Airline Highjacking: The Archie Bunker Solution

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I know this would have been more relevant shortly after 9/11, but I just ran across this in a 1984 paper (pdf) by Bruce Benson:

Several years ago, in an episode of “All in the Family,” Archie Bunker proposed a possible solution to the airline highjacking problem. He suggested that the government should arm all the passengers. Potential highjackers, fearing for their lives when confronted by a hundred or so armed adversaries, would no longer carry out these crimes. Archie pointed out that all the government would have to do is pass out the guns as the passengers boarded and collect them at deplaning, rather than use the elaborate x-ray and metal-detecting apparatus currently employed to discourage highjacking.

Update: M.O. points out that Vin Suprynowicz was way ahead of me on this one. From the column The Passengers Were All Disarmed dated Sep. 15, 2001:

(Decades ago, leftist series creator Norman Lear had Carroll O’Connor’s lead character in the TV show “All in the Family” propose the best way to prevent airline hijackings was to issue loaded firearms to the passengers upon boarding, collecting them again as the travelers disembarked. “Norman Lear obviously thought the notion represented the very height of right-wing absurdity,” my friend, novelist L. Neil Smith, wrote to me last week. “But somebody tell me — now — how an aircraft full of well-armed people could be hijacked and used against civilization the way four were today.”)

9:15 pm on October 16, 2005