I'm referring to the situation in Miami yesterday where Air Marshalls were forced to shoot and kill a man who claimed to have a bomb. Please keep in mind that this opinion is formed on the information currently available. If new information proves that somehow this was an intentional act of violence by the Air Marshalls with no provocation, then my opinion will probably change.
Here's what gets me about this... I just watched Katie Couric (love ya Katie!) second guess whether or not the Air Marshalls had to kill the guy. "Maybe he should've tried to shoot him in the arm or the knee or something." Her guest, a former air marshall, pointed out that such a feat would be quite difficult and increases the chances of collateral damage. Good point, I thought. Katie followed up with "Well, maybe more training is required so that such things would be possible."
Now, lets think about this. If a guy goes ballistic on a plane, claims to have a bomb, refuses to drop it, and then goes to put his hand into the bag that has the bomb, I think we can agree that we'd probably like to stop him from setting off a bomb. At that point, law enforcement officials are playing for keeps. Their training most likely calls for them to stop the person completely. Darn right, too... if you shoot a guy in the knee, he may still set off a bomb.
So, as far as I can tell, the air marshalls handled it perfectly. If the guy HAD a bomb, we'd be throwing a parade today. Instead, CNN, NBC, and all their friends will spend the day second guessing whether or not this had to happen.
Final word: Yep, it had to happen. But not because the air marshalls wanted it to. A man threatened to set off a bomb on a loaded (and fuelled) passenger jet. The man set his own course, whether he was ill or not. The air marshalls followed through on their training and kept the public safe.
If someone gets on a plane I'm on and says he has a bomb, I hope these two air marshalls are there to do their jobs.
Someone throw a parade, darn it.