Monday, June 03, 2002

Armed pilots


The press can't shoot straight

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        Airline pilots may dress like postal workers, but I don't think they carry the same bag of “issues.”

        If anyone has an excuse to go psycho, it's the “Greyhound of the Skies” guys. They chauffeur belligerent, neurotic, often toasted passengers, knowing that not two among 200 will ever remain seated until the airplane comes to a complete stop — although the whole planeload will gladly sue like tobacco lawyers if someone gets beaned by a carry-on anvil.

        There's a reason the cockpit door is locked — and it's not to keep the pilots away from the passengers.

        But I've never heard of a “disgruntled pilot” who ran amok and shot up his co-workers or passengers.

        So why is the national media so paranoid about pilots packing handguns to stop terrorists?

       

Off her nut

        The attitude was summed up by the oracle of the liberal media establishment, Cokie Roberts, quoted by the Media Research Center: “Having some pilot who's gone off his nut for some reason running around with a gun does not make me feel safe.”

        But if a pilot goes “off his nut,” isn't a handgun the last of your worries, way behind “crash dive”? And what's scarier: A pilot with a gun or a terrorist with a box-cutter?

        Polls show 75 percent of Americans are in favor of arming pilots, but the media lives in Cokieland, where pilots are all teetering on the dime's edge of lunacy, ready to go tower-shooter berserk if they get near a gun.

        It's nothing personal about pilots. It's just a clinical phobia about guns.

        When Attorney General John Ashcroft suggested that the Second Amendment is just as sacred as the other nine, and protects individual liberties like the rest of the Bill of Rights, most news reports and editorials made him sound like an “extremist” too radical for the Branch Davidians.

        Another example: When a student grabbed a gun and began shooting at the Appalachian Law School in Virginia last January, two other students ran to their cars, grabbed their guns and stopped the attack.

       

What gun?

        “I aimed my gun at him and (the shooter) tossed his gun down,” one of the armed students said.

        But that was not reported to the public.

        The American Enterprise magazine said, “What is remarkable is that out of 280 separate news stories in the week after the event, only four mentioned that the student heroes had guns. Only two local newspapers mentioned that the young men actually pointed their guns at the attacker to end his rampage.”

        The Washington Post reported only that they “helped subdue” the shooter. The New York Times said the gunman was “tackled by fellow students.”

        “Unfortunately, such coverage is not unusual,” American Enterprise reported. “In other public school shootings where citizens with guns have stopped attacks, only about 1 percent of the news reports have mentioned that armed citizens put a halt to the onslaught.”

        Arming a pilot who already is trusted with hundreds of lives doesn't worry me. But a biased reporter armed with a keyboard — now that's scary.

       E-mail pbronson@enquirer.com or call 768-8301.

       



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