A Citizen's Air Marshall Program

There is nothing so emasculating to us writers as facing grief utterly beyond repair and linguistic description. But such has been delivered unto the entire civilized world, with all its technological advances, by a few guys with knives. The word for the day – “stupidity.” You see, the passengers aboard the four hijacked airlines were “safe” according to the Dictionary of Modern PC Usage. That is, they were unarmed. However, there were no armed security personnel to protect them from what happened. Now the airlines are prohibiting even plastic knives on board commercial passenger jets. Does the flying public feel safer? Well, they’re staying away in droves. Americans are not ready to trust each other with real weapons on aircraft, so, here’s a proposal – a Citizen’s Air Marshall Program. There are tens of thousands of Americans who have been background checked by the FBI and their state’s law enforcement in order to get a Concealed Handgun License (CHL). If you have ever been in any kind of trouble with the law, forget it. You’ll be denied. I know that New York Senators Schumer and Clinton hate guns. But 9-11 should have convinced them that, yes, there is an evil bigger than NRA and gun owners. And it may show its horrible face again. I have a CHL. I often carry a handgun in places where the law allows. I know that inside of three seconds I can kill one or more people near me. It is an awful and humbling knowledge, one that gives me to give thanks in prayer that I have never had to use this power; one that makes me aware that if I ever use this power I will have to answer legally and morally before the meticulous scrutiny of grand juries, family, friends, and priests. But if I were aboard any of the 9-11 hijacked airlines, I would have gladly pointed my handgun at the hijacker and pulled the trigger. With one shot I could have saved thousands of lives. DO YOU HEAR THAT SCHUMER AND CLINTON! (And if the pilots were murdered, as a private pilot I might have been able to land the plane with tower assistance.) The FAA is scrambling at this moment to get sky marshals aboard commercial aircraft. But there are not nearly enough, and we are the potential victims. So why rely on full time sky marshals? Why not implement a program to allow anyone with a CHL to apply for certification as a Citizen Sky Marshall? We could learn procedures in what to do with a hijacker, how to discretely present our credentials at the ticket counter and be walked through the metal detector. We could take annual proficiency tests to make sure we comply with any recent FAA rules and to refamiliarize ourselves with safety procedures. We might be required to use ammo that is least likely to compromise the aircraft’s pressurized skin. Insurance regulations and federal law would immune us from liability as long as we use force to answer force. There could be lockers at airports where we could lock our weapon in destination states or countries that do not recognize our CHL. There could be thousands of us in the air within a week. What are we waiting for? Another disaster? This would not be a paid job, mind you. It merely extends right-to-carry to the airlines whenever we might be traveling. With a few armed passengers – and pilots – scattered randomly, and unpredictably, potential hijackers would have to consider: who is armed? That guy in coach reading the newspaper? That little old lady in first class? The young woman using her laptop in business class? Anyone of them could rise up with a gun and say… Hey, you, DROP THE BOX CUTTER. NOWWWW! September 24, 2001