WTF(wjd)?

Disclaimer: My words below pave a somewhat long and winding road that leads beyond the normal scope of content at FedUpFlyers.org. Some may not wish to follow, and I respect that. I don’t want to unfairly exploit the attention of the kind people who log on to read my criticism and others’ regarding DHS/TSA’s unlawful groping and scoping of the traveling public and related topics. So I’ve carefully included a note in the text – an escape hatch, as it were, marking the point of my departure into the ethics and metaphysical guts of the matter at hand. That said, I invite you now to sit back, relax, and enjoy the read.

Most readers, I hope, will recall the incident last month in Memphis in which the crew of a commercial flight bound for Charlotte, N.C. refused to fly until two passengers were removed from the aircraft. The passengers were Muslim scholars attempting to travel to an Islamic conference focused this year on the topic of Islamophobia and discrimination against Muslims in the U.S.

Those are still pretty much the only hard facts that have been released to the public as of this writing – plenty to incite the typical torrent of speculation, commentary, blathering idiotic bigotry, hurt feelings, and late night comedy routines. Yeah, it’s great fun, but let’s be honest and fair: so far, unless we’re tangibly connected to the event in some official way, none of us has enough information to draw upon in order to frame a meaningful conclusion or comment on the situation.

It would be especially imprudent and unprofessional for me, as a pilot, to indict the crew based on the data currently available. The media and other rumor mills have reported that the flight pushed off the gate and then returned because the crew was unwilling to continue with the two men on board. That no sound justification has been publicly given for this does not necessarily indicate that such justification does not exist. The pilots (or, as the media usually call them, the pilot) would have been sealed up on the flight deck in front of a locked, reinforced, terrorist-proof door when they made the decision to return to the gate. Whatever prompted their decision presumably happened in the cabin on the other side of that door as they were taxiing out to the runway. Pilots must rely on the cabin crew to keep them apprised of what’s going on back there and make the best decisions they can based on that information. The public has been told nothing about any communications along such lines. So, for now at least, we don’t know what we don’t know.

It has also been reported that Delta agents spoke with the flight crew for over half an hour when they returned to the gate and even apologized to the two men when the pilots insisted upon ejecting them from the flight. On the surface, this might cast an understandable cloud of doubt over the crew’s actions. But I speak from personal experience and a solid familiarity with the stories of numerous colleagues when I say – difficult as it may be to fathom – that unsuspecting pilots are often met with considerable resistance when they decide to remove a threatening or problematic passenger from their plane. Many crews have made the mistake of contacting the airline and asking for a gate agent or supervisor to handle a belligerent drunk, an unstable lunatic threatening violence when asked to turn his phone off or buckle his seat belt, or some other superstar who just has to ruin it for everybody. I was shocked myself when I discovered that some airline support agents, managers, etc. seem completely deaf to the sound of a pilot’s voice calling for the removal of a threatening passenger or asking for police assistance, etc. They’ll go back and talk with the individual in question themselves, then return and say something like, “Okay, I got her to turn her phone off. She says she hasn’t slept and she’s going to her father’s funeral and she’s really upset but she’s sorry and it won’t happen again. Just don’t serve her any more alcohol and I think she’ll be alright…”

Then we say, “Yeah but, um, she broke the flight attendant’s nose.”

“I know, I know,” they mutter, shuffling their feet a bit and trying to muster a sympathetic expression. “But I don’t think we’ll be able to find you another one in time to avoid a late departure.” Then, to the bleeding victim, they say, “Hold pressure right there, like this. Keep your head tilted back. It doesn’t look that bad. You can hold up till you get to Guadalajara, right? Put some ice on it at the hotel tonight – you’ll be fine…”

Okay, maybe I’m embellishing the case a little. The point is pilots can have a hard time finding someone to take an unruly passenger off their hands. Very few of us, I hope, will give in once the decision has been made, but it’s kind of a big deal to deny service to a paying customer and a big responsibility (and potential liability) to those involved. Such cases are the exception and not the rule, of course. Still, it happens a lot more than one would expect in a terror-stricken, post-9/11 world. Besides, absent the ideal solution of a legitimate, professional security division, this kind of situation is really outside the airline’s scope of operational expertise. Fellow pilots, here’s my advice if you need real help in the overly regulated and litigious chaos of the system in which we work: Forget the company and call the control tower directly for law enforcement assistance. They’ll send the fuzz right out without questioning your judgment or prerogative as Pilot-in-Command. Remove the threat now. Sort out the details, ideological conundrums, and conflicts of interest later.

So, not to belabor the point, the bottom line is there may be a lot more to this story in Memphis than any of us has been told so far. Anyway, enough of that – there’s something else I’d like to discuss.

Continue to page 2>>>

About Michael S. Roberts

Suspected terrorist/domestic extremist. Proficient sinner. Father of 6. INTP. Autodidact. Fed up pilot. Chatty by nature...
This entry was posted in Resistance 101, The big picture and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to WTF(wjd)?

  1. BJ says:

    Sir, I really, really like and enjoy your post. I did not care for the religious Christ, God part but for the most I thought you right on and my thinking very much like yours. The only respect we differ is that I don’t think a God can be known. Whatever God is is beyond human understanding is my thought and I doubt God can be Christ except in the thoughts that we may ALL be a part of GOD. So many, Allah, Buddah, Christ, etc unknowns.
    I thank you for your writings.

    • Thanks, BJ. I did give you fair warning about the Jesus stuff, you know (-; But I understand what you’re saying and sort of agree with you – I think Plato or Aristotle (can’t remember which) said it best when he said that God is “beyond finding out.” But it seems perfectly reasonable to me that, while we may not be able to ‘understand’ God, he could make himself known to us if it was his will to do so, and that he could make known the way by which he can be known, which is what Jesus claimed to be. Now maybe Jesus and his followers are all nuts, but would you still say it’s religious if it actually turned out to be true?

      Anyway, that’s all beside the point. I’m not trying to sell anyone anything here – I’m just disgusted by the mass of people who claim to believe as I do but utterly butcher and/or ignore Christ’s teaching. Lot’s of people don’t believe. But to call oneself Christian and then do exactly the opposite of what the Lord commanded, and stand by it as a Christian, is appalling. I just felt the need to make it clear that what Christ said and did is often, as it is here, very different from the things people say and do in his name. I guess it’s because, as a Christian, I want to be identified with him – not them.

  2. TrudyS says:

    Michael has insights well beyond the ordinary. There is so much at stake in our nation. We are on the verge of losing all our rights by knuckling under to tyranny. There is a natural, inherent dignity to man that is buried under our sad hypnotism by ignorance. We can again stand upright (in integrity, in the values of Christianity, in the inalienable rights that are God-given and pointed to in our Constitution!) Now is the time to realign ourselves with truth. I’m grateful that this article by Michael is bold and articulate. This is an expression of the new energy that will change our nation!

    • Thanks, Trudy. You’re absolutely correct about the Constitution – it points to our natural rights, it is not the source of them. So, whether the Constitution is butchered or upheld, and whether we knuckle under to tyranny or not, we remain as free as we choose to be.

  3. Sun Tzu’s Art of War teaches the goals and methods of the state. Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount teaches the goals and methods of peace. The two doctrines are as opposite as war and peace, or slavery and freedom.

    Without Christ I have trouble even believing freedom exists. If I depend on the permission of my neighbor for my freedom then what I have is not freedom. Rights are bullshit. Only abilities matter. I have the ability to enslave my neighbor and he has the same of me. Following this line leads me essentially to the idea that right and wrong are only the result of victory and defeat. A.H. shared this view and I strongly agree with him in many ways when I think in the paradigm of war. But that isn’t freedom, nor is it good, nor does peace come about but through slavery in it.

    I have also come to the conclusion that a free man follows the teachings of Christ whether he knows him or not. Any wise doctrine of war is inconsistent with true freedom.

    • The Sun Tzu comparison is spot on, Sam. I hadn’t thought about it before, but you’re absolutely right. And how many people – not just warriors, but people in business and everywhere else – are out there applying his methods in their work? Very interesting. But, the wisdom of this age is foolishness…

  4. Fredrick Porter says:

    Dear Sir,
    Have just finished reading your WTF(wjd)?. As one who believes the Truth of Christianity has most clearly been preserved for us in Holy Orthodoxy, I too am trying to follow (faltingly) in the footsteps of Our Lord Jesus. Your observations I believe are correct, and give one much to ponder. Nonetheless, to begin with the premise, “. . . evil people like us,” seems to deny baptism and absolution. Isn’t the problem with the human condition not that after accepting Christ that we are “evil,” but that as members of the Body of Christ wherein we have the “… power to become the sons of God,” we can still do evil? This your article so well illustrates.

  5. Davidus Romanus says:

    Just found you over at LRC. Keep up the good work. As an agnostic, I have never been sure whether God exists or not, but people like you make me think that the answer is yes. Even thought I am not a true believer, I go to Church almost every Sunday because I love to sing God’s praises, and because I love the teaching of Scripture. Like you, I despise false Christians who think that killing others (or removing them from airplanes) is the answer, and is somehow considered Godly action. One of my favorite lessons is the temptation of Christ, when Satan takes Him to the high mountain where they can see all the nations of the earth and promises Him dominon over them if He (Christ) will only bow down and worship Satan. Translation: Earthly power comes from Satan. It is power over others. In other words, state power.
    I thank you for being a true Christian and trying to get the message out that the state is our enemy and should be resisted by all, especially true Christians.

    • Thanks, Davidus. As a matter of fact, the Greek word frequently used in the New Testament for the nations/kingdoms of the earth is arche, meaning dominion. The Bible also refers to Satan as the Archon, or ruler of this world, which explains how he would be in a position to endow Christ or anyone else with political dominion, as he offered to do if Jesus would bow down and worship him! This is why I believe mainstream Christianity’s infatuation with the political system is utterly irreconcilable.

  6. After reading your article WTF(wjd)?, weeks of gloom were cleared from my spirit and when my feet finally touched the ground again, I shouted your praises until my wife made me stop! You were spot on in your discourse and I can’t wait to read the sequel.

    I’m so thankful for the way God has led me to my salvation. I view my life so differently now and I’m clearly a stranger to the man I used to be. I’m proud to call myself a Christian because of the incredible goodness of Christ. I’m saddened to see how unworthy I am to identify with His name.

    We have so many different idols in our lives that we turn to for gratification. You listed many of them in your treatise and I believe your primary theme was the extraordinary lack of love that we seem determined to promote in our encounters with other people, whether they are our next door neighbors or “foreigners” in distant lands. Your comments are so true.

    Every day I’m drawn closer to the realization that if I can’t have my first choice which would be to have Jesus with us here today to head the perfect government that only He can provide, then any government that competes to take His place is worse than none at all.

    As you stated in your article, government by man gets sidetracked by our fallen nature and falls way short of reinforcing the love that God intended us to practice. Our civil rulers only deserve obedience when they are fulfilling their duty as servants of God, not when they oppose His will.

    Thank you for your keen insights and I pray you will continue with your efforts. They are so necessary in a world where men wear blinders and walk in darkness with no light to see where they’re headed and no wisdom to evaluate their course.

    Travis Ogle
    Pace, FL

  7. The Cherisher says:

    A very good article, very good.
    It appears that in America only individuals who are overweight, as deemed so by the government and media, or those who are visibly Muslim, may be tossed off of public transportation, and ridiculed and humiliated to the general approbation of the masses.

    How very sad it is, in what was once known as Christian land, to see such lack of any sense of respect for one’s fellow human being.

    However I do not place the blame with the Christians, they are victims also, victims of the same, shall we say, mind molders that most of humanity fall victim to in the guise of entertainment, education, etc.

    The masses, it is sad to say, are easily led, oft times to their own destruction. Yet they follow their various Pied Pipers.

    They respond to what their masters tell them.
    I am a conservative, libertarian, Republican, and it is very hard to read hatred and vile calls for the destruction of those who are of one of the 3 Abrahamic faiths.

    In Ridley Scott’s The Kingdom of Heaven there is a scene, towards the end, that when the film was shown in Damascus, the audience, which was almost all Muslim, rose and cheered.
    The scene was immediately after Jerusalem capitulated on October 2, 1187.
    It is as Saladin is walking through and finds a golden cross lying upon the floor amid the ruined building, he bends down and picks it up and replaces it on the altar from which it had fallen. It is at that precise point that the audience in the theater stood and cheered. This is the more common feeling amongst the Muslims, to be honorable and to be respectful of their Christian brothers and sisters.

    Do you recall, per chance, the play in London, England of several years ago now, wherein Jesus was portrayed as a homosexual? While the Christian community, in Christian land, was silent at this abomination, the Muslims took to the streets to protest this defamation of Jesus.

    It is regrettable that people, of all faiths, do not live up to their religion. There are consequences to that of course, you see it all around you.

    I have thought that if Muslims and Christians in Palestine could live together for thousand years in peace so can they in all lands. Today also they live in peace and brotherhood, as the Bishop of Jerusalem, Riah Abu El-Assal, and George Abdo, a social worker with the Shepherd Society, have stated.

    I think it is not necessary that people who share a similar sense of morality, of right and wrong, should be estranged.

    By their fruits you shall know them. A great truth Jesus did utter. This is universal truth.

    Compassion for one’s fellow man is a good thing.
    Treating people with respect, is a good thing.

    The depiction of good men in The Kingdom of Heaven that is what we should all aspire to, I think. I would not feel uncomfortable if the boys of today could view a film such as that and maybe seek to emulate the brave and honorable Christians and Muslims so depicted.

    It is written in the Qur’an in Surah 5 Ayah 85 that the closest and nearest in love to the Muslims are the Christians, “and thou wilt find the nearest in love to those who believe to be those who say, ‘We are Christians;’ that is because there are amongst them priests and monks, and because they are not proud.”

    There is a saying amongst the Muslims, I pray that we might all make it our hope as well:
    God help the right and God help the wrong.

    “And Jesus shall be a sign for the coming of the hour of Judgment. Therefore have no doubt about the hour. When Jesus came with clear signs, he said ‘Now I have come to you with wisdom, therefore fear God and obey me, for God, he is my Lord and your Lord so worship him, for this is the straight way.’”
    — The Qur’an, Surah 43


    Praise be to God in recognition of His benefits.

  8. BJohnM says:

    Thanks for a great article Michael. I am currently sharing in the teaching of an adult Sunday School class at my Methodist Church here on the Beatitudes. Some of your insights will most definitely make it into one or more of my lessons.

    But I want to talk about rights. I agree with you. The founders knew they had unalienable rights derived from the creator and/or nature. The rights were just there. The point of the Constitution was not to create or grant rights, the point of the Constitution was to define a system of government and define the limits of that government to interfer with our unalienable rights.

    I even hear legal scholars refer to “finding a right to privacy in the Constitution.” That is just (as my grandfather would say) ass-backwards. It’s the wrong question to ask if a right exists in the Constitution. The right question is, does the Constitution give the government the ability to interfer with or regulate that right for the common good. It seems a subtle differencem, but I think it would make a huge difference in how courts should rule on many cases.

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