I have a confession. Flying totally freaks me out. Not that I’m religious or anything, but if God intended for us to fly, he would have given us wings. It’s just not a natural state, being thrust into the atmosphere hundreds of feet into the air at fast speeds. Then add in all the security measures, from having to take off your shoes (they could be bombs) to not bringing on liquids (that Crystal Geyser could be an explosive), the thought of these things being a reality gives me total anxiety. So, yes, as you may have guessed, I am a nervous Nelly when it comes to air travel.
And now there is one more thing to worry about: a crazy gunman shooting people before even entering the airport. At Los Angeles International Airport this morning at approximately 9:30 a.m., a lone gunman did just that, shooting and killing one TSA agent and injuring several others at the Virgin Airlines terminal. I used the term “crazy” before, and while there is no report on his sanity, anyone doing something like that is crazy in my book.
The gunman, who has yet to be identified, was armed with a rifle when he began shooting at the passenger screening checkpoint at LAX. Witnesses said they heard about nine shots being fired. During the rampage, one TSA agent was killed and three or four other TSA officers were injured. Officers are trying to figure out what the gunman’s motives might have been, but they do not think he was associated with any terrorist organization, especially since it was recently reported that the gunman
was a TSA agent himself. Uncovering his motivation may be difficult; the Los Angeles Times is reporting that the gunman has died after he was shot by authorities. What’s really disturbing is that TSA agents are supposed to keep us safe, and yet here is an instance of a TSA agent causing the trouble.
Yes, this is a rare and isolated incident, but adding random gunmen to the list of the possible dangers of air travel will likely cause even more anxiety for nervous travelers like myself.
UPDATE: Earlier reports stated that the gunman was shot and killed as well, but it turns out he was just wounded in a shoot-out with authorities, he is now in custody but his condition has not been disclosed. The gunman has since been identified as Paul Ciancia, 23, of Pennsville, N.J.. Mr. Ciancia came to the airport with a bag holding an assault rifle and – as CBS News reports– “notes saying that the TSA were fascists and pigs, anti-American rantings, anti-TSA rantings am and references to the new world order, which is another growing conspiracy group that believes the world is going to be taken over by forces and black helicopters and so on.” Mr. Ciancia’s parents had actually called the police about their son earlier in the week when he had told his parents he was going to kill himself. But there was apparently no response at his house.
And another notable thing about the tragedy, Mr. Ciancia was able to get past the initial screening are and proceeded into the airport itself – while being chased – before he was finally shot and apprehended.
On Saturday the FBI announced that federal prosecutors will file murder charges against Mr. Ciancia, who is reportedly still in the hospital.
Do stories like this make you more worried about flying?
Photo Source: istockphoto