The cost of crazy

A little something from Maroon Blog:
I am baffled by the fact that, even after incidents like today or the shoe bomber some time ago, many people are still apprehensive about armed Marshalls on planes. Or, even scarier to some, armed pilots! Today, we saw a scene that could have ended much worse but was averted not in spite of the use of force, but because of it. If you are uncomfortable about a pilot or an Air Marshall flying with a gun, maybe you should think less about the government trained agents and more about the bi-polar guy next to you. |Andrew Dzwonchyk|

He's writing, of course, about this incident. The five important facts seem to be that (a) the guy said he had a bomb in his carry-on luggage; (b) he made a provacative move toward his bag when ordered to stop; (c) the air marshall shot him; (d) he didn't actually have a bomb; and, (e) he was mentally ill.

So, here's what I'm willing to grant: Since the guy said he had a bomb and made a provocative move, the shooting was justified.

Here's something I'm not willing to grant: In killing a mentally ill man who claimed to have a bomb, the air marshall made the skies safer.

Here's something that strikes me as batshit crazy: The killing of a mentally ill man claiming to have a bomb shows the need for armed marshalls.

It's tragic that a mentally disturbed man was gunned down for acting out at the wrong time. It would have been better if his episode had been met with kindness and understanding rather than deadly force. It's an unfortunate fact of our times that the desire to protect ourselves trumps the impulse to care for others. Maybe heightened air security makes us safer, and maybe it's necessary, but let's not pretend that its costs are benefits.

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