Thursday, November 04, 2004

Airline security just bugs me, and that's all there is to it.
So while the gate security confiscates any little metal device, including nail clippers (a family member joked “Now that would make an intimidating weapon; imagine a terrorist standing up with one in his hand and yelling ‘Stand back or I will clip you’”), the airlines then serve up alternative potential and much more dangerous weapons, including a serrated metal knife (although the blade was not large and it wasn’t very sharp) and fork. How crazy is that.
Security in the end will rest with the passengers: a determined group will certainly be able to put down someone armed only with a fork. It's the people who slip explosive through that worry me.

And more and more I have the feeling that security wants to discourage this impulse to guard ourselves. Afraid of someone's overreaction--and one can easily imagine a racially motivated assault on a plane, "justified" in the name of safety--they have done their best to prevent any reaction. They're trying to remove their natural allies: aware passengers.
So how can passengers help and how can we be prepared? Most are already contributing to security. They are more aware of other passengers and are on the outlook for weapons or anything suspicious. This might just help avert the next hijacker or terrorist incident.

Also, the willingness of passengers to fight back will certainly make terrorists think twice before acting again. This willingness to take action was demonstrated on 9/11 when passengers on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania fought back, though they died in their efforts. There have been more recent incidents as well, when passengers have jumped in to help restrain someone, the most notable case being that of the alleged shoe bomber.

You might be willing physically to assist the crew in cases of air rage, belligerency, or fisticuffs. But, be careful. You can still help, but I wouldn’t want to seriously injury some half drunk, emotional “Uncle Max” from Buffalo who is just venting to other passengers.
I don't agree with everything in the three articles on airplane self-defense, but much of it is good, solid advice. Me? I've got my crochet hook.

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