The Value Of Human Life
I have a sister-in-law who is a Flight Attendant for American Airlines. Her regular routes include the LA to Boston and LA to Washington DC runs. She banged up her elbow a few weeks ago and hasn't been flying. When I talked to her last night, she said that the take over of the cockpit had to have happened pretty fast. The pilots evidently have a button that alerts ground control that the plane is being hijacked. The button was activated on only one of the four planes yesterday. She has been flying for over 20 years, has been on emergency landings due to equipment malfunction (including pretty heavy smoke in the cabin), and storms that caused some pretty radical changes in altitude. She said she has never been scared until now. She is not sure if she is going to fly anymore.
Our culture puts a very high value on individual human life and this makes us easy to control. Start stabbing the flight attendants and tell them you will kill more if they don't do what you say. There is no way to defend against someone who doesn't even value his own life.
Get rid of the rent-a-cop security personnel at the airports and replace them with real trained security personnel. Conduct random (and not too infrequent inspections of baggage, checked and hand carried), and armed Federal Marshals on flights. Yes, it will make air travel a little more of a pain in the neck and maybe a little more expensive, but what happened yesterday is an unacceptable alternative.
I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone in your turmoil over these events. I have numbed myself with work (I have been here since 2:30 this morning).
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Prescott, Andy"
Subject: Re: Thanks To Everyone
Date: September 13, 2001 3:34 AM
I go further (and have for some time) by suggesting (insisting) that a long-term, armed military officer, representing the interests of the United States, be aboard any commercial aircraft (including UPS and FedEx and similar freight) which flies within U.S. airspace.
It seems as if we spend more on the Secret Service protecting our President (and ex-presidents and their wives) than we do protecting our citizens from hijacking. It is being said that the people just didn't want this, that this would impair flying's competitive edge for shipping and travel. I reply that flying's competitive edge is false, because flying has cut so many corners.
In sum, that they could successfully hijack four commercial passenger airliners at the same time speaks volumes, and I say that the blame rests mainly upon those who decided to cut corners with security.
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