“Security or Freedom” seems to be the popular phrase of the day in regards to what our response to the attacks on America should be. Most will tell us that the two are mutually exclusive.
Well, I ain’t buyin’ it. There is an alternative that allows for both, without compromising either. I urge you to give some serious and critical thought to the following imaginary interview with the CEO of an airline I call, ‘BarryAire’, before you consent to any further encroachment on your Freedoms.
Interviewer: Mrs. Safefly, You’re the CEO of what has become the most popular airline in the world. Can you explain what makes ‘BarryAire’ so popular?
A: Well, yes, I think I can. We compete in a free market, so we have to provide better service to our customers than anyone else. In order to do that, we have to take good care of our workforce, and keep our equipment in excellent condition. This costs a little more, in terms of profits, but we more than make up the difference in volume.
And here’s the really good part; we have consistently maintained an unparalleled on-time record and the very highest customer satisfaction rating. We have learned to treat our customers as people, not cattle. We’re after repeat business.
Q: I see that your fares are competitive, the seats you provide are bigger, and your reliability borders on the ‘impossible’, but isn’t there something else which drives your popularity? Isn’t there something you haven’t mentioned?
A: I see what you’re getting at. We like to think the reason for our popularity is for the level of service we provide, but there are those who think it’s because of our unblemished safety record. Is that what you’re asking?
Q: Yes, and No. I was hoping you’d comment on what security precautions you have taken.
A: Oh, security? Well, after reviewing and analyzing the events of September 11th, 2001 we decided to make a repeat impossible. We looked at the heroics of the disarmed passengers on one of the planes, and we looked at all of the possible circumstances and came up with workable, practical, solutions , without worrying about being politically correct.
We looked at modifying our planes to provide a solid bulkhead between the cockpit and the passenger compartment, and a separate entry for the pilots. That way, a hi-jack attempt to take physical control of the craft simply couldn’t occur. This seemed to make some sense, so we did it. At the same time we heightened security around and concerning our flight crews.
We also installed hidden closed-circuit cameras throughout the passenger area providing the pilots, and if necessary ground control with a real time view of everything that is going on.
Our major objective was to provide the highest possible level of safe passage for our customers, without violating their Constitutionally-recognized Natural Rights. Any such violation would be ‘illegal’ on its’ face. For us, it simply wasn’t a question of ‘either perceived security, or respect for Individual Rights’ that all of the other airlines portrayed.
The airline industry, as a whole is well behind the curve. Can you believe that we were actually pressured to jack up our fares in order to pay for ‘armed sky-marshals’ who would ostensibly protect the passengers from a hi-jack attempt while we made the conversions to our aircraft?
We analyzed that alternative, along with considering training and arming our workforce. We immediately recognized some fundamental flaws in the ‘sky-marshal’ idea. First off, it cost too much, and provided no significant security increase. At the same time, some of the passengers would be afraid just knowing that someone has a firearm in the same room with them—they’ve been scared by all the liberal propaganda they teach in schools now.
The airlines tried to put a single ‘sky-marshal’ on every commercial flight back in the 80s. It was just too expensive, and now-a-days the logistics would be an absolute nightmare. At the very least such a plan would force every carrier to throw away their schedules and tell passengers, “We’ll get you there when we get you there”. We are talking about the inherent inefficiencies of another government program.
If that wasn’t enough, we also looked at how effective such a program would be. We had to consider the question of tight screening for these ‘sky-marshals’. Think of the tragedy if the only one armed on a flight just ‘went crazy’, or was a ‘mole’ for a terrorist group. Not to mention the fact that these terrorist groups generally include three or more conspirators. What if three terrorists make themselves known, the ‘sky-marshal’ brandishes his firearm to subdue them, only to find there was a terrorist ‘backup’ waiting to take out the ‘sky-marshal’? Do you see my point? These guys are crafty.
Q: That makes sense now that I think about it. But what I was trying to get at was your firearms policy. You’ve raised more than a few eyebrows, but somehow your customers just keep coming back over and over. How do you do it?
A: We try not to make a big deal about our policy, but since you asked…..
Like any business, at some point we did have to look at the costs involved and the inconvenience to our customers for excessive ‘security checks’. We realized that we’d have to take every bag apart every time and virtually require a body cavity search of every customer to even begin to raise the actual level of security. And even then, we realized that these terrorist groups could simply improvise a weapon that was built into their luggage. There just seemed to be no real workable solution. Then it hit us.
We decided to request a separate terminal entrance for our customers. Our first one was the old outside Terminal ‘2’ at Sky Harbor here in Phoenix. We simply put the checked luggage on the x-ray machine and the ‘sniffer’, manned by real, highly-trained attendants looking specifically for explosives. I’m happy to report we’ve never found any, but still we look.
Another thought was to give the pilot the power to release a ‘sleeping gas’ of sorts into the passenger cabin. It sounded like a good idea until we considered the horrible consequences of a group of terrorists bringing some sort of breathing apparatus onboard.
Q: I appreciate what you’re saying, but are you avoiding my question? You have to know what I’m getting at, don’t you?
A: Of course I do. I just wanted to make sure you know that we have considered all of the other options conceivable before I brought up our ‘solution’. Our sole objective was to provide the absolute highest level of security to our customers, it just turned out that for us to do that, we had to respect the Natural Rights of American individuals in the fullest sense of the word.
What has proven to be the most unique thing about ‘BarryAire’ is our allowance of our passengers to carry loaded firearms onboard the aircraft. Each passenger who carries, is asked to do so discreetly. We want people to declare their firearm so that we can make the proper ‘safety adjustments’.
If there are less than 20 firearms present on any flight, our flight attendants distribute them to randomly-selected passengers, to be returned at the conclusion of their flight. We approach it in much the same manner as inquiring to the customers’ willingness to take on the responsibility of sitting in an exit aisle seat.
Q: My God! Aren’t you worried about someone ‘going crazy’?
Q: But guns kill people. The public can’t allow this kind of reckless behavior to go on. Are you guys nuts?!
A: Actually, we thoroughly tested the concept, and found it to be not only quite ‘sane’, but totally effective in providing for the safety of our customers as well. Another side effect is that our policy has completely discouraged terrorist activity.
The real question is, Who’s responsibility is it to protect our families and ourselves? Who decided to farm such a responsibility out to ‘hired guns’? When did “We, the People” stop shouldering the responsibility of policing our society, our State(s), our communities and our families?
Q: How can you say that? Don’t you believe that the common citizen can’t be trusted with a firearm?
A: Our conclusion was unanimous. While we neither encourage nor discourage the carrying of firearms, we are in total agreement that each of us has a specific responsibility to the community to protect it. No police force could ever be as effective as a society in which everyone ‘pulls a shift’ of being fully prepared to intercede in the unlawful acts of others.
Once these facts are known to the criminally-intent, discouragement sets in, and they change their vocations. We haven’t suggested that all Citizens be armed all of the time, we just don’t want the criminal element to know who’s carrying, when. Get it?
Q: But if a bullet were to go through the fuselage, wouldn’t that rip everything out of the plane?
A: Only in the movies. But as a precaution, our pilots are fully trained to respond to such an event by immediately dropping the aircraft to below pressurization level and slowing the airspeed. There is no 100% solution, but we have minimized the possibility of escalating damage as far as we can.
Q: But what about cases of ‘air rage’?
A: It just doesn’t happen. The incidents on September 11th sobered us all to the seriousness of creating any undue disturbance in the air. It appears that even people of nasty dispositions will hold their tongue when they know anybody around them may effectively intercede. What was the old truism, “An armed society is a polite society”?
You wouldn’t believe the number of letters we receive from customers about the courteousness of all of the other passengers, and how safe, comfortable and secure they felt on their flight.
Q: Finally, how can you say your policy is effective, when I understand you had a hijacking incident?
A: Yes, that was unfortunate. It seems some terrorist group got bumped from their intended flight and ended up taking the next flight out. That was ours. They ‘thought’ they had smuggled firearms aboard, without knowing about our policy. Out-of-towners, I think.
They made themselves known exclaiming if everyone did as they were told no one would get hurt. But they were wrong, not enough eyes between them to watch all of the other passengers…..
Q: Well, what happened?
A: Not much. The incident didn’t even warrant more than passing mention in the news. The media was more concerned with the blemish to our on-time record than with the terrorist bodies being dropped off on an unscheduled stop over. We only lost 20 minutes, but our customers didn’t seem to mind a little inconvenience.
Q: Do you have any fears that it might happen again?
A: Not really, I think most of our customers realized that no matter how hard they try, the government simply cannot protect us all. So, they made the decision to insure their own safety. Rather than give up that absolute Right, our customers decided to exercise it.
Q: Any final comments?
A: Yes. We just want you and your readers to know that we think of our airline, as ‘your’ airline. Always remember our slogan,”It’s YOUR ‘BarryAire’”.