Mikael Bernard
Copyright 2000

I will not fly on an airplane. Most people are afraid of airplanes, and some even try to avoid them, but most fly. I will not. I heard the other day that the leader of North Korea has never been in an airplane. He has my vote. He is the only one that knows what I know.

At any time, there are several hundred terrorist organizations in this world. Probably many many more that no one really knows about. The way I see it, if we don't know they exist, then they are the greatest threat. Once we know about the PLO, or any of those other crazy alphabet soup groups, they have already lost their edge. Surprise.

One time I tried to think of how to shoot down an airplane. It wouldn't be too difficult. I drove around LAX, found a secluded little area--a parking lot, marked off for long-term parking, but in my several trips there, always abandoned.

I sat on the front of my car, watching the huge jetliners taking off from runways seven and eight, drifting lazily into the sky as they passed over my head. Literally only a couple hundred feet off the ground, the sound of the great turbine engines almost deafening, I thought about the hundreds of people inside. What crossroad of life that brought them to be a passenger. Who was waiting for them at their destination. When airplanes came in to land, I would sometimes wave to the people on board, feeling like some kind of ambassador. The first person they see in LA.

A twenty-two can reach out and touch at more than a mile. Not accurately, but fatally. I could use a hunting rifle. A lot more whollop. The twenty-two appealed to me only because I had seen the ads in magazines. Clips that could hold as much as a hundred shots, all without having to reload once. Aside from a machine-gun, no hunting rifle offered that kind of versatility. I'd have to have a scope, too. I did not necessarily need to pin-point fire every shot, but after I got a couple sure fire kill shots in, I decided it would be a good idea to pepper every vulnerable spot on the aircraft.

I have noticed lately a lot of aircraft are going down in the ocean. I don't think any of them have been ruled Terrorist Acts, but I have my suspicions. If I was a terrorist, I would make sure to bomb (or sabotage) only planes going over the ocean, either ocean, even if only for a scant amount of time. The fact that none of the jets that have crashed into the ocean so far have been ruled the act of Terrorism is a testament to how well the ocean destroys evidence.

Because I am not a terrorist, shooting at aircraft from the ground is more up my alley anyways. With the roar of the engines, I would have a span of more than a minute where the sound--the very light sound--of my rifle shooting would be obliterated. In this time, as I have practiced, I can shoot off all one hundred shots with incredible accuracy.

After looking up volumes of information on the Internet, and playing around with Microsoft Flight Simulator, I have memorized where the fuel tanks are on all the jumbojets. My primary target, of course, are the turbine engines themselves, but the extra shots into the fuel tank can only be called good measure. I would not bother to shoot at the passengers, or even the cockpit.

I go back out to the parking lot after the entire plan is formulated. Still, there is no one around for security. No one around to bear witness. No one around to stop me.

I have the rifle in the back seat, wrapped in a towel. Another surprisingly good feature to the twenty-two is that forensic testing of the bullets themselves will be utterly useless. Unlike larger rifles or large caliber pistols, the twenty-two does not leave a precise signature on the bullets. Or, more specifically, this signature is impossible to read off of a twenty-two.

Shooting at planes that are taking off is a tactical decision. An airplane taking off is very vulnerable, whereas an airplane landing is very close to home. Splattering a jumbojet on the runway would be very troublesome, but the influx of rescue workers and personnel could block my escape. There would be people who remembered seeing me, or my car.

In the end, I know that all it would take is one shot. One well placed shot into the turbine, and there will be a catastrophic failure. That, I plan, to make the first shot. The other ninety-nine will seal the fate.

My stomach does not even tremble as I pull the rifle out of the backseat. I know that I can, and will, get away with this. A 747 is rumbling down the runway just as I get into position, and after it passes directly over me I take aim, my eye searching through the scope for the kill spot. I find it, almost immediately, just as the sound of the aircraft is at its peak around me--and I pull the trigger.

Anyone can do it. Any time, any day of the week--and I would bet at any airport in the world.

I do not wish to kill anyone, and because I am not a terrorist, I don't. There was no bullet in my weapon. There could have been, and several hundred people could have died, but I have proven to myself what I set out to do.

There is no way anyone will ever get me on an airplane.

The End
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