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Ordinary people acting courageously

Posted by Richard on December 26, 2009

As I write this, reports are still sketchy about the attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit. Apparently, Nigerian Abdul Mudallad tried to detonate a bomb he said he got from al Qaeda in Yemen. Either the device was defective or he screwed up — instead of exploding, it just burst into flames.

But that doesn't detract from what struck me about the story. Without a moment's hesitation, the passengers around Mudallad sprang into action

An Ohio man who witnessed the attempted destruction of a Northwest Airlines flight to Metro Airport said he's proud of how passengers reacted.

Syed Jafry of Holland, Ohio, who had flown from the United Arab Emirates, said after emerging from the airport that people ran out of their seats to tackle the man.

Jafry was sitting in the 16th row — three rows behind the passenger — when he heard "a pop and saw some smoke and fire." Then, he said, “a young man behind me jumped on him.”

Jafry said there was a little bit of commotion for about 10 to 15 minutes. The incident occurred during the plane's descent, he said.

He said the way passengers responded made him proud to be an American.

Actually, the passenger who jumped on Mudallad reportedly is Dutch. But I understand what Jafry meant. He's proud to be part (by his own choice, I'm guessing) of a culture that embraces individual responsibility and that rejects barbaric 7th-century anti-human, anti-freedom, anti-life beliefs. 

Scott Beamer and the other passengers and crew on United Flight 93 were heroes — no question. But they weren't extraordinary or unique. They were simply the first to learn that the conventional wisdom of the day regarding hijackers and terrorists — remain calm, don't take any action, do as you're told, let the authorities handle things — was no longer an option. Now everyone knows it. 

It's no longer easy to hijack or blow up an airliner. The world is full of people able and willing to take responsibility for their own safety and that of those around them — people who, when the need arises, act with courage, decisiveness, and no hesitation. In any given planeload of two to three hundred people, there will be many of them. Apparently, there were several in the immediate vicinity of Abdul Mudallad on Flight 253. Bravo to them!

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