Airlines Must Err on the Side of Caution

Have we learned exactly nothing from Sept. 11? American Airlines refused to transport a passenger because he had inconsistencies in the paperwork that was supposed to allow him to fly commercially with a gun ("Pilot's Concern Keeps Federal Agent Off Flight," Dec. 28). Such inconsistencies are supposed to raise red flags to airline security.

Thanks to the politically correct crowd, the issue has been reduced to ethnicity, as usual. And the agent in question, while intelligent enough to be entrusted with the protection of the president, could not manage to provide properly prepared forms that were designed to keep killers off the plane in the first place.

Every time commercial pilots take off, the life of every passenger is in their hands. My hat is off to those who kept the agent off the flight, as well as those who noticed the man with explosive shoes, the unruly and belligerent passengers and anyone else threatening to disrupt recent commercial flights. We want these people to be diligent so we don't die on their planes. Let's praise their efforts rather than complicate their job by telling them whom they can suspect.

Steve Smestad


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