Friday, December 9, 2005

Federal Air Marshals

There's been a lot of fuss this week about the Federal Air Marshals who opened fire and killed a man who claimed to have a bomb. You've not doubt heard the news about it, and know most of the details. What you haven't heard is my opinion.

I used to do a decent amount of air travel for business, and still do on occassion. I've luckily never been in a situation where a Federal Air Marshal was needed. I've weighed both sides of the story, and I have to say this: kudos to those Marshals for acting swiftly and decisively.

Let's look at this a couple of ways. First, what if the man did have a bomb, as he claimed. With the action taken by these brave individuals, the man would have been quickly subdued and rendered harmless to the other innocent passengers. Mission accomplished. On the other hand, what if they had reacted as the critics suggest, and not taken such swift action? If the man had a bomb, as he claimed, we would not have been mourning the loss of one man who claimed to have a bomb on an airplane, but rather hundreds of innocent passengers who died at the hands of another terrorist. And what would the critics be screaming then? Most certainly, when it came out that there were Federal Air Marshals on the flight, they would have been criticizing them for their inaction. They would have been calling for changes in their training, but not the same changes they're calling for now. Instead, they would have demanded that Federal Air Marshals be better trained to detect danger and react appropriately.

All I have to say is this: when given the choice between the certain death of a self-proclaimed bomber and the potential death of hundreds of innocent people, I don't think there is a choice to be made at all. It's a no-brainer, and I thank God that we have men and women such as those Federal Air Marshals to protect our airlines from crazy would-be bombers (and crazies who only say they have a bomb).


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