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December 09, 2005

Comments

A greater threat than terrorists? How many people have terrorists killed using airplanes? Somewhere around 2000 sounds about right.
How many people been killed by air marshals?
Just the one. Ever.
How many terrorist attacks have been stopped by air marshals? None that we know of. But, how many have been deterred? The world will never know. But, if just one was deterred, then they have saved more lives than they've lost.

And even though eye witnesses say they didn't hear him say he had a bomb, that's not the same as them saying they know he didn't say it. All they're saying is "I didn't hear it." I didn't see Sienfeld last night, but that doesn't mean it wasn't on. It means I wasn't watching.

The air marshal is self served by making up that he heard "I have a bomb" in order to justify shooting an innocent man. That's why it would be nice to have one disinterested passenger say that they heard the victim mention a bomb.

Terrorists were able to get away with what they did in 2001 because we had a policy that airplane personnel should cooperate with hijackers because no one anticipated that hijackers would be suicidal and cooperation was seen as the best way to protect lives. 2001 would never happen again because the policy has changed.

Just because the air marshall is benefitted from having heard "I have a bomb" doesn't mean he's making it up. It's more likely that he heard a threat than that he decided to just kill a random passenger.
And could it really not happen again? What about the shoe bomber? If he had more time, he quite possibly could have detonated his device. So, what if the next potential shoe bomber has an accomplice say "Don't worry about him, he's just obsessive compulsive in playing with his shoes."
The truth is the air marshall doesn't have time to launch a full investigation at that moment. If there is a bomb, and the air marshall stops to inquire about the passenger's medical history, it could be too late to act.
And, not every terrorist wants to quitely set off his device on the plane. And, not everyone with a bomb is a terrorist. What if he had just been a crazy person with a bomb?
So...if you want to not be stopped in detonating your bomb, remember...act real crazy, because then the air marshalls won't stop you right away.

Croox0r has no idea what really happen, either. So on what basis do can he or she conclude that it is more likely that the air marshal hear what he claims to have heard?

Halfsigma's version is more plausable, if the passegers witnessed the entire event from beginning to end. The passengers have no vested interest in this one way or the other. The air marshal clearly does. Wrongful shooting ends career s. People say all kind of things when their jobs are on the line.

We need air marshalls who can make sound, common sense judgment even under great pressure. Those who are unable to do so need to find a less stressful line of work that doesn't involve firearms.

Half Sigma's original post contains the most important statement:

People who REALLY plan to blow up airplanes do not state they have bombs, particulary before the plane has taken off.

Air marshalls should be trained to look for suspicious ACTIONS, not suspicious statements (for example, Richard Reed's actions, as stated above -- he had gone to extreme lengths to convince people he did NOT have a bomb in his shoe).

If a passenger on a jet that is airborne states he has a bomb and will blow up the plane unless xyz demand is met, that is credible. But a man madly running about the cabin, yelling lots of things (one of which may or may not have been "I've got a bomb") while a woman runs after him saying "he hasn't taken his medication -- he's my husband" must be evaluated differently.

Now, an unarmed 15 year-old running away from a burglary, that kid deserves to be TOAST.

Half Sigma's original post contains the most important statement:

People who REALLY plan to blow up airplanes do not state they have bombs, particulary before the plane has taken off.

Air marshalls should be trained to look for suspicious ACTIONS, not suspicious statements (for example, Richard Reed's actions, as stated above -- he had gone to extreme lengths to convince people he did NOT have a bomb in his shoe).

If a passenger on a jet that is airborne states he has a bomb and will blow up the plane unless xyz demand is met, that is credible. But a man madly running about the cabin, yelling lots of things (one of which may or may not have been "I've got a bomb") while a woman runs after him saying "he hasn't taken his medication -- he's my husband" must be evaluated differently.

Now, an unarmed 15 year-old running away from a burglary, that kid deserves to be TOAST.

ok. i was searching for current events for a school project and i ran into your site. i don't agree that air marshalls are that much of a threat. yes maybe those particular air marshalls but not the majority of them.
- jess

You are an ignorant person. Why not get the official report from a "Freedom of Information Act" request. The facts are in and the shooting was justified. What would you do if a person wearing a back pack on backwards with his hand in the bag saying he had a bomb was coming at you even though you had a gun aimed at him and identified yourself as police? And as a FAM, you are required to protect the passengers on the plane this guy was on? Get the report and read it!

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