Skip to comments.Terrorists Exploit America's Gun Phobia
Posted on 09/19/2001 10:23:53 AM PDT by 45Auto
As the immediate shock of the September Eleventh attacks transmutes into long-term anger, Americans are asking tough questions. Members of the gun rights community have their own views on airline security, probably not shared by mainstream society, but worth considering in light of the extraordinary challenges that face us.
Under current rules, airline passengers are disarmed and pilots forbidden to carry guns on the theory that guns are dangerous and would only escalate a violent situation. As with other shortsighted anti-gun efforts, this one wrongly assumed that safety was assured if guns could be eliminated.
The success of the terrorist attacks certainly made a mockery of that policy. Members of the gun rights community are wondering what would have happened if a passenger on one or more of the doomed jetliners had been armed with a simple handgun. No doubt some have, in their dreams, envisioned a little old lady with a revolver dispatching the suicide squad before they could overpower the unarmed air crew.
For decades, Americans have been taught from a very young age that it is not appropriate to resist criminals, especially if there is some risk involved in doing so. Instead we are told to call 911 and wait for helpful government employees to arrive. Heart-wrenching reports of doomed passengers dialing 911 in vain are an indicator of how successfully we have been disarmed and indoctrinated.
Those who have not been paying attention to security issues seem surprised at how easy it was for a group of determined men to take over four jetliners. But we have already seen how easily one or two armed individuals can terrorize a school or office when all occupants have been disarmed by law.
Arming pilots and making cockpit doors more secure seems like an obvious measure that everyone should agree with. However, this still leaves passengers in the main cabin vulnerable to attackers with improvised or smuggled weapons and pilots open to psychological pressure resulting from threats against the passengers.
So far, plans to improve airline safety involve expensive new security forces and more intrusive passenger searches. Travelers will now be stripped of even the smallest nail clippers or scissors. Long delays at airports are expected to discourage casual travel.
Advocates of armed civilian defense believe they have a better idea. They point out that thousands of potential security guards are already available. Millions of citizens across the country possess concealed weapon permits. This group has proven to be the most law-abiding segment of our society, even more so than police officers.
A smaller subset of permit holders has acquired a high level of firearms training at numerous schools across the country. Some of the techniques they learn are borrowed from counter-terrorist experts. In many cases, the training exceeds that of ordinary policemen. The size of this group is unknown, but it must number in the tens of thousands. Most of these men and women have adopted self-defense shooting as a sport and some have developed an amazing level of skill.
It's a safe bet that thousands of these individuals would volunteer to be unpaid security officers when they are flying anyway for business or personal reasons. This group is exquisitely aware of the special circumstances involved in using guns on aircraft and would gladly take additional specialized training. They would expect to obey certain restrictions on the type of guns and ammunition used. For example, special ammunition is available that will not penetrate the skin of an aircraft.
By placing armed and trained civilians on flights at random, terrorist planning would be enormously complicated. It would not be possible for attackers to identify the armed guard before the attack, since he or she would look like an ordinary passenger. There might be more than one and very few would fit the profile of a hard-eyed, crew-cut federal marshal.
The cost would be miniscule compared to that of assigning a paid law enforcement officer to each flight, current metal detector based searches would be adequate, and it would guarantee an immediate end to hijackings. Unfortunately, America has not yet recovered from its gun phobia enough to explore this cheap and effective solution.
While we are perfectly comfortable having our soldiers shoot as many terrorists as possible, there is an illogical knee-jerk reaction to the idea of citizens participating in their own defense. The anti-gun lobby and other advocates of a disarmed and helpless public must bear some responsibility for the shamefully vulnerable position we now occupy.
Dr. Michael S. Brown is an optometrist and member of Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws, www.dsgl.org.
But this week, I finally decided to learn to shoot, apply for a CCW permit and buy a gun once I know what I'm doing. I have even persuaded my wife to join me in my first course, the NRA Home Firearms Safety Course, which is a requirement for getting a CCW permit here in Massachusetts.
I doubt she will want to actually get her own permit, and she is still not comfortable with the idea of having a gun in the house (especially since we have a young child). Of course, I have concerns about that too.
But I do believe that all citizens in a free society should know how to use firearms, and must be willing and able to defend themselves. After last Tuesday's attack, I have finally decided it's time to put up or shut up.
And none of their new security measures will actually work to reduce crime or terrorism. Pitiful.
Since you're undertaking classes to safely use your new firearm, make sure you do what's necessary to secure that firearm from your child. Get a good lockable gun safe. My personal preference is one that opens with a key so you won't be fumbling with a combination lock when trying to open the safe under stress. You and your wife can wear the key on a chain around your necks - always available and always under your control. That way, the gun in the safe can be kept loaded and ready to go.
FYI and everyone else's my daughter will be turning three in a few weeks. So she's a bit young to be gun-proffed, I'm afraid. Still, I appreciate everyone's good suggestions and will take them to heart.
Could someone refer to me to a study or article or something backing this up? Thanks.
MASSACHUSETTS?? Oh, man good luck... Expect to have new hoops and hurdles put in your way whenever you manage to pass the last set.
Actually, my conversations with those in the local gun owning community inform me that it is not as bad as I had thought. The final decision is up to the local police chief, and I'm told by local trainers that my town is about a 5 on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being easy to get a permit and 10 being really hard.
So now that I've done the research, I'm actually encouraged that I will be able to get a permit.
It doesn't cost much, either.
Amendment II, U.S. Constitution: A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
A---The dictionary definition of the word bear states, to wear on oneself.
B---The dictionary definition of the word arms states, a weapon, esp. a firearm.
C---The dictionary definition of the word firearm states, a weapon, esp. a pistol
Why just citizens who wish to "bear," concealed?
I don't get it. How does the FAA, a government entity, create a regulation that usurps an enumerated, God-given, unalienable right, "...to...bear arms?"
Don't give me that "compelling state interest" crap as an answer, either. Nor, that the Second Amendment is a "collective" rigtht versus an "individual" right.
We U.S. citizens are partially the blame for the WTC/Pentagon disasters.
Because we did not exert our constitutional rights, we allowed a group of thugs to turn a pleasant means of transportation, within the borders of the U.S., into a devasting bomb.
In addition, since the 1930's, U.S. citizens have been electing Presidents and Senators, that have nominated and confirmed judges who have no respect for the words of the constitution and will only give jurisdiction, in the people's courtroom, (which the judges misname as "my courtroom") to only those U.S. citizens who have committed a crime, to challenge the constitutionality of gun control laws.
If we U.S. citizens cannot stand the "heat" of exerting our constitutionaly guaranteed rights, how are we going to stand the "heat" of countering a jihad?
Good point. And the answer is not encouraging. I figure we have about a 50% chance of surviving some sort of real uprising in this country. For the lack of single firearm in the hands of a good guy, a few madmen armed with little more than fingernail files murdered thousands. This PC BS about how "guns kill", therefore no one should be allowed to own one, is part and parcel of what's wrong with the US.
We have allowed ourselves to be sold a bill of goods by left-wing idiots and fear-mongers. We have allowed firearms to be villified as "evil totems", instead of adhering to [George] Washington's description of guns as the "Teeth of Liberty."
Perhaps this little atrocity will serve as a wake-up call to the petrified citizenry of the US. Homeland defense is no longer merely an abstract concept; the first line of personal defense is the armed citizen. It has always been so, since the birth of this great nation. But we have forgotten that the price of liberty is constant vigilance coupled with INDIVIDUAL preparedness.