No, not a sudden cancellation of the laws of Physics, just people reaching the depths of stupidity:
AirTran has issued an apology to the group of passengers headed to Orlando that were escorted off their plane and questioned by the FBI on New Year’s Day.
The nine people are all Muslim and claim to be victims of racial profiling.
The group was removed right before AirTran flight 175 was about to take off from Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C.
Their removal was the result of complaints from other passengers regarding comments they overheard after boarding. (emphasis mine)
Sucks that it involves a recently favored airline of mine. Eh, bright side is I only favored them because it was all I could afford at the time, & now I can’t afford air travel at all, so fuck ’em.
So, what were these “comments”? “Man, if I didn’t get the window I’d have to kill somebody”? Nah, I’ve heard people say that w/ no big issue, even the types that could have been profiled. Maybe something more stereotypically Islamic, say…”That screaming baby two aisles back needs to feel the wrath of Allah”? Hell, depending on how jittery the other passengers were, something as innocuous as music talk (“You heard that new Ludacris? It’s the BOMB!”; “Whatever happened to Ray Keith? Y’know, the dude that did ‘Terrorist’? Classic deadly jungle shit, that song…”) could be enough.
Atif Irfan was one of the passengers who was removed.
“In that conversation we started talking a little bit about airplane safety and where the safest place to sit is on a plane in case of an accident, or in case something happened, and I guess from that conversation someone must have gleaned that maybe we were planning on doing something from the plane,” Irfan said.
According to a statement from AirTran, the captain informed the airline that two federal air marshals contacted law enforcement for a security-related issue involving comments made by a passenger. AirTran said nine passengers were detained, questioned and eventually cleared by the FBI, but they were not allowed back on board their flight.
The statement also said the crew followed federal guidelines implemented by the Transportation Security Administration.
“It’s not like we used any words like, ‘terrorist,’ or, ‘bomb,’ or anything like that,” Irfan said. “Simply people was to hear what they want to hear sometimes.”
Geh. Simple discussion about seating & safety, the type which I’ve heard before on a flight, rings the OHMIGAWDTERRORISTS!! alarm. Interesting, since a reasonable person would assume a terrorist would, oh, I dunno, not discuss their plot openly while on the plane until after they’ve initiated it, if at all? Did those imbeciles mistake Marvin the Martian for a radical muslim or something? “Yes, Mr. Bunny, I’m going to blow up this plane. Why do you ask?”.
Another version of the story mentions that of the detained passengers the men all had beards & the women wore head scarves*. Common sense tells people that aren’t panic sheep that this means nothing (besides, most of them were born in the US), but let’s visit FactTown for a moment: the 9/11 hijackers shaved. Whoops…
The inherent bigotry behind this was bad enough. But the total lack of reasoning even within that is breath-taking.
(* – I feel I should admit something related to this: I do find myself wondering about the adoption of such features, but only the same way I think about Mennonites dressed like it’s 1850 — puzzlement at how people can seriously hold to such a nitpicky belief system. Imagining that somewhere a religious leader of any sort is saying with a straight face that how you dress is a factor in whether or not you go to Hell can’t help but make me chuckle a bit.)