Focus Point - Arming PilotsCommentary by Pete du Pont
October 08, 2001
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. As we look for ways to increase security against terrorism - especially in the light of the use of airplanes as terrorist weapons - one common-sense solution seems to be to train and allow pilots to carry weapons. That, along with making the cockpit less vulnerable, would be a step in the right direction.
This is not the same thing as suggesting we turn the friendly skies into the OK corral. Clearly, pilots defending the cockpit would be a measure of last resort. We are reminded constantly of the safety concerns, but ask yourself, what would be worse: passengers having to use oxygen because a bullet punctured the fuselage - after passing through a terrorist - or another world trade center disaster?
Another more difficult suggestion extends to letting the 600,000 active state and local law enforcement officers bring their guns on planes, which they can't now do. Air marshals are a great idea, but we'd need 35,000 of them to cover every day's flights.
Weapons are deterrents when the good guys have them. So let's make sure we do.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, Sweden 1, America zero.