May 30, 2002


Armed (and dangerous) pilots (George Will, May 30, 2002, Jewish World Review)
[A] potential problem with arming America's 120,000 commercial airline pilots is what one of the three pilots here calls, with no demurral from the other two, "cowboys or renegade pilots." Many commercial pilots began their flying careers as fighter pilots. Two of the three speaking here this day did. One of them says: There is some truth to the profile of fighter pilots as, well, live wires and risk-takers. Arming them might incite them to imprudent bravery. Armed pilots would be more inclined to go out into the cabin, whereas the primary goal should be getting the plane to the ground.

"The popularity of an idea does not make it a good idea,"says one of these pilots, and all three, although members of ALPA, question whether the idea of arming pilots is as popular with pilots as ALPA suggests. One of these pilots was polled by phone by ALPA and considered the questions written so as to produce an expression of support for arming pilots.

There is in the airline industry the suspicion that the drive to arm pilots, to equip them for potential action back in the cabin, is for ALPA a new front in the organization's long-standing campaign to revive the requirement for a third pilot in the cockpit. The three pilots gathered here would prefer that ALPA concentrate on protecting existing jobs rather than creating new ones.

So are gun activists, most of them conservatives and libertarians, unknowingly doing the bidding of Big Labor here? Enquiring minds want to know... Posted by Orrin Judd at May 30, 2002 8:42 AM
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