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No Legislation Can Stop a Lone, Perverted Act

January 11, 2002

Judging by "Crash Reveals Small Planes as Giant Security Headache" (Jan. 8), the pundits and know-nothings are in full cry over reining in private aviation. May I, an inactive private and commercial pilot and certified flight instructor, offer some comments?

Charles Bishop, 15, if he had a student license, could rent an airplane for an hour of practice for his licensing exam, be handed the keys and be on his own. He should have been stopped by his parents, friends, et al., some of whom are coming forward belatedly to tell us they knew he was troubled.

You can tighten up access to airports, and this has been done since my teenage flying days, but people with proper access can still take an airplane and use it as a suicide weapon.

If the FAA tries to apply all sorts of onerous restrictions it will not only not prevent this kind of incident but will spark an uprising among the hundreds of thousands of general aviation enthusiasts who are responsible and extremely safety-minded.

Jim Halloran

Redondo Beach

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I read, with no small amount of dismay, about the knee-jerk reaction calling for severe restrictions on general aviation in the aftermath of the copycat plane crash in Florida. Instead of using an airplane to end his tormented life, what if the boy had stolen a car and crashed it into a hospital lobby? Would we then be demanding that no cars be allowed within a mile of any public buildings? We cannot let fear slowly erode the freedoms we enjoy in this country. Every freedom that we lose to fear is another battle won by terrorism.

Robert Dallape

Laguna Niguel

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