Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Personal Responsibility and Bomb Threats

Bleeding hearts must already be gushing about this story:
A passenger who claimed to have a bomb in a carry-on bag was shot and killed by a federal air marshal Wednesday on a jetway to an American Airlines plane that had arrived from Colombia, officials said. . . .

A witness said that the man frantically ran down the aisle of the Boeing 757 and that a woman with him said he was mentally ill.

The passenger, who indicated there was a bomb in the bag, was confronted by air marshals but ran off the aircraft, Doyle said.

The marshals pursued and ordered the passenger to get on the ground, but the man did not comply and was shot when apparently reaching into the bag, Doyle said. Authorities did not immediately say whether any bomb was found.

Passenger Mary Gardner told WTVJ in Miami that the man ran down the aisle from the rear of the plane. "He was frantic, his arms flailing in the air," she said. She said a woman followed, shouting, "My husband! My husband!"

Gardner said she heard the woman say her husband was bipolar and had not had his medication.


The shooting occurred shortly after 2 p.m. as the plane was about to take off for Orlando after about two hours on the ground in Miami. "I don't know yet if the passenger had been on the plane and was getting off, or was starting to board the aircraft," airline spokesman Tim Wagner said.

After the shooting, investigators spread passengers' bags on the tarmac and let dogs sniff them for explosives.

A U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the information's sensitivity, said authorities examined the bag and found no explosives.

Assuming the facts are as stated in the story, I conclude two things:
  • The air marshals did their job.
  • The passenger did not. If he didn't have a bomb, then he made an unfounded bomb threat and acted in an extremely provocative manner because he didn't take his medication.
Irresponsibility does not excuse disruptive, threatening behavior.