Terrorist pilot

What is the definition of a terrorist, someone who seeks to strike fear into the hearts of people by carrying out an extreme act that causes death and destruction.  That is what the pilot of the Germanwings plane did, he deliberately flew the plane into the mountain, killing 150 people and thereby terrorizing all of us who fly.  No one has compared it to the act of the hijackers who flew two commercial planes into the Twin Towers in NY on 9/11, but it is in fact exactly similar.  The main  difference is that the German pilot Andreas Lubitz was not a Muslim Arab and did not act out of religious fervor or political motives, but he was a terrorist nonetheless.

This leaves us with a dilemma, the door to the cockpit in all commercial aircraft are now locked during the flight to prevent access by terrorists, and the doors are also reinforced to prevent them being broken down.  In the case of this crash the captain left the cockpit and the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz pressed an over-ride switch to prevent the captain returning to the cockpit.  So you can’t have it both ways, or can you?  Now it is required on all flights that there always be two people in the cockpit at all times, so that if the captain or co-pilot leaves the cockpit for whatever reason, someone, a steward or stewardess, must substitute for them.  We could also remove the over-ride button in the cockpit so that the captain could never be prevented from returning, but in that case a terrorist could take the captain hostage and force him to open the door or else he would shoot him.

Another suggestion is that planes could be controlled electronically from the ground, thus preventing pilots from going berserk.  But, the problem with this approach is, can you imagine a terrorist organization, supported by a state, taking over the electronic control of a plane and deliberately crashing it.  I know you could say well it would have high security with passwords etc.  But what man can invent, other men with ingenuity can take over.  There is no end to the speculation, whatever you think up, the terrorists could win.

A report (or rumor) that during his 6 month health break from his pilot training that Lubitz became a radicalized Muslim has not been confirmed.   In the final analysis, Andreas Lubitz was right, he told a former girlfriend that he would force them to re-write the book on how planes are run, and he managed to do that by deliberately and coldly putting his plane with 150 aboard into a steep descent into a mountain.  If he was depressed the least he could do was kill himself and spare his passengers.


3 thoughts on “Terrorist pilot

  1. It’s true that a terrorist is one who seeks to strike fear into the hearts of people by carrying out an extreme act that causes death and destruction, but there is an additional element. A terrorist also performs the violence in order to gain a political, ideological or religious goal; otherwise, your neighborhood prowler can be considered a terrorist because he instills fear and may cause death and destruction. Since he’s guided by greed and not by political, ideological or religious goals, he is not a terrorist.

    Another element the gets misunderstood is that terrorists are actually normal people, and this is contradictory to the mental state of Andreas Lubitz. Being “normal” is an important terrorist characteristic that came out of the Madrid Summit on Terrorism on the first anniversary of the 2004 bombing of the Madrid train station. The Committee on the Psychological Roots of Terrorism stated that, “explanations at the level of individual psychology are insufficient in trying to understand why people become involved in terrorism.” In other words, there is no individual psychological trait that distinguishes terrorists from the general population.

    Furthermore, the committee concluded that “group, organizational and social psychology, with a particular emphasis on ‘collective identity’ provides the most constructive framework for understanding terrorist psychology and behavior.” So, participating on behalf of a greater cause provides a more accurate explanation for terrorist activity. To be fair, mentally disturbed individuals have carried out terrorist activities, but this is not the norm. Just as the IDF wouldn’t have a mentally unstable soldier in their ranks, a terrorist cell wouldn’t want a mentally unstable member either.

    Fortunately Andreas Lubitz was not a terrorist. He was not guided by political, ideological or religious goals; he was not normal; and he was not a member of a “collective identity.” Sadly for the 150 passengers, Andreas Lubitz was simply a mentally unstable individual who, through a series of corporate organizational blunders, happened to be at the controls of a commercial airliner.


  2. Jack,

    This thug apparently did not seek to strike fear, (unless you count inducing fear of flying next time) he just killed everyone, including himself.


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