Can stun gun stop terror attacks?
Another source of those post 9/11 fears is air travel, specifically how can airlines keep their cockpit crews safe from attackers. They’ve already installed more secure cockpit doors, so what’s next?
Well, United Airlines has begun arming its pilots with stun guns, but will they keep airplanes safe? Our Patty Davis got some conflicting answers.
Patty Davis, CNN correspondent
A training session at United Airlines, each of its 9,000 pilots learning how to defend the cockpit against intruders with a taser stun gun.
Captain Hand Krakowski, United Airlines
Our goal is to make sure we keep the bad guys off the airplanes; if they get on the airplanes, to keep them out of the cockpit; and, if they try to get into the cockpit that we have a way of absolutely stopping them.
United is the first of the major airlines to do the training. It’s convinced that, as in this real life example, tasers will bring potential attackers down with a jolt. Taser says its M-26 has a 94 percent success rate in the field and says some 1,300 police departments use them.
Tom Smith, Taser international
One shot anywhere on the body, immediate incapacitation and you don’t have to be a marksman to use it.
Before United can go ahead with plans to put two stun guns in each cockpit, it has to get Transportation Department approval. An aviation security consultant says tasers won’t stop hijackers and arrange this real life demonstration with his taser, the same one United is using.
A pilot seat belted in would have to turn around like this and shoot.
Seven police officer volunteers, wearing normal clothing, were barely slowed down.
Officer Lori Beach, Fairfax Country Police
I think the surprise was the worst part, just not knowing what it was going to feel like. But if I had done it before, then I certainly would be even less stopped by it.
John Desmed, Protective Safety Systems
From what we saw today, the reliability factor isn’t real high, and there might be other modalities of protection that are better for the cockpit.
What the union that represents the United pilots says is better for defending the cockpit is real guns, but because the Bush Administration is against arming pilots with lethal weapons, stun guns may be just what ends up in pilots hands.