The Archie Bunker Solution

In response to my comments on David Brin’s piece, a reader suggests that:

I don’t relish a fire fight in the cabin, but I suspect that the only damage to the aircraft from small arms fire would be the flying flesh and blood. That would be very rare if everyone could be armed. The crime rate in concealed carry states appears to be dropping. There have been few or no reported instances of licensed individuals starting trouble and many just the opposite. So there’s the answer pass out Browning 9’s at the gate to any one who wants one (collect a deposit of course).

I call that the Archie Bunker solution, because Archie once proposed it during the heyday of hijackings to Cuba. Norman Lear obviously thought that it was a ridiculous idea (as was his opinion of almost all ideas attributed to Archie), but after 911, it has more appeal to me, at least relative to our current approach. However, to say it is better than the current philosophy is to damn it with faint praise, and I am more than a little nervous about untrained people with heavy weaponry on board.

My preferred solution is to allow anyone who is licensed to carry on the ground to be able to carry on board. That would include active and retired military and law enforcement, and citizens with CCW permits (though the state-specific issues with CCW complicates life quite a bit–how would one handle a flight from DFW to Logan?). In addition, flight crew should be allowed to be armed, with stun guns and pepper spray for flight attendants, and there should be a little pepper sprayer in the back of every seat. Make sure there are harsh penalties if air ragers use it for non-self-defense purpose. Anyone who attempts to put on a pepper-spray-proof mask gets tasered and subdued immediately

I do believe that the current approach does little to improve safety, and is destroying not only the airline industry, but is extremely damaging to the economy. In fact, this weekend, I may take a WAG at just what the hidden costs of the current airline security fiasco are–I’ve seen no one else do it.

A reader notes that:

There’s an old joke about carrying your own bomb on a plane as the probability of two bombs on the same plane is nill…….ultimately the terrorist who seems adapt at forging passports will do the same thing with CCW permits.

True, but beside the point. The purpose of the permit is not to exclude terrorists and criminals who may indeed forge one–it’s just to keep the clueless from carrying, as it is in the rest of society. Under my scenario, I fully expect a determined terrorist to be able to carry a weapon on board. What I don’t expect is for him to bother–the notion that there will be others on board with weapons who know how to use them, and he won’t know who they are, or how many, will deter.

There is no substitute for stopping the terrorist before he gets anywhere near the airplane…like stop him while he is still in the cave in Afganistan.

True, if possible. But I’m not sure that it always will be–we must be vigilant in addition.