The Heroic Passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 Could Have Used Guns
Of those who died on September 11, 2001 during the terrorist attacks, all were martyrs, but some were also heroes. The passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 were not helpless victims. They stood up for themselves and for others, and while they were not able to save their own lives, they diverted the plane from its target. Due to their bravery, no one on the ground was hurt, though everyone in the plane was killed.
There were only thirty-seven passengers on Flight 93 that day and seven crew members. Four of the passengers turned out to be hijackers armed with box cutters and knives. The remaining thirty-two — the ones who were law abiding — were completely unarmed, as were the captain and crew.
The hijacking on Flight 93 began at 9:28 am. By this time, two planes had already crashed into the World Trade Center and another was within 9 minutes of hitting the Pentagon. Flight 93 was the only one not to hit its intended target.
After the hijackers took over the cockpit, several of the passengers and crew were able to make phone calls to family members and to learn that a concerted attack against the United States was underway. They knew about the fate of the World Trade Center and about a plane crashing into the Pentagon. Realizing that they would likely die either way, the passengers decided to fight back, even though they had only their bare hands to fight with. They took a vote and then went on the attack. Trying to shake them off, the hijackers veered off course.
There is some disagreement as to whether the passengers were able to breach the cockpit and whether a struggle over the controls ensued. The plane crashed into a field in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania. Nobody survived, but if not for the actions of the passengers and crew members who fought back, there would have been other victims at the White House. We all owe these brave men and women a debt.
If the passengers and crew of Flight 93 had been armed from the outset, the outcome could have been even more positive. The terrorists would have been shot, and most likely everyone else would have survived. But the authorities learned nothing from the lessons of Flight 93. The Patriot Act divested passengers of even more civil liberties, and today at the airport the blue rubber gloves of the TSA, dressed like proctologists, terrorize little children, elderly women and the disabled. Instead of trusting in the good will of most passengers, the TSA treat us all like criminals.
When I make this argument every year, my liberal friends always respond with “a gunshot would breach the hull and the plane would explode.” I point out to them that security officers on board flights do now carry guns. They respond that security officers are somehow miraculously able to shoot without breaching the hull, while everyone else can’t. Then I ask them why passengers can’t have Samurai swords, and tasers, and knives and bows and arrows and box cutters on board. Surely these weapons would not breach the hull!
At this point, without fail, my liberal friends forget all about their previous argument, and they categorically declare that nobody should have weapons of any sort, except security officers and military, because it’s safer that way. At which point I throw up my hands, because I don’t think these people really believe what they are saying. I don’t know what their real motive is, but it can’t be concerns about safety.
This year, instead of focusing on everybody who died, helpless and afraid, let’s think about the heroes of Flight 93. They saved others, even though they could not save themselves. And let’s work tirelessly to arm every passenger on every flight so that this kind of senseless killing of innocents never happens again.