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Are We Safer Yet?
April 12, 2004 4:09 PM   Subscribe

Air Marshal Forgets Gun in Airport Bathroom
Are we safer yet?
posted by fenriq (24 comments total)

 
Well... this is obviously bad, but I don't know that I'm going to worry about my safety as a result of this news item. For one thing, what more could you accomplish with a gun than the September 11th hijackers accomplished without them? Could you use a handgun to force entry into a cockpit? Anyway, this random mistake would have to have coincided with the bathroom visit of a female already committed to carrying out a terrorist attack, who had also passed the security checkpoints. In that case, she might have had a smaller advantage, though her plans probably wouldn't require a gun anyway. Not an earth shaker, imo, and not fantastic post material.
posted by scarabic at 4:39 PM on April 12, 2004


The post wasn't really about the relative safety offered by having armed marshals on board or the forgetting of the gun. It was more about the quality of people being hired to fulfill these roles.

Have you ever heard of a cop forgetting his gun in the bathroom?

And no, not fantastic post material but it could be worse, it could have been a double post.
posted by fenriq at 5:10 PM on April 12, 2004


"The gun later was returned to the marshal. "

It's the little details that make that last paragraph worthwhile.

And I guess this is a good post, because it lead to me reading through Kibo archives for fifteen minutes just to find this suboptimal quote about inverted pyramid style:

"Newspapers are rectangles full of stuff you can read all the way to the bottom of if you are stupid. Newspapers end with facts dogs can understand."

[ten minutes later]

Here's the original Kibo post I was looking for.

"ABRAHAM LINCOLN STILL DEAD"
posted by cortex at 5:11 PM on April 12, 2004


Formula for "bad NewsFilter post":

Link to mainstream news item from one of 20+ sources (according to GoogleNews)
Brief sarcastic comment.
posted by "makes y2karl look real good by comparison" at 4:09 PM PST
posted by wendell at 5:19 PM on April 12, 2004


This wouldn't have happened if they wouldn't have hired a woman.
posted by banished at 5:24 PM on April 12, 2004


*KIDDING*... please don't hurt me.
posted by banished at 5:24 PM on April 12, 2004


deja vu, I could have sworn this happened once already...

In addition, the Transportation Department said one air marshal left his gun in an airplane bathroom on a United Airlines flight from Washington to Las Vegas.
posted by dabitch at 5:34 PM on April 12, 2004


(I guess she's just aspiring to be as good as her male colleagues. also kidding, banished.)
posted by dabitch at 5:36 PM on April 12, 2004


Have you ever heard of a cop forgetting his gun in the bathroom?

Well, no, because it's hard for alarmists to frame that as a threat to national security. Do you really think no cop has ever misplaced his gun? Come now. They surely have from time to time, and one case doesn't necessarily indicate a systemic flaw with our entire law enforcement strategy. Americans are all too eager to take a single instance of something and insist that it must be a sign of a trend or underlying systemic problem. This sounds like a dumb mistake, and probably one that will cost the officer her career, thanks to all the press.

I'm sorry if I came across as overly critical of the post. I meant to discuss the item more than the post itself. Sorry again.
posted by scarabic at 7:04 PM on April 12, 2004


Have you ever heard of a cop forgetting his gun in the bathroom?

Yes, sad to say, it's happened a few time with Detroit's Finest. One police woman left her gun in the restroom of a movie theatre, where she'd been watching a film while she was supposed to be on duty...! Another cop left her gun on the People Mover.
posted by Oriole Adams at 8:09 PM on April 12, 2004


This wouldn't have happened if they wouldn't have hired a woman.


or an arab
posted by WLW at 8:23 PM on April 12, 2004


or an incompetant.
posted by ilsa at 8:54 PM on April 12, 2004


Who puts down their gun in the bathroom?

My understanding about the forces of EVIL are always look'n to catch ya with your pants down, and that is the moment you need your gun the most!
posted by rough ashlar at 10:24 PM on April 12, 2004


Even an amoeba would notice something as relatively heavy as a gun suddenly missing from its place on one's person (no intentional slam to amoebas, mind you).

I can't imagine someone being properly trained in handling a firearm being able to leave it 'accidently' laying around someplace.
posted by Goofyy at 12:26 AM on April 13, 2004


This wouldn't have happened if they wouldn't have hired a woman
or an arab
posted by WLW at 8:23 PM PST on April 12


Really? What is it about being an Arab that would make them leave a gun in a bathroom, WLW? Do they have some kind of racial deficiency, or is it just that all Arabs have some kind of other special characteristic you know about?
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:45 AM on April 13, 2004


I bet she was NOT ex-military - they generally have somewhat better situational awareness with respect to their weapons.
posted by alumshubby at 4:18 AM on April 13, 2004


What are you supposed to do when you find said gun? I'd be afraid to even say the word gun in an airport.

Cops locally have a bad habit of leaving their guns in the oven.
posted by pekar wood at 4:42 AM on April 13, 2004


Even an amoeba would notice something as relatively heavy as a gun suddenly missing from its place on one's person

you must remember all the stuff a guard is carrying: radio(heaviest), cuffs, mace, maybe a baton plus bulky leather holsters for everything

I can't imagine someone being properly trained in handling a firearm being able to leave it 'accidently'

i personally know a cop (actually he was "undersheriff" at the time) who has left his gun on 2 separate occasions in the bathroom of the local 'gas n shop'. both times the gun was given to a cashier by a customer.

leaving a gun somewhere is actually a fairly easy mistake even for a good cop. But only a good cop will report a missing gun immediately to both their office and the place where they left it. Many (including the "undersheriff") don't say a word, and make the situation a lot more dangerous.

it seems to be easiest to use the toilet if you take the gun out - if you put the gun on the toilet tank it can fall in. if you set it on the floor next to the toilet you'll lose it eventually

putting the gun on the floor in front of the door is a great place if you are in a one room bathroom. i don't know what one would do in a multi stall bathroom...hold it in your teeth?
posted by 12345 at 5:13 AM on April 13, 2004


Why would it be easier to take the gun off the belt to use the toilet? There are lots of other items on the belt besides the gun, and all are heavy.
posted by agregoli at 6:48 AM on April 13, 2004


Air Marshals are supposed to be undercover . Unobtrusive. Undetectable from other passengers. How unobtrusive can you be if your gun is visible? This Air Marshal wouldn't have had a belt with other gear on it, either.

I think that this woman was probably carrying a purse with the gun in it, and she left the purse on the shelf. Of course, that wouldn't sound quite as dramatic - or stupid - as leaving a gun right out in plain sight.

I don't know that it is worthy of a lot of crinkled brows or Maalox....... it wasn't the brightest of moves by this woman, and certainly it doesn't speak well for her training. I hope that she either gets a lot more training or finds other work.

A friend of mine hires for Air Marshal positions, and asked me if I would be interested in applying. I'm a white woman, 54 years old, in ordinary shape. He told me that the training that I would undertake would be akin to boot camp, with extensive firearms training and personal close combat training. The personnel that he hires and trains have to be ready to roll........

Sounds like this particular Air Marshal was not ready to roll.

I agree that the hiring and training for these positions seems to be the major question that needs to be asked and answered before we can ask if we are safer. I don't feel particularly unsafe, but then again, I don't know which of my fellow passengers is packing.

All I can tell you is that I've never left my purse in a restroom. And, don't mess with me.
posted by Corky at 7:55 AM on April 13, 2004


Local egg hunt yields guns

FLINT -- A group of children hunting for Easter eggs Saturday during a church event found two loaded handguns in an elementary school park.

my uncles barrack guard at Luft Stalag left his rifle behind from time to time.
posted by clavdivs at 8:38 AM on April 13, 2004


Corky, maybe you should take the job? Sounds like you'd do it better. It does sound plausible that she had it in a purse, the Air marshal who left his in the bathroom might have carried the gun clamped to/tucked in his belt and needed to remove it before using the john... makes sense.
posted by dabitch at 9:38 AM on April 13, 2004


shit happens.

shit happened before 2001.

shit will happen after 2001.
posted by Satapher at 3:21 PM on April 13, 2004


Hear hear, Satapher!

"If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then also there is no need to worry." -Tenzin Gyatso
posted by headless at 5:51 PM on April 13, 2004


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