Armed pilots in a world of uncertainty
Terrorism has certainly caught the attention of the Western
World in a way we have never seen before. There is a need to 'keeps one's
feet on the ground' following any major global catastrophe, such as the terror
of September 11, but for those who must take to the air and fly, uncertainty
leads to fear and suspicion as we seek to get to our destination in one piece.
In an article taken from The National Business Review,
12 July 2002, entitled 'Committee Approves Arming Pilots', we read: "A US
House of Representatives Committee has approved a bill enabling some airline
pilots to carry guns for a two year period as a last line of defence against
terrorists. The decision, if passed into law, would allow one in 50 pilots to
undergo firearms training and carry weapons while other security measures such
as reinforced flight deck doors and more intense baggage screening are
Frequent travellers know that passenger visits to the cockpit
used to be regular experiences in the old world. Not so in the new world -–
being treated with suspicion is the order of the day, as who to trust, and who
not to has become an issue. The Bible calls Satan the 'Prince of the power of
the air'. This title denotes some form of dominion within the spiritual realm.
For believers in Christ, we can continue our day to day activities in total
security, whether on the ground or in the air, in sure confidence that God is
our refuge and defence and ultimately, 'Nothing can by any means hurt us'.
I spy with lots of little eyes
Perhaps employing millions of extra spies will bring
back a sense of control! The Dominion Post printed an interesting
headline on the 17 July 2002, 'US wants spies -– by the millions'.
Wow! I have certain friends who fit the role perfectly. They
would absolutely revel in the opportunity to put friends and acquaintances under
'official surveillance' -– it would be right up their alley. It's a
similar scenario to the 'Dob in a bad driver' campaign. I was dobbed in
three times in the first two days of the campaign, prompting a visit from a
friendly neighbourhood constable.
"US wants spies -– by the millions: Millions of United
States citizens are to be recruited as domestic spies and informants by the
government in a move that has alarmed the country's civil liberty groups.
The Terrorism Information and Prevention System will use a
minimum of 4 per cent of Americans, or more than 11 million civilians, to report
The huge informal surveillance network, the latest move by
the (sic) to improve domestic security after the September 11 terrorist attacks,
will mean that the US will have a similar percentage of civilian informants as
that employed by the East German Stasi police at the height of the Cold War....
Volunteers are being sought from workers who, according to
the website, are "well positioned to recognise unusual events and ... to
report suspicious activity"....
"Informant reports are notoriously unreliable, with the
obvious risk of some fabricating their reports to settle scores or get
attention," the American Civil Liberties Union said....
The project comes after the passage through Congress in
November of the USA Patriot Act, legislation heavily criticised by the civil
rights lobby, which gives intelligence agencies sweeping powers, including the
indefinite detention of non-US citizens on visa violations and the secret
searching and bugging of homes....
Mr Bush has already proposed merging all or parts of 22
agencies -– including the Secret Service, Coast Guard and Border Patrol -–
into a new Homeland Security Department. He has called it the most sweeping
reorganisation since President Harry Truman confronted the Cold War in 1947."
I don't know what would be worse -– the fear of ongoing
terrorist activities, or the ridiculous scenario of living in a KGB styled
state, with wannabe spies taking themselves too seriously, and rookie security
officials arresting the local dairy owner.
Of course prior to 9/11 this whole DIY 007 concept would have
caused protests and anger from ordinary folk as well as civil rights