Patterico's Pontifications


(Stupid) TSA Story of the Day

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:47 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Whatever one thinks of the TSA, it’s really hard to defend this first hand account at Red State just on a basic principle of intelligence.  Some soldiers were returning to America from Afghanistan.  They had to stop over in Ireland and deplane.  The author, a soldier himself, explains a key detail:

It’s probably important to mention that we were ALL carrying weapons. Everyone was carrying an M4 Carbine (rifle) and some, like me, were also carrying an M9 pistol. Oh, and our gunners had M-240B machine guns. Of course, the weapons weren’t loaded. And we had been cleared of all ammo well before we even got to customs at Baghram, then AGAIN at customs.

For reference purposes, this is what a M-240B looks like, according to wikipedia:

So they go to get back on the plane, and complete stupidity breaks out.

So we’re in line, going through one at a time. One of our Soldiers had his Gerber multi-tool. TSA confiscated it. Kind of ridiculous, but it gets better. A few minutes later, a guy empties his pockets and has a pair of nail clippers. Nail clippers. TSA informs the Soldier that they’re going to confiscate his nail clippers. The conversation went something like this:

TSA Guy: You can’t take those on the plane.

Soldier: What? I’ve had them since we left country.

TSA Guy: You’re not suppose to have them.

Soldier: Why?

TSA Guy: They can be used as a weapon.

Soldier: [touches butt stock of the rifle] But this actually is a weapon. And I’m allowed to take it on.

TSA Guy: Yeah but you can’t use it to take over the plane. You don’t have bullets.

Soldier: And I can take over the plane with nail clippers?

TSA Guy: [awkward silence]

Me: Dude, just give him your damn nail clippers so we can get the f**k out of here. I’ll buy you a new set.

Soldier: [hands nail clippers to TSA guy, makes it through security]

Gosh those government guys are soooo smart, let’s have them run healthcare!

Update: In  Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal, a game involving ridiculous weapons and lots of humor, at one point, they go to a spaceport and hear this on the PA system: “Welcome to the Zeldrin Starport. Please note that Thermonuclear weapons, and nail clippers are now prohibited on all flights.”  Which proves it is very hard to parody airport security.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

180 Responses to “(Stupid) TSA Story of the Day”

  1. As Glenn says, “what could go wrong?”

    jim2 (4d2afe)

  2. The TSA story is going to have “legs” and will get worse as we go into the holiday travel season. We had a TSA office in our office building, which is about a block from John Wayne Airport in Orange County. There was a little cafe that a lot of people used for lunch. The owner sold it while my office was there and his principle reason was all the TSA people standing around smoking all day. They would go back and forth from the airport, hang around his cafe and take up the tables, never buy anything and chain smoke.

    Mike K (568408)

  3. What in the hell?

    Are you kidding me?

    I feel bad for the guy who lost his Gerber. Those aren’t cheap, and he needed it to do his job keeping America safe.

    An M-240 B is similar to an M-60, only better. It’s larger than an M-249. The idea of someone taking over a plane full of these men, with nail clippers, is ridiculous.

    What kind of people are signing up for these jobs groping nuns and kids? I wouldn’t be able to do it. This guy would.

    We are letting our government take our country away from us. This is idiocy. One more speech from Janet N telling citizens to accept their ‘role’ being groped, and my head is going to pop clean off. And it won’t be very clean.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  4. It’s just about time to get a pilot’s license and buy a share of a small plane to bypass all this insanity. On second thought I’ll just drive the Dharma Vette.

    Alvar Hanso (cbe55d)

  5. Maybe it’s not the nail clippers so much as the problem of growing long finger nails while waiting in line for TSA and then using your nails as claws to force entry to the cockpit and kill the pilot and crew.

    There…. do I get a job with TSA now?

    Huey (339a76)

  6. Huey

    I think you are disqualified for excessive intelligence and common sense.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  7. I’m just waiting for a TSA Screener to get some burkha clad woman in the bowling ball grip with her menfolk standing around. How many deaths occurred from the fake Newsweak Koran in the Can story? 400?

    We can do better!

    daleyrocks (940075)

  8. AW

    Dont think its true…

    Aaron Worthing (719277)

  9. whoops last comment was not Aaron it was me

    EricPWJohnson (719277)

  10. There was a similar story several years back before things really ramped up.
    Everybody had their Government Issued weapons, full packs, etc…..
    TSA confiscated their bayonets!
    Maybe it’s true, maybe just apocryphal, who knows?

    AD-RtR/OS! (408097)

  11. Has anyone noticed the real piece of stupidity here: that TSA acts on the assumption that a terrorist, no matter how he’s armed, might try to take over a plane whose 133 passengers areall soldiers returning from a war zone.

    1 jihadi
    133 soldiers

    Even if they don’t have ammo with them, I don’t think that terrorist is going to last very long.

    kishnevi (827a72)

  12. @11

    Doesn’t the story being BS depend on the TSA agent being aware of and abiding by the information in your link?

    To be honest, I’m not sure if I completely believe it or not. Maybe the Gerber was confiscated, and the nail clippers are just an embellishment to the story… but I think it’s plausible enough where it can’t jsut be dismissed as BS.

    Chis Hansen (1db6c5)

  13. (d’oh, forgot to change the handle in #13, cookie had stored my fake name form the sockpuppet thread)

    malclave (1db6c5)

  14. Chris,

    Its an OLD urban legend story been around since 1991

    EricPWJohnson (719277)

  15. Eric–I’m not as skeptical. Being made to deplane at a midpoint stop of a flight, and go through security again, is something that happened to me well before 2001.

    The offending airline in that case was United, and that’s one of the reasons why that trip began and ended with the two worst airline flights in my not very extensive travelling career. (The third worst involved El Al and a senile old man who mistook the airport in Rome for JFK in New York. Six hour delay….)

    kishnevi (827a72)

  16. Actually, the only important point in which the story conflicts with Eric’s link is that, according to the link, all the weapons would have been transported together in a secure container, and not carried on board by individual soldiers as personal weapons.

    The rest of the link is simply TSA advice on how to make security checks easier.

    kishnevi (827a72)

  17. I call BS on epwj. Nothing at your link refutes this story, as stated. Now, return to your unmedicated lake house and plot new and inventive ways to make sweet sweet lurv to Murkowski, while plotting revenge on Breitbart and Palin, who continue to manage to evade indictment.

    JD (c8c1d2)

  18. From epwj’s link above:

    Keep boarding pass and ID available
    Remove class A uniform jacket, metal items in pockets, and metal belt buckle and submit them for X-ray screening
    Military personnel in uniform, with a valid military ID are not required to remove their footwear unless it alarms the walk through metal detector
    Ensure your carry-on luggage does not contain any prohibited items

    I personally witnessed a soldier, in full combat uniform, be told that he had to remove his combat boots.
    When he questioned the order, a supervisor nearby said that wasn’t neccessary if he was travelling on PCS (Permanent Change of Station) orders,
    and asked him did he have orders.
    He replied they were in his carry-on.
    They did a couple head-scratches, and then waved him through.

    Notice that in the above paste, there is no mention of PCS orders.

    As I told him after we had both passed through the security-screening check-point:
    Hey, they might be morons, but they’re our morons!

    AD-RtR/OS! (408097)

  19. There is soo much obviously wrong with this story.

    As unfortunately we have seen in Texas, weapons are not allowed to be carried just anywhere.

    Second even when transported by the military – its not like in the movies, and machine guns and most crew served weapons are kept in theater.

    Next they’ll claim they had grenades and claymores on them

    EricPWJohnson (719277)

  20. Its an OLD urban legend story been around since 199

    The fact that you so readily called BS on it pretty much proves what a complete fraud you are – anyone who’s had to travel for a living over the past nine years knows full well the possibility of just this scenario occuring. Ah, but you live in Spain with your wife and 24 kids, and are somehow in the import/exort business, blah, blah, blah.

    trollbot 1000 (498ece)

  21. Whoops, last one was me – but then there’s this:

    There is soo much obviously wrong with this story.

    Yeah, do tell, oh man of international intrigue.

    He’s the most interesting man of the world…

    “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, it’s DosEqqus.

    Stay thirsty, my friends.”

    Dmac (498ece)

  22. Binky?


    Dmac (498ece)


    Even as a Police officer carrying a loaded (accesible) weapon, you still cannot bring a knife on the plane (this regulation nas been in place a long long long time)

    Prohibited Items
    We would like to remind federal officers and agents, whether on official or non-official travel, and state and local officers and agents on official travel not to transport prohibited items, which are not necessary for the performance of their official duties, through security checkpoints or onboard aircraft while traveling armed. Regulations surrounding prohibited carry-on items and associated security checkpoint procedures are covered in the training material. Particular attention should be given to the prohibition against carrying hazardous materials, such as pepper spray or mace, in carry-on bags. For more information read our prohibited items section.

    EricPWJohnson (719277)

  24. Dmac – he is calling a soldier, and his fellow soldiers liars. Based on nothing but his own asspulls.

    William Yelverton (c8c1d2)

  25. Dmac

    I didnt know that you did that!


    EricPWJohnson (719277)

  26. I really doubt a soldier sent the email

    EricPWJohnson (719277)

  27. Based on ….. ? So now, everyone involved in writing and publishing this are liars. Epwj knows better.

    JD (c8c1d2)

  28. Note to epwj…
    The M240 is not, repeat not, a crew-served weapon.
    It, and its companion 5.56mm M-249 (the M240 is 7.62mm), are “shoulder-fired” weapons, which is why they have a butt-stock, and are most effective fired from the prone-position utilyzing the mounted bi-pod, but are often fired in the upright position utilyzing mobility for attack.

    AD-RtR/OS! (408097)

  29. JD

    A Federal MArshall cant bring a knife on a plane even if he’s packing

    Just the way it is – and ask Erick Erickson where he got his information that Kay Bailey adopted her kids solely to beat Rick Perry During the Texas primary… Yeah he’s been a reliable source…

    Sorry if I dont believe unbelievable unsourced stories from cretins

    EricPWJohnson (719277)

  30. Based on your standards, you believe nothing you type.

    JD (c8c1d2)

  31. Well, if anyone knows cretins….

    AD-RtR/OS! (408097)

  32. JD,

    I guess you’re taking Miller’s loss well….


    Yeah he is a cretin

    EricPWJohnson (719277)

  33. Since you accuse them of lying, and impersonating an active duty soldier while making up this story, they may have committed fraud and other possible criminal actions. Youo must immediately rush to the nearest FBI office and report this crime. Call the DoD too. Or the nearest mental health facility.

    JD (c8c1d2)

  34. JD

    eh, so Miller lost huh?

    EricPWJohnson (719277)

  35. It is about to go on another bender, folks. Step back, it is about to blow. Get help.

    JD (c8c1d2)

  36. What happened to your frogmarch predictions, The Most Interesting Man in the World? What about that bet you placed with JD? Did you finally pay up?

    How ’bout it?

    Dmac (498ece)

  37. Let’s see if epwj can accurately state my position on Miller. Or Palin. Or O’Donnell. Don’t hold your breath.

    JD (c8c1d2)

  38. Step back, it is about to blow. Get help.

    He can’t – he’s currently in Barcelona.

    Stay thirsty, my friends.

    Dmac (498ece)

  39. JD

    Okay so Miller lost, oh well

    EricPWJohnson (719277)

  40. As I expected, it is on one of it’s feedback loops.

    JD (c8c1d2)

  41. Since my wife’s been a flight attendant for more than twenty years, it’s always a hoot to read TMIMITW’s bloviations on airport security procedures. Kind of like watching Barney Fife screech “citizen’s arrest!”

    Dmac (498ece)

  42. Dmac

    yeah sure, it always come down to someone knows because they know someone instead looking at the facts they – knooow

    more BS Dmac

    EricPWJohnson (719277)

  43. MAn its fertilizer night at Patts bar and grill

    EricPWJohnson (719277)

  44. @46

    Yeah, you do seem to be posting an awful lot.

    curious air traveller (1db6c5)

  45. yeah, people ask me to respond…

    I know it upsets people to post links that totally refutes an unsourced story from a guy who was caught making up spurious accusations using adopted childrens adoption situation to throw a primary in Texas.

    Gee please accept my apologies

    EricPWJohnson (719277)

  46. Could some translate #48 into English?

    JD (c8c1d2)

  47. Could someone translate #48 into English?

    JD (c8c1d2)

  48. I call BS too; especially considering the source. “Too good not to check”

    Another TSA Outrage
    Posted by Erick Erickson (Profile)
    Thursday, November 18th at 6:28PM EST
    UPDATE: I’m getting a lot of emails asking if this is actually true and is this person actually someone I know. (1) Yes it is true — it is too absurd to be made up. (2) Yes, I know the person.

    I think that someone emailed me this story a few years back. Searching the spam folder…

    carlitos (f21c51)

  49. While travelling on leave once, I remember showing airport security my Spyderco 4 inch blade one-handed tactical knife, serrated and razor sharp, figuring they might want to check it in.

    They just handed it back and let me take it on board.

    How things have changed.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  50. They had to stop over in Ireland and deplane.

    There are TSA dones at airports in Ireland??

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (609d83)

  51. Yep, I’ve dealt with TSA in Amsterdam and Munich as well.

    Paullie Krugnuts (26be8b)

  52. I recall clearing customs in Ireland before returning to the US when flying Aer Lingus (the cunning airline). Same thing happens in Toronto.

    carlitos (f21c51)

  53. AD @30:

    According to the first link Eric provided, all the guns should have been transported in a secure container under control of one specific unit member or officer, and no individual soldier should have been carrying a weapon on his own; or at least should have been carrying the weapon in a locked case that kept it out of easy access.

    This obviously is not the case in the story we’re discussing–so either the policy described on the link was systematically ignored from Bagram on, or the story is false.

    I have no military background, but I know you do, so I’ll ask you: is it is a realistic possibility that the procedure described in the link was ignored in such a manner?

    kishnevi (60aae7)

  54. Interesting.

    The rest of the world getting to see TSA stupidity up close and personal, likely discouraging potential tourists, can’t be good.

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (609d83)

  55. And from Aruba and Rome.
    OTOH, a flight from Gatwick to Miami required us to go through customs in Miami, including an agricultural inspection–apparently they were afraid my mother was smuggling in exotic fruit from London.

    kishnevi (60aae7)

  56. Sorry–my comment at 59 was in response to Carlitos at 56

    kishnevi (60aae7)

  57. The post said this happened when they deplaned in Ireland but the story is worse, this was when they stopped to drop off 100 guardsman in Indianapolis, Indiana.

    Only the American government would treat American soldiers this badly.

    Machinist (74634b)

  58. I can’t speak to the truth of this but the link seems to be about soldiers boarding civilian flights here in the USA. Would the same policies really apply to a military charter flight from a war zone? If all weapons were packed, how long would these soldiers be standing around unarmed with their weapons in sealed containers. As 100 ING troops were getting off, would all the sealed containers have to be unloaded and unsealed to release their weapons and then repacked, resealed, and reloaded? I would have to hope that troops leaving a combat zone are treated differently than troops catching commercial flights stateside.

    Machinist (74634b)

  59. EricPW – Any idea if that link you provided @11 applies to military or military charter flights originating on military bases as opposed to scheduled airlines? The link seems unclear.

    Charter operators do have to abide by a set of TSA rules depending on the nature of their operations. The story does not describe the type of flight but it does not mention any non-military passengers on the plane.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  60. Machinist – Great minds.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  61. Comment by kishnevi — 11/19/2010 @ 5:45 pm

    kish, you would have to ask someone who served in the “combat arms”, but my (admittedly limited) info would be along the lines explored by Machinist @ 6:39, that this is a military charter flight from a combat zone, probably with a destination of an AFB here stateside adjoining their home-base, so I would tend to believe that each man was responsible for his own weapon, but that the ammo would be transported, as you suggest, under the direct control of an officer and senior non-com.

    AD-RtR/OS! (408097)

  62. AD–
    makes sense to me–or at least enough sense that I accept the story as true.

    Meanwhile, I had a little laugh coming across this just now in a music forum. We may yet see the TSA being laughed out of existence.,3866.msg467291.html#msg467291

    This is regarding a recording of Haydn’s String Quartets Op. 76 by the Buchberger String Quartet:
    However, the “witch’s menuet” is taken waaay too fast to the point of ridicule, and the first mvmt is anger inducing. Ultimately, this is the Buchberger acting like TSA Agents.

    kishnevi (60aae7)

  63. The soldiers and there commander were derelect of duty in allowing themselves to be disarmed of the knife (and dangerous clippers) while traveling under orders and under arms especially in a foreign country.

    Charges need to be pressed.

    IN GENERAL …..
    not all weapons are without bullets. There are always loaded weapons for the guards of the weapons. This is again a requirement. Automatic weapons are SRC II (Security Risk Category) and so require armed guards.

    PashaG (faf621)

  64. My bad–thats for rail movement. All they need is a PSS (no armed guards)

    PashaG (faf621)

  65. The guards are effectively supplied by the airport or local security.

    PashaG (12e90b)

  66. Not surprised. With both our children in the U.S. Armed Forces, both have been frisked & searched at the airport while in uniform, with active military I.D.’s, on official military orders and one even had his bomb dog searched!!! That’s just the “person” you want on the plane, duuhhhhh!!!

    MaMa S (0f8a04)

  67. #71, did the bomb dog object when the TSA loon “searched its tail”?

    Mike Myers (0e06a9)

  68. Perhaps the issue here was allowing the soldiers continuing on to a further destination deplane into a non-sterile area of the airport, requiring them to pass through screening again to reboard the plane.

    Where’s EricPW?

    daleyrocks (940075)

  69. So let me see if I have this right; some think that weapons, assigned to each soldier upon deployment, is put into a sealed container, only for the Army to take the time to unseal that container upon arrival in Iraq or Afghanistan, check each serial number and then reissue it to the soldier it was assigned to at their home base where they deployed from?

    And then upon return, they are put into another sealed container, only to be opened when the ING got off, serial numbers checked once again, then remaining weapons sealed up in that container, once again?

    Well, I can tell you, that ain’t how it used to work. So if it is now, what a giant cluster-f— and total waste of time.

    Once a soldier is issued a weapon, and the serial number recorded against his name, that baby’s his to be responsible for, from deployment to return to home base.

    I was at Fort Hood when the first wave of 4th I.D. came home. The troops were supposed to be inside of Stryker Auditorium by 7:00. We saw their plane land around 5:30 a.m. We waited, and waited, and waited. Babies crying and little kids just wanting to go home and back to bed. Troops finally came into the auditorium around 8:30 a.m. When I asked my friend what took them so long, he said they had turn in their weapons. That means checking each serial number against each name. Time consuming.

    But then the military does have a truism: hurry up and wait.

    retire05 (5f833f)

  70. Wake me up already! These men and women are the same men and women our govt. sends to other countries to defend us from the bad guy and this is the same govt. that feels the need to give these same men and women the search and pat downs going on in the airports. However, God help the military to “profile”…Ft Hood anyone??? God help us All!

    MaMa S (0f8a04)

  71. retire05

    yet another story…

    EricPWJohnson (c5f1fc)

  72. daleyrocks 7:56,
    They were required to deplane and were held in a bare security area for two hours. The plane was not refueling so there was no need for anyone to get off but the 100 ING troops they were dropping off.

    Machinist (74634b)

  73. MaMa S

    The timing of the story is suspect after all soldiers have been coming home for years – but in this case this story emerges is more happenstance than one should accept

    Never except stories that wont verify the source -saying you have to trust them

    Never trust a story unverified that says its too absurd to not be true

    Never accept a story that happens to be carefully timed for maximum effect thaqt has no sources or background

    Never except anything from a guy who tried to spread a vicious rumor about a politicians youg adopted children

    EricPWJohnson (c5f1fc)

  74. Maybe the TSA thugs were hoping the soldiers would have knives, bayonets, and other goodies they could loot?

    Machinist (74634b)

  75. “Never except anything from a guy who tried to spread a vicious rumor about a politicians youg adopted children”

    Is that strictly limited to stories about “youg adopted children”? If not it would seem to bar listening to a number of people here and many leftist journalists and politicians.

    Machinist (74634b)

  76. Machinist !!!!!!

    logic and reasoning do not work well with this one …

    JD (6e269c)

  77. EricPWJohnson – Do the TSA rules you linked apply to military charters?

    daleyrocks (940075)

  78. JD

    Yeah I know, Miller lost…

    Oh, and you voted for McCain, so you say

    EricPWJohnson (c5f1fc)

  79. “They were required to deplane and were held in a bare security area for two hours.”

    Machinist – Reviewing rules last night it makes a difference whether operators deplane passengers into sterile or non-sterile areas.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  80. “Even as a Police officer carrying a loaded (accesible) weapon, you still cannot bring a knife on the plane (this regulation nas been in place a long long long time)”

    I was in a Canadian and not American airport. But the fact remains, I showed a 4 inch blade, one-handed opening, razor sharp tactical knife to security a little over 10 years ago and they said I could take it on the plane.

    Yes, whole other country, different rules, etc. But Canada is usually more squeamish about weapons than the states. So I’m not sure it has always been the case that knives weren’t permitted on board or that that rule was applied everywhere.

    As well as showing the knife, I remember showing military ID. I’m not sure if that was a factor, but I was on leave from my work of being a private grunt, so it isn’t like I was an MP or anything.

    Even at the time, pre-911, I was surprised to be allowed to carry it on board (as opposed to in checked baggage since I was travelling without anything more than a carry-on). Obviously I had no ill intentions and everyone on board the plane was fine, but it does go to show me just how different attitudes were then compared to now when nail clippers are banned.

    I don’t particularly trust Erick Erickson without confirmation, but aside from that, I think this story is plausible. I remember security wanding my very thin beard recently. I didn’t object: They do what they do and I don’t know the reason for everything.

    But seriously, what was I going to hide in a tiny goatee which was newly trimmed and maybe, at best, half an inch thick?

    Christoph (8ec277)

  81. Fits perfectly into J. Napolitano’s statement this past April 2009…”which lists returning veterans among terrorist risks to the U.S.” Shame on her, Obama and the whole embarrassing group in Washington D.C.

    MaMa S (0f8a04)

  82. daley


    TSA rules apply to any non-miltary aircraft operated by commericial entities

    However just the flight stops itself leaves open the entire stories credibility

    This isnt about the military, in fact I wouldnt be surprized if a motar team had to hand over any sharp tool they might use to operate the motar before getting on the plane

    I’m just questioning the source, timing and actual facts – thats all

    Our men and women in the military are treated well by some airlines and crappy by others – I have seen it first hand driving cadets to different terminals in Nashville to take flights home after training

    The TSA is extremely unpopular right now but this is such an obvious dogpile that we trying to be better than the MSM should not believe anything thats unverified

    Remember the TSA are like the police – they are there to protect you and me – they are not the enemy

    EricPWJohnson (c5f1fc)

  83. WTF is your problem?! If you correctly describe my position on Miller, O’Donnell,McCain, I will quit pointing out that you are a functional moron, that does not know it’s arse from a hole in the wall, and that you do not take your medications in a compliant manner. You cannot, so you will not.

    JD (6e269c)

  84. JD

    Oh I dont think so, you say so many contradictory things its impossible to tell where you – if you have a stand on anything

    EricPWJohnson (c5f1fc)

  85. More projection from EPWJ.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  86. ”which lists returning veterans among terrorist risks to the U.S.”

    I don’t think they should be exempt from reasonable security screening in American airports. There was that infantier lobbing grenades at his buddies in 4th ID (up in Turkey, I believe) to oppose the invasion of Iraq, and of course Major Hassan. The beltway sniper was a gulf war vet (who incidentally was also accused of lobbing a grenade, thermite that time, into a tent with his filler soldiers inside). And there have been military shooters and such before.

    Rare, but it’s happened. It would be a disservice to American soldiers to say they do not deserve the same degree of security screening protection as others.

    Remember — they may have grown to trust all the members of their unit when working overseas, but they will be thrust together with members of new units when being airlifted home.

    I am not saying the new unit members are suspect. Obviously most members of the U.S. military are good and decent people, the best of the best, including in terms of trustworthiness.

    But there have been exceptions to this. Janet Napolitano was right not to overlook that fact.

    The security screening system in place is often absurd … it should be improved (profiling, for example, and less fretting over nail clippers and bottled water). But it isn’t rational to say American airports shouldn’t take a look at American service members … for their protection and for the protection of everybody.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  87. SPQR could probably come damn close to outlining my positions without even bothering to look things up, epwj. It is really not difficult. I would be willing to bet that even if SPQR made some mistakes in describing my positions, they would be in good faith. You, not so much.

    JD (6e269c)

  88. I thought that knives shorter than a certain length were allowed before 911. I suspect many people did not appreciate that Americans had been so emasculated and made into such sheep that over a hundred men would sit there and allow three or four guys with box cutters to take control, torture flight attendants to gain access to the flight deck, and hijack a plane, even without knowing it was not for ransom but a suicide mission. I know I was disappointed.

    Machinist (74634b)

  89. Machinist, do you really think taking on four or five trained men holding and fully eager to use lethal violence with sharp blades is a minor task?

    I think you watch a little bit too much Hollywood. And even in the one case where the passengers bravely rose up, they still were not able to retake the plane before it was crashed … fortunately, not at its intended target.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  90. Christoph — 11/20/2010 @ 12:12 pm,
    Napolitano was saying servicemen should be subject to normal security screening while flying. She said veterans who had returned were a threat to American security. That they themselves were in fact a terrorist threat. While such men and women might be considered a threat to a government that tried to dump the Constitution, they are certainly no threat to the American people.

    Machinist (74634b)

  91. “She said veterans who had returned were a threat to American security.”

    Well, that would be far worse, but I would have to read it to see if you’re taking her words in context (and I am not a fan of her). Do you have a link to her statement?

    Christoph (8ec277)

  92. I think that while flight 93 somewhat redeemed our pride that the hijackers should not have been allowed to take control of the cockpit in the first place. How many bombing attempts or crazed passengers have been stopped by other passengers who did NOT wait for the authorities to do something? Now how many have been stopped by the authorities? If the attempts to smuggle weapons onto planes justifies strip searches of all passengers, it would seem to justify armed passengers. They have certainly done better.

    I do not think fighting the hijackers would be easy and I expect people would be hurt and probably killed, but at 58 years old and fat and out of shape I would have done what I could, alone if necessary, to fight them, especially when they started on the women. I could not live with the shame if I did not.

    Machinist (74634b)

  93. I don’t have a link. It was in a report to law enforcement put out by the Department. It raised such a stink it was withdrawn but of course it had already been published. I believe it also warned against religious Christians and people who advocated lower taxes and smaller government.

    You really never heard of that report?

    Machinist (74634b)

  94. By the way, I don’t watch TV much but I have put my life on the line with nothing to gain when a woman’s honor was evolved. That was many years ago but I would still do what I can. Ten years ago that would have been somewhat more.

    The hijackers depended on Americans being conditioned to passively submit. Their gamble paid off. History has shown us that aggressive response immediately with whatever can be brought to bear is better than whatever can be gathered up later after the attacker is in control. This applies to individuals and armies, in most cases. I will stand by my remark.

    Machinist (74634b)

  95. Machinist, I think you are referencing a Dept of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis report that was not TSA specific. It was from April of 2009 and the resulting furor resulted in in being “withdrawn”. But not before Napolitano released a pathetic press release typical of her incompetence and weasel-wording.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  96. Machinist, I think what you fail to include in your discussion of the passengers of the 9/11 hijacked aircraft is that the 9/11 hijackers tactics were successful only because their purpose was not understood. Once understood, the tactic was obsolete within minutes or hours as the passengers of the last aircraft demonstrated.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  97. I have put my life on the line with nothing to gain when a woman’s honor was evolved.

    Yes, I have too. Although now in most cases, I would need more than a “woman’s honor” to engage in violence. Terrorists would do it.

    I think that while flight 93 somewhat redeemed our pride that the hijackers should not have been allowed to take control of the cockpit in the first place.

    The people in the other flights were acting rationally. There have been many, many hijacking prior to this where the best survival strategy — for you and everyone else on the plane, including the all-important women — was to comply and then let some special forces unit kick ass when the time comes and the plane lands.

    Flight 93 realized this wasn’t the case and so took action.

    I think you are unfairly denigrating the other flights of decent people who were just trying to get home to their loved ones.

    What force do you think would be capable of taking out five (all the other planes had five) armed and trained in close-quarter combat terrorists and how do you imagine you would form and motivate this force, pre-911?

    I object you your castigating these people for their alleged lack of bravery and elevating yours because you stood up for a woman’s honor at one time, as have most men, generally (but not always) foolishly.

    I remain unconvinced you would have stood up to 5 fit young men with sharp knives. Maybe I’m wrong and you would have, but I remain trebly unconvinced you and any force you could raise under those circumstances would have prevailed.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  98. Machinist has more class and honor and integrity in one of his nose hairs than Christoph could ever dream of having.

    JD (6e269c)

  99. SPQR,
    Respectfully, while I agree the passengers might have resisted more had they known they were not to be ransomed but used as kamikaze planes, I still don’t think they should have allowed the planes to be taken. They were passive sheep while women were being used. If a hundred men had attacked them as soon as it was known they were trying to take over the plane or at least when they started in on the flight attendants and before they breached the cockpits, I don’t believe the hijackers could have prevailed. While the passengers had been stripped of weapons they had clothes to wrap their hands and carry on bags as shields and weapons,plus anything they could have improvised from the galley. The first instinct should have been to stop them, not submit meekly and watch. This attempt to passively control the environment has never worked. Consider the strip searches of prisoners has not kept drugs and weapons out of prisons. How long before we must submit to strip searches and body cavity checks to fly? Even this will not work, but we are already seeing that explosives and weapons can be inserted or surgically implanted. Can more extensive searches be far behind? (pun not intended)

    Machinist (74634b)

  100. “Machinist has more class and honor and integrity in one of his nose hairs than Christoph could ever dream of having.

    Comment by JD — 11/20/2010 @ 1:00 pm”

    And there’s no better proof of it than blaming the 911 victims for being pussified cowards.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  101. That is not what he did and what you claim he did is a lie lie lie and you should be ashamed of yourself but you will not because you are a douche nozzle and you proved my point for me.

    JD (6e269c)

  102. Christoph,
    Many people tell women that they should submit to rape to reduce the chance of being hurt. I don’t think a civilized society should require a woman to be in that spot.

    I do not think six men with box cutters could prevail against a hundred men who acted reasonably together. I am not talking about a planned and coordinated attack by the passengers but I do think the passengers should have acted and once some made a move the others should have followed. People would have been hurt or killed, yes. I still think this is a better response. The areas with the greatest risk of crime are the areas where the government protects the criminals from their victims. The areas where the victims are more likely to be armed have the least crime.

    Passive submission invites aggression.

    I was not trying to claim virtue but pointing out that I do not form my opinions from TV shows or movies as you suggest. I think you mis-characterized my remarks. If others got the same impression I will apologize. I am no hero.

    Machinist (74634b)

  103. You did not, Machinist. It is a nozzle of douche.

    JD (6e269c)

  104. Comment by Christoph — 11/20/2010 @ 1:08 pm,
    I did not call anyone a coward. Perhaps your definition of “coward” and “honor” are different than mine.

    Our schools and our culture condition Americans to be passive and submissive and let their “betters” handle things. This makes a population easier to manipulate and control. Public attitudes about this are very different today then when I was younger. I don’t think it is an improvement.

    If you can’t understand the difference between that and calling the victims “cowards” than go to Hell.

    Machinist (74634b)

  105. That is what he did, in essence.

    “I suspect many people did not appreciate that Americans had been so emasculated and made into such sheep that over a hundred men would sit there and allow three or four guys with box cutters to take control, torture flight attendants to gain access to the flight deck, and hijack a plane, even without knowing it was not for ransom but a suicide mission.”

    Machinist disgusts me, frankly. And, no, I don’t believe him.

    You disgust me too, JD, for not understanding how it is inappropriate to malign the passengers on the other flights for not fighting back with the information they had on hand.

    It is easy to talk about how brave you would have been from a safe distance. And the stupidity to think he should attack 5 armed trained terrorists, alone, out of some chivalry principle, inviting further retaliation on others so he could live with himself.

    In hindsight, the rational thing to do was to fight back. But they didn’t have hindsight.

    Also, Machinist misstates the facts, which I find telling.

    There were FIVE armed, trained terrorists on each of flights in question. There were 246 people of both sexes on board the flights. And yet Machinist alludes that there were over 100 men too chicken, unlike his brave self, to fight 3 or 4 measly men.

    That’s a dishonest, distorted way to put it.

    He maligns the 9/11 victims’ character and you defend this, JD. And you attack me for standing up to them being maligned in this way by this after the fact wannabe hero.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  106. Thanks JD. You don’t know me well enough to think that much of me, but I appreciate the confidence and benefit of a doubt.

    Machinist (74634b)

  107. While I disagree with some of what Machinist wrote, I can think of no greater distinction than having Christoph writing that he’s “disgusted” because frankly, having Christoph’s respect would disgust me.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  108. I am pretty sure that this is the best example ever of how mendoucheous you are, Cristoph. All bow at the feet of tge superior, more moral, more intelligent dishonest f@cker that calls himself Christoh. We mere mortals should consider ourselves blessed to be in the e-presence of such a luminary in this flawed world.

    JD (6e269c)

  109. I must admit I thought there were more passengers and only 3 or 4 hijackers on the first two planes. I did not deliberately misstate the numbers and apologize for my error. That said, I think if it was 6 hijackers and 50 men, they should still have acted and could have stopped them.

    It seems we have gone past the point where a discussion is possible.

    Machinist (74634b)

  110. “I do not think fighting the hijackers would be easy and I expect people would be hurt and probably killed, but at 58 years old and fat and out of shape I would have done what I could, alone if necessary, to fight them, especially when they started on the women.”

    You’re coming damn close to claiming you would have acted heroically and, what’s more, to save the women, for the noblest of reasons.

    “I was not trying to claim virtue but pointing out that I do not form my opinions from TV shows or movies as you suggest. I think you mis-characterized my remarks. If others got the same impression I will apologize. I am no hero.”

    Agreed. You’re not. The people on Flight 93 were (or at least fought out of rational self-interest, which is still good), but they had more information to go on, info the other Flights and the numerous victims of airline terrorism before this simply did not have.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  111. It is sad if defending a woman or fighting criminals is an act of heroism. That used to be expected of a man.

    Machinist (74634b)

  112. I don’t know the actual gender breakdown of each flight, but 246/4 = 61.5 passengers and crew per flight of either sex. So I don’t know if there were 50 males on any given plane.

    With the exception of Flight 93, which had 4 terrorists, the other Flights all had 5 terrorists each.

    With great casualties, could the passenger have won? I don’t know.

    I do know that on the one plane they tried which had only 4 terrorists, they reached the cockpit and stopped an attack on the ground, however, they all died. It was still a rational risk despite the low odds of success because they knew the plane would be crashed anyway, into a populated building.

    But for the other 3 Flights to take the same chance against a larger force — when all of their past knowledge would have lead them to believe this was a hijacking situation where the plane would land and negotations and/or a rescue would take place — is not only completely irrational, from their perspective, it isn’t even particularly noble.

    Some middle-aged fat guy fighting and getting a bunch of people killed when, under the circumstances as they perceived them to exist, the best chance for survival for everyone including the women was to comply and let the pros handle it, is not an intrinsic moral good.

    We all know, in hindsight, the flaw in complying, but they didn’t. It is unfair of you to hold them to this standard and chastize them for not meeting it.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  113. I have more to say about governments conditioning the younger generations to worship the State and indoctrinating them into the State’s values but some of it could be twisted into false meanings and implications so I will drop it.

    Machinist (74634b)

  114. Machinist – now it is just proving that it intends to not understand what you stated.

    JD (6e269c)

  115. My expectations of action were not based on hind sight. I said that knowing they did not know this was for ransom and said so specifically. Perhaps you were so busy reading things into my remarks that you missed what I actually wrote.

    Machinist (74634b)

  116. “I said that knowing they did not know this was for ransom and said so specifically.”

    It is still wrong to impugn their character and manliness (you specifically impugned their manliness) for choosing the high-probability path to survival for themselves and the majority of passengers and crew.

    Your statement you would fight them alone if necessary is both unbelievable (it’s possible, but I doubt it) and ridiculous.

    The vast, vast majority of people will not engage in combat unless it improves their chance of survival and that of the majority of people in their group, nor should they.

    It’s not a God-damned masculinity test. It’s an action you take under emergency circumstances to improve survival outcomes.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  117. That is your set of values. I don’t share them. In this case I prefer your contempt.

    Machinist (74634b)

  118. Machinist, you should read this article. You need it.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  119. “That is your set of values. I don’t share them. In this case I prefer your contempt.”

    Machinist, I believe you’re a blowhard coward who is sitting back from a safe distance attacking the integrity and manliness of the victims of America’s largest ever attack against civilians.

    You’re the Cliff Clavin of combat morality.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  120. Geeezus

    MAchinist and JD just proved they are some of the most disgusting human beings on the internet

    thats quite an achievement

    EricPWJohnson (c5f1fc)

  121. Machinist,

    I admit the “coward” part of my opinion of you is unprovable. You claim you’d have attacked 5 armed, trained terrorists, alone if necessary, on 9/11, unlike the other more than 100 “emasculated” males.

    Color me skeptical.

    I’m sure a great number of military people and police officers and security-minded civilians mentally prepare for tough circumstances like that and they wonder how they’ll do when it comes up.

    A lot — even for the bravest — will depend on their rational, tactical analysis of the situation. They’re not in the business of throwing innocent people’s lives away to show how manly they are. They’re in the business of protecting the greatest number possible. That’s what they do.

    But even on the courage level, few of them will know for sure how they would act. Most will act with courage, but there is some doubt, and even some keenness to test themselves in combat. But they don’t go on blabbing from behind their keyboard, dissin’ a bunch of mostly civilians for following the normal security protocols in place for hijacking at the time (and many hijacked flights had on board current and former military and police).

    You say you’ve fought for some woman’s honor. Whoop-de-doo. So have most males, at one point, however stupid the situation is objectively. Usually that is violence used in a social situation where, for the most part, even if you lost the other person is unlikely to kill you.

    That isn’t the same thing as facing five trained armed young men with razor-sharp knives on a mission.

    Even most people with significant high-threat, odds against them combat experience, would not impugn the 9/11 victims as you have done.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  122. Thanks, EricPWJohnson. I don’t agree with everything you say, but obviously this time, I think you’re on the side of the angels.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  123. Fuck off, Christoph.

    JD (6e269c)

  124. It is quite a shock to see Christoph and the vile cretin epwj high fiving each other.

    JD (6e269c)

  125. Comment by Christoph — 11/20/2010 @ 2:13 pm,

    You said this before. I said that I preferred your contempt, given what you have done and said on this thread. Are you fishing for a “Thank you”?

    You called me a liar based on the fact I thought there were 3 or 4 hijackers per p[lane and you said 5 or 6. Now that you say there were 4 or 5, and not six, were you lying?

    Now you are trying to make my remarks an attack on our military and police? As I said before, I prefer your contempt.

    Machinist (74634b)

  126. JD

    Oh, I think you established yourself well here in front of everyone all by yourself defending the indefensible remarks

    You call names – thats your thing – but here you stepped in it but good

    EricPWJohnson (c5f1fc)

  127. Machinist:

    Help is on the way, in the form of some material being added to the folder that helps me moderate comments by commenters who are not behaving properly.

    Hang on.

    By way of explanation, Machinist is a kind and principled man, the very type of commenter I like to have on this blog.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  128. Other than epwj and christoph, does anyone else think that what Machinist expressed was vile or contemptible or disgusting? This just seems like SOP for these 2.

    JD (0d2ffc)

  129. Thank you, Patterico. I made some comments personal to me so I can’t complain if those are used or misused. I know better and did it anyway.

    I stand behind everything I said here that offends them so.

    Machinist (74634b)

  130. It actually does not likely offend them, Machinist. They take very little to condemn someone and proclaim their superiority. That they chose to smear you shows how contemptible they are.

    JD (0d2ffc)

  131. I’m with SPQR here. I’m not sure I agree with Machinist but I am disappointed by the personal nature of the responses to him from EPWJ and Christoph.

    There are parts of Machinist’s arguments with which I disagree. Specifically, knowing what the people on the WTC- and Pentagon-bound airliners knew, the people on the planes might very well have thought they were saving lives by allowing the armed men to proceed.

    This is something reasonable people can disagree about.

    However, to call him personally a disgusting person or a liar because he holds that position is antithetical to what I want to see on this site.

    Accordingly, I have placed EPWJ and Christoph into moderation. For the time being at a minimum.

    Factored into the equation quite heavily is my impression of Machinist as a good guy whose readership and commentary I want to keep around. He is unfailingly polite. Those I have moderated, unfortunately, have not showed the same ability to refrain from personally attacking others.

    I do not like moderating people. But if it’s a choice between a) moderating people, b) losing people like Machinist, or c) allowing people like Machinist to be personally attacked, I choose option a.

    It’s not a ban. I am saying that, for the time being at least, these two commenters will have to have their comments moderated and reviewed to see if the comments they leave are personal attacks.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  132. SPQR:

    Double heh!

    Patterico (c218bd)

  133. It will probably surprise no one that Christoph’s last two comments fail to meet the standards I have painstakingly explained to him.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  134. I suppose the time had finally arrived.
    Historical events cited by Christoph would IMO have to be backed up by links to the Encyclopedia Britannica for verification.
    The other guy is just too inconsistent on or off his meds, whether professionally prescribed, or just amateur pharmacology – which seems to be the case.

    AD-RtR/OS! (27a664)

  135. To the contrary, Patterico, I’m shocked.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  136. Make that three comments that fail to meet the standards.

    I think we can write off Christoph for the day. Once in the grip of one of his raging paroxyms of self-righteousness, he does not escape it quickly.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  137. Wow. Go away for 24 hours and come back to find a thread where Christoph is calling one of this site’s best commenters – Machinist – a liar and a coward. Classy. And a classy follow-up from EricPWJohnson, too – way to double-down on the class, guys.

    Christoph – is there any thread you can sit through without insulting another commenter’s honor in some profound and unfounded manner?

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  138. Not my blog, but I look at posts by EPWJ and Christoph, and I shake my head. It is possible to disagree with people and be civil.

    True, some people like playing trollslap. I don’t mind it from time to time. And I am not always a good person.

    But Machinist is always decent and kindly spoken. His voice is, in my opinion, a valuable one.

    More posts in the style of Machinist is a good thing. The other folks certainly seem to post to stir the pot. And that is fine, if people like it.

    I too would hate seeing fewer posts by people like Machinist.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  139. Studies show Christoph does not play well with grown ups or even other children.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  140. I went over the thread and I am mystified how Christoph can sneer at Machinist for being macho, when writing the kind of faux-tough guy things he wrote. Unnecessary.

    Hey, maybe he is all that and a bag of chips. I wouldn’t know. He certainly likes to talk the talk. Machinist, on the other hand, is civil and courtly.

    When Machinist says something with which I disagree, I think very carefully about the subject. When these people attacking Machinist post things, I tend to wonder what their motive was.

    Anyway, not my business. Not my blog. But I admire Machinist’s posts.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  141. Comment by Eric Blair — 11/20/2010 @ 4:04 pm


    ditto to your comments about Machinist. Having had occasion to have several very interesting and civil in-depth discussions w/ him here, he’s unfailingly polite even in disagreement.

    Add to that a commenter disagreeing with him who refuses to try to understand his POV, rejects his clarification of his statements, proclaims him “disgusting” and moreover thinks defending a woman’s honor is a matter of “Whoop-de-doo”, and it’s difficult to regret the moderation of Christoph.

    Hope he calms down soon and learns to listen better to others with whom he disagrees w/o being so quick to personally attack and dismiss them. He has intelligence but doesn’t seem to realize that discussion skills and people skills matter much more in getting a hearing for one’s views.

    no one you know (72db9b)

  142. Thanks for all the kind words. These guys are certainly entitled to their opinions, though I don’t like the extensions they read into what I said.

    Frankly, I expect most people here to disagree with me. I have no problem with that and would be happy to debate, discuss, or defend anything I said. I admit I don’t care to be called a liar and coward but I only really care about the opinions of those I respect, and none of them have called me names today.

    I do regret pulling the post off on a tangent involving me. This is an issue I feel very strongly about, not just with TSA but in society in general. Given the known use of weapons, drugs, and explosives implanted or inserted into the body by bad people, is there any rational for our current “aggressive” (their word) patdowns and cavity searches? I don’t see a step or line. Either the full probe is justified or the current methods which at worse are just short of penetration are excessive.

    I recall that a prisoner was processed into prison and had to tell the guards later that he had a 9mm auto hidden in the rolls of fat on his body. This had been missed by even a full cavity search. Would anything the TSA is doing have caught that gun? You simply can not produce a safe playground for adults and the cost to try is too high. Citizens in a free society must accept some responsibility for their own safety and protection and must accept some risk with their choices. If you want to go with the TSA model then some airline will provide it. If you want to be treated with some respect as a free citizen than accept that there is risk and that if someone takes control of the plane it will be shot down. There are just so many areas where I think we have sold our birthright for a dubious promise of safety and security.

    Machinist (74634b)

  143. I would chose the latter airline, not from bravado but because I am more comfortable around men or women who are armed. I do not like the feeling of being in a government building or school where no one is armed. It is ringing the dinner bell for the wolves. People who have CC licenses have been vetted and have accepted some responsibilities that are often a good indicator. Nothing for sure but an indicator.

    Machinist (74634b)

  144. Comment by Machinist — 11/20/2010 @ 5:09 pm


    AD-RtR/OS! (27a664)

  145. Machinist – I’m sorry the thread devolved, but I’m glad you stood your ground. It was vintage Christoph if you remember the last infestation before he was banned. Not everyone has his faux superior standards, which is a very good thing in my book, given his attitudes toward women among other things.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  146. Machinist, I meant what I wrote. When you write something with which I disagree, I remember how careful and ethical I have found your posts to be—and reconsider. Being thoughtful and civil are not bad things.

    Also, I am reminded of what Heinlein wrote: an armed society is a polite society. Like you, I don’t expect everyone to agree with me.

    Eric Blair (720ce1)

  147. NOYK, nice to see your post!

    Eric Blair (720ce1)

  148. Eric Blair, ref …reconsider.
    That is a very fine compliment and I really appreciate it. Don’t think I didn’t see it. I am just a bit uncomfortable about some of the compliments here. I wish I felt they were better deserved. There are some heroes on this sight such as Stashiu3. He and others here like yourself, set a very high standard for the rest of us to try to live up to. It is much of why I am here. This site is quite special.

    Machinist (74634b)

  149. Comment by Eric Blair — 11/20/2010 @ 5:39 pm

    Yours too, Eric. It is preferable to see threads stay on topic. But if they have to go off, what better reasons than to improve the civility of future discussion here by both encouraging those to strive to do so, and moderating those who do not.

    no one you know (72db9b)

  150. Thoughtfully put as usual.

    Machinist (74634b)

  151. Or, you could just note that they are mendoucheous twatwaffles and go on about your business 😉

    JD (0d2ffc)

  152. Or, you could just note that they are mendoucheous twatwaffles and go on about your business 😉

    Comment by JD — 11/20/2010 @ 6:22 pm

    Tough love for those who need it, as it were? Well, I s’pose there is precedent for that too 🙂 though am not good at the fine art of using it to the abovementioned desired effect, so I leave that to my betters in this area ;).

    no one you know (72db9b)

  153. Machinist is right in hindsight. We should never allow anyone to hijack a flight again.

    But it is also true in hindsight that the passengers were quite reasonable to believe that if they fought back even more would die. After all, on flight 93 all of the passengers died. So if you are only concerned about the lives of the people on the plane, flight 93 is the worst possible outcome. It is because we know that the plane was likely to kill others on the ground if the passengers didn’t rise up that we consider flight 93 an example to be followed.

    Further, the terrorists were telling the passengers that they had a bomb. So if you were on, say, the flight that crashed into the pentagon, you might have reasonably imagined an attempt to retake the plane going something like this:

    Passngers: “Charge!”

    Half a second later: *Boom.*

    Charging a man with his finger on a bomb is an act of futility, unless you believe that obedience will be almost certain to result in your destruction, too.

    Anyway, all of this is an exercise in academics. The fact is you can’t change the past, so the best you can do is learn from it.

    Aaron Worthing (b8e056)

  154. Machinist,

    We all suffer from wanting to be there and stopping this from happening, but we have to temper these feelings with the reality that, these people had no idea and no time to react and had little time to prepare themselves for the worst.

    Out of respect for their families its best we not express these feelings remotely publically, however your intentions, nothing good can come of this and I apologize for losing my temper at you and JD

    But lets not lose sight of this discussion:

    This season thousands upon thousands of families have lost loved ones, have lost jobs as this was also an attack on our economy, support and prayers are much better than discussions of mentalities of our fellow citizens who cannot defend their actions today because, they are dead

    EricPWJohnson (2a58f7)

  155. EricPWJohnson ,

    I did not call the passengers cowards. That only happened in the imaginations of you and the angel. I criticized a culture, an educational system, and authorities that taught people to be passive in the face of illegal and evil force. This is still happening and will go on until something is changed. I don’t believe we can be free citizens in this kind of submissive culture. I believe we became a great nation through the actions of people who were taught and expected to act on what they believed was right and fight what was wrong or evil.

    I think we don’t really know what happened on the three of the flights or if the passengers did the right or wrong thing. If nothing can be said about this then how do we learn and correct it or determine if something needs to be corrected? Does it honor the victims to do nothing to learn from their loss? Do we really show them respect by doing nothing to prevent or mitigate a repeat of the tragedy?

    I don’t think so. If wanting to see things handled in a better way is inexcusable then I will just have to be “the most disgusting human being”. I still feel that action should have been taken when they started on the women, even in the face of a bomb threat. Most here may disagree. Fine, but don’t imply I smeared these victims unless you can show me where I did, please.

    Machinist (74634b)

  156. Many thoughtful people have said that inaction was appropriate in the context. This was not suggesting they be cowards. I feel action should have been taken, but that does not mean I am saying inaction was from cowardice. The arguments here have shown there are rational arguments for inaction.

    I am a bit slower to throw that word around. As a matter of fact I would suggest that if the men were cowards then no amount of conditioning or official policy would have mattered and my point would be meaningless.

    Machinist (74634b)

  157. Was there an apology in there EPWJ?

    I didn’t think so.

    Eric Blair (720ce1)

  158. Just to be clear:

    It’s not my blog, but Patterico quite rightly objected to your comment about the always civil and polite Machinist.

    You could apologize. Patterico says you are a decent man. Perhaps you can prove it.

    Or say more objectionable things. As always, it’s your choice.

    Eric Blair (720ce1)

  159. Again,

    “…I apologize for losing my temper at you and JD…”

    just doesn’t give the flavor for the comment.

    Eric Blair (720ce1)

  160. Machinist

    I criticized a culture, an educational system, and authorities that taught people to be passive in the face of illegal and evil force. This is still happening and will go on until something is changed. I don’t believe we can be free citizens in this kind of submissive culture. I believe we became a great nation through the actions of people who were taught and expected to act on what they believed was right and fight what was wrong or evil.

    I completely and totally reject your premise that we are a passive and submissive culture in the face of evil. You can drive past Arlington and witness a sea of marble as a testiment that your words and philosophy have little meaning.

    I still feel that action should have been taken when they started on the women, even in the face of a bomb threat

    You are still criticizing the actions of the dead. However you rephrase it, however it gets repackaged as thoughtful, in the end your argument is, they should have taken back the planes. You further intimate that they had no honor (which you blame society for) when they allowed the Flight Attendant to go unavenged.

    You are saying things that cannot be substantiated. You again are describing the passengers as submissive and now our society as submissive, you are dancing around, politefully or not butin essence you are saying that action should have been taken

    EricPWJohnson (2a58f7)

  161. Machinist

    Examining this comment:

    Respectfully, while I agree the passengers might have resisted more had they known they were not to be ransomed but used as kamikaze planes, I still don’t think they should have allowed the planes to be taken. They were passive sheep while women were being used. If a hundred men had attacked them as soon as it was known they were trying to take over the plane or at least when they started in on the flight attendants and before they breached the cockpits, I don’t believe the hijackers could have prevailed. While the passengers had been stripped of weapons they had clothes to wrap their hands and carry on bags as shields and weapons,plus anything they could have improvised from the galley. The first instinct should have been to stop them, not submit meekly and watch.

    Again, the children of the men who died on those planes, I cannot think the harm that they must feel, as someone thoughtfully, respectfully voices such words and phrases and further intimates that our very core of our percieved problems in our society are somehow systemic from this alleged inaction on that day. That this was a patient zero incident

    EricPWJohnson (2a58f7)

  162. All right. A couple of housekeeping matters.

    I have released Eric PW Johnson from moderation. I think he understands my point about separating attacks on arguments from attacks on people. It is a point that I enforce more strongly when someone is a very polite commenter like Machinist.

    I would ask that people not goad EPWJ, and try to start him with a clean slate. The fact is, he has been very kind to me on this site, supporting me with donations and encouraging e-mails. I’m sure if most of us met him in person we would like him. I REALLY would prefer not to see personal conflicts between people who regularly read the site. Please try to give him the benefit of the doubt and think before you hit submit.

    Finally, now that some time has passed, I do want to register my very strong disagreement with Machinist regarding his arguments. It is an argument that, had it come from almost anyone else, I would have denounced using terms such as “appalling” or “outrageous.” In truth, that is how I feel about the argument, but because the argument was advanced by someone for whom I have such great respect, I don’t really want to use those terms because they seem like words of attack. (OK, I kinda just did use them, but I think you get what I mean.)

    Here is my view. Machinist is certainly right, given what we know now, that it would be appalling to allow men with box cutters to take over a plane.

    But before 9/11, there was a generally accepted understanding (I believe) that hijackers were generally people who did not intend to kill everyone on board a plane. If, for example, they had sharp instruments to the necks of three stewardesses, and I had witnessed that, and believed that a) inaction might result in nobody dying, and b) action might well result in the stewardesses dying, I probably would have chosen inaction.

    Would that have made me “emasculated”? I say absolutely not. I simply would have been reacting according to a “pre-9/11 mindset.”

    I ask Machinist to re-think his position, because I do think it is (I assume unintentionally) insulting to the families of the victims. I would hate to have any of them stumble across this thread and see his comments, and I feel duty-bound to register my very strong disagreement with them.

    But I can register that disagreement while acknowledging that I might be wrong — and that I continue to hold Machinist in the highest regard, even though I happen to disagree with him on this one issue.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  163. I did not call the passengers cowards. That only happened in the imaginations of you and the angel. I criticized a culture, an educational system, and authorities that taught people to be passive in the face of illegal and evil force.

    For example, we teach people being robbed at gunpoint to hand over their wallets quickly and not to fight back.

    This is passive behavior in the face of illegal and evil force — and it sometimes results in death. But in my view, said passive behavior more often than not results in the victim’s survival. I have seen plenty of murder cases where robbery victims fought back and got killed. I am aware of far fewer where they were passive and got killed (though it happens).

    In those situations I think passive behavior is wise. Unless, of course, you can be aggressive and be certain of ending up with the upper hand.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  164. For epwj to continue to mischaracterize Machinist’s position, oft clarified now, is not the least bit surprising.

    JD (bd7f43)

  165. Eric Blair,

    EPWJ apologized and I think it was a real apology.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  166. JD,

    For all I know, I may have misstated Machinist’s position myself. If I did, it was unintentional; I wrote a long comment concerning his earlier comments and only later saw that he had posted other ones since. I haven’t read them yet but will now go back and do so.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  167. I ink he has quite clearly laid out his position, numerous times. At epwj resumes his prior mischaracterization flies in the face of an apology.

    JD (bd7f43)

  168. Th keeps getting dropped, not sure why …

    JD (bd7f43)

  169. Good night, folks.

    JD (bd7f43)

  170. A quick read of EPWJ’s recent comments does not reveal a super-obvious distortion that I noticed. I think he perceived that Machinist was critical of the (male, at least) 9/11 victims on the WTC- and Pentagon-bound planes for allegedly acting like “emasculated” “sheep” and behaving in a passive manner in the face of the hijackers’ actions.

    I think what some of us are pointing out is that, given what they knew, there was a completely valid reason for people to be passive in that situation.

    Of course, Machinist is pointing out that that valid reason turned out not to be very valid given what happened. But I would not personally criticize the victims on that basis.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  171. Patterico,
    I knew my comments would be disagreed with by many. I won’t state such again out of respect for your concern and I encourage you to delete any you are uncomfortable with, knowing I understand and will take no offense.

    I do understand your point about a robbery and it is something I have had to face and study as a business manager, owner, and CCW holder. I would not employ violence to prevent a robbery of someone’s business as it is their right to weigh risk against loss and of course innocent lives are involved. On the other hand if there is imminent threat to life such as an attempt to kidnap a clerk or wild threats against a cooperative victim that seem to pose a dangerous threat regardless, then I would act as needed.

    I understand that the policy was to remain passive and I grant that this might be the correct response initially regardless of how I feel about it, but when the women were being abused to gain access to the flight deck, or if women in such a situation were being abused or raped ( just a hypothetical) then how far should this be allowed to go? How many? I think there is a time when action is called for and I do think that action could succeed under those conditions. It can certainly be that that action should not be taken but I think it could and most likely would succeed, as it did in Flight 93. What if they had acted before the hijackers had control of the flight deck?

    I deeply respect your opinion on this and I apologize if I have made you uncomfortable or troubled you. Thank you for your courteous and thoughtful actions and comments.

    Machinist (74634b)

  172. Of course I will not delete the comments.

    I think it is important that honest viewpoints from good people can be expressed freely here — even if they are uncomfortable or troubling. Sometimes because they are.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  173. I dislike the new procedures as much as anyone, but there are some problems with this story.

    1) Military personnel do not carry weapons on board commercial flights. Even in uniform and under orders. Air Marshals, other federal agents, FFDOs (armed pilots) all do, but military do not.

    2) If it was a military plane or a charted flight they might have the weapons on board, but then TSA wouldn’t be involved in screening it.

    3) Nail clippers are not prohibited items. TSA would not have taken them.

    Ty (635f57)

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