The Nation: Expensive Samaritanism

Last June, apparently on a wild impulse, David J. Hanley, 30, dashed out of a cocktail lounge near St. Louis' Lambert Airport. He got into his 1972 Cadillac convertible and crashed it into an American Airlines 727 jet airliner in a foolhardy attempt to stop a skyjacking then in progress. The skyjacker and his hostage crew merely switched to another plane and took off with $502,500 in ransom (he parachuted safely, but was later arrested). Even so, Hanley was seen by some as a courageous citizen acting boldly to stop a crime.

It now turns out that Hanley would have been much...

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