Thursday, March 07, 2013

Make the kill list public

There has been a lot of talk and concern about drones. Some states are even considering legislation against these machines. Drones might seem scary, but the military has been using unmanned aircraft against targets since World War II. Drones are not the deadliest weapons in the US arsenal. I am no more anti-drone than I am anti-gun. I don't object to weapons, but I do object to the manner in which they are used. There is no moral difference between sending a drone to kill someone, sending a stealth plane to drop a smart bomb on them, or sending a special ops team to shoot them.

 What we need is the US government to declare publicly who it plans on killing and why. To be sure, Osama Bin Laden knew he was wanted for murder. He was given ample opportunity to turn himself in. Ultimately he got what he deserved. All people accused of murder should be extended the same courtesy of being given the chance to surrender. If our government thinks someone is a threat, that leaves two possibilities: (1) That person is very dangerous and the whole world needs to know that. (2)There is some horrible misunderstanding, and that person needs to get this unfortunate matter cleared up.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Pocket knives aboard airplanes

This is a millimeter-sized step in the right direction. The repealing of this rule has a few people hot and bothered. I've read a number of comments in articles where people pointed out that knives and boxcutters were used to hijack airplanes on 9/11. But the practical reality is that pretty much all airline passengers and crew now know that anyone who is trying to force his way into the cockpit isn't doing so to give the pilot directions on how find LAX. Today, a terrorist who wants to fly an airplane into a building would have to kill every able-bodied non-pacifist adult on board before he can sit at the controls. That is not a feat that can be accomplished with a pocketknife.