Where will it all end?
I hear that the flight attendants' unions are reluctant to back the move to arm pilots because there's no measure to arm them.

That request is more than reasonable. The Al-Qa'eda hijackers slashed the throats of flight attendants before they murdered the flight crews. It would be surprising should the flight attendants not insist on the permission to arm, whether the pilots win it for themselves or not.

Those complete idiots who argue that the job of flying the plane is so complex and demanding that pilots can't be charged with defending it, should hear from flight attendants, who are not flying the damned plane, and will always be able to free one hand, draw a Kahr, and do what
Fritz Hollings says the pilots cannot.

Flight attendants are responsible for the safety, not just the comfort, of passengers. They are trained to get people off the craft in case of fire or crash. They are trained to size up passengers who are inebriated, ill, or unhinged. They are in constant contact with the passengers and have some understanding of how they tick, and they are in regular contact with the flight deck.

They are in uniform, usually a conservative design that allows for several concealment opportunities. The armed flight attendant will also have a better understanding of how to conceal various weapons, so he or she will be better qualified to spot them.

Add to this population the flight attendants and crew who are riding in standby on the flight, in uniform or not. These people are always known to the flight attendants on duty in the cabin. If the program were to include off-duty attendants, there would be a legal obligation for them to identify themselves to the crew, (those very few) air marshals, and on-duty flight attendants, and there would be a discreet opportunity to do so out of sight of the passengers. They have means to coordinate discreetly with each other during flight.

Let me go out on my usual limb here: the flight attendants I've seen go about 3-to-1 female to male. The women appear to be in an age range, physical build, alertness and intelligence comparable to the career military population (does their population overlap with the reserve military population, like flight-deck folks?). If anything, female flight attendants appear to maintain better body-fat index than career military women, but that topic/flamewar is for another day. Overall, that population handles firearms just dandy if taught well, but then, try to name a population that does not.

Still on my limb: the male flight attendants I've seen are slightly less fit than same-age men in the career military population, but still better than the overall American male population (this says more about the military than about flight attendants). In no way are they as a group not capable of the demands.

If my friend the pilot for Large Unnamed Airline is correct (you'd better be sitting down, this will come as a complete surprise to you), a good portion of this male population is gay. I will not venture a ratio. This fact does not affect hand-eye coordination, breath control, or concentration. If the gay community is not taking to the Modern Technique of the Pistol in droves, it is because they, or the leaders of their politicized interest groups, have to put aside their stereotypes of gunowners. That consciousness-raising has begun, and the word "empowerment" is used to express the epiphany these people feel as they learn to sock the X ring. Who can be against empowerment?

So: flight attendants are in the right place at the right time to apply that kind of force; they are arguably better-placed to do so than the pilots. Their employers train them in other lifesaving skills, so they can be trusted with lethal-force decisions. They are already held responsible by their employers and by statute for the safety and order of the cabin. They are more fit than the general population for the demands of managing the defensive handgun. Their schedules and mobility allow them to choose from a number of schools that would welcome them. Just allow them to deduct the cost of the piece and the training from their adjusted gross income.

Another friend of mine replied, when I suggested support for armed pilots, "where will it all end?" Well, it will works for pilots if it is tried, and it will work for flight attendants too. It will probably work in many other areas, such as ticket counters.

If we are not allowed to protect ourselves, inevitably every one of us will need an armed guard standing over us. Where will that end?

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