Jeffery L. Wright
When we are confronted with any serious issues, be it the viability of the social security system, a failing educational system, national health care, economic recession or terrorism, the primary function of bureaucracies is to convince the citizens that everything will be ok. They are to assure us that something is being done to address the problem when that is not the case at all. The BBC news reported on September 12, 2002, "The pilots of the doomed American airliners could have been dead by the time the plane hit their targets." David Learmount told USA TODAY, "I doubt if the pilots were at the controls." The negative effects of poor airline safety can be easily understood by breaking down airline safety into three components, governmental air safety, ground safety and in-flight safety. The fear of flying is inherently dangerous so understanding these components may ease our fears.
The government continues to use misrepresentation of data, statistics and ignorance to keep passengers unafraid to fly. We were told by the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) that the
Value Jet plane that crashed on October 10, 199 was safe to fly. Using the term safe to mislead or hedge off the public is not the only deceptive tactic used. The citing of statistics is a far more persuasive tactic. The average citizen would be impressed to hear that during a recent seven month period in which only 506 people died in four airline mishaps, 17,000 were slaughtered on our nation's highways, 35,00 were seriously injured in rail road collisions and two bicycle accidents. We should be wise whenever we hear someone use the term safe in attempting to define the level of safety for ultimately nothing is truly safe.