In the aftermath of last week’s shooting at
||Police arrive at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, FL on January 6, 2017. The Palm Beach Pos
Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL), where five people were killed, FlyersRights is renewing the call for improved security to protect air travelers.
This latest attack confirms the fact that air transportation remains a prime target for terrorism and mass murder.
Passengers should be able to count on TSA and local and state law enforcement authorities to protect them.
The principal lessons from Lockerbie, 9/11 attacks, and the Brussels, Istanbul and now Fort Lauderdale airport massacres are that air transportation continues to be a prime target for terrorism and mass murder.
Airports are now clearly the No. 1 soft target, and are naked and totally unprotected. No act of terrorism and mass murder in history has been thwarted without effective defensive measures in place.
FlyersRights.org has repeatedly called for TSA and Congress to provide for stronger airport security. After a shooting attack at LAX airport in 2013, and again in July 2016 after the Brussels and Istanbul airport massacres, but to date nothing has been done.
On Thursday, Jan. 5, Esteban Santiago showed up at the Anchorage airport. He had a one-way ticket to Florida and checked in at 5:23 p.m. for his flight on Delta Air Lines.
Santiago arrived at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Thursday evening more than four hours before his flight to Florida, bringing with him no baggage other than a handgun case.
It did not create a concern at the airport that he had no carry-on luggage nor bags to check – nor that he had purchased a one-way ticket from Alaska.
Santiago retrieved that case at the international airport in Fort Lauderdale after arriving the next day. He carried it into a nearby men’s bathroom, took out his Walther 9mm semiautomatic handgun in a bathroom stall, loaded the gun and stuck it in his waistband. He then left the men’s bathroom and shot the first people he encountered.
Santiago fired about 10 to 15 rounds of ammunition starting about 12:56 p.m. Friday at the baggage claim, aiming at his victims’ heads. He emptied one magazine and then loaded another.
Now emergency measures must be imposed to prevent more lives from being lost.
“Those victims at Ft. Lauderdale should not have died, and should certainly not have died in vain,” Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights.org
, said. “Blood on the ground is unfortunately too often the price for government officials to act.”
Emergency measures must be imposed to prevent more lives being lost and to stop another paralyzation of the US air transportation system, as occurred after 9/11 terrorist attacks.
- Calling out the National Guard for temporary armed airport security.
- Installing airport perimeter security to detect weapons and explosives on persons entering major airports.
- Banning the carrying of live ammunition in checked baggage.
- Increasing canine patrols to detect explosives.
- Placing anyone who is deemed a security threat by a law enforcement agency on the TSA Watch or No Fly list, but with due process means for removal from such lists.
Strange but true – passengers flying on Delta Airlines can bring firearms and ammunition if they are checked in luggage and not carried in the cabin of the plane.
Some critics are coming out to say we’re wrong – that our proposals are an ‘extreme reaction‘ to a man with mental health issues.
That our emergency measures would not have prevented the shooting at FLL, that the shooter could have walked into any store selling ammunition, picked up a clip and headed to a crowded beach or mall and done exactly the same.
We’re not overreacting, and here’s why:
Firstly, a visible, ubiquitous armed presence of the National Guard at US airports would cause second thoughts – like airports in Europe.
Second, our focus is on airports and passenger safety at airports – we’re not talking about beaches or malls. We’re talking about preventing acts of terrorism at airports – not at other places.
FlyersRights has never claimed this was a terrorist act. We are saying that transportation continues to be a prime target for terrorism and mass murder. They don’t have to be mutually inclusive. You don’t have to be associated with a terrorist group to walk into an airport and open fire.
Our intention is to protect air travelers from all mass violence.