PALERMO (Reuters) – A Tunisian pilot who paused to pray instead of taking emergency measures before crash-landing his plane, killing 16 people, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail by an Italian court along with his co-pilot.
There isn’t really a lot to say about this. The pilot of the Hudson River crash acted. He used his years of experience and training to their full advantage and acted. Without help from a deity, he single-handedly saved the lives of dozens of people. On the other hand, a pilot who relied on help from above got his just rewards. He is a murderer.
Prayer doesn’t work. Action does.
Coincidentally, a good friend of mine is a pilot, and this past monday, he put a plane down with no back landing gear. He skidded to a stop, and walked away uninjured. (He was en route to pick up passengers, so he was the only one on the plane.)
I met him for drinks shortly afterwards, and his girlfriend kept going on and on about how it was a miracle that he had lived. After about the fourth time she said that, I couldn’t stand it anymore. “The only miracle,” I said firmly, “was the miracle of 40 years worth of experience and training, cool wits, and lots of ground support. Why aren’t you giving your man the credit he deserves?”
This goes back to what I was thinking about a couple of weeks ago — whether or not there really are any theists in foxholes. Apparently, my initial thought was wrong. There are theists in foxholes, and they get people killed because they pray instead of doing the right thing and trying to save lives.