If you listen to the passengers and crew who flew on American Airlines Flight 1561 last weekend, there's no doubt about what happened on their harrowing trip: A Yemeni man shrieking "Allahu akbar!" at the top of his lungs more than 30 times rushed the cockpit door twice intending to take down the plane and kill everyone on board. ... It took at least four men to tackle and restrain Rageh Ahmed Mohammed al-Murisi. "There was no question in everybody's mind that he was going to do something," passenger Angelina Marty told the San Francisco Chronicle.
And no, that "something" did not mean enlisting his fellow flyers in a midair flash mob performance of the "Hallelujah Chorus." ...
So how, despite a massive transportation and homeland security apparatus, did al-Murisi get into this country and get on a plane? He had no keys, no luggage, $47 cash, two curious posted checks totaling $13,000, and a trove of expired and current state IDs from New York and California -- where relatives said he had not notified them that he was coming. He is young, male, brought no family with him, had no job or other discernible income, and hails from the terror-coddling nation of Yemen. Yes, the same Yemen that is Osama bin Laden's ancestral home, harbors al-Qaida operatives who are burning the "torch of jihad," and is deemed a "special interest country" whose citizens warrant increased scrutiny by DHS when they cross the border illegally.
As I reported last month, a federal watchdog revealed that TSA's counterterrorism specialists failed to detect 16 separate jihad operatives who moved through target airports "on at least 23 different occasions." Neutered by Islamophobia-phobia and an "overtime over security" mentality, our State Department consular offices' and airline security bureaucracy's stance toward the al-Murisis slipping through their snaking lines is:
Nothing to see here; move along.
At least the heroes of Flight 1561 who refused to sit silent learned the proper 9/11 lesson. "I swore to myself that I would never be a victim" after the 2001 attacks, passenger Larry Wright, one of the men who brought al-Murisi down, told reporters earlier this week. The only effective homeland security begins and ends with a culture of self-defense. Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no "see no jihad, hear no jihad, speak no jihad" delusionists on airplanes with Allahu akbar-chanting flyers beating down doors.
A possible solution to this phenomenon appears in the 1980 book Will: the autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy:
Although airliner hijacking had been a problem for some time, the companies had resisted suggestions to improve security because of the costs involved. But when three huge jets worth tens of millions of dollars were blown up by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), White House telephones sizzled with screams for help from the airlines. I was assigned to the task force that developed the "Air Marshal" program, and when the question arose concerning what armaments they should carry, the matter was referred to me.
I recommended the .357 magnum with high-velocity hollow-point ammunition. There was political resistance to use of dumdum bullets, and I had to explain that they were far less dangerous to the innocent than solid "ball" ammunition because dumdums expanded and stayed in the target individual, expending all their energy in knocking him down, rather than going through him to hit an innocent bystander ... and noted that while a stray solid-point round through the fuselage wouldn' t result in explosive decompression of the aircraft, it might well sever a vital control cable or hydraulic line.
It also would not puncture the walls of the Plane.