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Hollings' refusal of 9-11 widow's...

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Member 9.6 mile high club
Jul 15, 2002
Hollings' refusal of 9-11 widow's gun testimony triggers media attention
Saturday, July 27, 2002
Of The Post and Courier Staff

The story of the South Carolina senator who said "no" to the widow of the 9-11 airline pilot is fast gaining national attention.

Democrat U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings rejected a request by Ellen Saracini to testify at Thursday's Senate hearings in favor of letting airline pilots be armed in the cockpit.

Her husband, Richard, was the captain of United Flight 175, the second plane to crash into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

Hollings, D-S.C., opposes the bill and refused to let Saracini testify before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. He did suggest that her comments be included in the record.

Hollings' stance has become fodder for cable TV news shows, with the likes of Bill O'Reilly of the Fox News Channel targeting what O'Reilly called a lack of compassion.

"Sen. Hollings, incredibly, refused to hear the woman, saying the committee didn't have time, even though Mrs. Saracini petitioned for a hearing months ago," O'Reilly editorialized.

"This is, No. 1, an outrage, No. 2, disrespectful to a woman who has endured tragedy and No. 3, undemocratic," he added. "Sen. Hollings should be ashamed of himself on humanitarian grounds alone. The rejection of Mrs. Saracini has caused her even more pain, and she deserves to be heard."

O'Reilly even used the "A-word" - "arrogant" - to describe Hollings; it's a term his critics often have used against him.

The media attention, including Saracini's news interviews, caused Hollings' office to be "rushed" with calls beginning Friday morning, some from as far away as California and Texas, his office said.

Hollings' Washington, D.C., press spokesman said the senator is being unfairly attacked by the talking-head circuit. Spokesman Andy Davis said the committee covered an extensive list of issues facing aviation security nationwide, including funding for transportation security, training and deployment of federal security screeners, logistic challenges facing airports, the deployment of explosive detection equipment and cockpit and air cargo security measures. Arming pilots was one issue on a long list, he said.

"We needed time to talk to the secretary (Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta) about a lot of issues beyond arming pilots," he said.

Thursday's lengthy hearing actually was slanted more in favor of those who support arming pilots than those who opposed, Davis added. The committee heard from the bill's sponsors, Sen. Bob Smith R-N.H., and Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, and also pilot Capt. Stephen Luckey, chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association's national security committee.

One pilot, Capt. Ed Davidson, director of flight safety for Northwest Airlines, testified against it, Davis said.

Hollings is against arming pilots and instead favors making passenger plane cockpits secure from forced entry by adding such things as Kevlar-lined bullet-resistant doors. He also favors the mandate of El Al airline that when the cockpit door is locked, it stays locked.

O'Reilly was blunt in his attack against the South Carolina senator who has two years left in his current term.

"Hollings is against guns in the cockpit," he said. "He doesn't want someone like Ellen Saracini swaying sentiment. And he's arrogant enough to dismiss this woman even though her husband was a victim of our country's lax security."

O'Reilly also invited Hollings to appear on his show to defend his position.

"I don't expect that he will," Davis said of his boss.

More hearings on the issue could be held.

Commercial airlines are under Federal Aviation Administration orders to install new, heavier cockpit doors by April 9, 2003. They must lock from inside the cockpit and be strong enough that terrorists can't shoot off a lock or blow up the door.

But even the new doors can be opened to let pilots go to the bathroom and let flight attendants bring in meals. Hollings doesn't want the doors opened at all while the plane is aloft.

"The door has got to be fixed - impenetrable - and never opened in flight," Hollings said on Thursday. "Once that's fixed, we've solved the problem of an airliner flying into the Empire State Building. We've solved the problem of guns in the cockpit."

Luckey said, "Neither the current cockpit doors nor the new cockpit doors are impenetrable," and therefore pilots should be allowed to carry guns.

Democrat U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings is the same bottom feeder that wants to make it against the law for us to open the cockpit door for any reason whatsoever during flight.
He is right on the money. He is very arrogant. I have flown him and see him every now and then. That's SC politicians for you. Strom still thinks he can be effective at 100!
Whatever your views about arming cockpit crews, O'Reilly's views on the subject should hardly be relevant. Perhaps Senator Hollings is indeed arrogant (I don't know) but someone like O'Reilly as the judge of arrogance is laughable.

That guy (O'Reilly) spends 30% of the time telling us there is "no spin" and the other 70% spinning everything he talks about. O'Reilly = The Jerry Springer of TV journalism. Good for laughs on day you have nothing to do.
I don't care for Sen. Hollings either. But he has one of the funniest lines ever attributed to him. Some years ago, voyeuristic photos of Sen. Kennedy and some young, topless woman on a sailboat were made public showing the two in flagrant delecto.

Apparently after hearing (or seeing) this, Sen. Hollings reputedly said, (in thick, southern accent), "Well I declare! It appears Senator Kennedy has changed his position on off-shore drilling!"

Ha! Too funny. The story, most likely, is apocryphal. However, I've heard it several times, and it never fails to make me laugh.
Well Ernest has the same arrogance as Strom in that he thinks he deserves to be in office forever and will try till he is 100. There is definitly an art to the southern charm and it can win over a lot of people regardless of their true convictions and policies. He is the same senator who was in office in the 50's who said something to the effect that Rock and Roll music should be banned/outlawed. His exact quote is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A real blowhard. I agree O'Reily can get carried away with himself and spin when he wants, but it is about time someone tells it like it is and demands that liberals become accoutable to and explain their policies and actions.
To senator Hollings and any other liberal or conservative moron who thinks an impenetrable door is the answer: Kiss here (pointing) If the door is intended not to be opened I would imagine there will be a nationwide walkout on the part of pilots. I know some folks can hold it for a while, but I will be dipped if I will wear a shirt and tie and try to then use a piddle pack. Our jobs have been messed around enough since 9/11. It is so convenient for a guy who sits on his butt in an office on the hill and travels with armed security to decide what is best for us isnt it. These idiots think the air marshalls are the answer! In 700 hours of major airline flying since 9/11 I have had 1(one leg) that actually had them on board. Security is a joke and we are condemned to die if our airplanes are hijacked. Either the hijackers kill us, or the fighter jocks do. Doesnt sound like the second amendment counts for all Americans.
Something I've been wondering about that I haven't seen anyone mention.

The politicians (some of them) don't trust airline pilots with nail clippers, let alone guns. Yet, the same politicians have authorized military fighters to shoot down highjacked airlines.

I wonder if it has occured to any of the politicos that a great many of the pilots of those military fighters are weekend warriors whose day job is flying the very same airliner that they may be ordered to shoot down?

If the pilot can be trusted to fly an F-16 armed with air to air, how come the same pilot can't be trusted to carry a pistol in the cockpit of his airliner?

Am I just stupid or are the politicians?
Surplus, I agree with you on the arming pilots issue. However, for all of you that think we always agree, I disagree with you about Bill O'reilly is the best thing that ever happened to TV news. I think he is fair, and doesn't let anyone get away with spinning anything. I only saw him say one thing I didn't like, and that was about gun registration. He claimed that it helped solve crimes, and the NRA person said how, and he said, everyone knows that it just does.

Perhaps you could quote some specific examples of things he has spun. I would be willing to change my opinion if you could show me some. Thanks.

First of all O'Reilly isn't "news", he's a commentator. That's opinion, not news.

He talks over anyone he doesn't agree with, asks questions and doesn't allow answers unless they agree. As long as we're willing to accept "the Bible according to O'Reilly" (a play on words) all is well. The dude's a bombast with a swelled head related to his Harvard education (of which he often reminds the audience).

He's a very right wing conservative. Nothing wrong with that except he bills his commentary as "balanced" while IMO, it is clearly slanted far right.

To me, his entire style is builte on hype, which I consider to be virtually synonymous with spin. A promotional gimmick designed to attract the under 35 set, which it is quite successful at doing. The entire FOX network (with rare exception) caters to that generation. That's not bad per se, but I'm not from the MTV generation and prefer more substance, less antics.

How's that for starters? BTW, I don't think much of Senator Hollings, but neither do I think his refusal to allow what would have been an emotional testimony on his committee is of national import.

I also thought Jesse Helms was another Senator of questionable intelect, but he wound up as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee (probably appropriate in that that State might as well be a "foreign" country).

I'm sure you wouldn't want to hear what I think of Bush 43, the non-elected Prez, so I'll save that one for another time.

NO. I'm not a Democrat. I'm registered as an independent and don't vote party lines.

Standing by for incoming.

Best regards.

PS. Even if others are confused, I know you only agree with me when I'm right. SO, you'd better reconsider your O'Reilly position buddy. :D
O'Reilly isn't perfect but he's a 1000% better than Jennings, Brokaw, and Rather. O'Reilly is full of himself but he's right more than he's wrong on many of the issues. Maybe I'm too conservative but I see O'Reilly as slightly left of center.

The only true newsman left on TV is Jim Leherer. I can't stand his network but I admire and respect him.

Any other registered libertarians on this board besides me?

Back to the issue. Hollings is a pompous idiot and this latest public relations fiasco will come back to haunt him
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