In the last couple weeks a number of flights from Europe have been cancelled because of security concerns. First the Air France flights, then the British Airways flights, tomorrow – who knows? Some pundits are making the case that this shows that other countries must begin Air Marshall programs and so forth in order to make international travel safe.
Myself, I don’t think any of that is necessary. I’m not afraid to fly, because in the post-9/11 world air travelers are crazy mofos. In the event of another attempted hijacking the Air Marshalls may find themselves trying to protect the hijackers from pissed off travelers.
That sounds extreme, but consider three recent examples:
A comedian tells an audience that he was flying shortly after 9/11. Next to him on the plane was a guy with one of those pens that click to extend the nib. The guy was click-click-clicking the pen for fifteen minutes before the comic asked him what his deal with the pen was. The guy looked at him and smiled in a crazed kinda way: “If a terrorist tries to take over this flight I’m going to stab him in the neck.” The comic suggested that maybe we should all carry clicky-pens on planes so when Mohammed Atta II walks on a plane he see 100 people click-click-clicking.
I was flying out of Las Vegas and two guys across the isle started talking about what they’d do if a terrorist tried to take over the flight.
“I’d kill ’em,” said the first.
“I’d eat ’em,” said the second.
A British Airways flight was going from London to San Francisco when a passenger started to get aggressive with a flight attendant. When he threatened her with a plastic knife the passengers around him had enough. They jumped him, disarmed him, restrained him, and drugged him up with Valium. He was later carried off the plane by FBI agents, who had to wait for him to sober up before his interrogation.
So I’m not afraid to fly. I board, kick back and relax, comfortable in the knowledge that a hijacker has a snowball’s chance in Kona of succeeding.