So Far, Austin Crash Causes No Call for Mass Grounding of GA

To date, the most vehement anti-GA headline to make the Internet rounds was an AP piece headlined "Texas Plane Crash Exposes Gap in US Air Security." It led with enumerating airline anti-terror measures since 9/11, then opined, "Yet little has been done to guard against attacks with smaller planes." It quoted an aviation security consultant who projected that, say, a pair of Piper PA-28s could "inflict enough damage to set off alarm bells and do some serious harm to the economy and national psyche." But what's heartening in the face of tragedy is that even this article took a U-turn midway through (granted, well after most readers would have moused their way onto the latest results from American Idol) and started to sound more measured and balanced. It quoted Tom Walsh, another aviation security consultant, who contradicted the headline with, "I don't see a gaping security hole here. In terms of aviation security, there are much bigger fish to fry than worrying about small aircraft." Walsh also gives would-be terrorists credit for recognizing the same logic — despite the spectacular visual results of Thomas Stack's suicidal crash, "tiny aircraft don't pack a big enough punch," and for our national best interests "…the cure could be worse than the disease." Perhaps it was the bipartisan nature of Stack's manifesto that has led observers from all sides to realize that this was not the act of any sort of extremist with an agenda, but rather the suicidal last gasp of a singularly desperate man. Despite the unspeakable tragedy of losing one innocent life, this time, it would appear that even the non-flying man-on-the-street can make this leap of logic. The tragedy of Joe Stark would have been much worse had he chosen firearms, a van full of fertilizer or some other means besides a light airplane to play out his last desperate act.