J. D. Heyes
April 16, 2013
Some of the aims of terrorism are to produce widespread fear and to make opposition governments appear so weak as to overreact and become excessively repressive. A closer examination of the police-state, hyper-paranoia mentality evident within our airline industry these days – more than 11 years after the 9/11 attacks – would convince many Americans that, in a lot of ways, our terrorist enemies continue to score victories against our liberty and our way of life.
To wit, per MyFoxOrlando: “Security concerns” prompted by one family’s criticism of an in-flight movie reportedly forced a United Airlines flight crew to divert.
The incident, originally published in The Atlantic, is a study in the absurdity of today’s travel rules and regulations, and demonstrates that we, as a society, need a serious reexamination of who we are and, more importantly, who we strive to be: Cowering lambs or roaring lions in the face of adversity.
Really? Divert over concerns about a movie?
According to the magazine, the couple in question was flying from Denver to Baltimore with their two young sons, ages 4 and 8, and they disapproved of the in-flight movie, the PG-13-rated detective film “Alex Cross,” which was being shown on drop-down monitors throughout the aircraft.
The magazine said the couple was worried about their young children seeing inappropriate scenes and content.
“Alarmed by the opening scenes, we asked two flight attendants if they could turn off the monitor; both claimed it was not possible,” the family said, according to The Atlantic.
There was reportedly some back-and-forth between the flight crew and the couple, with the couple eventually relenting to the movie being shown. The report said they did what they could to engage their children to distract them from the movie.
“We asked if the captain has the authority to address this issue, but received no response,” the couple said. “Throughout these interactions the atmosphere was collegial, no voices were raised and no threats, implicit or explicit, of any kind were made. The flight continued without incident, while my wife and I engaged our children to divert their attention from the horrific scenes on the movie screens.”
Nevertheless, shortly after the exchange, the captain announced over the intercom that the flight was being diverted to Chicago over “security concerns.” When the flight landed and the family disembarked, the couple was stopped and questioned by law enforcement officials before being released and booked on a new flight.
“United flight 638 from Denver to Baltimore diverted to Chicago O’Hare after the crew reported a disturbance involving a passenger,” United Airlines told FoxNews.com. “The flight landed without incident and the customers were removed from the aircraft. We re-accommodated the customers on the next flight to Baltimore and have since conducted a full review of our inflight entertainment.”
Lost freedom and liberty
The couple has blamed the captain for overreacting to their concerns, but whoever is at fault, what is patently obvious is that the incident was grossly overblown.
“We understand that airline captains can and should have complete authority,” the family said. “However, when this authority is used for senseless, vindictive acts, it must be addressed.”
Continuing, they said, “Had this been in a cinema or a restaurant, we would have simply left if the content were too violent. Cruising at 30,000 feet, leaving was not an option.”
The incident is being downplayed/denied by other United Airlines pilots over at The Atlantic, but the fact remains that airline travel has turned into a nightmare since the 9/11 attacks. This incident might be extreme, as most United pilots are saying over on the magazine’s blog in response to the original story, but clearly it demonstrates how, in many respects, the al Qaeda attacks more than a decade ago have changed the face of American liberty – and not for the better.
When an airline passenger can’t even complain about an in-flight movie, you have to wonder how much longer the republic will survive.
Sources for this article include:
This article was posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 4:27 am