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Friday, December 09, 2005

Federal Air Marshals-How they Came to Be...How They Function Today

The United States Air Marshal Program was begun in 1970 to protect the flying public from terrorists who regularly hijacked airplanes. Prior to and just after 911 there were only a dozen US Air Marshals traveling the friendly skies. In 1970 a dozen or so air marshals were sufficient to give the illusion of security. Some thirty-odd years later there are now thousands of these unidentified flying armed law enforcement officers, (UFALEOs) with orders to shoot to kill. The price of providing the illusion of security has increased in thirty years. These aero-cowboys are armed, as they have always been, with the federally mandated legislation, to give the verbal order to the suspect to halt. No warning shots. They are mandated by federal law to shoot to kill if the suspect does not conform to their orders.

There had been a substantial decrease in the number of US airplanes involved in hijackings-known at the time as "skyjackings". (I believe we had gone for nearly 20 years, at least 10 years, without an incident involving a U.S. commercial airplane.) Since there have been no other "skyjackings" of American commercial flights after September 11, 2001, there is an obvious government imperative to justify the employment of these aero-cowboys with a terrorist apprehension. Perhaps this is why the air marshals are so trigger-happy in 2005. Could it be they feel they have to justify their existence, in the face of no tangible threats, by the killing of a would be bomber on a commercial flight during the Christmas holiday season?

Good job fellas we all feel a lot safer now. This is just what I need to feel secure. Trigger happy gun toting officials shooting innocent people. This is especially telling when one considers the fact Mr. Alpizar had already cleared the security screening measures in place at Miami International Airport. (This is an example of the "illusion of security".) That will show the terrorists!

Here’s a statistic from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security:
    Minimum number of infants impeded from boarding airplanes because their names were on the U.S. No-fly list: 14”.
(The Department of Homeland Security is the agency that oversees the Federal Air Marshal Program as well as the federal airport security screeners.)

Now that makes us all feel a lot safer. The acute and oh so keen perception of potential infant terrorists. As we all know there’s no terrorists like infant terrorists! They will not do what you tell them to. Talk about non compliant!

Did Anybody Hear Him Use the “B-word”?

United States Air Marshals shot and mortally wounded 44-year-old Rigoberto Alpizar, of Maitland, Florida. Marshals say he was “agitated” on an American Airlines plane that was waiting for take-off at Miami International Airport. They say he threatened them by stating in a loud voice he had a bomb. The air police say their lives were endangered when the suspect was non-compliant.

This story is interesting on many levels. The first is that no one except the air marshals heard Alpizar say he had a bomb, and they were not the closest to him. The air marshals heard him yelling out loud that he had a bomb, but no one else did. Everyone else heard his wife say he was sick that he was bipolar, but strangely when it came to the yelling they were deaf. How is that?

Secondly, why did they shoot to kill? Why did they kill someone who was leaving the jet? What if he really did have a bomb? Wouldn’t you prefer that he run out on the jetway before it blew up, than shoot and kill him near the jet? Then if you had to shoot him you could have shot him running away and maybe just wounded him instead? What would be the harm in that?

Thirdly, they told him to lie down on the jet way. He failed to comply. They said he failed to comply. Is that the reason they shot him? They shot him because he was disobedient? We all know how the police can be about these matters.

Fourthly, we are told he had a bag. Several reports say he was running with a backpack, then we hear it was actually one of those little bags you wear around your waist at the front. That is quite different from a backpack, which sounds rather large or even a piece of carry-on luggage as this bag is described in some news reports.

Then later we hear it was a backpack on his chest. Who wears a backpack on their chest? Isn’t that why it is called a backpack instead of a front pack? But since the passengers say he was wearing it around his waist, I tend to go with the belly bag.

Now, everyone seems to think it was justified to protect them from dangerous terrorists but isn’t it strange that in four years of an increased number of air marshals there hasn’t even been one terrorist event? The first suspected terrorist apprehended by the aero-cops is simply a disturbed soul who was traveling without his meds, but they kill him anyway.