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  #1  
Old 12-17-2005, 03:25 AM
cmac2012's Avatar
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I think I'm going to quit flying

It's getting too weird. I don't like flying anymore. Three people or more in a decent MPG car travel on less energy than if they were flying. It's Craigslist ride-share board for me from now on lessen it's oh, more than 2,000 miles.


Panic Attack
Hair-trigger response only spreads terror

By ROBERT C. KOEHLER
Tribune Media Services

December 15 , 2005

Five shots rang out in the name of homeland security and suddenly a nervous, Costa Rica-born U.S. citizen lay dead on a jetway at Miami International Airport — tragic collateral damage in a war that seems less rational with each passing day.

A Department of Homeland Security spokesman later tried to fob off last week's shooting by two air marshals of 44-year-old Rigoberto Alpizar, who was unarmed and suffered from bipolar disorder, as a "textbook response" to the threat of terrorism. If that's true, God help us all. It looked more like a flailing, messy overreaction to nothing much and, at the same time, a signal to the American public that, when real terrorists don't present themselves, we're more than willing to wage war on ourselves.

Americans — certainly Americans of color — may well have more to fear from domestic security forces than al-Qaida.

The official story of the shooting is simple and short: The marshals approached Alpizar when he began acting strangely. He had a backpack strapped to his chest and shouted that he had a bomb. When they ordered him to drop to the floor, he walked toward them menacingly and reached into the backpack. The marshals, making a split-second decision, opened fire. While they later discovered that he was unarmed, his erratic behavior was so suspicious no one could second-guess the decision to shoot. (And his wife's screams that he was simply off his medication could easily have been a ploy to distract the marshals.)

After all, "If he did have a bomb and it went off," one aviation expert told the Christian Science Monitor, "everybody would be wondering why they didn't do their job."

Can't argue with that. This is the logic of the war on terror, as construed and waged by the Bush administration, and we're all hostage to it. It's why we invaded Iraq: They might harm us. A death here, a shattered country there — "horrible," of course. But think how much worse it could have been.

It's "faith-based" thinking at its most out of control: The sky's the limit on our imagined peril, so, of course, we can never be secure, but if we keep firing at everything that jumps from the shadows, surely one of these days there will be nothing left to fear. Indeed, Fox News commentator Gary B. Smith, divining in Alpizar's death the message that "the airlines and the U.S. are not going to settle for anything that even resembles a terrorist attack," predicted a 25 percent jump in American Airlines stock.

But even cursory reporting begins to unravel the official version of this shooting. For one thing, the passengers on the flight do not corroborate the air marshals' story that Alpizar claimed he had a bomb.

"The first time I heard the word 'bomb' was when I was interviewed by the FBI," John McAlhany told the Associated Press. "They kept asking if I heard him say the B-word. And I said, 'What is the B-word?' And they were like, 'Bomb.' I said no. They said, 'Are you sure?' And I am."

For another thing, Alpizar was running off the plane. He'd had a panic attack. He was off his meds. Yes, he was acting oddly, but the mission of the Federal Air Marshal Service program is to protect the cockpit. Any disturbance that is not a threat to it is not in the marshals' purview to address. The fact that Alpizar was exiting the plane casts doubt on the immediacy of the threat the marshals perceived, requiring a split-second decision to shoot.

Alpizar's brother, Carlos, later told The Orlando Sentinel, "I can't conceive that the marshals wouldn't be able to overpower an unarmed, single man, especially knowing he had already cleared every security check."

Also left out of the official version of the shooting is the chaos on the airplane afterwards, when other federal officers stormed aboard with their guns drawn. "I was on the phone with my brother," passenger McAlhany said. "Somebody came down the aisle and put a shotgun to the back of my head and said, 'Put your hands on the seat in front of you.' I got my cell phone karate-chopped out of my hand."

The passengers off-loaded holding their hands behind their heads, eerily resembling detainees disembarking at Guantanamo. Right, Fox. How could American Airlines stock fail to rise after this clean, smooth defense of freedom?

What matters most, of course, is that a gentle, beloved man is dead. He and his wife had been on the last leg of a flight from Quito, Ecuador, back to their home in suburban Orlando. Ironically, they'd been doing missionary work in Ecuador — distributing eyeglasses to the poor.

I for one am unable to mourn Rigoberto Alpizar without anger, not at the two marshals, but at a homeland security apparatus on a hair-trigger of mistrust toward the very public it serves, and at a war on terror that is hell-bent on spreading what it purports to be eradicating.
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  #2  
Old 12-17-2005, 06:34 AM
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I made one flight post 911 on a commercial plane and never again. Airport security almost ruined my watch (a 100 year old Waltham pocket watch) when I had to take it off and give it to them for inspection. As if that happily ticking watch contained explosives. The dirty, careless, ba$tards dropped it and screwed up the escapement mechanism. I used to rack up the frequent flyer miles too. Not anymore.
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  #3  
Old 12-17-2005, 07:28 AM
MedMech
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I get my own plane/jet and have been doing that before 9-11. I hate commercial air travel.
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  #4  
Old 12-17-2005, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedMech
I get my own plane/jet and have been doing that before 9-11. I hate commercial air travel.
You've got a MedMech Int'l Airport, too?
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  #5  
Old 12-17-2005, 08:42 AM
MedMech
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snibble
You've got a MedMech Int'l Airport, too?

No I fly commerical when I go international. The trick is to have friends with their own air. If you shop the empty legs you can fly a family cheaper than first class.
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  #6  
Old 12-17-2005, 12:28 PM
cmac2012's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedMech
No I fly commerical when I go international. The trick is to have friends with their own air. If you shop the empty legs you can fly a family cheaper than first class.
Whoa dude, that's a mean trick. I suppose getting those connections is not easy though.

(Is the old saying actually "that's NO mean trick?" Was never sure about that one)
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  #7  
Old 12-17-2005, 01:09 PM
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Any person who claims they have a bomb on an airplane or otherwise and does not do exactly what the authourities say to do when they say to do it deserves to get shot to death.....

No excuses.....if the guy was a nutcase he should have been on his meds or stayed off that flight....the wife is just as guilty as he was....for letting him fly unmedicated. Another case of people not accepting personal responsibility....

Had he really had a bomb and they hesitated people would have died.....they did exactly the right thing.
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  #8  
Old 12-17-2005, 01:29 PM
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BHD, I would have to agree with you. Why were the letting someone fly with bipolar not on his meds. They should have at least told the crew what was going on. But you are right in sayint they are not accepting personal liability. Seems to be happening alot lately. People always wanting to blame someone else.

There are few who do take responsibility. One of which was last night at work. In the auto court one man was unloading his luggage from his Yukon and a MDX pulled up behind him and forgot to put it in park. He got outit rolled forward crushing the guy who was getting luggage out's knees. Cops came took thier report and they guy took responsibility. Paid for the guy he hits room and bingo, responsibility.

It's always the cops fault too whenever a police involved shooting happens. Like a while ago here in san jose a cop shot a vietnamese women who was going wacky not speaking english, with a huge cleaver like vegitable peeler walking towards him. BAM capped her in the chest with his glock. Now was this the cops fault for reacting to his training. Or the ladies for moving to america and not learning english as to understand basic commands such as "STOP AND DROP THE WEAPON"
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  #9  
Old 12-17-2005, 01:43 PM
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The air marshalls in the incident did not have the luxury of sitting around for over a week debating what should have been done. It was a split second decision that was made in the heat of the moment. Its amazing how people can sit around and debate for months what should have been decided in a matter of seconds. A decision was made and its over. I am sure that given the choice, the FAM would have rather not killed someone if he could help it. This is a decision he will have to live with for the rest of his life. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, personally I think it was the right decision given the circumstances.
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  #10  
Old 12-17-2005, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneheaddoctor
Any person who claims they have a bomb on an airplane or otherwise and does not do exactly what the authourities say to do when they say to do it deserves to get shot to death.....
Yeap. Nicely sensationalized piece of tripe that article was. I fly on business quite often. I've only had one 'issue' since 9/11 and it was basically of my own doing.

Had to fly into SFO for a meeting, that was canclled but they neglected to inform me. Buggers! So I told them to fly me right back out (I was not staying in that crap-hole city for 3 days for nothing). All the flights on the airline I was using (American) were full. I literally walked all of SFO until I found a flight back to Seattle. It was on the last airline in the terminal, Unitied (I hate flying on them to begin with, it's a personal issue from an incident in the mid-90's in Chicago).

At any rate. I needed a one-way back to Seattle. I had not checked baggage and I needed the flight ASAP. Guess what happens when you are a middle-aged male, flying one-way with no baggage and purchased within 24 hours of the flight. Yeap.. you get flagged for Extra-Special-Double-Secret screening.

When I got to the massive line (about 1 hour wait to clear security was thier estimate) the TSA guy looked at my boarding pass, started waving it around and yelling some code. Within seconds I was literally surrounded by a rope bariccade and seperated from the remainder of the passengers. 1 of the security lines was cleared, shut down and re-staffed. I was then escorted to this line for my own 'private' screening.

It really was no big deal. Full luggage search, and a body patt-down and wand scan. In the end, it took all of 10 min to complete. Which.. put me 50 min ahead of the normal passengers. I kept my sense of humor and the TSA people did the same once they were sure I was a white-hat. I also discovered the 'secret' code the put on the pass to flag me (I look at my boarding passes all the time, this one had a very special distinctive mark - obvious now that I know what it is).

Frankly.. I find what the are doing with security post 9/11 a non-issue. I fly domestic and international often for both business and pleasure.

One thing I know NOT to do is make any STUPID statements about weapons or bombs on a plane. I don't think it's funny in the first place and I don't blame the TSA, Air Marshels or crew for not thinking it's funny either.

It's sad the guy died but it was all of his own doing. They could have shot him ON the plane but they got him into an area where the passengers would not have to witness it before dispatching would could have been a black-hat.

I feel sad for the guy's wife and the two marshalls that had to take a life. They are all forever effected.
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  #11  
Old 12-17-2005, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narwhal
It isn't that much if you split it with friends. When I go to S. La. to fish, we charter a 6 seater for $750 each way and split it among 6 people. Less than commercial, and you can smoke.
I need to hear more about how you are finding these sorts of deals. Is this a turboprop, buis-jet.. Cessna 182 with rubble seats? Seriously. I don't travel with my kids because I don't want to subject 200 other people to my daughter's sonic screem when the plane bumps around in the air. This might be the solution to my travel 'dillema'.
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  #12  
Old 12-17-2005, 01:51 PM
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when i flew with my club to chicago for our engineering competition my friend was on the no fly list.. weird good ole TSA messed up .. funny thing our club is called TSA technology and students association.. we are the good TSA
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  #13  
Old 12-17-2005, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holeshot
I also discovered the 'secret' code the put on the pass to flag me (I look at my boarding passes all the time, this one had a very special distinctive mark - obvious now that I know what it is).

I believe it's a bunch of "S's" on the bottom corner of the boarding pass.
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  #14  
Old 12-17-2005, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narwhal
The pilot goes fishing with us we just pay for fuel. King Air runs about $1700 each way, which still isn't too bad.

182 The cotton farmers have those here to take their wives shopping in town.
We call our 182 the vomit comet. Fly at 200 ft in the summer for several hours and you'll see why.
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  #15  
Old 12-17-2005, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmash
I believe it's a bunch of "S's" on the bottom corner of the boarding pass.
As far as I can tell... so.. you've run into a similar situation or are in the industry perhaps?
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