Enough is enough

October 13, 2006

Enough is enough

BY PHIL BOYER

Mayor Daley's latest rants have sent me over the edge. He used the accident in New York to once again demand a no-fly zone over downtown Chicago for general aviation aircraft.

Mayor Daley

It was expected, of course. He has an irrational hatred for piston-engine aircraft, as evidenced by his illogical tirade this week. "They should not jeopardize, through intentionally or by accident, a single- or two-engine plane flying over our city [sic]," the Meigs Field destroyer exploded at a press conference. (I don't think he was including Boeing 737s, 757s, and 767s in his list of twin-engine aircraft.) "Remember: a single- or two-engine plane can kill as many people as possible if they want to."

And if it were just Daley, I'd ignore his ravings, just as the folks in the federal government in charge of security and airspace do.

But it's not just him. Other politicians (with the spectacular and notable exception of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg) and self-appointed "experts" are jumping on the tragic accident - repeat, accident - in New York to sound off again about the "danger" of light aircraft, and how they must be regulated, restricted, banned.

OK, for all of those ranting about "threats" from GA aircraft, we'll believe that you're really serious about controlling "threats" when you call for:

  • Banning all vans within cities. A small panel van was used in the first World Trade Center attack. The bomb, which weighed 1,500 pounds, killed six and injured 1,042.
  • Banning all box trucks from cities. Timothy McVeigh's rented Ryder truck carried a 5,000-pound bomb that killed 168 in Oklahoma City.
  • Banning all semi-trailer trucks. They can carry bombs weighing more than 50,000 pounds.
  • Banning newspapers on subways. That's how the terrorists hid packages of sarin nerve gas in the Tokyo subway system. They killed 12.
  • Banning backpacks on all buses and subways. That's how the terrorists got the bombs into the London subway system. They killed 52.
  • Banning all cell phones on trains. That's how they detonated the bombs in backpacks placed on commuter trains in Madrid. They killed 191.
  • Banning all small pleasure boats on public waterways. That's how terrorists attacked the USS Cole, killing 17.
  • Banning all heavy or bulky clothing in all public places. That's how suicide bombers hide their murderous charges. Thousands killed.

Number of people killed by a terrorist attack using a GA aircraft? Zero.

Number of people injured by a terrorist attack using a GA aircraft? Zero.

Property damage from a terrorist attack using a GA aircraft? None.

So Mr. Mayor (and Mr. Governor, Ms. Senator, Mr. Congressman, and Mr. "Expert"), if you're truly serious about "protecting" the public, advocate all of the bans I've listed above. Using the "logic" you apply to general aviation aircraft, you're forced to conclude that newspapers, winter coats, cell phones, backpacks, trucks, and boats all pose much greater risks to the public.

So be consistent in your logic. If you are dead set on restricting a personal transportation system that carries more passengers than any single airline, reaches more American cities than all the airlines combined, provides employment for 1.3 million American citizens and $160 billion in business "to protect the public," then restrict or control every other transportation system that the terrorists have demonstrated they can use to kill.

If you're not willing to be consistent, then we might think that you're pandering to uninformed public fears, posturing from the soapbox of demagoguery, screaming security for your own political ends.

October 13, 2006