Seares: When suicide becomes mass murder | SunStar

Seares: When suicide becomes mass murder

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Seares: When suicide becomes mass murder

Sunday, April 05, 2015

HAVING a suicidal pilot steer a plane into the French Alps would be worse than having a suicidal driver at the wheel of a bus on Manipis Road.

Sky travelers, compared to road commuters, would’ve almost nil chance of survival.

Oddly, the question that bugs the airline industry and its regulators, since the March 24 intentional crash of Lufthansa’s Germanwings flight 4U9525 into the mountain and the death of all 150 persons in it, isn’t just about what could’ve been done to prevent the tragedy.

There’s the matter of the suicidal pilot’s liability. Mentally deranged, he was exempt from criminal sanction and his death extinguished punishment.

Academic but disturbing: whether suicide could blot out mass murder. Not if, as in the Germanwings disaster, pilot Andreas Lubitz, 27, planned and executed it efficiently, locking the captain out of the cockpit and barring entry by a mechanism inside, and then plunging the plane and its passengers into the horrible end.


Aircraft-assisted suicide is heinous and brutal because to kill himself the pilot also kills those on board the plane. Most others use poison, rope, gun, or car exhaust fumes, or, less tidily, gut themselves with a knife or jump off a tall building or bridge.

It’s no mere suicide, it becomes mass murder when to kill oneself, one must kill others too.

To victims, up in the sky or on the road, there’s also the supreme betrayal: when the person entrusted with the travelers’ safety kills them instead, arbitrarily and stupidly.

And they can do nothing but curse in their last breath the freaking murderer and the freaking airline or bus company.


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