Terrorists might be dumb enough to die for what they believe in but their collective intelligence has improved over the last 30 years. Commercial pilots, however, will demonstrate their intellectual decline before a House Committee on Aviation today.

In the ’70s, guns and bombs on planes were the norm. Terrorists believed that they should simply board a plane and blow it up. Because evolution occurs in groups rather than individuals, it is clear that all the “airborne firecracker” genes have died out. Darwinism has favored the more sophisticated terrorist that produces plots of greater complexity.

In the ’70s, pilots saw themselves as negotiators. They felt their responsibility was to keep the situation under control and land the plane safely to save everyone.

Today, the roles are reversed in a perverse way. Terrorists have demonstrated the intellectual capacity to seize and maintain control. Pilots are seemingly ready to take the “airborne firecracker” title.

Where terrorists would arm themselves and “attack the cockpit at all costs”, pilots will ask Congress for permission to arm themselves and “defend the cockpit at all costs.”

The pilots’ Union is understandably angry. Slashing is seemingly more brutal than a gunshot. Nearly a dozen pilots died on September 11th. Unfortunately, arming pilots with guns won’t solve the situation.

The first significant side effect of firing a round inside of an airplane is decompression. Clearly, history taught the September 11th terrorists that guns are a bad idea on airplanes if controlling the plane is the objective. Pilots should demonstrate at least as much foresight as the terrorists. No matter how much “training” a pilot receives in firing arms inside a cockpit, control will exit reality the instant that a gun is fired.

If pilots need weapons, those weapons should be noncombustible. Since the pilots intimately understand close quarters, they should be trained in hand-to-hand combat and armed with something innocuous like Rambo knives and spiked knuckles. Tranquilizer guns would be acceptable.

The problem with guns is that they are much more likely to be used by a disgruntled pilot against other pilots than another terrorist. If airports get their act together, there will be no guns at all.

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