Sunday, October 14, 2007

Are we living in a police state?

On the plane back from Oakland to Albuquerque, I read the article about Carol Anne Gotbaum, the depressed, alcoholic mother who threw a fit in the Phoenix airport due to being displaced from two flights on her way to rehab in Tuscon. She was eventually restrained, handcuffed behind her back and shackled to a bench in a holding cell where, within minutes, she strangled herself and was found dead.

I can't get over this story as I fly quite frequently, and see (and experience) lots of situations where someone--even I--could *snap* and be treated in the same manner. It worries me that our freedom seems to be getting smaller and smaller in this country. It makes me feel as if our terrorist enemies have certainly won at a virtual war that we don't even see taking place, a little bit of freedom lost day by day.

However, some argue that Carol Anne was a "drunk", she acted irrationally and dangerously. That she shouldn't have been traveling alone. I agree that she should have been supervised--friends were scheduled to escort her to her connection in Phoenix but they were delayed--but I'm more aghast at the actions of the police.

What do you think? Was she treated fairly? Should she have been detained in such a manner? Should the police have ordered medical attention for her, or left an armed guard in the room with her to prevent this tragedy? I'm curious if I'm alone in my thinking on this one.

Time for me to board the plane--off to San Francisco again for an Autodesk marketing summit. God forbid the airlines leave us on the runway for 12 hours, or deny someone a seat that they purchased, or TSA drags us randomly away in handcuffs against their best judgment....

1 comment:

Jennifer and Jonathan said...

Makes me think of that movie, "Anger Management." Adam Sandler's character asks the flight attendant for a headset and she agrees to get him one and walks off. She seemingly forgets his request as he sees her chatting with another flight attendant. He nicely calls out to her to remind her, and she blows him off. He calls out to her again, and she shuts the curtain that separates them. Then, when she comes walking down the aisle, without the headset and without acknowledging him, he puts up his hand to touch her arm and she tells him to calm down. He proclaims that he IS calm ... and through her continuous accusations that he's getting out of control (which he wasn't), the air marshall shows up to provide assistance. The air marshall insists the passenger is out of control (which he never was) and tasers him. During the scene, both the flight attendant and hte air marshall commented that out country is "going through a difficult time."

To add to the sad story about the woman in Phoenix who ended up dying, here is another story I heard about recently.

A woman and her toddler child were on a plane getting ready to depart (it had been a long day for them ... flights had been canceled, the kiddo and mom were tired, etc). Mom was distracting son by having him look out the window at the plane next to him and he was saying, "Bye bye plane!" As the flight attendant was doing her pre-flight announcements that nobody listens to anyway, the kiddo was repeatedly saying, "Bye bye plane!"

After a few minutes, the flight attendant got annoyed and suggested to the mom that she give her kiddo some baby Benadryl to essentially shut him up.

I don't recall the exact details of what happened next, but the flight attendant got rather upset and even passengers seated nearby proclaimed the child wasn't bothering them at all.

The mother and her child got kicked off the plane. Why? Because the fligh attendant had little to no patience for a kiddo who was being a kiddo. And he wasn't even behaving badly ... he was just saying, "Bye bye plane" over and over again.

What we're in need of in this country is tolerance and patience ... not just in the travel industry, but everywhere. I, myself, fall short of tolerance and patience sometimes. However, I keep it to myself and don't go off on the latest cashier to get on my very last nerves. But I fantasize about it. :)

And that is why I don't have a job in which I have to deal with the public. People are annoying.

Lastly ... what happened to that woman at the Phoenix airport was horrible. Just horrible. However, if there is a person on my flight who is acting strangly or irrationally for any reason, I would prefer they be prevented from boarding rather than spend the flight worrying that they're going to have a meltdown mid-flight.

And those are my Whenathoughts.