Maybe it's time to reiterate a suggestion that I made over two years ago. During the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks I proposed the creation of "citizen marshals": ordinary American citizens who, after a background check and some training, would be allowed to carry firearms on commercial airlines as a volunteer service to their fellow countrymen.
From my post in 2006:
Such persons will not be affiliated with any law enforcement agency or the government at all. Being appointed "citizen marshals" merely means that they have no outstanding criminal record, that they possess qualities of good character and are otherwise sound and considerate human beings. Being a citizen marshal would be an unpaid position... but then, anyone wanting to be such a marshal for the right reasons would not want any financial compensation anyway.Let's face it: Transportation Security Administration has been a colossal farce from the very beginning. I consider it one of George W. Bush's biggest failures. The entire thing has been nothing but "security theatre" on a grand scale. Personally, I can think of at least a dozen ways off the top of my head that TSA's "procedures" could be defeated for a much worse re-enactment of 9/11.
Citizen marshals would be the only regular civilians who would be allowed to board commercial passenger planes with a firearm, and adequate ammunition. They could even be given a special badge that designates their status for all to see. Ideally, there would be more than one citizen marshal - with guns - aboard each flight.
The thought of becoming a citizen marshal should not be entertained lightly by anyone, and there should be incentives in place to dissuade those who might potentially abuse their appointments. The penalties for doing so - be it from impersonating a licensed citizen marshal to unholstering a firearm aboard a plane in flight without legitimate caues - should be extremely severe. As much or even more than what we expect from police officers who "cross the line".
But... a flight with an armed citizen marshal or two (or three or four) would be the safest possible airline trip in terms of passenger safety outside of technical malfunctions. Even the mere possibility that a jetliner might have a citizen marshal onboard would automatically make that plane a "poison pill" for anyone contemplating a terrorist act.
Ask yourself again: would Mohammed Atta and his fellow terrorists been so quick to pull out the box-cutters on September 11th, 2001 if the slightest thought entered their minds that not only might they not reach the cockpit, but that they would be shot dead the moment they started trying?
And when I read stories about air marshals out of control, it solidifies that much more my belief that regular American can do some things better than their government.