Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Usual suspects, usual progression

Some headlines:

- December 8th: Passenger killed by air marshals

- December 12th: Air marshal program under lens after passenger shot

- December 13th: Fatal jetway shooting poses some questions

- December 14th: Air marshals to expand their mission

The "was it a righteous shoot?" angle of this story hasn't received the attention it should be getting, and we'll get to that in a moment. But note the progression. Passenger shot; circumstances under question; responsible agency rewarded. Same ol', same ol' -- if you don't believe me, look at the budgets of the FBI and BATF after their screwups in 1992 (Ruby Ridge), 1993 (Waco) and 1995 (OKC). BATF got so flush that it was able to buy another vowel, and after 9/11 it was cut out of the Treasury Department and given a slot in the sexy new "Homeland Security" bureaucracy.

If the private sector rewarded workers like the feds do, your average factory worker could aspire to becoming CEO in record time -- all he'd have to do is blow up the factory.

But, really, let's talk about the Miami shooting. Like I said, it's not getting the attention it deserves. Becky Akers takes a look at the story as it's actually beginning to trickle out over on LewRockwell.Com. Some trivia you may not be aware of:

- The victim -- Rigoberto Alpizar -- may have suffered from bipolar disorder, but he wasn't an escaped mental patient or anything. He was returning from a stint of missionary work (no, not Islamic missionary work).

- The only people saying that Alpizar claimed to have a bomb are the people who shot him. From Akers' piece: [A]t least seven passengers deny that Rigo mentioned anything about a bomb, and several insist he did not speak at all. "I can tell you, he never said a thing in that airplane. He never called out he had a bomb," an architect named Jorge Borrelli told the Orlando Sentinel. "He never said a word from the point he passed me at Row 9. ... He did not say a word to anybody." So Leviathan now alleges that Rigo shouted about the bomb in the jetway, where his killers were the only witnesses. ... Even if the passengers couldn't see the jetway, they could hear what was going on out there: "I heard very clearly, 'Stop!' and about four to six gunshots," Borrelli of Row 9 told the Orlando Sentinel.

- And after the shooting? Akers again: Another passenger told Time Magazine, "I was on the phone with my brother. Somebody came down the aisle and put a shotgun to the back of my head and said put your hands on the seat in front of you. I got my cell phone karate chopped out of my hand. Then I realized it was an official ... They were pointing the guns directly at us instead of pointing them to the ground. One little girl was crying. There was a lady crying all the way to the hotel."

The outcome -- at least as we know it at the moment? As a reward for gunning down Rigoberto Alpiraz at the airport, these animals are now going to be given licenses to kill at train and bus depots as well. And don't be surprised when -- not if -- they start issuing them cars and letting them buzz the highways, taking random shots at suspicious drivers.

Billy Beck had it right -- even though he was talking about something else -- yesterday: "Let's get real about this and figure it out: the age-old American abhorence of a standing army is an obvious dead letter, as evidenced by both their words and their deeds. And they're standing on us."

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