Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Guns on a plane

Washington Times - EDITORIAL: Guns on a plane

After the September 11 attacks, commercial airline pilots were allowed to carry guns if they completed a federal-safety program. No longer would unarmed pilots be defenseless as remorseless hijackers seized control of aircraft and rammed them into buildings.

Now President Obama is quietly ending the federal firearms program, risking public safety on airlines in the name of an anti-gun ideology.

The Obama administration this past week diverted some $2 million from the pilot training program to hire more supervisory staff, who will engage in field inspections of pilots.

This looks like completely unnecessary harassment of the pilots....

A recent Washington Times Editorial suggests that President Obama's might be quietly taking steps to undermine the FFDO (Federal Filght Deck Officer) plan which allows some airline pilots to take special training to qualify them to carry firearms on the Flight Deck of airplanes, to defend the flight crew and passengers from Terrorist attempts to take over control of in-flight airplanes. (See: Twin Towers, Penatagon, Pennsylvania, 9/11.)

The article ... and please note that this is an EDITIORIAL, which means it is someone's interpretation and extrapolation of minimal FACTS ... describes the othewise-unsupported conclusion that this is a subtle blow at teh FFDO program.

Well, maybe it is. We note in passing that annual funding for this program is on the order of $15 million, and it's difficult to see where the money is being spent since anecdotal evidence is that pilots pay for their training, on their own time. What has the money been spent on so far?

The assertion that funding is being diverted "... to hire more supervisory staff, who will engage in field inspections of pilots." Our interpretation is that the Obama Administration is adding one more layer of bureaucracy to a program which is already under-funded, unsupported (by Congress, and other layers of the Federal government) and is the "Red Headed Stepchild" of 9/11.

Still, this ... "editorial" ... is long on opinion and short on facts. It's either a "good catch" by investigative reporters, or an unsupportable logical extention proposed by an Editor with an axe to grind against the incumbent administration and it's carefully hidden agenda vis a vis Gun Control.

Doesn't that about summarize the alternatives?

I have a lot more to say on this subject, but rather than to bore you with my personal interpretation I'll just provide the link and allow you to make up your own minds.

A thorough reading of the comments attached to this post will serve to acquaint you with the various 'positions', in response to the article. Although there are a few commentors who seem to be completely Clue-less about the concept of "Concealed Carry", both sides make pertinent points.
Usually, the discussion focuses (Rightly, I think) on whether the ruling is significant; and if it is, what does that mean?

I'm not as entirely clueless as I probably sound, but this uncertainty about the factual basis of the EDITORIAL is regretable. I would wish that the author had made a more thorough search on the background, the effect of the ruling, and the consequences. Does this mean that fewer FFDO's will be certified to carry a weapon on the flight deck of commercial airplanes? And what about the efficiency of U.S. Marshals riding (armed) on no more than 3% of the domestic flights?

Oh yes, while I have much to say, I have more to ask. Which is why I'm not saying much, while at the same time suggestion questions for the discerning reader.

Hopefully, during the next few days, more information will become available ... which will allow we few to form an informed opinion.

The best I can say at the moment is;
it seems folly to allow almost ANYONE on board a vessal which can easily be turned into a Weapon of Mass Desruction. (CF: 9/11)

Also, we already know (if we have read our day-to-day News Reports) that the FFDO program is not widely supported among Democratic Congressmen ... who form a majority in both houses.

Finally, we know that Gun Control measures, no matter what name they may hide behind, are only likely to significantly affect the Law Abiding. Terrorists will not be inconvenienced, let alone disuaded' by the potention penalties they may have to pay if they are found having toboard an airplane while in possession of a clearly definable "WEAPON".

Until we have more information, we are lot likely to express an opinion.

Still, it does generate some very interesting questions.

No comments: