L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 140, September 24, 2001
Cliff 'Em All!
The Spirit of '93
by Jeff Elkins
Special to TLE
According to fragmentary stories from grieving family members, there were some heroes on at least one doomed airliner - passengers who counter-attacked the terrorists that had commandeered their plane for a death mission. If the reports are true, the passengers prevented their airliner from being turned into a missile of mass destruction.
There have been a few conflicting reports that allege that the airliner may have been shot down by a US warplane, or that the terrorists succeeded in detonating a bomb which they smuggled onboard. Personally, I find these reports to be unconvincing.
Facing what they knew was death, Americans made a choice to confront and combat evil, even though they were disarmed and made helpless by their own government. On second thought, allow me to retract the 'helpless.' Free men are never helpless. Free men can never be crushed, they can only be killed.
Henceforth, when I think of heroism, henceforth my first thoughts will be of the men of United Airlines Flight 93.
Knowing he faced death, 31-year-old passenger Jeremy Glick used his cell phone to call his wife, Lyzbeth, to tell her of his love and give a promise to go down fighting.
Glick told his wife that the Boeing 757's cockpit had been taken over by three Arabs armed with knives and box cutters. The terrorists, wearing red headbands, herded the pilots, flight attendants and passengers to the rear of the plane, which was on a flight from Newark to San Francisco.
Glick told his wife that the male passengers were going to rush the cockpit and attempt to take back the plane from the terrorists. He also told his wife that he hoped she would have a good life and would take care of their 3-month-old baby girl. At that point the phone call faded out - the last sounds Mrs. Glick heard were "random noises and screams."
Other passengers on Flight 93 also made last phone calls. Brave Americans all.
In the face of this display of raw courage, have we heard a clarion call for Americans to arm themselves? Of course not. Our government has decided that all pocket knives should be banned during air travel. Even the pitiful plastic knives used at airport concession stands and those issued with in-flight meals. There are now calls for members of the Delta Force to 'protect' us.
How disgustingly typical.
American airport terminals might as well be contracted out to former employees of the USSR, but the photo IDs, x-ray scanners and 'did your bags remain with you at all times' procedures failed against a determined foe. It's inarguable that our own dictatorial security procedures doomed thousands in New York and Washington DC.
And all the new security procedures won't stop a similar incident from occurring again. Banning Osama Bin Laden from a convenient curbside check in won't prevent a hijacking.
Rather than have members of our armed forces become permanent passengers on our airliners, why not try something really radical; why not depend on men like Jeremy Glick, Mark Bingham and Thomas E. Burnett Jr.?
Americans should demand that their God-given 2nd Amendment right to bear arms anywhere, airliner, post office, elementary school or courthouse, not be abrogated.
You can hear the whining cries now: 'Oh, we couldn't do that! Air rage would have bullets flying in the skies!" Air rage itself, is a fiction. Supposed 'air rage' is merely a symptom of the Stalinist repression current regulations have forced on our air travelers. That problem would be solved instantly by less 'security.' More of the same will only exacerbate it. You'll also hear the objections of those who watch too many movies and see visions of depressurized airplanes and passengers being sucked through cabin windows. Nothing but Hollywood melodrama, but easily addressed with a regulation for frangible ammunition while traveling.
I'd rather depend on one Jeremy Glick with a weapon than one hundred Sky Marshals or Delta Force Commandos.