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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Album Diaries 5

Somewhere in the fine print you’d expect to find something like we reserve the right to have you forcibly removed if you don’t comply with a request for you to vacate your seat and the vehicle and for that reason some people have chosen not to care that three police officers boarded a plane and bloodied a passenger’s mouth in the process of knocking him out before pulling his limp body through the aisle passed shocked tired and frightened passengers. No problem because somewhere in the process of buying a plane ticket you agree that for perhaps no reason if the airline or the crew want you to leave the plane then failure to comply could lead to you being forcibly removed from the vehicle. Putting aside all the information that’s available about the reasons this particular passenger was asked to leave and the reasons why he refused to do so was this the best way to handle the situation? Was it possible to not knock an old man’s teeth out in this instance? Was it deliberate? Are we supposed to be scared to step on a plane not because of a terrorist threat but because we might be beaten by airport police because the airline saw a way to avoid transporting some staff for an unrelated flight? Did they think that no one would film this or that no one would care when they saw the video of him saying just kill me or they’re going to kill me over and over again like he didn’t know what to do with himself because he was so scared? What happened to protect and serve? Who was protected in this instance? It seems pretty blatant that he was an inconvenience to a private company that had either made a mistake or just saw a way to save a few bucks yet he was yanked against an arm rest screaming and hitting his face so hard that there was blood around his mouth. What were the instructions given to those police officers? Were they told that the man was a terrorist or that he was causing trouble or distress to the other passengers? Were they told the truth and they used their own initiative to solve the airline’s little problem for them for a free flight or some cash? What happened to him after he was pulled from the plane? Why did he appear back on the plane looking shaken and sounding almost incomprehensible like he’d been interrogated or beaten up some more? Someone but preferably everyone has to take some share of the punishment for this. Such a small and stupid decision that has had such a dramatic cascading effect. A more reasonable counter argument would be that operating an airline or just organising and executing a flight is a stressful undertaking and simply put whoever was in charge of decision making was unprepared and as a result grossly negligent and should be fired and banned from working in that or a similar position. But instead the counter argument has been subservience and blind obedience of some clause potentially in a small print. That if your flight asks you to volunteer to leave and you say no then the police can drag you out unconscious if that’s what it takes because you wouldn’t volunteer to give up your seat which you paid for because the airline wanted to save some money or just fucked up. There’s a class component to this in that supposedly the passengers which are asked to volunteer in these situations are the passengers who spent the least amount of money on their tickets because the vouchers they give out as a refund are a multiple of your ticket price like 4 times the cost or something like that. So they pick out the people who are going to cost them the least in a fake lottery which if people are knowledgeable of this is humiliating enough but it’s worth considering the age and fragility of the passenger too who was in no position to put up much of a fight although he did resist when manhandled by the police officers. This was an old skinny guy and you have to wonder whether that played a part in this. All of this on a day in which in London a police officer’s life was celebrated for the courage he showed in the face of a serious criminal attack which claimed his life. The contrast is staggering.

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