There is controversy today from the ranks of the Federal Air Marshal Service. Having once served as a Texas peace officer in several organizations, I can attest to the inate propensity for heirachy to get too heavy and heavy-handed. When you got too many chiefs and not enough indians, and the indians are getting the smallest pieces of the pie and doing all the cooking, well, that's cause for trouble.
I wrote about some excellent Sky Marshal stories on this fella's website here at this post on the former Sky Marshal website
and today there was this article http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/02/01/cbsnews_investigates/main6163909.shtml
talking about a movie trailer released today by some current and former Air Marshals making some pretty serious allegations about the alleged Good Old Boys that run the show there.
Likewise, over at Debbie Schlussel's anti-terrorist website, you've got this post on the subject
We should be hiring the kids coming out of the military for these jobs. We've got tons of well trained law enforcement and intelligence personnel coming out of all branches of the military. Kids who have been valiently serving this country for little money, kids who now have families of their own and probably little prospects for any decent employment in this economy.
We know these folks track records. We can meaningfully evaluate their ability to be an armed operative in the most delicate of crisis situations. Chances are, they've already been under fire, and again, can be evaluated on their abilities. They've been trained as soldiers true, but they've also been tempered a bit more than combat soldiers in interactions with folks and perhaps had a go at some kind of undercover or plainclothes work.
To me, we've got a crop of perfect career type federal employees ready to work the next 30 years until retirement riding planes and protecting Americans. Because of the support infastructure an agency like the Air Marshal's needs, it's the perfect place for vets who got injured and cannot physically serve as actual Air Marshal agents but can do the myriad of office, intelligence, gear, monitoring and basic support duties any law enforcement agency has.
They say the feds are sending out help requests to other branches to get temporary loan employees to beef up the Air Marshal core. I think the wake up call was about 8 and a half years ago, folks in D.C., that the Air Marshal was pretty much going to be the beat cop of the next hundred years of air travel. Instead, apparently the Air Marshal's service has deteriorated into a morass of typical government dysfunctionality, and we don't have the number of Air Marshals flying that we need.
Again, the solution seems simple, as well as the right thing to do. Let's staff our Air Marshal corps with vets with some experience in law enforcement matters. The diabled vets get first shot at land positions and support positions. Both groups get a hiring preference.
I suspect many of these vets already have security clearances as well. So there goes months and months of vetting their histories to obtain clearance. Just a short training course to get going, and then more training as soon as possible.
I also don't understand why the Air Marshal's are armed with Sig Sauer P229R in .357 Sig caliber. Now, this caliber has received acclaim in law enforcement circles for it's ability to shoot through car doors and other types of barricades to reach suspects. Is this really what we want in a airplane shooting caliber?
I'm thinking something heavy and slow, like a .44 Special, a .45 caliber Long Colt or the .45 Auto would be the ideal caliber. Heavy bullets, great knockdown power, not bad on overpenetration because it is BIG and moving slowly and again, proven manstopping ability.
I actually want a pistol chambered in .357 Sig for my own. But I'm not going to be shooting on airplanes. BUT if I was working as an Air Marshal and could arm myself with a weapon of choice, it'd be a Sig 220 Compact or HK USP compact in .45 caliber. With a Smith and Wesson Airlite backup in .38 Special in an ankle rig or jacket pocket holster.
It was rumored many years ago that the Charter Arms Bulldog was used by the Sky Marshals in the 1970's, but research shows that if it was used it was as an unofficial backup to their issue Smith and Wesson revolvers. I'm not a big fan of the Charter Arms brand, due to some personal experiences about 30 years ago with two of their pistols, but I fail to see why Smith or Colt can't make a great combat concealment pistol in .44 special caliber for our Air Marshals to use.
Colt and Smith...make a .44 Special revolver. Put some laser grips on it. Five rounds of ultra concealable .44 Special.
If you gotta have an auto, then the Sig 220 is the way to go, with .45 auto stopping power. Again, go with the laser grips.