However, from a purely technical standpoint, it does not matter what Lubitz's motives were, whether he was a converted Jihadist or just a very troubled person. What can the airlines learn for purposes of preventing such tragedies in the future? One thing we can learn is that no matter how thorough the screening, no one can know for sure what is in the mind and heart of another person. But it would certainly have been useful if it had been a little easier for the pilot to break open the cockpit door.
The above editiorial by Eugene Robinson makes a good point about the security measures concerning the cockpit door, but Robinson makes it sound as if this problem is one that was caused by security measures adopted after 911. Yet on Flight 93, there were similar problems trying to storm the cockpit, once the terrorists were ensconced there.
Even if the pilot had broken into the cockpit, what if Lubitz had been armed, and the law abiding pilot were not? It would be safer for all concerned if all the passengers were armed, because when 149 people want to live and arrive safely at their destination, and only one person wants the plane to go down, it helps if the many are armed, so that one of them has an opportunity to shoot the deviant in the head and allow the sane pilot to take over the flight.
This is not about religion, politics or mental illness. It's just about safety measures. The fewer restrictions, the more likely it is that the majority who want to live can subdue the minority that wants everyone to die.