my America (part 2): O’Hare airport

ok, so, it’s circulating around about a man being dragged off a plane, United Airlines, at O’Hare, today, 4/10/17.

some time today, I heard a little bit of this on NPR.  The bit I heard didn’t seem empathetic to the man taken off the plane.  There was brief audio of screaming, and then a calm reporter saying that just because you purchase a ticket, doesn’t mean you have a right to be on a plane and that the airlines can remove you for any reason.  So I was wondering, to myself, what happened.  was this some belligerent passenger?

What I further heard was that this flight had

a) overbooked

b) four staff members needed to be on this plane, thus four passengers needed to de-plane

c) that first they offered passengers one deal if they volunteered to leave

d) then they offered passengers another deal, doubling the money – and still no one volunteered

e) then they chose 4 people at random

f) 3 left

g) the fourth said he could not, he was a doctor and needed to leave now to get to his patients

(one witness account said this man and his wife stood up to volunteer earlier and then sat down when they realized the next flight going out would be too late)

h) insert whatever scene occured

and that’s the last I heard on NPR


as follow up hours later, I heard that

a) this man was able to re-board said plane (there is footage of him running up aisle, clinging to a curtain, repeating “just kill me, ” and “I want to go home” (or “just take me home” – something similar)

b) I also heard, though vague, that then all passengers were taken off the plane for an investigation to occur

c) I heard that one staff member was placed on leave

hours later, I got to see some video…

far from seeing some belligerent passenger, I see some police seem to apparently drag some passenger forcibly up from their seat, roughly, and then drag him down the aisle.  they must have bumped him into something and bloodied his lip.

This raises so many more questions…

ok, in positions where you may have to use show of force, health care and the like, I personally know there are many stages that are utilized before you go to this extreme version of force.  There are various tactics.  Which are taught.  Which are legal.  Talk calmly to the person.  “show of force” – bring a bunch of people to just stand there and look intimidating. and so on.  basically many stages before you lay hands on a person.  and then, even when you do lay hands, there is a proper manner to do so.

granted, we lack a lot of context in 20 second clips.  But I get the feeling the full spectrum of this was not performed.  i.e. escort the person out, there should be ways before force is used.


But before we even get to that point…

on why this occurred in the first place.  Overbooking.  I heard this is a common airline practice.  ok, fine.  but if you allow overbooking, you then have to have measures in place for when that backfires.

two) the staff needing to be seated.  When you seat a plane, I am pretty sure they seat essential people first and on down the chain. first staff, then veterans, then disabled, then first class, etc.  So you may have bought your ticket and it is still their fault they overbooked, but at least you are stopped at the terminal, and not on the plane.  Why didn’t they seat the staff first?

is this what happens when airline employees are late to work?  I had this moment where I thought, shit, what if I was a flight attendant and for reasons – my laziness – maybe hungover, just running late, traffic, I showed up late to work, too late to hit that first boarding call and yet – because job – I have to be on this flight, and then this happens.  cue major major guilt.  and note, ok, if airline staff, never never ever be late to work ever…

so one, don’t overbook.

two, seat staff first.

three, ok, you offered the amenities.

four, then you drew at random.  what was that random?  (I’m sorry, but given the climate, was it pick at some non-white person?) I would like to see the process at this point, at least let me see you roll a die or something.

five, ok, when person number four says they are a doctor, why not announce that – hello passengers, we chose people at random and this person is a doctor, is there any person willing to volunteer in his place? offer that.  and then, hell, do another random to pick another person.

and, last but certainly not least, ok, you are going with this guy, so many other things you could have done besides this physical force.

which brings me to, “my America.”

maybe I was sheltered, naive, blind, privileged, I don’t know.  I know it wasn’t like things were all perfect and then Trump and hellscape.  I knew things were pretty shitty.  even when I didn’t personally experience it, I knew about discrimination. and so on.  but the election, Trump, all that entails, was a new degree of awakening for me.  oh, this is my reality.

kindof like, I knew it was shit, but I had no idea it was this bad…

I wake up.  I think, what might someone from another country think of the United States right now.  and then I groan and cringe.  We drone strike hospitals, we launch nukes, we tell other countries to de-nuke while we ramp up, we oust democratically-elected leaders to put in tyrants who help our corporations, we get into wars with other countries for oil…all that… we have stark racism.  We also attack people who try to stand up for civil rights.  A large part of our country wants the freedom to openly discriminate against LGBT, and black people, and non-Christian people, and Hispanic people and so on.  We want to build an f–ing wall… not because it will do anything, but out of rigid isolationist symbolism.  We thrive on hate.  We attack other countries for tyranny and prop it up ourselves… but I’m being grandiose and far too over-simplified.  in short scale… the country I live in kicks a man off a plane for speaking Arabic.  it turns LGBT refugees away, escaping a country that would kill them.  hell, it turns all refugees away.  the country I live in apparently doesn’t care about nepotism or conflict of interest or the environment or science or facts.  the country I live in has cops shooting unarmed people and the cops are rarely arrested and often not convicted and we deny any semblance of the idea of racism.  the country I live in mocks people who want to try to stand up for civil rights.  the country I live in violently drags a man off a plane…

and I wake up and think, yeah, America’s not this great land of the free, is it?  it can be pretty tyrannical and brutal and, arguably worse, hide it under a veneer.

as to this incident.  no, I still don’t know all the facts and context.  I applaud the appalled woman who called this out.  and also, ironic for luddite me, the people whipping out their cellphones – video – live video – street journalism, is maybe a real and valid truth we need.  Maybe if I dare to come into the 21st century, this personal big brotherism that I hate can also do good.  cell phone video and twitter and such do put out some truth and make cover ups harder.  …but….

anyways, just some immediate and uninformed two cents…

on to said video…

first I saw:

a witness account:

one of NPR’s accounts here

another youtuber’s legal analysis:

thus far…


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