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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Sky marshals did their job in Miami shooting

Rigoberto Alpizar's death in Miami is tragic, yet it shows that our government has made significant improvements in airline safety.

Mr. Alpizar, mentally ill, his wife says, bolted from his seat and ran down the aisle after boarding a plane for Orlando on Wednesday. Two undercover sky marshals on the flight also bolted, following the obviously frightened man off the plane as he said something about having a bomb.

There was no bomb, fortunately, but his frantic wife was unable to communicate with the marshals before one or both shot Mr. Alpizar when he appeared to reach into the bag he carried.

Most people who fly think about the skyjacking of those four jetliners Sept. 11 and wonder if the government really has marshals in the sky.

The number of marshals flying is classified, but this flight had two who reacted quickly to a possible threat.

Luggage is only part of the baggage passengers bring aboard airplanes. Mr. Alpizar, in retrospect, was too ill to fly that day. Other passengers bring an assortment of problems aboard every day that have the potential to disrupt or threaten a flight.

Knowing that sky marshals indeed exist and are trained to react quickly takes some of the pressure off flying.

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