12.07.2005 | Air marshal shooting: bait and switch?

When the U.S. was first pressing for air marshals on international flights in 2003, the issue was painted as one needed to prevent the hijacking of airplanes, which would be an in-flight proposition. Why, then, did this latest shooting happen not in the plane, but in the gate leading to the airport? My understanding of the air marshal program was that it was supposed to prevent a plane in the air from being used in 9/11-style hijackings, or maybe even keep it from blowing up. But killing a person in an airport gate? This isn't what we signed up for. According to this BBC News article, 'Sky marhsals should be the last option', the last resort to protect people in the air. The article also mentions how Israel's air marshals use secret buttons to signal the pilot to dive and throw anyone standing off balance – certainly not a shoot-to-kill policy. We need to reconsider what we're using our air marshals for, and if people's rights aren't being violated in the process.

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