The 9/11incident caught all of America unawares. The events that unfolded led to the rethinking of the security measures in almost all sectors in the States. One of the radically affected sectors was the airline industry. After four planes were hijacked and crashed into the Times Towers and the Pentagon, the suggestion to arm pilots arose. This was meant to act as a deterrent if another instance in which a plane was hijacked; the pilots would be able to stop the attackers. The pilots were to be trained by the FBI and then be armed with firearms when they were on duty. In this paper, there will be the presentation of several premises as to why pilots should not be allowed to carry firearms. For one, firearms and airplanes are a dangerous mix; also by arming pilots will mean that their concentration will be divided which is dangerous. Another reason not to arm pilots is that this initiative will be very expensive to undertake. My argument is presented as follows.
Equipping pilots with firearms will make a plane very risky and dangerous to fly in. The cockpit is full of vital instruments that are paramount in running the plane. There is the risk of damage to these instruments due to stray bullets. Pilots have a specific set of specialization skills and close firearm combat is one of them. This will mean the offering of firearms will act paradoxically in that it will make the plane more dangerous than safe. Also, a stray bullet that was meant for an attacker may injure or even kill a passenger. Also, a plane is not made for shootouts and passengers may panic and cause more harm. Therefore, other alternatives like tasers should be used. The usage of firearms should be limited to law enforcement professionals.
Pilots are supposed to be focused and not labored with other responsibilities apart from flying. Flying a plane requires a lot of concentration and thereby offering the pilots arms will mean that their scope of work has been added which will affect negatively their performance. A pilot in charge of a plane will put his/her passengers in risk if he leaves his flying post and confront attackers. Therefore, offering pilots firearms is not recommended. Pilots are under a lot of stress already and adding a gun to the mix will even affect them further (STROMBERG, 2001). Therefore, pilots should, as per their job description, be left to only fly planes and security be left to other stakeholders.
This exercise will be expensive. If all pilots will be required carry arms, they will have to undergo training with the FBI to equip them with the necessary skills to bear arms. This will incurred a lot of costs especially coming from the taxpayer. It is my opinion that these funds be directed to other uses like heightening the airport and boarding security so that pilots will not be forced to act so as to secure their planes (STROMBERG, 2001). By offering prevention measures, guns will be unnecessary in the cockpit.
An argument presented by abcNews for arming pilots advocates for the use of frangible bullets instead of lead ones. These bullets will be able to penetrate human flesh but will not cause any damage to the plane. This however will still put passengers and other individuals at risk as these bullets are fatal to humans. This is an unnecessary risk that should not be taken and other modes of safety should be sought and applied.
In conclusion, we see that by equipping pilots with arms, we will be making airplanes more dangerous than they should be. Also, by adding more responsibilities to the pilots, flying will become a sloppy affair as their attention will be divided between securing the airplane and flying safely. The funds that would be used in training the pilots on how to use firearms should be diverted to other purposes. Therefore, from the above premises, pilots should not be allowed to carry arms in the cockpit. Air travel should be made safe enough to make it absolutely unnecessary for the pilots to bear arms.
- News, A. Should Airline Pilots Be Armed?. ABC News. Retrieved 23 July 2016, from http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=92434&page=1
- STROMBERG, S. (2001). Armed Pilots: A Risk Worth Taking? | Opinion | The Harvard Crimson. Thecrimson.com. Retrieved 23 July 2016, from http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2001/10/18/armed-pilots-a-risk-worth-taking/