

John, I didn't say the terrorists would be unarmed. Terrorists are always armed with something, being that they are terrorists. What I said is that the good people on any flight are a majority, and they would outgun the terrorists, given a chance. Not that much shooting would have to take place. A few well chosen shots and there are no more terrorists.

Which risk are you most afraid of? That an innocent person will be hurt? But that is one hundred per cent guaranteed to happen, if only the terrorists are armed.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 5 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Cagsil, thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to share this hub in your forum post. I very much look forward to reading the hub you are going to write on the subject of the right to bear arms. I agree that the requirement to disarm all passengers comes from an authority that wants more power for itself.


John Holden profile image

John Holden 5 years ago

Aya, terrorist attacks on flights are almost as rare as hen's teeth. Incidents of air rage are fairly common.

I would not like to be on any flight where a drunken and angry passenger was armed.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 5 years ago from The Ozarks Author

John, then it comes down to this: you do not trust your fellow passengers, your fellow man or anybody not in uniform. On the other hand, you seem to believe that a member of a security team could never succumb to drunkenness or rage.


Tierlieb 5 years ago

Just a side note: I read this article a while ago and it stuck in my mind... and I jsut figured out why:

I believe that the right to bear arms is a good one, but I have a problem in defining when "arms" stop being arms. WMDs for example - let's say I'm not so sure about everyone being allowed to have those.

I realized the discussion here makes using a gun in an airplane look like using a WMD: You kill all people aboard by blowing a hole into the wall. That does sound like a good point against it, right?

But: Guns just make bullet-sized holes in planes. It ends there. No explosive decompression. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncontrolled_decompre...

And if someone does not believe this, they should know that air marshals carry guns in .357 SIG, which is the best penetrator you can commercially get in a 10mm case.

Side note 2: If people believe the stuff they see on TV, they could at least believe the stuff they see on Mythbusters, too.

I like to think that argument just died.


John Holden profile image

John Holden 5 years ago

Aya, that's a giant leap you are taking there!

Are you telling me that acts of terrorism are more common than air rage?


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 5 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Tierlieb, thanks for your comment. I think this is a very valuable contribution to the discussion. It certainly does not make sense to believe that air marshals have some special powers that prevent them from penetrating the hull that mere mortals don't have. A gun is not a weapon of mass destruction, not even on a plane. And even if it were, why do they disallow knives? They're against all weapons. They want ordinary people unarmed.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 5 years ago from The Ozarks Author

John Holden, I'm telling you that that security personnel are no less capable of being enraged or drunken than any other person. And while no passenger on any plane has ever tried to hurt me or to threaten me, I cannot say the same about airport security personnel.

Part of the issue is not merely that we disarm passengers, but that we allow security personnel to remained armed. If you think guns are bad, why do you trust the people in uniform with them? Why do you think an air marshal has magical abilities not possessed by the rest of us?


John Holden profile image

John Holden 5 years ago

I don't think that air marshals should be armed either! Though I would assume that any one with a drink problem would not remain in their job very long.

Even without the risk of hull penetration any gun fired in such close confinement would be very likely to hurt or kill innocent passengers.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 5 years ago from The Ozarks Author

John, in that case, do you favor arming all the passengers with sabers or hacksaws or knives or box cutters?


windmills 4 years ago

Aya, I see that as a reasonable compromise! Much as I hate leaving my .45 on the ground, I can understand the concerns of those worried about the fragile aircraft. I'll be willing to check the pistol, if no one objects to me carrying my KABAR on the flight. If you're operating on the assumption that passengers will always outnumber hijackers (and I think they will) a knife fight should be pretty one-sided. Also, the next TSA guy who pats me down had better buy me a drink first. Just sayin'.


John Holden profile image

John Holden 4 years ago

All nine people (apart from the original victim) shot at the Empire State Building in New York were shot by police!

That's all.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

John, yes, I read about that. The police are much more dangerous than ordinary citizens who are armed. They have sovereign immunity.


John Holden profile image

John Holden 4 years ago

Are you suggesting that ordinary citizens are much better shots than the police then?


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

John, quite often ordinary citizens are much better shots. They have more at stake and know they will be answerable for what they do.

The government tends to botch most work assigned to it. Partly, it's because there is no one to answer to, if they make a mistake. We hear of police killing innocent civilians and then being shielded from prosecution quite often.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Windmills, I'm not sure about that compromise. A knife fight is one that requires skill, dexterity and muscle. It's a cruder weapon than a gun, and women, children, the elderly and the handicapped will most likely not prevail in a knife fight over trained assassins or paramilitary. Anyway, even if they buy you a drink, the TSA will not allow your knife on board. While anything can serve as a weapon, the cruder it is, the more it depends on brute force. That's why guns are called equalizers.


John Holden profile image

John Holden 4 years ago

You miss the point entirely.

The innocent were wounded by ricochets, the best gunman in the world can not be sure that their bullets won't harm the unintended.

Nothing at all to do with the government!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

No ricochet if you hit the target.


John Holden profile image

John Holden 4 years ago

True, if you use hollow point bullets but then if you miss the chances of ricochets increase enormously.

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