The facts in this case are quite simple and they have been confirmed by over 100 passengers on the flight. The man looked agitated before boarding the flight. He stated he had a bomb. He ran through the aisle of the aircraft and onto the boarding ramp clutching his backpack to his chest. He repeatedly ignored orders from air marshals to stop and lie down. When finally confronted, he attempted to reach into the backpack in which he had already stated there was a bomb. Is there anyone on this planet that can reasonably conclude the air marshals acted improperly?
Questions are now being raised regarding how much training air marshals receive that assists in dealing with mentally ill travellers. To me it's irrelevant. If someone says they have a bomb on a plane, I don't want to wait for an air marshal to pull up a couch and ask the guy about his childhood. Once someone declares they have a bomb, you take him out of commission and dispose of the potential threat. We can worry about his possible medical condition afterwards.
Lydia Lewis, president of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance said, "In this case, it was a terrible tragedy and I'm not certain all the training in the world . . . would have changed this case." Well, I agree that additional training would not have changed this, but I draw the line at calling this a tragedy. What would have been tragic is if the man's threat were real and the air marshals hesitated because they were told he's suffering from mental illness. Here's a quick tip for you. Anyone that attempts to carry a bomb onto a plane is mentally ill. Mental illness is not a criteria for special treatment, it's the first clue that the passenger is a real threat.
My biggest fear in this situation is that all the second-guessing will cause air marshals to hesitate the next time, when what we truly need are air marshals that react quickly for the safety of the other 300 passengers that are not running through the aisles claiming they have a bomb. The air marshals acted properly. Stop second-guessing them and let them do their jobs.
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IceRocket: air marshal Alpizar bipolar depression mental illness airline security