Update on MaGaws Hypocrisy from APSA


good ol boy
Nov 26, 2001
Total Time
This was a long update. I deleted some (lots) in order to go straight to the point. It's still long, but worth the read.



Ex-ATF Chief and current TSA boss John Magaw recently told Congress
that he still opposes armed pilots because in his words, pilots need to
concentrate on getting the airplane down. APSA has pointed out
repeatedly that although pilots can multitask well, we have a difficult time
doing anything when we are DEAD. Magaw also stated that pilots do not
need to be armed because the cockpit door will never be breached—a
ridiculous statement that flies in the face of testimony given by Boeing and
law enforcement agencies which state unequivocally that impenetrable
doors do not exist. Magaw then revealed his hypocrisy—and the fact that
he has ulterior agendas—by saying he is seriously considering non-lethal
weapons in the cockpit.

Gotcha. If pilots need to focus ONLY on flying the airplane, then
non-lethal weapons are worse-a lot worse—than firearms because they require
much more attention. Certainly Magaw, who repeatedly boasts of “forty
years of law enforcement experience,” should know this; therefore he is
either incompetent or deceiving us. If cockpit doors will really never
be compromised, not even non-lethal weapons are needed. But since
Magaw admits that cockpits need defending (with his non-lethals), he is
also admitting that he knows as well as we do that cockpit doors can be
defeated. We believe that his real gripes are that, typical of an ATF
boss, he doesn’t think anyone has the right to firearms except the
federal government. His second hidden motive is that armed pilots will be
seen as reducing the need for armed Federal Air Marshals, and NO CAREER

For his part in this conspiracy, DOT Secretary Norm Mineta was in
charge of airline security on September 11th—certainly a dismal failure even
without the allegations of some warning. He should do the honorable
thing and resign. (Note: at the time of the warnings of al Qaida
hijacking plans last summer, FAA boss Jane Garvey, who works for Mineta,
ordered removal of arming-pilots language already on the FAA rulebooks!)
Mineta is long known for his pathological aversion to firearms. At APSA
we have said many times that we hold arming pilots to be an air safety
issue, not a 2nd Amendment debate. Nevertheless, Mineta’s extreme bias
in the matter has caused him to dismiss the one solution law
enforcement agencies say is needed to secure cockpits: arming pilots with

Norm Mineta and John Magaw are putting their personal agendas ahead of
the lives of the traveling Americans with whose safety they are
entrusted. APSA calls on President Bush to remove them from office


We at APSA extend our sympathy to the families of the victims and to
the injured survivors of the July 4th shooting at LAX. Unfortunately,
our government and airline managements are refusing to learn anything
from this tragedy, the implications of which are numerous. Like a
computer in the hands of a clueless programmer, our “programmed” response was
as predictable as it is wrong: calling for moving “security”
checkpoints to the outer doors of terminal buildings. Where shall we then move
them when the foreseeable car bomb goes off in front of a terminal…or
parking garage?

You see the problem—America will look and feel like an occupied country
if we ride this emotional train to its inevitable destination. First
point: our entire “security” system is based on a false, unexamined
ASSUMPTION that was made in the early 1970s while facing a completely
different threat: that stripping ourselves of defensive capability and
trusting the government to protect us is desirable. This assumption has
been proved false time and again—most recently just this month when we
learned that weapons STILL slip through “security” screening points 1 out
of 4 times (Who would board an airplane with a pilot who crashed 1 out
of 4 landings?). In this rigged test, the inspectors were told to NOT
conceal the test weapons so that screeners might have a chance of
finding some of them. This is the sort of blatant rubbish that Mineta and
Magaw try to pass off as serious security.

Still, in typical fashion, when faced with unassailable and repeated
evidence that a program is wrong-headed, the government response is to…DO
MORE OF IT! APSA has stated for months that we cannot purge weapons
from a mass transportation system like airlines, and the DOT keeps
proving us correct. Look, prison guards admit that they can’t even keep
weapons and drugs out of jails. And all this completely ignores the fact
that trained terrorists are fully capable of controlling a cabin as
prelude to attacking the cockpit door, without the benefit of personally
carried weapons.

As if to help us drive home the fact that our government just doesn’t
“get it,” immediately AFTER the LAX airport shooting, California
governor Gray Davis urged Californians to “trust the government” to keep them
safe because record numbers of law enforcement officers were already
[emphasis added] on duty. That being true, we wonder how a lone gunman
killed two and injured others in the face of legions of
airport-patrolling law enforcement officers whom Davis (and many others of his ilk)
promises over and over can protect us from all evil. Further,
notwithstanding all that, he mislead us because—is ANYONE paying attention?—the
gunman, a male Egyptian immigrant (not a minivan mom or her toddler), was
stopped and killed by El Al’s armed airline employees. Second point:
were it not for private, armed airline employees, the gunman would have
kept killing US-government-disarmed victims until his gun was empty.
He wasn’t stopped by the TSA or any other law enforcement agency;
he was shot and killed by airline employees. John Magaw’s
incompetent, bumbling TSA cannot even protect us in the terminal; yet he demands
we believe him when he promises that security in the air is infallible
and so pilots do not need to be able to defend the cockpit.

Ignore Magaw. Our government knows, and admits, they cannot prevent
hijackings: U.S. and Canadian Air Forces are now jointly training to
intercept hijacked airliners. WHILE OUR GOVERNMENT IS SAYING SECURITY IS

Had the Arab gunman in LAX attacked a domestic airline ticket counter,
many more would have died because many US airlines don’t want their
employees armed and capable of protecting their passengers, and worked to
ensure our government would not allow that. Third point: you are
better protected when traveling on any of several foreign airlines whose
various employees (including pilots) are armed, than any US airline.
Congratulations to John Magaw who has made foreign airlines safer than the
US airlines he is tasked with securing.

Fourth (astounding) point: in the “land of the free,” foreign airlines’
employees are armed—on American soil, in American airline
terminals—while U.S. airline employees (U.S. citizens) are disarmed by the Bush
Administration and made completely defenseless! If YOU enter an airline
terminal armed YOU WILL BE arrested. We are now second-class citizens in
our own country, courtesy of our government, which makes deals for
foreigners to be armed where it prohibits us from defending ourselves.
Where is our outrage?

More irrationality: Airline company manuals now instruct the most
absurd actions as response to terrorist hijackings—if we listed some of them
here we would risk losing credibility. “Instructions” for hand-to-hand
combat against a team of trained and likely armed terrorists clearly
indicate few are taking this seriously or giving it any real thought; nor
have the writers ever been in as much as a grade school playground
scuffle. Yet that doesn’t stop them from feeling qualified to offer Close
Quarters Battle (CQB) advice (APSA Directors include two black belts
experienced with firearms and other types of lethal weapons.) One major
airline tells its pilots to use the cockpit crash ax to fight back—then
warns that the FAA demands the ax be “properly stowed” (where it is out
of arm’s reach of the pilots, but available to anyone breaking through
the door) while in flight. This same airline is telling its crews to
use all force, including lethal force, to defend the cockpit.
Yet this airline ADAMANTLY opposes arming its crews with lethal force
so we wonder what sort of “lethal force” its pilots are expected to
muster. So do its pilots, one of whom is an APSA Director who asked about
these contradicting instructions—and the airline FAILED TO ANSWER.
Pilots deal with many other daily security farces. It’s a good thing we
take our jobs more seriously than our managers or Mineta or Magaw.

The absurdity—not to mention risk—of our current dilemma screams for
the obvious solution. Warning: this simmering conflict cannot be
indefinitely avoided. At some point, pilots will have “had enough” and will
begin taking action to solve the security problem that no one else is
taking seriously.