Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Federal Air Marshall fires on, kills man claiming to have a bomb. Update

By now everyone's heard: a man claiming to have a bomb was killed by a Federal Air Marshall (FAM) in Miami today. The man was apparently frantic and failed to obey the air marshall when he was told to get on the ground. Rep. John Mica of Florida called it "an unfortunate incident."

It is that, indeed. Even more so if the information that he was bipolar and off his meds is true. Unfortunate. But completely correct, justified, and necessary. The fact that he was off his meds is immaterial to the notion that he had a bomb. The 2 are not exclusive of each other and the FAM had no choice in his action if he was to protect the flight as is his duty. From the sounds of things, he had no choice but to open fire. I foresee a lot of calls for an investigation and there will be some who blame the FAMs, the FAA, and (of course) George Bush for it. Those people are just not thinking clearly and any of them who do blame others don't need to be anywhere near the authority positions for security.

Update: Didn't take the AP long to cherry pick 2 passengers who "didn't hear" this man threaten that he had a bomb. They pulled 2 people with no special training out of a crowd of folks who just wanted to get on the plane and go and put them up side-by-side with highly trained officers who are staying alert for this kind of situation. These 2 groups are not equivalent in terms of their credibility to stay focused in an event like this and yet the AP is suggesting exactly that in this story.