Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer—soon to be the Senate majority leader—is calling for the domestic terrorists who attacked the Capitol to be added to the no-fly list. Schumer urged that move in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, additionally calling for the insurrectionists to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Videos of rioters learning they couldn’t fly home have become popular online content after American Airlines banned some and others were blocked or removed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
As tempting as it is to think about these violent terrorists being banned from air travel, and as much as they should absolutely face consequences for their actions, there are serious problems with the no-fly list, as the ACLU has highlighted repeatedly over the years. For instance, “innocent, law-abiding Americans have found themselves subject to relentless hassles, interrogation and searches every time they try to travel by air. They may share similar names with those who have been placed on suspect lists, or be the victims of random error, malicious discrimination, or mysterious bureaucratic quirks.” You don’t have to have any sympathy for these specific asshats to see the problems with such a system.
At the same time, flight attendants and other workers who have to deal with air travelers shouldn’t have to face the kind of abuse that Trumpists frequently deal out. “Acts against our democracy, our government and the freedom we claim as Americans must disqualify these individuals from the freedom of flight,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) said in a statement following the attack on the Capitol.
Then again, if the people who stormed the Capitol were in prison, they couldn’t fly anyway.