Yet another “Allahu Ackbar”-shouting terrorist wannabe was prevented from damaging a plane full of passengers coming in for final approach to San Francisco on Sunday night. But it wasn’t the TSA who prevented what could have been a tragedy. No, the TSA allowed Rageh Almurisi, carrying a Yemeni passport to board American Airlines flight #1561 from Chicago.
No, it was the flight crew and the passengers who subdued Mr. Almurisi after he began screaming and pounding on the door of the cockpit. HotAir reports:
[One passenger] recalled that she and other passengers on the plane were stunned when they saw Almurisi walking down the aisle. She said a woman in a row across from her who speaks Arabic translated that Almurisi said “God is Great!” in Arabic…
“There was no question in everybody’s mind that he was going to do something,” Marty said.
A male flight attendant tackled Almurisi, and other crew members and passengers, including a retired Secret Service agent and a retired San Mateo police officer, helped subdue him as he banged on the door, police said. The flight attendant put plastic handcuffs on him.
Or as our distinguished Secretary of Homeland Security likes to say, “The system worked.”
The time is rapidly approaching–if it hasn’t already passed– for us to start taking full responsibility for our own safety (wherever we are), because those we have hired to protect us surely aren’t doing their jobs. As the old saying goes, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.
The good people on Flight #1561 understood this and took appropriate action. And I think that the crew and passengers acted in a remarkable restrained manner in making their surroundings secure. In fact, it would have been completely understandable had Mr. Almurisi suffered, oh, say a few broken ribs during the “incident.”
Each of us must decide just how much we want to contribute to our own safety, especially when traveling by air. Flying is one of those experiences in which passengers are trapped together in relatively uncomfortable surroundings; outside them is an environment hostile to human life, inside are passengers and crew, mostly trying to coexist peacefully enough to get back safely on the ground at the destination.
I don’t travel much by air these days. But now, when I do, I will be doing a constant threat assessment throughout any flight I’m on. And that includes scanning the passengers as we wait to board, and eavesdropping on conversations. I will be prepared to shout, distract, throw things, join an attack on a would-be terrorist, and in short, do whatever it takes to make sure any plane I’m on lands as safely as possible.
The long and short of it is this: We the People are the system now. We’d better work.