The Lessons of Flight 253

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President Obama is now calling what happened on Christmas Day a “systemic failure.” In the cover story of the new issue of dead-tree TIME, Michael Duffy and Mark Thompson tell us what we can learn from Flight 253. And Amanda Ripley explores how regular people turn into heroes at times like this.

UPDATE: A number of Swampland commenters have wondered whether El Al, the Israeli airline, might offer a security model for this country. Here’s a story that our former colleague Lisa Beyer wrote on that subject a few years back. What do you think? Would Americans put up with this kind of screening?