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John and Martha King held at gun point by police

I am sure alot of you out there, myself included have seen their videos. You think that the police could tell the difference between a 172 and 150. ( More...

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houndog528 0
Link doesn't work.
houndog528 0
Okay, now it works. Thanks.
Max Trescott 0
It turns out John and Martha were not the first pilots to be cuffed for flying that aircraft. A friend of mine who was a Cessna employee was the first one to have a problem with this plane. I've posted the story at
Matt Haines 0
What an unpleasant experience for the Kings. Perfect example of complete overreaction to a non-threatening situation. I know they need to do their job but when it comes to this...come on people.
riddfly 0
Police now days are tought to overreact on inocents.
Society needs a Harry Callahan to do the bad boys!
Norman Bessant 0
Some officers are gun jockeys they thrive on the power!...ATC must have asked the plane to stop, and the pilot did so, that should have been a clue to the Police that all was OK...over reaction yes..
Beechc45 0
You think that after the first time it happened to that plane they would have fixed it.
Wow...this is really sad. They couldn't have done a little detective work before this complete overreaction??
Jesus Rivera 0
Wouldn't the IFR flag at the Origin too?
The King's couldn't hurt a flea.
Slymunk 0
Are you going to put your hands up when the police are pointing their guns at you? You bet you are. (can you tell that I have watched a lot of king videos? If you have watched them then you know...) Well at least this issue will get the attention it deserves. If it would have happened to me it probably wouldn't have made it much past the local paper. I am behind the kings 100% and thank them for the hours of video training I received from them.
Because drug runners and airplane thieves always file IFR. I hope some people lose their jobs and their fat government retirement + benefits. Not holding my breath. I'm sorry for the Kings and Cessna employee experience this treatment.
jim garrity 0
I'm just glad that their safe and the "situation" is over for good?
slcsecurity 0
Is it done "for good" .. maybe if the people in the government office get their act together .. Perhaps the FAA should get off their tails, wake up, and start issuing people "N" number's that have .. Never been used .. OMG, What a concept !!
The headline _should_ be: War on Drugs Tallies More Collateral Damage.

Use of virgin N-numbers, or better inter-agency communication within our government only sidestep the true and ultimate problem here. As a practical matter, such measures may be effective in preventing the next "John and Martha" raid.

But as a matter of principle, this situation was the ultimate result of our (as a political society) tacit permission granted to the government to use its uniquely coercive force against politically-incorrect or culturally unsavory behavior.

Note carefully that the first domino to fall in this case came from the _DEA_, which maintains an independent N-number database for tracking aircraft suspected of drug trafficking. Think about that for a second, John and Martha were just the latest collateral damage in our government's "War on Drugs."

Theft of property (i.e. enforcement of private property rights) and prosecution for bodily harm caused to another person against their will, these are examples of legitimate use of government force.

Drug trafficking and drug use are examples of pre-crime (in the "Minority Report" sense). They are behaviors, outside the purview of legitimate government control in a free society.

The drug-/related/ crime (which is of a direct nature, involving harm of person and property) occurs as a side-effect of the "war" artificially pushing free market forces underground.

The "war" inflates costs (due to the risk of government punishment) which push up prices for the contraband good or service. The artificially high prices attract dealer-networks and the mafia and gangs. Cartels form and are sustained only as a consequence of the denial of trading parties access to the rule of law to secure contract obligations and property rights (because the "stuff" traded is illegal).

Excess theft and violence occur due to the high cost to obtain the desired contraband products or services. Competing distributors know that the rule of law may not be appealed to, giving license to the use of violence as a means to reduce competition, rather than providing a better or cheaper product or service, or one which is safer or has fewer side effects.

In subverting the free market by declaring "War" on the market's desire for a particular good or service, the government ends up _creating_ the very harm from which it is advertising itself to be protecting us.

Ending the punishment for pre-crime would remove all the risk premium. Costs fall as now-obsolete cartels must compete with free and legal private business suppliers, large and small, all with access to the police and the courts to protect themselves and their legitimate property.

The violence falls away as crime-organizations cannot realize a profit from cheap and available non-contraband. Supply rises and falls to meet actual demand, which might spike over the short-term (the taboo effect), but will fall to a stable background as social consequences again influence free behavior in their time-tested, naturally non-coercive ways. (This requires a little trust and knowledge, the lack of which pushed our early impulse to improperly outsource this task to the government!)

We learned, briefly, this painful lesson during the Prohibition era. But as a modern society, our incomplete education has very often led us to seek to use government power to enforce a social norm. This is inappropriate. In the 20th centry, Al Capone was a gang-leader of rum-runners. In the 21st century, Al Capone _would_ be someone more akin to a Pablo Escobar, or an Ignacio Villarreal.

"John and Martha" raids are one consequence. And not the last.
(Added irony: this wasn't the first time being in this situation for them, either.)

My view is libertarian. I don't expect agreement, but humbly ask for thoughtful consideration.

[When someone says, "There outta' be a law," that's a clue that most probably, there ought'n't be.]
David Noonan 0
For those of us who are in the dark, could someone post a description of what "a typical aircraft thief" looks like.
dbaker 0
I wonder how the police tracked the flight. Either way, it's kind of naive to think that someone would file IFR with the tail number of a plane they stole.
Wingscrubber 0
Colton-Harris Moore didn't file IFR flightplans.
The police acted entirely within the scope of their authority and entirely in an appropriate manner. I plane lands and has a registration number that is in a database of a stolen aircraft. What would you have the police do, if not arrest those in the plane? Looking to blame someone? How about Cessna who put the same number on two different planes?
Wingscrubber 0
Upchucked, the issue is that the DEA didn't verify the N-number re-assignment with the FAA and therefore criminalized two ordinary people. I don't think the Kings have a stolen airplane drug-running side business myself, nor do I think they would file IFR for such flights if they did.
Wingscrubber 0
The fact that it happened to another individual previously makes it worse too! This sort of thing should only happen once!
Whoa, you want the DEA to stop and run a check with the FAA while the plane is rolling down the field? What part of urgency don't you understand. The Kings were inconvenienced for a few moments, because Cessna put the same number on two different planes. Instead of bitching about the arrest, they should have thanked the officers for being diligent enough to stop the plane and take appropriate action.

Clearly, you have no background in law enforcement. When confronted with a potential crime in progress, you stop the actions, secure the scene and the individuals and THEN you investigate. Once the plane takes off, it is a little late to do anything, isn't it?
dbaker 0
@upchucked -- I think you misunderstood the series of events. They were not intercepted upon taking off from Santa Barbara, based on some split second decision.

N50545 filed an IFR flight plan from KMYF to KSBA at 7:57am PDT. The aircraft landed at KSBA at 11:18am PDT, over three hours later. They were arrested shortly after that.

Also, "check with the FAA" is as simple as going to
Pilot208 0
UpChucked - innocent people die far too often due to law enforcement overreaction. An underweight, naked, schizophrenic man was threatening sucide - standing on a one story building ledge. The police tazed him, he fell, hit his head and died. Good judgement - really? Who was he threatening?

"Guns drawn . . . Aggressive stance maintained throughout - even after they were out of the plane" Good judgement - really?

Taking Martha King away in handcuffs??? Good judgement - really?

John and Martha might be "super pilots", but if you've met them lately it's clear they're not robust as they once likely were. You'd likely offer them your seat on a bus - not handcuff them as uncontrollable criminals. Enough nonsense.

Also - enough of VIP TFR's. P-40 (camp david) was enough for years. Now in the last month "South Hampton, Long Island was shut down for a week and Martha's Vineyard for 10 days. Take the job or don't . . . but stop shutting down airspace. It's becoming accepted . . . and it will increase overtime.

desperado50 0
It wasn't just an inconvenience. Guns were drawn and pointed. Nervous cops. Itchy trigger fingers.
More thought and less knee-jerking would have helped.

A student pilot was flying a cross country into our airport a few years ago. Along the way, he was advised by ATC to squawk altitude and being at 7500 feet, he dialed that into his transponder. After landing, he was spread-eagled on the runway with guns pointed at him. I slept well that night knowing I was safe from student pilots hijacking themselves. Come on. One person in the airplane?
dmanuel 0
John King has a wonderful sense of humor. I bet the next King Video Course will be something like “Pilots and Police: Proper procedures to follow when confronted by aviation ignorance”
Upchuck is clearly a cop and has not experience with aviation, definitely not a pilot. It's not like Cessna requested the N# of a stolen plane. They receive large lots of N# for the planes they manufacture every year. Cessna delivered 741 new planes last year, some years it's over a thousand. They also sell used planes which they re-register, usually with NxxxVP numbers. FYI some states re-issue license plates.
Press release: We are pleased to announce the creation of "King Schools - Police Can Think Too - Video Series". Knowledge is King!
Ernie Feltham 0
This was shameful action on the part of the authorities- and must have been an harrowing experience to our favorite teachers ! But I bet that the Kings will turn this into something good for all pilots and general avaiation.
Welcome to America (this is not the Soviet Union but on the best way to get there).
Why should the police apologize: they are always right, even when wrong!
Matt Comerford 0
The police acted stupidly.
E.J. Proffitt 0
Can you say POLICE STATE.
James Agnew 0
UPCHUCK - They were flying a Cessna 172, The stollen aircraft was Cessna 150 and I'll bet the tower knew it was a 172.
Jude Newsome 0
Thank you Santa Barbara Police for responding and taking ANY possible threat to our public safety seriously enough to respond. Does this mean the system can’t be improved upon, “NO"! Does this mean there is an urgent need to keep data bases up to date, NO. But to fault the PD for doing their job, under stressful circumstances is shameful. To read such uneducated comments is discouraging and disappointing to say the least.
Chip Hermes 0
@JudyN -- let me guess.... you think the TSA is a terrific organization?
Joe Zeigler 0
A lot is still two words. Goes to show, mistakes happen to the best of us.
James Agnew 0
JudyN I didn't fault the PD, however they should not have been on airport property without a proper airport escort to assist in identifing the aircraft. If you read the report they had no idea how to identify they had the right aircraft and had several hours to check.
21voyageur 0
Ahhhh guns - the answer to everything in the US it seams. :-(
Joe Zeigler 0
Guns are good, nukes are better. Other folks have guns, we have nukes. And, they may be the only thing in this country that are paid for. Well, perhaps the guns are paid for. All of which begs the question: Where is the stolen airplane, that was not paid for, and how is anyone ever going to find it if the N number has been reissued. We can be assured that no plane with that N number will EVER be harassed again. The thieves are now safe. Perhaps that is what 'fly safe' really means?
Peter Daly 0
Don't you really think that, maybe, after a few years, someone has changed the N number on the stolen 150? Oh, no, they can't do that, that's illegal.

There must be a better way.
Tony Young 0
The fact that the Kings are safe is the most important issue. The Officers were doing what they were trained to do in that situation. Danger has no "specific look", and by the way, they are issued guns for a reason. I did notice in the article that the Police did not offer an apology, yes they were doing their job, but a little empathy for a couple who were innocent in this situation was warranted.
Peter Daly 0
Am I obtuse...or has the world gone mad?
The reality is that by now someone has painted over the numbers anyway, so it doesn't matter if they search til the cows come home, they won't find it. Let's face it folks, the system is flawed. Flawed from the folks who thought up the scheme to search by N numbers, to the ego-maniacs with the guns on their hips.

It's flawed.

There must be a better way.
Thomas Moore 0
How about just change the N number?? Just curious.. or do like UFO's and paint "UFO" on the side of it
Joe Zeigler 0
I have never seen an UFO that does not have "UFO" painted clearly on both sides. It seems to me that the problem started when someone stole a Cessna 150. If this had not happened then the King nor anyone else, including the 150s owner would have been hassled. I think that we should focus on the problems rather than the consequences.
Why does the Govt.reissue tail numbers in the first place. One plane - One number.
Thomas Moore 0
I'll have to agree with Roger.. Even car registrations are NOT RE-ISSUED.. So maybe some rocket scientist can figure out why the FAA reissues N #s. OOOOOOOOps I forgot.. the Gov is a buncha stupid shit.. My Bad...
Peter Daly 0
After reading a couple of the last responses, I no longer have to wonder if the world has gone mad.

Now, I have the answer.
Thomas Moore 0
Or.. lets give other ppl our SSN# when we die.. same diff huh??
Jason Unwin 0
I would recommend people visit their local police department and see if they will run an "NCIC Check" on themselves. It is amazing how many social security numbers are being used out there by the criminal element. Who knows, maybe your number is being used by someone.
Thomas Moore 0
Oh well, at nobody got "shotted"..
Ross Bremner 0
Not an expert here but I've flown both types and i think there may be differences between a 150 and a a 172 that shouldn't go un-noticed,Surely at least one of the coppers must have had some experience of looking at light aircraft????
Mike Divan 0
The PD acted like Nazis ("just doing there jobs"). Sick and tired of hearing that lame excuse. It did not work for the Nazis and it should not work in the US today. A little common sense would work just fine. Once out of the plane hands up they should have been patted down to make sure they are not armed. Police are now reasonably assured of there safety, unless they are incompetent at searching a person for weapons. Now start TALKING like civilized folks. Not everyone is a felon and if a officer cannot get a handle on who is who with in a few seconds of talking to someone then they are incompetent and should be fired. Everyone involved should get some non paid vacation days.
Larry Hayter 0
The police should not have even been there. Funny thing the checking they did in 30 minutes to clear the Kings couldn't have been done in the three hours they had to prepare their response.
Typical of where we're headed in North America.
Thomas Moore 0
Im sure the " POLICE " just didnt show up..The dummies from the FAA caused this.. Dont hate the players.. Hate the game
The Kings are too nice I'd be owning me some tin over this little incident and my lawyer would have a field day with the police department. I don't wanna hear how the police were just doing their duty. My sister is a cop and this is a case of police not doing enough homework first plain and simple. They should have had ALL their ducks in a row before they went after the Kings. That means talking to the FAA to make sure the resgistation was current and who the current holder is. Sloppy police work they were looking for a big bust that wasn't there. End of story because every department wants to show the public that they are clamping down on drug trafficing and drug offenders.


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