Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

In light of Malaysian plane's disappearance, is air travel secure enough?

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Greg Peck
March 12, 2014

Maybe you object to having your carry-on luggage scanned, to removing your shoes and walking through screening devices and even the possibility of full-body searches when you check in at an airport. Maybe it offends your right not to be searched without probable cause. These steps don't bother me, however.

Since that Malaysian airliner disappeared over the ocean late last week with 239 people, plenty of questions about security have been raised. Such as, how did two people with stolen passports manage to board the plane? Did they have anything to do with its disappearance? I've read that officials dismiss that possibility, but how can they be sure when they can't even find the plane?

Now an Associated Press story in today's Gazette says an Australian TV station reported that the first officer of the missing plane had invited two women into the cockpit for a full hour-long flight in December 2011. One of the women said the arrangement didn't seem unusual to the crew, and she claims crew members smoked throughout the flight.

I don't know about you, but I've never been that fond of flying. Maybe with all the nuts on the road these days, highway driving is more dangerous per mile traveled, statistically speaking. However, I consider myself a relatively safe driver and would prefer to play some role in my own safety rather than have my security completely in the hands of someone else—or some machine that could fail and drop out of the sky.

The mystery surrounding this missing Boeing 777 doesn't make me feel any more secure about flying.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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