US Airways Pilot Orders Evacuation Of Plane and Arrest Of Man Wearing Baggy Pants

There is a rather bizarre case involving a 20-year-old man, Deshon Marman, who entered a plane wearing baggy pants and failed to pull up his pants fast enough for a US Airways pilot who had him arrested at San Francisco International Airport.

Marman is described as a football star at University of New Mexico who was traveling to a friend’s funeral.

He reportedly said that he first refused a demand to pull up his pants upon entering the plane because his hands were full but did ultimately pull up his pants when he reached his seat.

If so, it was not fast enough for the pilot who ordered the plane evacuated and performed a “citizen arrest.”

He was charged with trespassing, battery and resisting arrest.

Notably, there is no published dress code for US Airways and it is not clear how any arrest could be made for baggy pants. This has been a long controversy over efforts to criminalize baggy pants. The trespass charge would appear based on the theory that the pilot wanted him to leave and he did not leave fast enough. There is no explanation of the battery charge. He could not have been a threat since we have seen how baggy pants frustrate crime.

Police admit that he was not threatening anyone. Spokesman Sgt. Michael Rodriguez stated “[h]e was not threatening anybody directly, but being on board an aircraft and being disruptive to the aircraft crew interferes with their duties and that could be a safety factor.”

Police are now also holding Marman on an outstanding warrant on possession of marijuana.

I personally find this style perfectly moronic, but I fail to see the grounds for such an arrest unless the person is being charged with public exposure.

Source: NBC

191 thoughts on “US Airways Pilot Orders Evacuation Of Plane and Arrest Of Man Wearing Baggy Pants

  1. A football star and an airline pilot: two people accustomed to getting their way. I think there was way too much testosterone flying that day.

  2. “but being on board an aircraft and being disruptive to the aircraft crew interferes with their duties and that could be a safety factor.””

    I’m confused is he talking about the guy with the pants, or the pilot whose taste in fashion resulted in a huge disruption to every one crew and passengers alike.

  3. That’s just insane… I think the low riding baggy plants are silly looking but if I was in management of U S Airways I would be concerned about the mental stability of this pilot ..

  4. The world is full of silly putzes that must be frustrated cop wannbes.

    At the MN Twins game yesterday a guard reprimanded a lesbian for kissing her girl friend. He told her “We don’t play grab ass here” and “The 10 commandments are in force in the stadium” (I’d have asked him to list them & point out which one covered her offense but thats just me).

    All these schlubs do is cause PR grief for their companies.

  5. This stuff happens. For a college student he sure doesn’t have much common sense.

    I am alright with all charges being dropped- provided he is expelled from university. I am not a big fan of football (although with a couple of felonies under his belt he is automatically considered a shoe-in for the pro’s) and am tired of tax dollars going to public universities for their sport franchises.

    The picture says it all- he doesn’t seem like an easy-going guy who is willing to co-operate.

  6. Joeey LaRusso
    1, June 17, 2011 at 1:19 pm
    This stuff happens. For a college student he sure doesn’t have much common sense.
    ————
    Who said he’s a college student? I thought he was a person who received something of value from the University, in exchange for his work providing entertainment for alumni while the development folks extract donations from them. In other words, and employee of the University, albeit one who might occasionally attend free classes while he looks for employment in the next tier up of professional athletics.

    But seriously, US Airways had better be warming up the pen and check book. I can’t imagine a situation where something other than racism initiated this incident. (At least he wasn’t an Imam on his way to a conference on anti-Muslim discrimination…)

  7. I smell a racist rat flying for US Airways and I agree with tomdarch that they better get there deep pockets ready to pay out some dough for this abuse. Don’t the police have discretion on arresting someone, even if the pilot wants him arrrested?

  8. Ridiculous on so many levels. I’m with Frank’s cop wannabe idea. No indecent exposure here, no prior airline warnings and no grounds for not complying quickly enough.

  9. As Always, the man who arrested the Mr Marman and the asinine legislators who made a fashion choice illegal need to remember the fights they had with their parents over their clothing styles – not to mention the fights their parents had with their parents and so on and so on all the way back to Plato fighting with his dad about his toga style.

  10. Not only is the style moronic, I often wonder what is it about the young men’s bodies that they wish to hide. I long for the days of the 70s when men wore nice form fitting, flared at the bottom pants. I watch DVDs of a couple of 70s cop shows most every evening and marvel at how handsome all men were then. The long hair is cool, too.

  11. A friend’s funeral could be the backdrop for an irritable expression.
    To be young and in training mode for high-contact sports gives additional edge to intensity. He was self-contained, so who was battered?
    Just imagine being confronted for just being your dark-skinned self, and being arrested on “Juneteenth” week-end in San Francisco.
    This event is shameful.

  12. As a forcibly retired airline captain and a client of Prof. Turley, I can say that the captain was right. From the reports I have read, the gate agent requested that the kid pull up his pants, the F/A did so, and he did NOT comply, yet he still thought he could stay on board the plane. I can tell you that the captain did NOT get involved until the situation had gotten out of control from the cabin crew. He had lots more to do than greet every pax on board. So the FACT is that he had to be called to deal with the situation.

    If the pax does not comply or presents any kind of an attitude, I can tell you that he WILL be gone! If you refuse to comply with the captains orders promptly, you will be arrested and charged with interfering with a crew member which is a major felony and you will get to know more than you cared to learn about aviation law and the Federal courts. From what I can see, since he was arrested by a local cop, no Federal charges have been filed as YET. If I were the captain, I would make sure such charges were filed.

  13. A.R. Erb,

    Thank you for reminding us of ‘captain’s orders’ and the finality they entail when insubordination occurs via crew *or* passengers.

  14. I am in agreement with Capt. Erb. The guy was told repeatedly to pull up his pants. He either chose to be passive aggressive, or thought since he was a “football star” he had a sense of entitlement. There is more to the order to hoist the pants than just fashion. First of all, there is a safety issue. If your pants are down around your knees, it is hard to be mobile in case of emergency. Second, how much of his anatomy was he displaying to the flying public?

    At any rate, if you are given an instruction to do something by ground crew, flight attendant or other flight crew, you had damn well better comply. As an aviator myself, I can tell you that if I tell you to do something (or stop doing something) when we are either about to take off or in flight, I expect immediate compliance. You can ask why later.

    As Capt. Erb pointed out, this young man may be in more trouble than he yet realizes.

  15. Raff, yes it is the law. The Captain of an aircraft, or authorized crew, can call the law. What he did is actually a Federal felony, if the airline wishes to push it.

    It is a reasonable assumption that even if he is not charged in the long run, he is going to be interviewed by the FBI.

  16. rafflaw

    I will admit that at ‘first blush’ the captain’s actions seemed extreme. However, as with every item/action in life, once you think this through without any biases while reasoning out all of the facts, as we know them, I think the captain was justified. Remember, we have all heard that the captain of any vessel–air or sea–is *responsible for the safety of all crew and passengers* and it is his sworn duty to abide by that primary principle of his job.

    If the passenger’s actions progressed to ‘out of control’ while airborne, the captain would incur ultimate responsibility of all those lives aboard, which is an enormous responsibility with you fully consider all the potential consequences of any person’s errant behavior in a confined space at +/- 30,000 feet AGL.

  17. OS,
    I have no problem with the Captain being able to have him ejected, but what statute provides a civil captain the authority to punish someone for their clothing choices?

  18. Raff, it is not about clothing. It is about following a legal order. If you are told to do something–anything–by a crew member, immediate compliance is required. Not expected, but required. Failure to follow an order will get you ejected from the flight. Additionally, it comes under the rubric of interfering with a flight crew, which is a felony. Try not following instruction of the flight crew on a flight sometime and you will end up as a guest at a local jail as soon as you land.

    And to respond to FFLEO, you have hit on one of the primary issues. If a passenger refuses to comply with instructions to do something as simple as pull up his pants, what other orders will he ignore? It is not something any Captain wants to find out at flight level.

  19. The reason for the “citizens arrest” is that local cops do NOT have the right to arrest somebody for actions that they did not personally observe. Thus the complaining party must make the arrest for legal reasons. In different states I believe there are different rules for this. In some, the captain would have to accompany the officer to the station and file the complaint. That is one reason that United Airlines had a policy of NEVER causing the arrest of any pax even in cases of assault on a crew member. That would cause a delay in the departure if the captain had to leave the airport or file the complaint.

    When I flew on the United side of our operation, I asked my chief pilot if that policy applied to us. He told me no, so I was fully prepared to arrest any unruly pax if it were needed.

  20. O S

    I didn’t know that. So by boarding an aircraft (or a ship) a person is basically submitting to martial law by the pilot (or captain)?

  21. Absent a clearly disclosed, non-discriminatory dress code made known to passengers in advance of getting to the airport this is no more than a case of the fashion police in the form of a gate agent taking his/her personal fashion choice way too seriously. Once in his seat the kid would have been out of sight of the other passengers.

    I came up when kids were ridiculed for the length of their hair, bell-bottom pants (when they first came out), men wearing jewelry were made fun of and girls in mini-skirts or, heaven forbid in pants, in a business or school setting, were often times threatened with denial of service or told to go home and change clothes.

    It was total BS 40 years ago and is total BS today. It was about putting kids in their place 40 years ago and it’s about putting kids, primarily young, black men, in their place today. That’s the deep issue and the only reason it became an issue in the first place.

    The law may give the captain the power of a king but as Spiderman’s uncle cautioned the young web-slinger “With great power comes great responsibility”. I would hope the Captain of any plane I may again fly in would have the simple common sense to assess the same situation and tell whomever was so exercised about it to start the brouhaha to go back to work and stop screwing around. The pilot may have had the power but it looks to be in diametric opposition to his common sense.

    I reiterate my other posting, black and baggy and nothing more.

  22. Arthur Randolph Erb-

    You refer to a person as a “pax”, and HE has a problem with authority? One of the many reasons why I don’t fly anymore.

  23. Video: Sagging pants debate aboard Flight 488
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/crime/detail?entry_id=91290

    This is video of the pilot and the passenger chatting.

    The comments to that video are pretty good, as is the reported response of LaVar Arrington: “: Young athletes, if you want to be taken seriously, act like it. I read an article about a New Mexico football player named Deshon Marman who was removed from a flight because his jeans were below his buttocks. The report says Marman, 20, repeatedly refused to pull up his pants. After taking his seat, more complaints came from flight staff, and a call to the police was made and Marman was removed and arrested. So to sum up this mess of a story: A college kid caught a case and became a national story because it was more important to him to prove that he would not pull his pants above his buttocks. This has to go down as one of the dumbest ways to get arrested. My advice, Deshon, if you ever read this: You have an opportunity to get an education and play the most popular sport in America. There’s nothing wrong with being a young adult that presents himself as a responsible, respectful, polite, thoughtful and pleasant person. Yes, appearance matters. I have dreadlocks, and I don’t walk around with a suit and tie on every day. I’m sure people pass judgement on me based upon how I choose to look. But one thing no one will do is walk away from me not knowing that I’m smart, pleasant, cool to talk with, and I smell good. In the end, people will know that I’m someone who gets it. Life is about continuing lessons, and yours right now is learning to dress appropriately. You need to embrace it, if for no other reason than your own self-respect. Understand you set us back when you do these things — “us” being two different groups, African-Americans and athletes. Brave people have fought for equal rights for years on your and my behalf. Many have dedicated their entire lives to dispelling the stereotypes that have been used to justify holding back a race of people and more specifically a young black man. What you did only serves as sweet victory to those who seek to validate those stereo types. Pull your pants up along with your standards. Otherwise you will continue fall victim to the circumstances that you create for yourself”

    As a further indictment, it turns out he was not wearing pants, but pajamas, at which point I think he should have been tossed out the plane while it was in flight.

  24. Thank you Anon for posting that video. The kid was not causing a disturbance and kept cool. This is just another example IMO of a very up-tight power structure, (blindly backing each other up) that will enforce it’s authority over the most minor of issues.

    I am further not appalled by the pajama-pants thing, not too long ago girls were wearing pajamas. Again, a fashion statement I wouldn’t make but it did cross my mind when I saw it, that as clothing goes they had to be more comfortable than what I was wearing. I don’t recall reading about airline’s kicking girls kitted out in bustiers off their planes. That was a big fad for quite awhile. It seems nearly impossible to me that some girl wearing underwear for outer-where didn’t get on a plane and turn heads doing it.

    As to Mr.Arrington’s statement: “I have dreadlocks, and I don’t walk around with a suit and tie on every day. I’m sure people pass judgement on me based upon how I choose to look. But one thing no one will do is walk away from me not knowing that I’m smart, pleasant, cool to talk with, and I smell good.” Mr. Arrington appears to be saying that in spite of his fashion choice, once he is engaged on a more substantial basis people will have a favorable opinion of him.

    That assumes that he is so engaged and not denied service and told to leave because of his locks as happened here in a St. Louis restaurant a year or so ago. That assumes that he will not be told that he can’t board a plane until he does something with his hair by some airline functionary that is then supported unilaterally up the chain of command.

    This isn’t about pants, it’s about power and not asking ‘how high’ when told to jump. That’s what power wants to hear and anything else in simply unacceptable.

  25. OK folks, lower the temperature a bit. The basic rules are simple, and are put in place for the safety, comfort and convenience of the flying public. Note that I put safety first on my list of three things. With the sardine packing of airplanes these days, comfort and convenience have taken a secondary role. Safety is paramount, and all rules regarding flight operations derive from that one principle. The basic fact that one cannot move quickly in emergency situations if you are waddling along with pants around your thighs and knees is one of those things that may be a judgement call on the part of ground or flight crews, but once the instruction is given, that is that. If a passenger does not comply with a lawful instruction, they have crossed in invisible line and are stepping on 49 U.S.C. § 1472(j).

    HenMan, the aviation industry has a lot of abbreviations. ‘Pax’ is passengers, ‘Wx’ is weather. ‘Angels’ is flight altitude. A ‘deal’ is a near-miss, which actually ought to be referred to as a near-collision, but that is another story. There are a lot of reasons to not want to fly commercial in our modern climate, but I don’t think the fact airline staff talk in abbreviations needs to be very high on the list.

    Pete, the use of the term ‘martial law” is hyperbole. The Captain is in charge of either ship or airplane. Some Captains are jerks; most are great. But on a crowded vessel full of people, SOMEBODY has to be in charge. At Angels 40 it is a long way to the ground if somebody does not behave. Same as on a ship hundreds of miles from the nearest solid land. This is a rule that has been in place for centuries before the airplane was even invented. It is a system that has worked since people first went to sea thousands of years ago. I see no reason to scrap it. When Capt. Sully Sullenberger told those passengers to assume the crash position and for the flight crew to take a seat and buckle in, he got instant compliance and nobody died. The system works. Just remember, the flight crew sitting up front are literally the first to the scene of the accident in case of a crash. They do not want to die or be injured any more than anyone else.

    When you are in charge of an airplane that weighs as much than a steam locomotive, flies at the edge of the stratosphere at speeds similar to a bullet from a .45 pistol, and is pressurized, you do not want passengers disobeying instructions, thereby potentially risking the lives of all the souls on board. If a passenger disobeys one order, what others might that passenger disobey? At that point, the laws on air piracy and interfering with the flight crew kick in. Go read 49 U.S.C. § 1472(j). A quick look-up to verify the accuracy of that last statement tells me that section has been changed and is now 49 U.S.C. § 46504.

  26. So far i 2011, there have been 16 incidents that warranted prosecution.

    So far this year, there have been 24 convictions of violations of 49 U.S.C. § 46504.

    Prosecutions and convictions are fairly rare, given the huge numbers of people who fly. Most are treated as ‘incidents’ which is probably how this case will be treated. A minor incident, and hopefully the young man will have learned something from it. Being interviewed by the FBI is a sobering experience if one is at all in touch with reality. If he cops an attitude with them, it will be a big mistake on his part.

  27. FFLEO,

    Taking it back to an era we both know about for purposes of illustration: If I wear a chartreuse Zoot Suit, does anyone have the right to tell me I can’t fly?

  28. One of the things that has made me angry for my entire life has been the misuse of authority. My normal tendency for many years was
    to reply to it with anger, sarcasm and at times non-compliance. I was, however, always smart enough to understand when I was outgunned
    metaphorically and physically. Seething I would control myself and comply and that’s why I have never gotten into bad trouble.

    Now although I have trouble with misuse of authority, I’m also aware that authority is very necessary in many situations, or we would have anarchy and chaos. Those defending the Captain have provided ample support of his authority in this situation. However, I’ve seen nothing to the effect that there are either specific regulations against low slung pants, or that they represent a danger that needs to be controlled.

    While authority must be respected in potentially dangerous situations, can anyone tell me what was either dangerous or illegal about this young man’s attire?

  29. Mike, see my several comments above regarding the safety issue of low hanging trousers on an airplane. Not to mention the sensibilities of the little old ladies who may not want to see the fellow’s junk. I know a guy who wears a sport kilt when flying, not only for comfort, but because it maximizes his mobility in an emergency.

    The point was that this guy disobeyed a lawful instruction from ground crew, which escalated because he ignored the instruction. Once an order is given, no matter what, it must be followed. Explanations may or may not follow later.

    P.S.: That sport kilt has caused some interesting moments in the enhanced pat-downs, since he goes Regimental. :-D

  30. Lottakatz I finally read the real reason for his being arrested. It was NOT for having his pants too low or refusing to pull them up. He was asked to step outside the plane to discuss the situation and he refused that order. After 9/11 I had a young man who another pax had concerns about his carry on bags. I called the TSA and went back and asked the person to come outside and bring his carry on bags. He complied, the TSA did a secondary screening on him and checked his bags, and he reboarded after I explained the situation to him and apologized . I also told the F/As to give him free drinks as compensation for the trouble.

    If this young man had complied with the captains ORDER, he probably would have been let back on and nothing further would have happened. Instead, he decided that HIS words and desires overrode that of the captain. It is absolutely clear that the captain and aircrew were completely correct in their actions. I have to laugh that he wants to take Southwest to get back. He does not know that Southwest has and will KILL those who do not follow instructions! At Southwest their rule is that the crew is ALWAYS RIGHT! One violent young man was killed by a combination of crew and pax on a flight. GOOD LUCK!

  31. OS,

    So can the crew require me to shave my strip naked and do I’m a little tea pot in front of the rest of the passengers? I only ask, because if not, then there conversation changes from “You have to do whatever the crew tells you,” into “You have to do whatever the crew tells you within X parameters. Is pulling up pants in X?”

  32. Gyges, I don’t think anyone wants to see your li’l teapot. I know I don’t.

    But some of the stories told by the guy who wears his sport kilt are hilarious. Lots of red faces, none of which were his, because he is not only shameless, he has a great sense of humor. Now if they wanted to see his teapot, I am sure he would be glad to give you a vista view of the Pride of Scotland.

  33. Mike Spindell:
    “If I wear a chartreuse Zoot Suit, does anyone have the right to tell me I can’t fly?”
    ——–

    If you manage to escape the fashion martinets and get on the plane come sit by me- I’ll be the slutty-looking free spirit in the mini-skirt, see-through blouse and platform shoes, just like I wore back in the day. :-)

    They probably wouldn’t let you on the plane though, not in California. They were the symbol of rebellion among young Mexican, Italian and African American men and have their name attached to a L.A. race riot instigated by Sailors and Marines against latino’s.

    From Wikipedia under “Zoot Suit”:
    “Characteristics: A zoot suit has high-waisted, wide-legged, tight-cuffed pegged trousers, and a long coat with wide lapels and wide padded shoulders. Often zoot suiters wear a felt hat with a long feather and pointy, French-style shoes. A young Malcolm X described the zoot suit as: “a killer-diller coat with a drape shape, reet pleats and shoulders padded like a lunatic’s cell”.[4] Zoot suits usually featured a watch chain dangling from the belt to the knee or below, then back to a side pocket.

    The amount of material and tailoring required made them luxury items, so much so that the U.S. War Production Board said that they wasted materials that should be devoted to the World War II war effort.[5] This extravagance during wartime was a factor in the Zoot Suit Riots.[6] Wearing the oversized suit was a declaration of freedom and self-determination, even rebelliousness.[6]”

    See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoot_Suit_Riots

  34. If you enjoyed that song by the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, I suggest the entire disc it comes from, “Zoot Suit Riot”.

    Those boys can kick it.

  35. BIL, Got it and most of it is good driving music. I’ve got various selections on some discs I made for the car. It’s a testament to the Turleyblawg that so much esoteric (or esoterically titled anyway) music is appropriate to punctuate the threads. It may not all rise to Nal’s “glorious stereo” sound, unfortunately, but it works with the commentary.

  36. I’d guess – as plenty of else in life – context is everything.

    You wanna push the counter-culture envelope on the ground? Not a problem.

    But when those planes hit the New York towers, all of a sudden things changed big-time in the world of jet travel. Fact of life. The pendulum swings.

    So until some non-thinking, self-absorbed twit can buy his own plane, he’s singling himself out for being tossed out of somebody’ else’s flying house.

    Or, as my very wise, self-educated Dad used to say, “You don’t like apples bouncing off your head? Don’t shake the damn tree.”

    Forget spending money on college. All this fellow needs is 30 days on a working farm.

  37. Mike S.,
    I agree with you that this case is an example of an abuse of authority
    and why should he leave the plane when he paid for his ticket and was not doing anything wrong?

  38. I guess I’m old, but just because tweens, teens, and cougars go to the mall in pajamas doesn’t mean I think there should be no dress codes anywhere.

    So have at it.

    I understand making a slippery slope argument is one of the last refuges of the desperate, but for those of you saying sagging should be fine, and pajamas should be fine, what boundaries would you place on clothing ever?

    Is topless okay? Why not?

    What about those who just want to wear shorts and sandals (my favorite attire).

    What rights does a private carrier have to create and enforce a dress code, and what are your own minimal boundaries that you would enforce on others in public?

  39. A friend of mine used to be a flight attendant with United. We once laughed about a guy who boarded one of her flights wearing only a Speedo swimsuit and cowboy boots. People on the flight were amused, but there was no uproar…

    I think that this was a situation that needn’t have escalated. I agree with what Lottakatz said so well:

    “This isn’t about pants, it’s about power and not asking ‘how high’ when told to jump. That’s what power wants to hear and anything else in simply unacceptable.”

  40. OS,

    Believe it or not, I once interviewed with the company that makes Utili-kilts in Seattle for a sales rep position.

    Anyway, I think the issue I was hinting at is the dividing line between an order that’s within a captains authority to make and one that isn’t.

    Blouise,

    I haven’t flown since Dec. of 2005, and I plan to keep it that way.

  41. I am frankly amazed that a goodly number of people on this thread are happy to hand over so much power to some boarding agent. Now said agents of the airlines will not only be able to demand that you leave your hair gel or mothers milk or toy hammer behind but tell you how to dress in the absence of a dress code. And have that demand backed up relentlessly and unilaterally. As soon as people are conditioned by the security theatre as practiced by the airlines and FAA (and Homeland Security and the host of acronym’s that can pile on) it will spread. It always does. Always.

    How about the right to be left alone or the responsibility to mind ones own business absent some real threat or real discomfort? What about the right to not be subject to the whims of any minor apparatchik that feels like misusing his/her power to just plain hassle somebody? The bad guy isn’t this kid, it’s that we as a society have handed extraordinary power over to the least of corporate/government functionaries and see nothing wrong with their whimsical at best (malicious at worst) exercise of it.

    This isn’t reason, or the appropriate application of the law or justice, this is just the ratcheting-up of the techniques and tactics of a police state. The aim is the blind, unquestioning of demands no matter how petty and the inflation of any refusal or question thereof (no matter how courteous) into a Federal, jail-time crime.

    Yea, everything changed with 9-11, what changed was that the the old foes of democracy saw an opening and took it without opposition. The big protections are gone, a fait accompli, now we are seeing the trickle down of totalitarianism, we are all just someone’s whim away from being criminals.

  42. Lottakatz,

    Thanks for that video. Man, I really dig that kinda’ music.

    Uh, I wonder what kinda cherry poppin’ they talkin’ ’bout…

  43. Anon, it’s not about having a dress code, the airline is perfectly free to have a non-discriminatory dress code as long as it’s made known, in all fairness when you buy the ticket. It’s about imposing rules made up on the spot and calling the threat of a federal crime based on a catch-all, nebulous statute, down on somebody who says “WTF?”, no, I took care of it and don’t want to discuss it further.

    I’ve been many places with dress codes and have no problem with that, just post them where I would enter (for restaurants etc.) or make them known when I buy a ticket or make a reservation. “No shirt, no shoes, no service. :-)

  44. FFLEO, BIL’s right, they’re music is worth buying. That name is kind of skeevy but it’s appropriate for the vernacular of the period that they sing about. It reminds me of after-hours clubs or speakeasy’s, places my mother talked about from the 30’s and 40’s. Places with no air-conditioning, but the music was hot and still made you want to dance…

  45. I see that most posters have not read my posts on this subject. The FACT is that this kid was NOT arrested for a dress code violation. The captain told him to come outside the aircraft and talk to him. He refused to follow that order and as a result he was arrested. THAT is the problem. I had to order a young man outside one time because another person was concerned about him and his carry on luggage. I called TSA, he had done nothing wrong, he got a secondary screening, was cleared, and got back on board with my explanation and apology for the inconvenience. I also ordered the F?As to give him free drinks as compensation, so he was a happy customer at the end of the flight. Had he refused my order, I would have had him arrested.

    When you buy your ticket it also has a seat assignment on it, but there are times when for safety, load weight and balance, you must change your seat. If you refuse the order to take another seat, you WILL also be arrested.

    As a matter of fact and law, you DO have to follow all lawful orders given by flight crew members and you do NOT have any discretion as to when and how you comply. That comes with your ticket too by the way. If you do not like public transportation, you can drive and wear and do whatever your heart desires.

  46. Arthur,
    I did read your post. I don’t deny that the law states that these civilians have this unique authority. I am just suggesting that it is excessive and in this case unnecessary. What danger to the passengers do baggies pants present? None, in my humble opinion.

  47. Mike Spindell wrote:

    “Taking it back to an era we both know about for purposes of illustration: If I wear a chartreuse Zoot Suit, does anyone have the right to tell me I can’t fly?”
    ____________

    Well Mike, my older buddy, I think I would personally break LE rules/regulations regarding not being authorized to conduct a warrantless arrest for a crime not committed in my presence and view without a full and proper on scene investigation.

    I mean, come on man, a *Chartreuse* anything is a terrible crime against all humanity and nature. That is why Avocados must be outlawed. Besides, the word chartreuse is a crime against proper orthography.

    I could go on-and-on about that horrid color but I am getting queasy just thinking about it.

    Judge, throw the book at that guy in the chartreuse Zoot Suit and I’ll pay that 10-spot gamblin’ debt I owe you! Then, ship him out to Sheriff Joe Arpaio for something more acceptable in the pink color scheme of incarcerated leisurewear.

  48. Raff, did you read my explanation?

    As for the rules, they pre-date 9-11, not by years, but by centuries. This is nothing new. When I was a kid, I occasionally read of a passenger being arrested for not following instructions or giving crew a hard time. In the usual course of things, the Captain is not called until the problem has escalated to a point where the flight crew needs an intervention. The Captain tried to get him to come out of the plane on the flightway to have a discussion. He disobeyed that order. That was what got him arrested. No flight crew can tolerate a passenger who refuses to comply with an instruction, whether that person understands the reason for it or not. Had he come out of the plane, the Captain would have explained to him the way was wearing his trousers presented a safety hazard in case the plane had to be evacuated. Does anyone reading this really want to be behind someone with their pants down around their thighs if the aircraft is on fire? The guy in the Speedo wearing boots would NOT present a safety hazard, nor would the fellow in a kilt. Even a Nun in a habit has more freedom of movement than a guy wearing his pants like hobble shackles.

    The arrest was under 49 U.S.C. § 46504. Whether you obey the instructions of a Captain, either of an aircraft or a ship, is not negotiable. It has been that way for millennia. What will probably happen is that he will get a fine and be put on some kind of probation. It could be worse. This will be treated as a misdemeanor unless he chooses to escalate it further.

  49. It occurs to me that if this were the 18th Century, the kid would have risked being keelhauled or hung from the yardarm. If he were really lucky and the Captain were in a good mood, he might have gotten off light by spending the trip in the ship’s brig. Those old Captains did not play.

  50. While I think the captain was correct, I think a prosecutor or magistrate should be lenient with the kid when considering all of the circumstances regarding his age, his state of mind regarding the funeral, et cetera. I think a strong admonishment followed by a reasonable probationary period is fair enough.

  51. FFLEO, I think you are correct. Unless he succeeds in pissing off the investigators, he will get a lecture, a small fine to cover costs and some community service. He did not represent a real threat to the crew, such as the drunk who tried to open a door in flight. He did cause a delay to the flight, and that will be taken into consideration.

  52. Arthur, I read your postings and the law, I don’t think that is the actual issue save for being an over broad law that can and has been interpreted to cover just about anything anyone wants it to including petty disagreements that come down to a passenger not jumping when told to. Actually, that makes it a bad law IMO.

    Regarding this specific case, from what I have read and seen of it the pilot came on the scene after the passenger was in his seat. The passenger told the pilot ‘it’s taken care of.’ The pilot then wanted the passenger to follow him outside.

    There are only two reasons for that: to lecture the passenger as if he were a child or to get him off the plane and not allow him to return. Anything other than that doesn’t make any sense at all. It’s like the cops showing up at your house- it’s not a social visit, ever. If a pilot wants you to step off the plane you just aren’t getting back on. It may be projection on my part though I think it’s a logical projection.

  53. LK, if a guy wearing four stripes on his sleeve ever asks you to step outside and you do not comply, there is no question about the outcome. You WILL exit the aircraft (or ship). Whether you do it on your own or in handcuffs is up to you. If you go voluntarily, there is a good chance you will be allowed to continue on your way, depending on the attitude you display. Kind of like a lawyer in the courtroom pushing the judge too far. You can be contrite or spend the weekend in jail.

  54. “I am frankly amazed that a goodly number of people on this thread are happy to hand over so much power to some boarding agent. ”

    Nah, you’re still wrong.

    Has nothing to do with 9/11 and I have my own personal anecdote to show that.

    In 1983, I was almost tossed off an American Airlines flight, before I even got on, for, and I swear this was my crime, asking the boarding agent what time it was. (Because the jackass had been serially lying to everyone about how delayed the flight was.)

    Has nothing to do with 9/11.

    That gate douche was a douche.

    But yes, onboard an aircraft, you need to do what the crew asks. Period. Sorry you can’t figure that one out.

    Could it have been de-escalated? Well, first, where some proper clothes when going around in public. Two, when they are falling down around your pants, learn how to apologize and not be so arrogant. Three when the man comes by to oppress you, don’t give him the opportunity then and call your lawyer later on.

    Yes, it certainly could have de-escalated and we have deshon for playing his god given role as jackass to primarily thank for the escalation in the first place.

    And yes, I’m glad his ass was tossed off the airplane, serves him right for being a douchebag arrogant jackass who wears pajamas in public.

  55. lotta it seems that you did NOT read my posts because I told about a case where I DID order a person who had done nothing wrong at all off the plane. Not only that, but I told him to bring his carry on, which is NOT a good sign. He was let back on with an explanation, apology, and free drinks. From my personal experience I have had cops show up and while they did have business to conduct, it was also a social visit too. I guess it all depends on how YOU relate to authority.

  56. There’s a long list of passenger rights that I think we should fight over.

    1 TSA groping
    2 Tracking each and every flight anyone takes within the borders of the US
    3 Bogus fees tacked onto tickets so that no one can price compare flights
    4 Passenger Bill of Rights so that passengers aren’t kept on ramp in an unhygienic, cramped, boring, unhealthy environment

    negative Avogadro’s number: protect some arrogant douchebag grown up adult athlete’s right to dress in pajamas

  57. This is from the US Airways contract of carriage. I await the special kind of people we call lawyers to state that pajamas that fall down around your knees are appropriate clothing:

    “3.0 ACCEPTANCE OF CUSTOMERS
    3.1 REFUSAL TO TRANSPORT
    US Airways may refuse to transport, or remove from any flight, any passenger for the following reasons:

    6. Any passenger who may pose a threat to the comfort and/or safety of other passengers or employees
    including (but not limited to) passengers who:

     Are over the age of five (5) and barefoot, or otherwise inappropriately clothed, unless
    required for medical reasons;

     Attempt to interfere with any crewmember in the pursuit of their duties;”

  58. O S

    I know my use of martial law was hyperbole, it was intentional. There is a world of difference between Captain Sullenbergers order to assume crash positions and a flight crew members dislike of a young mans style of clothing. If a pilot decides traditional arab garb is a hindrance to quickly exiting the aircraft can he ban them? (hyperbole again, i know)

    what’s the difference between a scotsman in traditional garb and a cute fellow in a plaid skirt?

    the sheep

  59. Pete:

    I have not flown since 9-11, and will not unless an absolute necessity. I do not do sardine seating very well. However, if I do have to fly commercial, I am strongly tempted to wear my dress kilt. And go Regimental of course. I am an officer of one of the Highland Clans so that is quite appropriate. Let them search me. At my age, don’t confuse me with somebody who cares and I might enjoy the “attention.”

  60. O S

    as much as i love flying i haven’t flown since early 01. if getting on an aircraft takes more time than the flight, why bother.

    i’m scottish on my mothers side but according to my brother, who ran down that side of the family tree, we left scotland by way of ireland in the early 1700’s. must still be in my blood though because i do like the sound of bagpipes.

  61. Anon: ” I guess it all depends on how YOU relate to authority.”
    —–

    LOL, you’re right about that. I respect authority a lot less today than I once did and I’m not the one that change the dynamic of that relationship. I am though a live and let live kind of person trained to examine situations for subtext. To keep my own clients from playing me as well as the opposer from playing me. I also generally follow orders and understand the ramifications of a law well written and explicit v. broad and filled with discretion. We will just have to agree to disagree.

  62. Arthur, I did not address your example in your posting that begins “I see that most posters have not read my posts on this subject.”. I read that line and responded in the affirmative to having read your previous postings (which I did) and went on without having read the rest of your posting. I was then called away and have just checked my newsgroups prior to going to bed and have read the rest of your posting.

    Your statement of an encounter wherein you sent someone for a second screening was interesting. You acted in a professional manner based on passenger discomfort regarding another passenger. What would you have said to someone that had baggy pants and already pulled them up and could you have not done that while he was in his seat?

    I ask that because I’m actually interested and because on several threads on this blawg incidents have been posted regarding behaviour by adolescents and young people up to the age of about 23-25 where actual, obvious law-breaking is involved or zero-tolerance policies have been involved. One of the things that science has been able to tell us lately is that the specific portion of the brain that inhibits risky behaviour and formulating decisions based on an action/consequences equation, isn’t fully formed until about the age of 24, it doesn’t even get a good growth spurt until the teen years.

    Consequently many discussions have been about balancing the seriousness of the offense, the context of the behavior and who among the parties the burden of actually ‘being the adult’ might fall legally or should fall ethically. (I tell you this because I don’t think I’ve seen your nom de plume before so I don’t know if you read the blawg or not.) I generally expect school principals, teachers, police, judges, and officials over the age of 25 to be adults and comport themselves accordingly. I expect kids to do stupid stuff and not think too far ahead. There is an element of that in my assessment of the particular circumstances of this matter.

  63. pete:

    “i’m scottish on my mothers side but according to my brother, who ran down that side of the family tree, we left scotland by way of ireland in the early 1700′s.”

    what did you think of the book by James Web on the Scotts-Irish?

  64. Since I was not there, it is difficult for me to say what my actions would have been, so with that disclaimer, I will try and answer lotta’s question. From the time the kid boarded, there was an indication that there was a problem with him following instructions. It was of a minor nature, so nothing was done immediately and to clarify the situation, the captain was called. We have a number of security levels and procedures that I cannot divulge, thus the call for the captain.

    The captain wanted to see if there was a problem with following instructions, so he asked the kid to come outside to discuss the problem. The whole point of that move was to see if he would follow legitimate orders, which is why it could NOT be done in his seat. Had he complied, the captain would have taken him off to the side in the jetway, told him the rules and procedures that he was expected to follow. Then he would have been let back to his seat with his pants up, and no futher action would have been taken. When he refused the lawful order to follow the captain and come off the plane, THAT triggered the security protocols which is why the other pax were evacuated. In the case I had to deal with in having a suspicious carry on and pax, had that person refused, I would have had to also evacuate the plane as well for obvious reasons..

    As for your contention that a kid cannot be expected to have the same judgement as an adult, while that may be true vis a vis science, it does no good for us in society, unless we wish to deny young folks under 25 all of their rights. It is even LESS excuseable for a football player since he has to do what the coach tells him to do WITHOUT question. I can just imagine the response of his coach if he was told to come off the field and refused! He would not only be off the team, but out of his college and without a scholarship. He may well be facing that now too.

    If I were that captain, given the publicity and the questions raised, I would go to the US attorney for SF and demand that Federal charges be brought as well. If that had been Southwest Airlines, the company would NOT have refunded his money, and they would also sue him for the delays and the cost of that. That is why I love Southwest since they back up their employees.

  65. “They were the symbol of rebellion among young Mexican, Italian and African American men and have their name attached to a L.A. race riot instigated by Sailors and Marines against latino’s.”

    LK,

    That’s just why I chose that, although it was probably obscure to some, remember I am past my middle 60’s. I of course believe what went on here had similar undertones. Also the answers supporting the Captains authority, I think miss the point, as you’ve pointed out, no one disagrees with his authority to maintain safety, just his choice of how to use it.

    As a certified old fart many of todays styles bemuse me and I don’t like them. I personally hate tattoos and don’t thing dreads attractive.

    However, back in my hippie days I mostly wore Mexican Wedding Shirts, with a V neck that almost reached my navel, Bells with metal star studs down the side of each leg, no undersware, sandals or Fry Boots. My hair, I had it on top then, was shoulder length and my beard was full, but trimmed so I wouln’t look like a Hasid. In short I looked like the cross between a biker and a gay guy.

    What I found interesting then though, is I went on six long cross-country car trips (true to my Jack Kerouac reading youth)and never had problems/comments anywhere with my looks, or with police stopping me. I can remember having dinner one night in an upscale restaurant in Salt Lake City, with few stares and everyone treating me fine. Was it because I was white, had manners and was well spoken, or was it that people were more tolerant. The only police stop I had then was 3:00 in N.Dak., because I was doing 95 on a straight open road. I had just smoked a joint 15 minutes before and must have stank from it. I was scared inside, but the highway Patrolman a polite older man just told me to slow it down and gave me a speeding ticket for $15, that he said I could mail in.

    Now back then, no doubt, if I was black or latino, the results might have been different. However, in our post 9/11 America, used as an excuse for many authoritarians to let their egos hold sway, we see this needles exercize in exertion of power all to often.

  66. As I’ve said before, I really should remember to proofread. Too many errors to correct, so I beg your indulgence.

  67. FFLEO,

    You’ve caught me in my twisted color sense:

    “That is why Avocados must be outlawed.”

    My crime is that I love guacamole.

  68. OS,

    I love ya and agree on much with you, but this is a seriously bad analogy:

    “It occurs to me that if this were the 18th Century, the kid would have risked being keelhauled or hung from the yardarm.”

    The issue is not the authority to act, it is the propriety and misuse of authority of this particular act. Because to add to your analogy then, I guess the Captain would have the authority to have a person fellate him, as I’m sure many ship’s Captain did in the 18th Century.

  69. Mike, I was responding to the pearl-clutching over this case about a “civilian” having a passenger arrested on terra firma. My point was that this is not new, and in the bad old days, more could have happened to an offender than being led off in handcuffs. I did not mean it as an analogy, but that the authority of a Captain of a vessel is hardly new and began a long time before 9-11. Can you imagine what would have happened if the Captain were a Roman or Viking ship’s commander? Don’t even want to think about it.

  70. 1) Am I the only person here who bothered to look up 49 USC Sec. 46504, or am I not qualified to interpret it?

    http://trac.syr.edu/laws/49/49USC46504.html

    “An individual on an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction
    of the United States who, by assaulting or intimidating a flight
    crew member or flight attendant of the aircraft, interferes with
    the performance of the duties of the member or attendant or lessens
    the ability of the member or attendant to perform those duties, or
    attempts or conspires to do such an act, shall be fined under title
    18, imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or both.”

    It doesn’t say “ignores” or “refuses to comply with a request or order,” it uses the words, “assaults” or “intimidates.”

    2) According to the argument “Arthur Randolph Erb” is making, in the following scenario on a plane:
    CAPTAIN: “Show me your t**s!”
    FEMALE PASSENGER “Excuse me?”
    CAPTAIN “Take off your top! I want to see your breasts!”
    FEMALE PASSENGER “What? No!”
    CAPTAIN “Oh! You are refusing my order? I will speak with you about this in the bathroom! Get in there right now!”

    At this point, the passenger must comply with his order, regardless of the fact that pilot has no grounds for the initial demand. (Never mind the fact that she has neither “intimidated” nor “assaulted” any member of the crew…) The claim being that the authority isn’t over the initial, problematic demand, but rather about the passenger’s refusal to follow subsequent demands. Right?

    3) This situation, similar situations and the comments from Mr. Erb (assuming he is what he says he is) seem to point towards a cultural problem among airline pilots. I may be wrong, but I have the sense that many of them are “white”, from other-than-urban (or, more specifically, “cosmopolitan”) cultural backgrounds, and may have enthusiastically joined the military, and thus embrace a culture of “orders and obedience,” rather than the civil/democratic system that the rest of us work under in the US. This would seem to explain why people with certain clothing and/or hair styles, such as the Imams going to a conference on anti-Muslim discrimination, have been thrown off planes by pilots. Similarly, Mr. Erb’s re-working of this situation into “it isn’t his clothing style, it’s the fact that he objected to the crew’s objections to his clothing style – see no racism!” seems to fit a pattern of what Bill O’Reily would call “traditional” approaches to people and situations.

  71. tomdarch, you left out the money quote on the list of violations: “…interferes with
    the performance of the duties of the member or attendant or lessens
    the ability of the member or attendant to perform those duties…”

    Courts have ruled on the interpretation of those several phrases. I not only am familiar with that section of the US Code, but have looked up the cases as well. There are a lot of assumptions going on with few facts. The reason the kid was arrested was NOT for wearing low pants. He was arrested for refusing to come with the Captain out onto the jetway for a discussion. It is a test. If there is a question of a passenger being disruptive in any way, the Captain will invite that person to come to one side and have a discussion of the rules. Failure to comply triggers a response that is set out by Federal regulations controlling passenger aircraft. In anticipation of potential trouble, all passengers must be deplaned and sent to a waiting area. The authorities will then come and take the offender away. Captain Erb is correct in his explanations. That is the way things work. If you do not like it, then your option is to not fly. Thing is, do this one too many times and you will find yourself on the no-fly list.

    This started as an issue of low hanging pants and the flight crew told him several times to pull up his pants. That is a safety issue and also is found on the back of your ticket where it tells you that if there is not a medical reason, appropriate dress is expected. Baggy pants are a safety hazard if you have to evacuate an airplane full of people in sixty seconds or less. When the Captain came back to talk to him he told the Captain “It has been taken care of” and refused to comply when told to come outside. THAT got the plane evacuated and the guy arrested. As far as the Captain knew, he had somebody on drugs, drunk or a psychiatric problem. He was required to evacuate the plane for everyone’s safety. All that constitutes interference with the flight crew in the performance of their duties.

  72. “Can you imagine what would have happened if the Captain were a Roman or Viking ship’s commander?”

    OS,

    On a Viking ship the Captain wouldn’t have given a damn what the crewmembers wore, as long as they could fight. On a Roman Ship, I suppose legionaires were expected to dress in a certain way, but the oarsmen were naked or almost any way. Again though, I’m not questioning the Captain’s authority, I’m questioning his judgement and what he perceives to be disobedience. That I wouldn’t wear my pants like that is certain, but whom am I to judge another persons dress? By the same token who is anyone else to question peoples clothing? The questioning of clothing choices is all about power and class. Always was and always will be. I refer you to the sumptuary laws in the middle ages, or the laws governing Jewish garb for at least a thousand years in Europe.

  73. LK,: “That’s just why I chose that, although it was probably obscure to some, remember I am past my middle 60′s. I of course believe what went on here had similar undertones.” {Zoot Suit reference}

    I figured you did, your scholarship (including much popular culture) is great and often matched by you subtlety. I hoped after I replied to that post that, like a rude comedian, I didn’t step on your ‘punchline’ to be delivered in a subsequent posting. I thought your comment brilliant on many levels and I see this current incident in that context.
    ______________________
    “However, back in my hippie days I mostly wore Mexican Wedding Shirts, with a V neck that almost reached my navel, Bells with metal star studs down the side of each leg, no undersware, sandals or Fry Boots. My hair, I had it on top then, was shoulder length and my beard was full, but trimmed so I wouln’t look like a Hasid. In short I looked like the cross between a biker and a gay guy”

    I bet you were a fabulous sight to see, LOL, as were many of us. I knew more than one person that had huge, HUGE Afro’s and Jewfro’s, so long and dense that they could hide j’s in them. LOL, they were always ‘holding’ something up there. An African-American friend explained that it was the safest pace to a little something ( a j or a couple of tabs) because if you got stopped by a white cop they would never put their hands in a black persons hair, they thought it was ‘nasty’. Swear-to-god. True or not, it was a bit of cultural education that stuck with me. Good times :-)

  74. LK,

    I forget which comedian said this, but to paraphrase, “The reason people in the ’60s and ’70s were having so much sex is they would do anything to get out of those horrible clothes.”

  75. “pace to a” above sb ‘place to hide a”.

    Mike, your spelling errors are not a problem for me, I’ve got my own problems with spelling and my spell checker.

    My spell-checker, a google thing, has started doing something strange and annoying. When I go to spell check it shows not only the original in the comment window but a second copy- I then have to correct BOTH. If I miss a word in either copy the original misspelling stays. Anyone else having that problem? I have to use that google spell checker because my explorer spell checker will not work at all with wordpress now. Started about a month ago.

  76. While it is true that most airline captains of my age are military trained and vets of Vietnam as well as being white, I am outraged at the slur and slanders made by tomdarch. I did join the Air Force willingly in 1965 and am a Vietnam era vet. I also was a leader in the anti-Vietnam war movement in my area when I got out, and before that was active in the civil rights movement. In fact, when I joined the Air Force I had to really read the Attorney Generals list to see if I had been in any of the proscribed organizations. I was also fortunate enough to personally hear Dr. King give his I have a dream speech when he came to Hartford, CT.

    In my four years in the Air Force, I found that the overwhelming numbers of the military are passionately devoted to our Constitution and civilian supremacy. To paint them as military robots or martinets is outrageous and requires an apology if you wish to preserve a sense of decency here. The military DOES function in a democratic society, and while it has more rules and restricts civil liberties more than civil life, you still have the essential freedoms, which I fully exercised when I was opposed to the Vietnam war.. My commanders did not appreciate my views, but as long as I followed military rules and regs, I had no problem. I was not selected for re-eniistment to be sure, but that hardly bothered me in any case. Given the case of Maj. Hasan and his murderous rampage and his previously stated views, I would say the US military was far too lenient in that regards.

    I am well to the left of most people on this blog and most pilots too, though I have run into some radicals as captains who are of similar views to mine. Yet I still support what the captain did and he was entirely reasonable at all times in his conduct and actions. So you slander me without knowing a single thing about me and do the same thing you decry about whites profiling minorities. You also slander ALL captains and aircrew as well with your assertions by calling them racists.

    Group think is NOT confined to the right wing, but is as bad on the left too.

  77. Mike Spindell,

    Every time you speak of your “road trip” I think of this song and I have posted it previously. Do you remember the tune?

    The Dewdrop Inn

    Tucked my hair under my hat

    Some feller with green teeth

    Kue Klux Klan

    Friend of them long-haired hippie-type pinko fags..

  78. I have to agree with Capt. Erb here. I thought the same thing when I read tomdarch’s comment, as well as some of the comments that had gone before. Some not only went off half-cocked, some were in a cocked hat.

    Be careful about jumping to conclusions when you do not know all the facts. That is something I learned decades ago when I got into forensics. The worst thing you can do is decide a case before you have gathered all available facts. Some here have continued to argue all kinds of things, including racism and militarism, when there is no evidence at all to support those notions. Trolls pull stuff out their nether parts. We are better than that. I hope. Good on ya’ Captain. Keep on keeping the shiny side up and the greasy side down.

  79. tomdarch,

    Your comments and that extremely poor attempt at an analogous scenario seem very inappropriate for this blawg. What you wrote is out of character from what I have seen from your previous postings. Please reconsider what you stated. Thanks.

  80. Arthur : “The captain wanted to see if there was a problem with following instructions, so he asked the kid to come outside to discuss the problem. The whole point of that move was to see if he would follow legitimate orders, which is why it could NOT be done in his seat. Had he complied, the captain would have taken him off to the side in the jetway, told him the rules and procedures that he was expected to follow.”

    ————-
    Secret test for absolute compliance? LOL. Yes, I’m thinking that’s funny in a way that is not complimentary for the airline industry. How about truth in advertising? Why aren’t there gigantic, GIGANTIC, signs covering every spare inch of airport wall space that say: “We demand absolute and total compliance with every order or request from anyone, anywhere in this airport and especially in the plane. If you don’t comply we have the legal authority to remove you and put your ass in jail AND WE WILL.

    Print that in 14point type on every ticket and make it a giant flashing banner on every Internet site that sells tickets and make it mandatory for every travel and ticket agent to state that to their flying customers.

    Seriously. We just need to agree to disagree.

  81. Otteray Scribe: ” Some not only went off half-cocked, some were in a cocked hat. ”
    —-
    Well, one of those folks from your point of view should be me and if it’s not then I’m doing a darn poor job of posting.

    See my above posting. Obviously the gulf between viewpoint is so great that we will just have to agree to disagree even if I’m correct and can’t get any converts. :-) Yes, I’m just being a b***h at ya’ now for the humor of it. We agree on a lot of things but the gulf is just too wide this time buddy, (“Buddy”, as in buddy, no subtext there.) It’s been a fun debate though.

  82. The pilot writes “legitimate orders” which you construe as “We demand absolute and total compliance with every order or request from anyone, anywhere in this airport and especially in the plane. If you don’t comply we have the legal authority to remove you and put your ass in jail AND WE WILL.”

    Good job, I am curious what sort of law you practice in case I need someone like you.

  83. Well lotta, I see that you are more concerned about drama than rational discourse. The fact remains that public facilities such as airports DO by necessity have to have rules to preserve security and safety. As for anybody who works at the airport having unlimited authority, that is beyond absurd. and convinces nobody but yourself.

  84. Mike, FYI: I just got tired of my spell-checker hassle’s so I looked around the Internet and d/led this spell checker and installed it. It works with the right click mouse (won’t install in a tool bar but that’s OK for me) and works well. If you have a spell checker that is a pain in the butt to use then this is a good, free add-on. No virus etc., I ran it past Webroot anti-virus before I installed. Just a right click in the comment box, no highlighting etc., a double click on the appropriate word in the word selection box changes the misspelled word, you don’t have to click on “change”. Just FYI, not trying to sell it or anything.

    http://www.iespell.com/

  85. If everyone had acted rational this would never have been an issue. There must have been something that got the attention of the gate agent. However, some gate agents are unreasonable and like to play god. Again, there must have been something that brought the young man to the agents attention…then, it was reported to the pilot and then the pilot must make a decision…who knows…even before 911…adherence to being reasonable was expected…You have no right to fly…You have the right to reserve and pay for a ticket…but you have no right to fly…

  86. OS,
    I can’t agree with you and Capt. Erb about the “test” and the need for the test. If the rules are to be followed, put all of these rules in writing and let the public know what lines in the sand are being drawn. However, I do need clarification of your “going regimental” comment. Is that the same thing as “going commando”?? :)

  87. i’m with L K on this one. everyone sees the pilots and the passengers actions through the lens of their own experiences and beliefs and no amount of typing will change that.

    but i’m still right na na na

  88. tomdarch,

    What FFLEO said. You yourself admitted that you may be wrong about the culture among pilots. While not a pilot myself, I know quite a few – from crop dusters, to civil pilots, to commercial carrier and military pilots. To a one there is one consideration that overrides any and all other considerations. That prime directive is safety.

  89. Lottakatz,

    We regulars do not care if you disagree and we will always like ya a bunch ’cause we know that you can be obstin…er, hard-hea, um, well, anyways—you aint no shrinkin’ violet…There! I said it!

  90. O.K.- So I can’t wear my baggy pants on an airplane. I can live with that. But Lord help the pilot who tries to take away my red stick-on nose or my slapstick!

  91. “Do you remember the tune?”

    FFLEO,

    Memory vague, but then what would you expect, perhaps if you hummed a few bars. Speaking of which I was in some scary bars, especially in the Desert in rural Nevada. Nobody threatened me. Of course with my mangy looks, six feet and flowing Mexican Wedding shirt they might of thought I was packing, especially with my hunting knife on my hip. Good times, enfolded in the naivety and stupidity of youth.

  92. LK,

    Must admit I don’t know how to use a spell checker in the reply box here while posting, nor bold for that matter. After all yhese years here I know that sounds dumb, but there you have it.

  93. “Well lotta, I see that you are more concerned about drama than rational discourse. The fact remains that public facilities such as airports DO by necessity have to have rules to preserve security and safety”

    Arthur,

    I must strongly disagree, not that LK can’t fight her own battles, but your sweep was so inclusive that I suppose it includes me. The drama in this discussion has been added by those who think the objections are to Captains having the authority to deal with potentially disturbing passengers and I, nor no one else disagrees with you. The issue that raises my hackles is that in defending the pilot’s actions the verbiage used is also one that could apply to any police state.

    Unless this young man’s ass was fully exposed, which it wasn’t at all, then nobody should have the right to complain about his attire. That he was large and black I think had much to do with the complainers. He was sitting peacefully in his seat and explained to the Captain that the problem was solved. The Captain should have let the matter end right there. however, it is obvious that the Captain had his own agenda and that was to remove the young man from the plane for his purported impertinence. Despite the inconvenience that would cause to the rest of his passengers. To me that indicates that the Captain is someone with the type of mentality where he must maintain his “top dog” status. Perhaps this is a tendency needed of all commercial pilots, but I seriously doubt it. It is usually the tendency of those with closed minds and while attention to detail is of course paramount in flying an aircraft, flexibility of decision making would appear to me to also be an excellent attribute.

    Captain Sullenberger, faced with disaster, thought outside the box and saved his plane and passengers. I have seen him interviewed on many occasions and he impresses me as a man with great strength of character and not one who needs to exert authority to flatter his ego. This young man did nothing wrong except to commit a fashion faux pas, that actually among those his age, is a fashion statement.
    One doesn’t have to be my age to be an Old Fart and my feeling is this Captain is one also.

    Further, I could care less that this authority far predated 9/11.
    Since 9/11, the tendency of people with authority over other has grown exponentially. Under cover of terror it has allowed many of the egotists of the world to enjoy their small power over others. This is especially true in the airline industry. The sad and ironic twist to this is that the next terror attack will most probably not copy 9/11, but will come in other areas where less money for vigilance is being expended. Once again we are figuratively shutting the barn door after the horses have escaped and shedding some of our civil liberties in the process.

  94. Hear, hear, Mike S…. Well said.

    ——–

    Arthur,

    Re: “Well lotta, I see that you are more concerned about drama than rational discourse.” The fact remains that public facilities such as airports DO by necessity have to have rules to preserve security and safety”

    You apparently don’t know “lotta” (lottakatz), like we know lottakatz, who is always interested in “rational discourse”, from my point of view…

    Re: “The fact remains that public facilities such as airports DO by necessity have to have rules to preserve security and safety”

    I’m pretty sure that most who post here — and certainly lottakatz — understand this…

    (As Mike said, LK is perfectly capable of fighting her own battles, but I’m weighing in anyway. I’m a little surprised at some of the patronizing and condescending comments in this thread…)

    ——–

    What happened was a gross overreaction to something pretty minor — it needn’t have escalated…, to ever-so-briefly restate my position…

  95. You see a black guy sitting peacefully in his seat, minding his own business. And naturally, you see racism, and you’re brave enough to call it out based on nothing but the colors of the men involved. So your see racism everywhere glasses are working, you got that going for you.

    Other people see a coddled jackass that came to the airport wearing in appropriate clothes, that fell down to his knees, that refused to cooperate with well known authorities.

    Personally, I believe seeing racism everywhere and calling it out where there is otherwise no evidence is the second to last refuge of the incompetent.

    Well, anyway, the exact same thing happened again, except it’s frontier airlines and instead of an oppressed black man that the white male patriarchy is keeping down, it was a quadriplegic, and the reason is even sketchier:

    http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/28291011/detail.html

    Quadriplegic Passenger Forced Off Frontier Flight
    Pilot Said It Wasn’t ‘Safe’ For Fort Collins Man To Fly

    DENVER — A quadriplegic man from Fort Collins was forced off a Frontier Airlines plane because a pilot said it wasn’t safe for him to fly.
    His mother, Kathleen Morris, said there was no problem two days earlier when her son flew Frontier from Denver International Airport to Dallas to attend a family wedding.
    But Sunday afternoon, when he boarded in Dallas to come home, John Morris and his family said they were humiliated.
    “When a flight attendant saw John strapped in, they said they would have to clear it with the captain,” said Kathleen Morris.
    She said that her son is a quadriplegic with limited upper body control.
    Morris has flown Frontier Airlines in the past, using an airline seat-belt extension to secure his chest and legs to the seat. The extension is normally used by larger passengers who need a longer seat belt to secure their waist.
    “But this time, the pilot refused to take off,” she said. “So, I said that we wouldn’t get off the plane until they figured it out.”
    Passengers Offered To Help

    Fellow passenger Denny Cannon was seated nearby and overheard that Frontier couldn’t use its equipment for medical purposes.
    So, he and other upset passengers, offered to help.
    “Me and other passengers said, ‘Well, sure, use our belts and we’ll somehow restrain him and then you won’t be using Frontier products,” Cannon recalled.
    Three Police Officers Responded To Plane

    But in the end, to the dismay of other passengers, Frontier called airport police. Three police officers boarded the plane.
    Kathleen Morris said she felt it was insensitive that the pilot never came out to talk with her son or examine how he was restrained in his seat.
    The mother said sympathetic police officers told her of their discussion with the pilot.
    The officers told the pilot this was not a law enforcement matter, according to Kathleen Morris.
    “It looks like he’s safely restrained,” an officer told the pilot, according to Kathleen Morris. “This is not an issue for us, because he’s not posing a problem for the plane or other passengers.”
    The captain again refused to take off with Morris onboard.
    “He cannot fly. I want him off this plane,” the pilot told police, according to Kathleen Morris.
    “It was humiliating,” the mother said. “The officers kept apologizing to me and to John and kept saying, ‘This is wrong.'”
    A snowboarding accident five years ago left John Morris paralyzed.
    The 24-year-old Colorado State University student said he couldn’t believe how he was treated on the plane, and he was sorry for the delay the incident caused.
    “I felt horrible,” he said. “I just felt like I didn’t belong. I haven’t felt that bad since the accident.”
    “It really broke my heart, because I know what John goes through on a day to day basis, not being able to do things that he certainly would like to, just wanting the opportunity to travel,” Kathleen Morris said.
    “It was very demoralizing and dehumanizing. It should have been dealt with at the gate, not after he was already boarded,” said one passenger.
    Frontier: “There Was No Wrong Done Here”

    “The pilot did what he thought was best for the safety of this disabled person and the party, as well as the airplane, there was no wrong done here,” said Frontier spokesman Peter Kowalchuk. “I don’t believe that his rights were violated. We’re in the process now of conducting an investigation.”
    Kowalchuk said the pilot was concerned for the safety of Morris and uncertain whether the seat-belt extension could be used to restrain his legs and torso.
    The captain has the ultimate decision on issues regarding passenger safety on a plane, he said.
    “The pilot is the CEO of that aircraft, if you will,” said Kowalchuk.

  96. Otteray Scribe
    1, June 20, 2011 at 2:47 pm
    tomdarch, you left out the money quote on the list of violations: “…interferes with
    the performance of the duties of the member or attendant or lessens
    the ability of the member or attendant to perform those duties…”

    Courts have ruled on the interpretation of those several phrases. I not only am familiar with that section of the US Code, but have looked up the cases as well. There are a lot of assumptions going on with few facts. The reason the kid was arrested was NOT for wearing low pants. He was arrested for refusing to come with the Captain out onto the jetway for a discussion.
    ——————————————
    So, the answer is, I am not qualified to interpret the code. My uninformed reading is, “by [performing action x, specifically “assaults” or “intimidates”], [causes result y: interferes with crew]. To me, it seems that the code makes a sort of causal or conditional link between the two.

    About the argument that this guy’s baggy pants posed a risk to himself and the other people on the plane – can you really claim that there are no examples of women’s fashion that don’t pose and even greater risk? Ill fitting high heels, for instance? How often are people wearing these items told to do something about them? How often do they disregard that order, and are then ordered off the plane, continue to disregard the orders, and are then arrested? If a passenger having a hard time getting down an aisle (such as from baggy pants falling down while trying to walk) is such a security issue, why do we serve passengers alcohol on planes? Why do we allow them to take prescription sedatives? Sorry, but the contractions here make me not buy the “baggy pants are too dangerous” argument to justify the situation.

    Mr. Erb – you clearly deserve a thoughtful reply from me, which will take a little time to compose.

  97. “You see a black guy sitting peacefully in his seat, minding his own business. And naturally, you see racism, and you’re brave enough to call it out based on nothing but the colors of the men involved. So your see racism everywhere glasses are working, you got that going for you.”

    Anon,

    Coyness isn’t becoming. I assume you know that the baggy, low riding pants come out of the Hip Hop music movement and is identified with black people. Perhaps you also think “driving while black (and nowadays Latino)is also mythology.

  98. tomdarch, I made no such argument regarding high heels, etc. Now that you bring it up, however, I think those are not safe for walking on the sidewalk, let alone an airplane. However, a woman can kick off her shoes in case of emergency. It has happened before, a number of times. With regard to other fashion items, some should not be allowed out in public, let alone on airplanes. I do not know where the line should be drawn. Anything that causes a flight delay can easily be interpreted as interfering with the duties of the crew under the rubric of the statute.

  99. “Coyness isn’t becoming. I assume you know that the baggy, low riding pants come out of the Hip Hop music movement and is identified with black people. Perhaps you also think “driving while black (and nowadays Latino)is also mythology.”

    Um, That wasn’t what the guy was wearing, not even by his own admission. Listen to the recording. Close your eyes if you need to so that YOU will be blind to see race.

    He wasn’t sagging or bagging. He wasn’t wearing sweatpants, he says himself that he was wearing pajamas. His pajamas fell down around his knees.

    If you look up the thread, I even asked people, where they would place barriers on what people wear. I think it’s an interesting question because it goes to freedom of expression on the one hand, and yet, we do have “decency” laws on the other hand.

    I also wonder if by seeing race everywhere, and by assuming he was wearing low riding baggy pants, even as he says he is wearing pajamas, you are falling into the trap of the soft bigotry of low expectations.

    This is a college student, and a coddled athlete. He can figure out to wear something other than pajamas out in public, and he can also figure out how to treat pilots and employees with the respect they as well as he deserves.

    So what actually happened is this young college athlete takes a trip wearing pajamas that don’t fit him, and refuses to cooperate with the stewards and captain and is tossed off the flight.

    And you, not knowing any of these people, not knowing the history and context of what a pilot’s responsibilities are, or how those are implemented, blithely, ignorantly, liberally, proclaim it all to be racism.

  100. In the other, more bizarre, example I posted, they did the exact same thing and got the exact same result.

    “But this time, the pilot refused to take off,” she said. “So, I said that we wouldn’t get off the plane until they figured it out.”

    And so the cops were called.

    I understand the issues people have with government authority, and with faceless bureaucracies.

    But I think there’s an enormous difference between stupid rules and gropes from TSA, and the actual orders from the pilot and crew of a vehicle moving at 500 mph at 30,000 feet.

    I think the Frontier’s pilot made a far bigger mistake in that, according to the mother, he apparently didn’t bother to check on the situation himself.

    “Kathleen Morris said she felt it was insensitive that the pilot never came out to talk with her son or examine how he was restrained in his seat.”

  101. I still agree that this episode is an example of racism and too much authority in the wrong hands. I don’t care if he was wearing pajamas because women and young men wear them all the time in public and I have seen worse outfits on planes.

  102. “I don’t care if he was wearing pajamas because women and young men wear them all the time in public and I have seen worse outfits on planes.”

    Rafflaw, I understand this sentiment, but I tend to believe it’s a shallow opinion, formed not from first principles, but formed mostly from who you are biased to favor.

    But I do encourage you, and ask you, to help enlighten me, by answering the question I posed above:

    “I understand making a slippery slope argument is one of the last refuges of the desperate, but for those of you saying sagging should be fine, and pajamas should be fine, what boundaries would you place on clothing ever?

    Is topless okay? Why not?

    What about those who just want to wear shorts and sandals (my favorite attire).

    What rights does a private carrier have to create and enforce a dress code, and what are your own minimal boundaries that you would enforce on others in public?”

    What boundaries would you ever place on clothing?

    Is it okay for me to attend (someone else’s) courtcase wearing just my thong? Ride my bike in my thong? Go to the fanciest restaurant in town with my furry friends while I wear just a thong? Attend a funeral, wedding, in my thong? Attend an elementary school function in my thong?

    What limits are you willing to place on clothing and why?

  103. Anon,

    I admit when I’m wrong and I was wrong in this case. I don’t agree fully with some of the other points you made, but do not want to take away from my being abashed at my error. I’m not a soft racist, however, I should get my facts straight when I make statements. I didn’t in this case and so I apologize to you, unequivocably.

  104. Some easy stuff first:

    Former Federal LEO
    1, June 20, 2011 at 8:37 pm
    tomdarch,

    Your comments and that extremely poor attempt at an analogous scenario seem very inappropriate for this blawg. What you wrote is out of character from what I have seen from your previous postings. Please reconsider what you stated. Thanks.
    ———————————————-
    I understand a “bad taste” objection to my hypothetical. My point was to intentionally present an obviously problematic analogy. The argument being made here is that the baggy pants weren’t the fundamental legal problem, but rather than the individual didn’t immediately comply with the instruction to exit the plane. It seems reasonable to me that the person with the “problematic” pants didn’t see a reason for him to be ordered off the plane, and probably found it objectionable that he was being pestered about his pants in the first place. Does the law allow a pilot on a commercial plane to order passengers to do essentially anything he/she wants? If a passenger finds the initial request to be unfounded or objectionable, does that give the passenger any right to object to further, directly related “instructions”?

    My choice of absurd analogy was also intended as a parallel to the incident in question and to provoke an emotional response. My inference was that most (all?) people reading this blog would find a demand for a woman to undress in public to be viscerally offensive. It looks like my inference was correct. Because I place this “baggy pants” dispute in context with several other specific “baggy pants” incidents, and personal experience with what I believe to be essentially “racial” incidents, I find this airplane/”baggy pants” situation to be viscerally objectionable.

    I knew I was pushing things when I made these statements, and I’ll ratchet back in the future. Being “online” since the days when everyone was .edu, dealing with wackos on alt.religion.scientology in the early ’90s, and being involved with an online community that includes proto-Tea Partiers and more-or-less overt racists, my posting WAS pretty toned-down comparatively. I’ll try to keep things further dialed down in the future.

    ———————-

    Otteray Scribe
    1, June 21, 2011 at 2:37 pm
    tomdarch, I made no such argument regarding high heels, etc. Now that you bring it up, however, I think those are not safe for walking on the sidewalk, let alone an airplane. However, a woman can kick off her shoes in case of emergency. It has happened before, a number of times.

    ——————————–

    Sorry – I wasn’t directing that at any of your comments. Nonetheless, a)if this guy’s pants were so baggy that they were falling off, then he could have dropped them in an emergency, and b)plenty of people would decline to “slip off” and abandon very expensive items in an emergency situation. There are plenty of situations in which people have lost limbs or died by deciding to hang on to personal property or clothing in an emergency. My point being: I don’t buy the (apparently post hoc) claim that the initial objections to “baggy pants” were justified by safety.

  105. Thank you Mike.

    I really am interested in a discussion of how “society” and “the law” benefits and has the right to direct what people wear.

    Should it be illegal for women to walk around in public topless? Should it be illegal for anyone to be nude anywhere they want? Should any random business be able to demand people wear shirts or not pajamas? Should a “deregulated” common carrier like US Airways have that same right?

    Would Rafflaw allow some non-sick guy wearing pajamas into his daughter’s wedding, even if he had an invite? Into his grandfather’s funeral? If a guy came dressed in his jammies to an interview that Raffie was hiring for, would Raffie interview him and not let his clothes be prejudicial? And if that guy repeatedly showed up to work, in his pajamas, would Rafflaw be perfectly okay with that?

    I don’t know.

    I do think US Airways should have the right to kick out both pajama wearers and saggers. I see no reason to celebrate either prison or tween culture.(*) I think most people (including me) are too gutless to enforce it, but if US Air wants to, more power to them.

    (*) baggy pants riding below the butt does not come from a low rider or a latino culture. It comes from a prison culture.

  106. Tomdarch sez: “I don’t buy the (apparently post hoc) claim that the initial objections to “baggy pants” were justified by safety.”

    ********************************************
    Not post-hoc:

    Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Administration Regulations are the general operating and flight rules. All commercial aircraft operations come under the control of Part 91.

    No seat can be labeled as a ‘safe’ one in an aircraft. ……the ability of the travelers to maintain their temper and exit from the aircraft fast is crucial for survival. Airlines operating large capacity passenger aircraft are required to maintain strict safety regulations.

    ….In case of emergency slides, being conversant with the location of exits, following the orders of the flight and cabin crew and wearing slide friendly clothes is necessary. High heeled shoes must be removed…..

    Again, not post hoc.

  107. Clarification to avoid confusion. Those quotes are not from Part 91. They are from an airline handbook for flight crews. Part 91 mandates that such rules of operation be in place by all operators. No rulebook; no certification as a carrier. If no certification the aircraft cannot even be pushed back from the gate.

  108. tomdarch,

    Thank you. In no manner whatsoever do I ever want to stifle comments within this blawg, especially when the commenter is fair-minded, which is what I have thought of you based upon your previous letters.

    I look forward to your reply to Captain Erb.

  109. Mr. Erb,

    Because I do not agree that I made any slurs or slanders, I can not apologize to you. I won’t be disrespectful by being disingenuous. You may believe I’m wrong, you may have solid evidence to prove that. I welcome being dissuaded from my suspicions. If you interpreted what I said to be a claim that ALL commercial airline pilots had these biases, that would be an incorrect interpretation of what I said. Given your background and experience, I would be surprised if you never heard fellow pilots make derogatory comments about non-“white” people or the competence of women. Those biases exist, they exist for more than a tiny minority, and those biases can and do influence how people act.

    I “claim” to be an architect. (Who knows online? Maybe I am actually a Syrian lesbian.) I would not be “offended” or consider it to be a “slur” or “slanderous” if someone made the following statement:

    “This situation, similar situations and the comments from Tom seem to point towards a cultural problem among architects. They tend to be “white”, male, and from upper-middle class backgrounds. The self-select to be architects because it seems to be an enjoyable, less demanding occupation. They don’t take their work as seriously as some other professions, such as commercial airline pilots. Because of their backgrounds and the self-selection process they don’t care about cost or schedule or profits. They don’t know much about actual building construction, and only care about how buildings look! Because of the well-off backgrounds many come from, they happily insist on expensive aesthetic or “green” requirements and don’t understand the limitations of people in situations of poverty.’

    I wouldn’t be “offended” and even incorrect components of such a statement aren’t “slurs”. Some of those are true statements about the cultural biases of some architects – enough that the profession should and has addressed them. We all have cultural biases, and while not all architects have cultural biases that cause them to undervalue the understanding of the “nitty gritty” of building construction, some do not. Both of my grandfathers were building contractors, so while they were alive, I got to see things from their perspective. As a result, I see some of these “cultural bias issues” in my fellow architects.

    (Actually I just read a thread in an engineering forum, where a bunch of engineers (including non-structural) were complaining about how architects don’t know anything about structural engineering. The original poster was complaining that the architect doing his house remodel had specified too large a beam, not too small. “Architects can’t do the calculations to design beams!” Ironically, I had completed a set of beam calcs that were sitting in front of me which would disprove that statement. That said, all US architects have done those calculations at one point to get licensed, but many can’t do them today. So, were those statements “slurs”? Was I offended? No, they had some merit, but were somewhat off the mark. Of course, as the discussion went on, the engineers put their heads together and figured out that the architect was about right…)

    The history of medicine over the last century is full of examples where the cultural biases of doctors, coming out of a limited cultural background, impaired their ability to treat patients. (Once you get past the circumcision arguments, a Google search of cultural bias in medicine will turn up many instances. When the profession was overwhelmingly “white” (and in an era of more overt racism) doctors did a lousy job of treating “black” patients. When the profession was largely male, they often did a poor job of treating women in general and illnesses that only/primarily effect women.) Over and over again, this profession of powerful individuals, who are used to deference, loudly objected to these observations. “How dare you, sir! Why I never!” Given the profession’s basis in science and proof, over time these biases were exposed as groundless, and treatment was improved. Identify the bias, experiment to test for the effect, either you can prove improvement in outcome or you can’t.

    Most other professions don’t have such opportunities for concrete, quantitative testing to expose our biases.

    Mr. Erb wrote:
    “In my four years in the Air Force, I found that the overwhelming numbers of the military are passionately devoted to our Constitution and civilian supremacy.”

    The illegal invasion of Iraq really drove this point home for me. Members of the military place an extraordinary trust in the civilian commander in chief, and many die as a result of following those sometimes mistaken orders. I’m sure that there were serious legal questions asked within the US military about the invasion, and there were clearly concerns about the planning – as seen in the forthright testimony of Gen. Shinseki to the Senate about troop levels. Nonetheless, the overwhelming majority of the US military did their best to execute the orders they were given.

    That said, there is a huge gulf between people who have embraced the military culture of accepting orders, and those who have not. Even within the military, not everyone goes along with that premise. An Air-Force reservist co-worker told me about one of his chem/bio weapons training classes: This was pre-2001, so many others there had joined for the college benefits, not because they fully grasped what it meant to enlist. When the instructor explained that when the time limit of their hazard suits was approaching, the lowest ranking person in a group would have to take their hood off to see what would happen. (I’m over simplifying.) After the class, many of the people in the group were flabbergasted. “Nuh uh. No way I’d do that!” They hadn’t “embraced” the idea of taking orders, particularly in extraordinary circumstances, or when it appears to be unwarranted. People who do have the military background, and may be empowered by law to issue orders, need to understand that the rest of the world doesn’t buy into that system, and they need to act accordingly.

    This system of obeying orders can be premised either on force, or a reasonable degree of trust that orders will generally be issued in a reasonable, responsible manner. As Mr. Erb said, “…you still have the essential freedoms, which I fully exercised when I was opposed to the Vietnam war.” Mr. Erb was able to maintain a level of trust in the hierarchy that was issuing him orders, and as such, he continued to obey those orders.

    One problem in the situation we are discussing here, is that many Americans have been given good reason not to trust the system that is issuing orders. We can’t say for sure with the guy who was arrested here, but a lot of “black” Americans know from experience that there’s one set of rules for middle-class “white” Americans, and a different, often random and arbitrary set of rules applied to them. A lot of people in his situation, after being hassled for a silly, racially-charged issue like “baggy pants”, would interpret the situation as “Here we go again!” When some guy in a paramilitary uniform (police-like) says, “Just step off the plane, so we can discuss this,” why trust him? Lots of Americans have been lied to by guys in blue paramilitary uniforms, so why would this situation be any different? Like most of us, he probably had no idea that there’s a federal law that is interpreted to mean that passengers must obey even arbitrary or apparently baseless instructions. Why SHOULD this guy trust the system, and agree to abide by an “obey orders” approach?

    Mr. Erb – I think you understand that this is reality for too many Americans. My original point is: how many of your colleagues can see it that way? An overwhelming majority, or as you hint at – is it only a small minority of “radicals”?

    Re-watching the video, this guy calmly stood his ground. (He did mock the situation at one point by over-using “sir” – good to see he had some sense of humor.) His pants may have sagged at some point, but he was wearing underwear – as he said, he hadn’t committed any crime. Imagine this situation with a “white” businessman having a genuine “wardrobe malfunction” – his pants sag down, he’s wearing underwear, he waits to get to his seat and then pulls up and secures his pants, and sits down. No harm, no foul. He would make the same argument and similarly stand up for his rights – no crime, I’ve fixed my pants, I paid for my ticket, I am not making a scene, let’s get going. How was this guy any different?

    Given that the original situation was resolved (his pants were up, no underwear-clad buttocks were exposed), and the passenger was seated and calm as seen in the video, why did the captain ask him to get up at all? The consensus here is that he was technically ejected/arrested for not getting up. But given what we see in the video, why was he ever “ordered” to get up?

    I have to say that “declining an order to get up and step off the plane” sounds a great deal like “resisting arrest” – one of the triumvirate of charges (along with “assaulting an officer” and “disturbing the peace”) that are used by police when making arbitrary, illegal arrests.

    I’m sorry to further sound like a 70’s cliche, but at one moment in the video, we see a “black” man calmly standing his ground and standing up for his rights, the next thing we know for sure, he’s under arrest, apparently under the orders of the flight’s captain. It’s very, very difficult to each step of this incident without racial bias playing a role.

  110. Otteray Scribe – Of course, there are rules and regulations on the books covering such things, but I say “post hoc” here because:

    1) there is no sign that anyone stated anything about “safety” in regards to his pants prior to his arrest. Quite to the contrary, all the discussion was about his underwear-clad buttocks possibly being exposed. Nowhere in the video can you make out the crew saying, “your baggy pants are dangerous.” If a danger being presented by the pants was the core issue, then the crew should have been saying from the outset, “either you change into different pants, or we won’t let you on the plane.” Is there any indication that this was said at any point?

    2) there are many other forms of “dangerous” clothes that appear to go un-challenged when people board planes. Not to say that no one ever challenges problematic clothing – I’m sure you couldn’t board a plane in a huge Vegas show-girl head dress or partially restrained in bondage gear, but there’s clearly a very low bar as a real-world standard of care in operation across the industry.

    (Again, I will add the problem of airlines serving alcohol on the plane and allowing passengers to take sedatives. Of course, they aren’t allowed to serve people to the point of drunkenness, but in reality, it happens. Come to think of it, I REALLY don’t want drunk/zonked out people getting in my way in a cabin fire… Also, wouldn’t a shuffling, elderly person pose just as much or more risk in the aisle as an athlete bound up in saggy pants?)

    It appears to me that the safety issue was brought up after his arrest to justify the original conflict, not that it was the original basis for the incident.

  111. “tomdarch”, whatever the hell kind of bug that is,

    You wrote:

    “2) According to the argument “Arthur Randolph Erb” is making, in the following scenario on a plane:
    CAPTAIN: “Show me your t**s!”
    FEMALE PASSENGER “Excuse me?”
    CAPTAIN “Take off your top! I want to see your breasts!”
    FEMALE PASSENGER “What? No!”
    CAPTAIN “Oh! You are refusing my order? I will speak with you about this in the bathroom! Get in there right now!”

    At this point, the passenger must comply with his order, regardless of the fact that pilot has no grounds for the initial demand. (Never mind the fact that she has neither “intimidated” nor “assaulted” any member of the crew…) ”

    Which is a slur and outlandish.

    And now you write ” I do not agree that I made any slurs or slanders, I can not apologize to you.”

    So great. You’ve outed yourself as a dimwit that is either too stupid to realize you have made a mistake or too arrogant to apologize or both.

  112. Tomdarch I see that you either did not read or retain what was in my previous posts and those of others. I’ll break this down to its simplist elements without going into racial US histroy which I know far better than you.

    The fact is that the captain came back and requested to speak to the kid off the airplane in the relative privacy of the jetway. He refused a lawful order. As I stated earlier, I had a similar incident with a young white male who I asked to come off the plane for a secondary screening. He had done NOTHING at all as far as he knew to warrant this. He complied, was searched, and got back on board. I do not have to have any reason to make that request. He had a legal requirement to follow me and be searched. Now, if he had been black, I am sure YOU would say it was because he was black. THAT would be a lie and a slander. Thus your contention in this case is as baseless and stupid as well. You are in effect saying that since blacks are still subject to some prejudice, that ALL requests for compliance with orders are motivated by racial bias.

    Had the kid used common sense and courtesy, and decency, he would have been let back on board, and nothing more would have been heard about it. You further show yourself to be a bigot by asserting that since most of the pilots of my age are military vets, we treat all people as subordinates in the miltary. Then you go further and state that since there are some bigots in the piloting profession, that this must have played a part in the captain’s request as well, without knowing anything about that captain. You simply assume that to be the case because of his supposed background and race. The is the SAME kind of reasoning or lack of it that gives rise to bigotry and I find that very offensive in a person of any race or profession. All the more so when it is directed at me and my fellow captains.

    As to the rights and powers of the captain. In matters pertaining to the operation of the aircraft, he is the absolute authoriy. just because you have a seat asssignment printed on the ticket does NOT mean that you must have that seat. There are many aircraft in which pax placement is critical and you may be ordered to move. You do NOT have the option to insist on your “rights” to the seat.. In the case of the disabled pax who was denied a seat by the captain, that was his right to act in that manner. Since I am also a chief pilot now, I can say that if I were his chief, he would have to explain to me what his reasons were. At first blush, it would appear he was in the wrong as per company policy. He put himself on very thin ice by refusing to even look and talk to the person. That was not only unprofessional, but also discourteous. In all likelihood, he would get some time off for acting as he did. I can recall another instance where a captain refused to allow Frank Lorenzo on board his aircraft and kicked him off. That was his right as well. Had I been his chief, I would have backed him up to the hilt on that one.

    In short, you do not have any right, legal or moral, to refuse any lawful order from a crewmmeber. That is not optional, nor was the kid standing up for his “rights”.

    Since I grew up during the McCarthy era, and lived in a police state in the southern part of the US, I personally know what a police state is like. What we have today is FAR better than any time in my life compared to those days. The only difference is that we cannot do as I did when I took my first flight in my life and walk on board the plane with no checks or security.

    As to my status, you also missed the point that I am a client of Prof. Turley which is the reason I checked out this blog. With a modicum of intellect, you could check out my credentials.

  113. “(*) baggy pants riding below the butt does not come from a low rider or a latino culture. It comes from a prison culture.”

    Anon,

    Alright. Rub it in why dontcha? :-D

    “I really am interested in a discussion of how “society” and “the law” benefits and has the right to direct what people wear.”

    Anon,

    On an American Societal level this seems to me to be a difficult discussion. My opinion is that our society it relentlessly prudish and hypocritical regarding sexuality and that prudery actually has a poisonous effect. So as to the question of public nudity, I have no problem with it. Indeed, prior to my marriage I went many times to nude beaches on both coasts and also one summer frequented a resort that allowed nudity poolside every weekend. My experience is such that I think the nudity I experienced actually serve to de-sexualize, rather than what common wisdom would hold true.

    I must say that as the father of Daughters, neither of them has ever seen me in a state of undress and that includes underwear. Given the level of prudishness rampant in our culture, it would have been creepy on my part to have let my daughters see me that way. Also my 8 years in Children’s Protective Services, caused me to be cautious in my fatherly interactions. To my regret I was less physically affectionate with them than I would have liked, but when you help put incestuous pedophiles in jail, the experiences tends to color your own child rearing behavior.

    However, though sexuality and nudity do flow from this question, it also hides what to me is the more salient issue. Mores of dress have historically been used to delineate social status structure and also play into the prejudices of a given society, or social group within it. What we refer to today as the “World of Fashion” is in reality a means of sorting out the class structure. The elite are almost always the most up-to-date fashionwise. They are followed by the “Parevenu’s,” the middle classes and the lower classes. In all societies this has historically been true and was an easy outward manifestation of ones class and status.

    The Hippie movement and the extreme backlash towards it, irrespective of politics, was so threatening because it eradicated class distinction by attire. This disorients societies that rely on dress as a social monitor. This young man’s attire, in whatever way you characterize it, was offensive to airline personnel and therefore he needed to be reprimanded and so was. That’s what bothers me about this incident, but I recognize the right of the airlane to have an enforce a dress code. In this case, in the absence of a clear dress code, I think they completely overreated.

  114. One thing about that underwear; it is certainly slide-friendly. Well aside from the “slide rash” he would get, but that is his problem, not the flight crew or other passengers. However, the high heels would have to go in case the plane were evacuated. Thanks, Bdaman, for helping me make my point. It is not WHO wears it, or how skimpy it is, it is whether it is SAFE or not.

    There are limits, such as exposing one’s junk to the flying public–which includes children, but we do have indecent exposure laws to take care of those eventualities.

  115. “So great. You’ve outed yourself as a dimwit that is either too stupid to realize you have made a mistake or too arrogant to apologize or both.”

    Anon,

    I’ve read every post on this thread and I don’t see that tomdarch slandered or slurred anyone, therefore I don’t see that he had to apologize for anything. When you pointed out my factual errors I immediately apologized, unequivocally.

    “tomdarch’s” analogy was neither a slur, nor a slander. It was to me a proper example of “reduction ad absurdem,” carrying this assertion of power out to its’ most ridiculous lengths to point out some of the possible flaws in application it allows for. It was obvious that tomdarch did not mean this as a real world example of what could happen on a plane, yet given the numerous cases of LEO’s abusing their power for sex, over abuse of this type of power is conceivable and as many here have asserted appears to us in this case.

    You on the other hand did slander and slur tomdarch in the above quote. I hesitated to write this because you may construe it as my trying to pay you back for outing my errors. I think my body of work here belies that and believe you were quite correct in exposing me, therefore I hold no rancor. I do believe though that the quote above from you, was uncalled for, given what it was responding to.

  116. Why is it ok for a female to show her cleavage and not for a man to show his ass…..well, that is rhetorical….because a lot of men become asses when they see the slightest glimmer of a woman breast…..

  117. Mike, check out bdaman’s link.

    Regardless, tomdarch’s reduction ad absurdum was absurd, and was not an example of taking an argument to its logical extreme.

    Arthur Randolph Erb writes, ” The whole point of that move was to see if he would follow *legitimate* orders”

    tomdarch writes: “CAPTAIN: “Show me your t**s!””

    That is clearly not a legitimate order and no one would ever construe it as such. And so his argument is not reductio ad absurdum, just a purposeful misconstruing.

    He then takes his argument and runs with it to cast aspersions against a) airline pilots, b) white people in general, c) the military, d) people from rural areas.

    According to “tomdarch”, all of those groups are most likely to be racist, and unappreciative of or non-understanding of democracy preferring orders and obedience even in civilian life.

    “seem to point towards a cultural problem among airline pilots. I may be wrong, but I have the sense that many of them are “white”, from other-than-urban (or, more specifically, “cosmopolitan”) cultural backgrounds, and may have enthusiastically joined the military, and thus embrace a culture of “orders and obedience,” rather than the civil/democratic ”

    I think the above is a slur.

    Bdaman, that’s a helluva link. US Air, like Frontier, (and the public) needs a whole lot better education and training on this. It would probably be best for US Air and their customers if they had their act together and treated people with consistency, otherwise, they leave themselves open to charges of discrimination.

    However, US Air still makes the claim that the problem was one of not clothing, but not following the legitimate orders of the pilot and crew.

    To reiterate:

    Frontier Airlines: go be paralyzed somewhere else.
    Southwest Airlines: Sluts can walk. Fatties can roll unless they pay double. Everyone else is free to move about the country.
    US Air: Arbeit macht flei

  118. Bdaman, that’s a helluva link. US Air, like Frontier, (and the public) needs a whole lot better education and training on this.

    The entire industry IMO is F’ed up. Especially T.S.A

  119. “seem to point towards a cultural problem among airline pilots. I may be wrong, but I have the sense that many of them are “white”, from other-than-urban (or, more specifically, “cosmopolitan”) cultural backgrounds, and may have enthusiastically joined the military, and thus embrace a culture of “orders and obedience,” rather than the civil/democratic ”

    I think the above is a slur.”

    Anon,

    Had he not added I may be wrong it would be a slur, as it was it was just an opinion, which he modifies by stating it could be wrong.
    You called him a “nitwit” and that is a slur, without amelioration.
    Secondly, it was exactly “reduction ad absurdem” and to me quite on point. does that make me a nitwit? As a matter of fact using some of the reasoning used here by those defending the action, yourself included, one might say that he had suspicions she was concealing weapons in her bosom and thus acting for the safety of the passengers.

    As far as pilots go, commercial and otherwise, I highly respect them and their skills. However, just as with all humans, some of them will definitely have personality issues and others might be less than par skillwise. While I think it an admirable profession and/avocation, it should not be immune from critique, even with a broad based brush. Athur for instance given the background he detailed appears to be someone who I would admire greatly.

    So far this has been one of the most satisfying threads in many months due to its civility and lack of trolls. Given that, while you and he may fundamentally disagree, I don’t think that your calling tomdarch a “nitwit” etc. has raised the tone of discussion,
    it has lowered its’ civility.

  120. “Bdaman, that’s a helluva link. US Air, like Frontier, (and the public) needs a whole lot better education and training on this.”

    Bdaman,

    That was a helluva link and I think does show the points tomdarch, LK, Raff, myself and others have made is reinforced by it. To differentiate it from this case by saying this case was really about following orders, is to beg the question to distortion.

  121. anon,
    I apologize for taking so long to respond to your question/comments. First of all, your claim that my comments indicate a shallow opinion that was not based on first principles(paraphrase) is not only wrong, it is condenscending. I don’t have problem if you tell me you think I am wrong, but your incorrect label is rude.
    I will answer your questions as to what limits I would place on clothing. Your question does mix public and private venues, but I will limit my response to public venues since the matter at hand was a public venue. If any public venue has a limit or wants a reasonable limit on what people using its services can wear, they only have to list their limitations prior to the person’s purchase of the services or products. It is not for me to decide what an airline allows someone to wear, but they do need to be consistent and reasonable. If safety is an issue, show us how baggy pajamas are a safety issue. If I was interviewing someone, I have the ability or authority to tell the person that I will not interview them unless they correct their attire. They are not paying money for me to interview them and within lawful bounds, I can require my employees to maintain a dress code. As I stated earlier, my biggest problem with this situation is allowing the pilot unbridled authority to decide, in his or her own mind, what is and what isn’t “safe” to wear on the plane.
    Finally, with all due respect, if you are going to direct questions to me, at least use the correct moniker of Rafflaw, not Raffie. Thanks.

  122. Mike,

    The problem is not just the reductio”n” as the absurd”e”m.

    A valid reductio ad absurdum takes the argument to its LOGICAL extreme. The claim that “show me your tits” would be a logical extreme is itself absurd. It is: illogical. Taking an argument to an illogical extreme demonstrates nothing.

    Obama is a half-breed tin-plated overbearing swaggering kenyan commie dictator with delusions of godhood. His administration is a sagging old rust-bucket designed like a garbage scow. Half the planet knows it – that’s why they are learning to speak Chinese. I should rephrase that. I didn’t mean to say the administration should be hauling garbage. I meant to say that it should be hauled away as garbage.

    I may be wrong.

  123. “If any public venue has a limit or wants a reasonable limit on what people using its services can wear, they only have to list their limitations prior to the person’s purchase of the services or products.”

    They did:

    “Are over the age of five (5) and barefoot, or otherwise inappropriately clothed, unless
    required for medical reasons;”

    Your response to that — “I don’t care if he was wearing pajamas because women and young men wear them all the time in public and I have seen worse outfits on planes.”

    ” It is not for me to decide what an airline allows someone to wear,”

    You say this but you don’t mean it.

    When US Air did post their limits, when the pilot did make that determination, you, not at the scene, from one article only, went full THAT’s RACIST.

    So I guess US Air is free to make their decision so long as it is YOUR decision. Otherwise, US Air and the pilot is clearly racist.

    P.S. “it is condescending”

  124. Mike, been keepin my eye on the Southern Bahamas today. On the other thread we talked about the reliability on models. None of the major models were showing this but a few less recognized have been hinting at development here. As a South Floridian you may want to keep an eye on this.

    http://911surfreport.com/forecast.php

  125. That was a helluva link and I think does show the points tomdarch, LK, Raff, myself and others have made is reinforced by it. To differentiate it from this case by saying this case was really about following orders, is to beg the question to distortion.

    Mike when someone of authority gives a command that command must be followed.
    How many episodes of cops do you need to watch to see how a police officer goes from calm to tasering someone for not complying to orders to understand this. Regardless what the pilots motives were by not complying gave the pilot an out. Had the individual cooperated in everyway and was still not allowed to fly in might be a different case. People who hold power like to exercise that power when challenged. Human nature.

  126. People who hold power like to exercise that power when challenged. Human nature.

    People also like to disobey laws too. Those who are charged with enforcing them are not therefore power drunk. Nor are those who have responsibility for the lives of others power drunk when they need to excercise that power to do their job. Only children and immature adults cannot understand that

    Once again, just because there is abuse of power does NOT mean that such power is ALWAYS wrong..

  127. First of all I said like to and didn’t say always do.

    “People also like to disobey laws too.”

    And when you disobey a law you are challenging authority. If caught, that authority then exercises the power vested in them or turns a blind eye. The pilot in question made a decision to confront the individual for what ever reason and as they say the rest is history.

  128. “A valid reductio ad absurdum takes the argument to its LOGICAL extreme. The claim that “show me your tits” would be a logical extreme is itself absurd. It is: illogical. Taking an argument to an illogical extreme demonstrates nothing.”

    Anon,

    Listen to this link below of a commercial Pilot ranting over the air in a homophobic, misogynistic manner, despite the effort of an Air Traffic controller to shut him up.
    Someone like that, in authority, is only inches away from asking to see some woman’s
    bosom. The argument is then extreme but clearly within the bounds of logic. Also to when you spoke of “slurring and slandering” and then using that as a platform to call
    tomdarch a nitwit, you were on shaky grounds, because this is evidence that like anyone else, pilots can be both prejudiced and ignorant.

    So tomdarch is a nitwit and it is perfectly alright to be condescending towards Rafflaw?
    I think not and in your actions with both you’ve managed to lower the civility of this thread. However, your apologies which won’t be forthcoming are really not needed. Your verbiage supplies the needed evidence of your own civility.

    http://www.click2houston.com/video/28313494/index.html

    “People who hold power like to exercise that power when challenged. Human nature.”
    (Bdaman)

    “People also like to disobey laws too. Those who are charged with enforcing them are not therefore power drunk. Nor are those who have responsibility for the lives of others power drunk when they need to excercise that power to do their job”
    (Arthur)

    As Bdaman wrote and Arthur seems to agree, people with power like (enjoy) wielding that power. Now of course one is foolish to act against the orders of an “Authority,”
    because in most situations they hold the power. As to people enforcing laws not being power drunk, we have at least five stories a month here that show the opposite.

    Arthur as a pilot I can understand why you would be so quick to want to stand up for a fellow pilot. That may be noble, but in the end is as destructive to the profession as when police invoke the “code of silence.” As someone who professes to be quite left of center I would think you would understand this. Pajama’s presented no danger to anyone, except to their fashion senses and this incident was clearly about abuse of power.

  129. Mike, what the idiot pilot did when he did not realize the mike button was on is inexcusable. Does not matter if he is a pilot, police officer or garbage collector. Inexcusable, and you can be assured the Chief Pilot and folks in the front office of Southwestern will be on his case like flies on manure.

    As far as the incident being discussed, here are links to two comments I made a few minutes ago on another related thread. Links instead of copy and paste.

    http://jonathanturley.org/2011/06/23/this-is-ok-but-not-saggy-pants/#comment-241679

    http://jonathanturley.org/2011/06/23/this-is-ok-but-not-saggy-pants/#comment-241695

  130. OS,

    We’ll just have to disagree that this was about safety. While you no doubt have much more experience, I’ve flown as a passenger too often since 9/11 and have had to deal with the rigors of boarding. Since, until my heart transplant, I had a pacemaker installed, I always had to go through patdowns, where this old fart was treated as if I met someone’s terrorist watchlist. If this young man was indeed a real problem he would never have been allowed to take his seat. The only way I see it is they didn’t like his attitude and decided to teach him a lesson, roping the pilot into it and the pilot bought in.

  131. OS,

    Also I brought that idiot pilot into it, not to make it part of this discussion per se, but to point out to Anon that tomdarch’s supposed slur, wasn’t realy a slur and Anon’s slurs were actually
    slurs and slander.

  132. Mike, when a passenger refuses to comply with a simple instruction, he becomes in instant pedestrian. It is the law.

  133. “Mike, when a passenger refuses to comply with a simple instruction, he becomes in instant pedestrian. It is the law.”

    OS,

    Apples to oranges. I’m not contesting that it is the law, nor am I contesting that the pilot had the authority. I’m questioning the judgment used in this particular case and believe it was an abuse of power, even though the abusers had the right to do so. If I’m part of a traffic stop and get out of the car against the officer’s orders, these days I going to get “tased.” The officer will not suffer for it and I will have no recourse. However, I’ve been driving for 50 years and last got a ticket in 1977, until the speeding ticket I got three years ago. Back in 1977 if you got stopped and didn’t quickly get out of your car to come see the officer remaining in his car, you were considered to be disrespectful. Had I followed that in my recent traffic stop experience it would be the reverse, it’s a good thing I watch TV since then, perhaps now, a taser would have killed me. My argument is not about having authority, but abusing the authority one has. My belief was that this was an abuse of authority, that because it can’t be punished, does not diminish its wrongness. You’re aguing on a different issue.

  134. Listen to this link below of a commercial Pilot ranting over the air in a homophobic, misogynistic manner, despite the effort of an Air Traffic controller to shut him up.
    Someone like that, in authority, is only inches away from asking to see some woman’s
    bosom.

    Your ignorance and lack of logic is showing. SO because my mother and I have been mugged by blacks, that means that I should be suspcious of ALL blacks and view them as a threat when I see them because blacks also make up a majority of the prison population. THAT is the kind of argument you are making about pilots and their motives.

    Your are grossly ignorant in that you assume that the captain on this flight was NOT black. There are plenty of black pilots and some of them are my friends. The chances today are even, that the captain is NOT ex-military too. Most of us vets have been kicked out. So you simply display YOUR ignorance and KNOW that the captain is white and THEN you KNOW he is a racist and a vet to boot! I wish I had your powers, and omniscience! Talk about a power complex!

    As for the stupid pilot at Southwest, you assume AGAIN that he picked up the mic and was blithley spewing forth intentionally over the radio. What happened was that he got his clearance on that freq, his mile button got stuck and he was talking to his crewmate in the cockpit and did not realize that his mike was hot and transmitting, which is why he could not hear the warnings. For those who are technically challenged, you CANNOT HEAR another transmission while you are transmitting. It is NOT like your cell phone. It was also quite easy to figure out who it was since all they had to do was go back to the last plane that got its clearance. That strip is sitting right in front of the controller, so he KNOWS for sure who it is and he just called Soutwest ops and told them to get the guy off the air. Reminds me of the pilot who on freq waiting a long time for takeoff said, “I am BORED” The controller got on and said. “WHO SAID THAT?” The guy got back on and said, ” I said I am bored, NOT stupid” In this case, the guy WAS stupid.

  135. even though the abusers had the right to do so.

    So it a cop sees you violating the law, and arrests you because he has that right, it is an abuse of power! Asking a pax to come off the plane to privately discuss something is hardly an abuse of power. I have allowed some drunk pax on board because I did not think that they were causing any problem. I could have kicked them off, and you would think that since they were not causing a problem that would also be an abuse too.

    Asking to simply speak to a pax is NOT an abuse of power! If that is your view, then we can hang up trying to enforce any laws at all.

  136. As someone who professes to be quite left of center I would think you would understand this.

    I also understand that because there are miscreants in all areas of life does NOT mean that ALL use of power is wrong and badly motivated. That is not a jump that I can make with any logic or reason. You seem to use your prejudice to do just that.

    In the case that actually happened to me where I had to ask a pax off the plane for NO REASON that was obvious to him, YOU would give him the right to object and refuse my order. That was NOT an abuse of authority, and had I not done that request, I would have suffered sanctions as a result. The so called blue wall of silince is hardly analogous since THAT is a violation of the law. It is called obstruction of justice. I am one of those who hates that as much as anybody else. THEY are covering up criminal behavior of their fellows which makes it entirely different. Once again, you seem to be unable to understand such simple differences or refuse to see them. Asking to speak to a pax privately on the jetway is hardly an abuse of power, any more than a manager of a restaurant asking to speak to me privately is an abuse. Let get real.

  137. “Your are grossly ignorant in that you assume that the captain on this flight was NOT black.”

    Arthur,

    Have I not dealt with you in a civil manner? Why is it necessary for you to gratuitously insult me? As for ignorance it is you who keeps misinterpreting my words and my assumptions. Can you not comprehend the nature of an argument, even if it is one that you disagree with? Damn it man, can’t you read. Show me where I’ve said ALL pilots are anything but highly skilled, competent people. I’ve taken pains to express that I am talking about a very small minority of pilots, that is equal in percentage no doubt to norms in other professions.

    Now if you want a plausible scenario of how a Black pilot could have done this follow and please try to read carefully reigning in what seems to be your intemperate side: Whoever was upset with the young man’s appearance, prior to and after he boarded the plane, rather than directly refusing his boarding, allowed it and then went to the Captain to intervene. The Captain may have felt that he was bound to intervene to support the others and then went to the young man, who in truth never should have been allowed to be seated and invoked his perrogerotives. black or White he was forced to back up the others, in his mind at least.

    “As for the stupid pilot at Southwest, you assume AGAIN that he picked up the mic and was blithley spewing forth intentionally over the radio.”

    I assumed nothing, oh wise holder of technical knowledge beyond the laymen’s capability of understanding. I’m well aware of the nature of aircraft radio transmission, ever seen a movie, or used a CB radio? You beg the question. I mentioned that incident only to show, that some pilots albeit a small percentage are jerks. Do you think that is an unfair inference? Again though you misread, or misrepresent me.

    “I have allowed some drunk pax on board because I did not think that they were causing any problem.”

    Now here’s where the bullshit used to cover this pilot’s ass gets exposed. Do you really believe that a guy in pajamas is a worse threat on board a plane than a drunk? You’re into my area of expertise now, Arthur, since as someone who is an expert in addiction, I can say for a fact that with someone who is clearly drunk, their ability to suddenly flip out is legend and your ability as a laymen to assess that propensity is limited. By the way for your little insight I would have supported your refusal to allow a drunk on board, because under the terms of the arguments that were established by your side here, that does represent a danger.

    “Asking to simply speak to a pax is NOT an abuse of power! If that is your view, then we can hang up trying to enforce any laws at all.”

    You get off on dehumanizing passengers by calling them “pax” simply because the fact is if they die, you die also. however, by that dehumanization you do show how easy it might be for someone in your position to disregard their rights, after all their only “pax.” More impportantly though, Arthur you’re not a LEO, you’re there to fly the plane safely, not enforce laws. That you have to enforce rules on occasion is not your primary duty, yet you write almost as if it is. Perhaps this gives some insight into your personal beliefs.

    “I also understand that because there are miscreants in all areas of life does NOT mean that ALL use of power is wrong and badly motivated. That is not a jump that I can make with any logic or reason. You seem to use your prejudice to do just that.”

    Arthur, I have actually had people put in jail through my investigations in Child Abuse and Neglect. I have used power to do so and did it gladly. you again imagine what I’m saying rather than showing any reading comprehension to understand it. As far as being in highly dangerous situations and having to make quick decisions to save lives, been their, done that many times over. How dare you call me prejudiced based on your misreading my words. Arthur, in truth you have written quite intemperately throughout, but have been given the benefit of the doubt here time and again. no more from me. I don’t like people who misinterpret me and then use their misinterpretation to gratuitously attack me. It makes me want to throw their own words back at them to return the favor, but without stooping to their level.

    “In the case that actually happened to me where I had to ask a pax off the plane for NO REASON that was obvious to him, YOU would give him the right to object and refuse my order.”

    So you’ve personally been involved in incidents with some similarity. Perhaps then you are projecting on to that pilot, your feelings from you own experiences and projecting on to me, what your critics might have said regarding your actions. I have clearly stated that the pilot had the legal right to give the order and have acknowledged time and again that it was not that right that I objected to.

    I alluded above to the fact I’ve been in dangerous situations, but what I neglected to add was that in most of them I used skill to ameliorate the problem. My objections to the pilot and others in this is that they should have not made such a big deal about this particular instance and blown it far out of proportion. That is the judgment I question, not their authority, nor the proper use of that authority.

    “Once again, you seem to be unable to understand such simple differences”

    This again is your gratuitous projection on to me of your own actions towards me on this thread. Perhaps you have the self awareness to reexamine my words and then look again at your false premises and accusations. Then perhaps we could return to civility of discussion.

  138. Mr Erb, I suspect that we agree on much more than we disagree on. Trying to discuss these difficult issues in this way is obviously challenging. You think I am oblivious to what you are trying to say, I think you are misconstruing what I am actually saying, and so on – that’s pretty much inherent to on-line forum postings. I would gladly take a few hours to sit down with you – I think we would not fully agree with each other, but we would be better able to understand each others’ actual points of view. Big-picture, we’re not far off even if we see this particular situation differently.

    —————————————-

    Mike Spindell
    1, June 23, 2011 at 10:15 am
    “A valid reductio ad absurdum takes the argument to its LOGICAL extreme. The claim that “show me your tits” would be a logical extreme is itself absurd. It is: illogical. Taking an argument to an illogical extreme demonstrates nothing.”

    Anon,

    Listen to this link below of a commercial Pilot ranting over the air in a homophobic, misogynistic manner, despite the effort of an Air Traffic controller to shut him up.
    Someone like that, in authority, is only inches away from asking to see some woman’s
    bosom.
    ——————————
    [Groan] [facepalm]

    I AM sorry that I wasn’t more careful to avoid shooting this discussion off on pointless tangents.

    Mr. Erb indirectly confirms that in my absurd scenario, the female passenger, in fact, MUST accompany the abusive pilot into the lav:
    “As to the rights and powers of the captain. In matters pertaining to the operation of the aircraft, he is the absolute authoriy. [comments about seat assignment removed] . In the case of the disabled pax who was denied a seat by the captain, that was his right to act in that manner.”

    Exactly: “absolute authority.” There might be means for addressing wrongdoing or abuse of power after the fact, but in the moment, “absolute authority” demanding absolute, immediate obedience. And that is an approach which is very unfamiliar to people who have not been in the military – which was my point about “orders and obedience” versus what we civilians are used to. People who have submitted themselves to such a regime (or “culture”) need to adjust when dealing with people who have not ever done so. Everyone please feel free to misconstrue and over-interpret these statements, also.

    My absurd scenario was based on the pilot issuing a problematic “request” which could cause the passenger to not trust the pilot, and object to the original demand. The pilot then issues a different, but obviously related, demand, putting the passenger in a difficult position and creating the opportunity to “punish” the passenger for not complying – akin to many false arrest scenarios.

    I wish I could have summarized what I was saying sooner – I hope this is more clear.

  139. tomdarch and Mike,

    1. “show me your tits” will never be construed by anyone as a legitimate order. Much as you make up contexts that lead to a pilot saying show me your tits, it will never be construed as a legitimate order by anyone. Better examples please.

    2. when the pilot acts in such a way that I no longer trust the pilot, I WANT OFF THE PLANE

    3. disobeying an order, in flight, is one thing, staging a seat boycott on the ground is clearly going to get you nowhere, you have absolutely no right to that seat, the winning strategy is to be kicked off and to sue and/or negotiate.

    4. carry a cellphone with qik on it, and learn to broadcast live your interactions and tweet them #tsawatch, #usairwatch, #showmeyourtits

  140. Mike, Capt. Erb, et al….
    What I see going on here is folks talking past each other and getting upset and cranky. Let’s take a look at what is going on here, because I have seen at least a half dozen logical fallacies in the dialogue above.

    First of all, let’s quit it with the false equivalencies. The homophobic, racist, misogynist idiot with the stuck mike key had nothing to do with the baggy pants issue. Both ATC and the airline front office will deal with the fallout from that PR nightmare appropriately. There are people like that in every field of endeavor, including lawyers, architects, pilots, social workers and LEOs. Don’t tar with a broad brush.

    Racism has nothing to do with either the baggy pants or the cross dresser. When all the chaff is blown away, we are left with the image of an immature young athlete with feelings of entitlement. He is told to do something by a person in charge and refuses to accommodate that person. The instruction is repeated later by another person in charge and he disses that person as well. The Captain is summoned and asks the athlete to come outside for a private chat, and he too is dissed by the fellow.

    Speaking of people with feelings of entitlement, Captain Erb mentioned that Frank Lorenzo was once tossed off a flight. From my personal perspective, it would have been more satisfying if the ejection had happened above ten thousand feet AGL, but that is just me.

    Most of the folks here make their living by having excellent communication skills. Let us show some and dial back the hyperbole. And as for making assumptions, everyone knows how the word “assume” breaks down.

    Captain Erb explained his view of the matter from the perspective of not only a pilot, but as Chief Pilot for his airline. Most of you know that I am a long-time aviator and my view is from a combination of behavioral sciences and the aviation industry. I am one of the people who may end up being an expert witness in aviation-related litigation. Mike S. is a behavioral expert, and one of the most compassionate people on this site. His view is from that standpoint, but as a layman when it comes to aviation. Others come from all walks of life, but all too few here had ever even heard of the FARs before this, let alone read them.

    How about we agree that our perspectives are different. And for Pete’s sake, how about trying to understand not everyone sees the world through the same lens. And all ad hominem attacks do is piss others off in a most non-productive way.

  141. Bdaman, you piqued my curiosity, so went back and found Pete’s cryptic comment. I have no idea if he was offended. I took his comment as snark. Maybe he will see this and respond.

  142. It was I was trying to bring a little humor to the thread.

    You summed it up nicely with this and nothing more needed to be said.

    “He is told to do something by a person in charge and refuses to accommodate that person. The instruction is repeated later by another person in charge and he disses that person as well. The Captain is summoned and asks the athlete to come outside for a private chat, and he too is dissed by the fellow.”

  143. For someone reportedly on his way to a funeral, it is almost as if he was playing a game of, “How far can I push these people before I am arrested.”

    Then claims victimhood. The game of “Victimstance” was identified by Dr. Stanton Samenow as one of the key elements identifying the so-called ‘criminal personality.’

  144. “1. “show me your tits” will never be construed by anyone as a legitimate order.”

    Anon,

    I think neither of us construed it as such. Don’t you get the meaning of “reductio ad absurdum?”

  145. “Then claims victimhood. The game of “Victimstance” was identified by Dr. Stanton Samenow as one of the key elements identifying the so-called ‘criminal personality.”

    OS,

    Do you really want to malign this kid to that extent? you know as well as I do that feeling the “victim” is a common sign of neurosis, in the absence of actual evidence of same. As I mentioned previously, you and I will have to disagree on this, because I do see him as a victim, which if true would be a reasonable cause for his feeling victimized. You are ascribing, to my mind, far to much of this kid’s unknown thought and behavioral processes to this incident, without evidentiary support. This is mere speculation. Now much of what I’ve written is also speculation, butI’ve clearly “caveat-ed” it as such.

  146. Mike, I base my observations on the fallout and the reaction to the arrest.

    You and I both have seen the victim card played to the hilt by all kinds of people from all walks of life. I don’t do whining very well. Probably due to indoctrination by that Fritz fellow.

  147. Another thought. The concept of “neurosis” is now considered antiquated and inaccurate as far as psychological problems are concerned. It really started out as a psychoanalytic construct, later working its way into the nomenclature as a diagnosis. If you look in the index of the DSM-IV-TR, you will not find ‘neurosis’ or ‘neurotic’ listed. I do not buy that a person who sees themselves as a victim is neurotic. It can be deliberately manipulative, part of a personality disorder, or due to lack of insight.

  148. “Probably due to indoctrination by that Fritz fellow.”

    OS,

    As much as I love Fritz and am grateful for what his teachings have done for me, I realized early on in my readings of him, that some could use them in a way that would be analogous to Rand. I’m certain Fritz would’ve abjured this but prophets of any stripe usually find that some of their future acolytes heard the word, but didn’t get the message. My training institute was run by Marilyn
    Rosannes Berrett, trained by Fritz in his Miami days and her version was a “gentle” Gestalt Therapy.

    In my own practice I learned to be as honest as Fritz in my reflection to the patient, but to do so in a more compassionat, but always honest manner.

  149. Mike, in his later years, the old man was just as crusty as he was when younger, but he was still gentle and compassionate. He drew the line when you were phony or tried to pretend to be something you were not. He could see through that in a heartbeat and did not hesitate to confront. As I grow older, I too find I am less tolerant of those who waste my time or blow smoke. I am not rude, but am as direct as a laser pointer when dealing with one of the BS artists I encounter.

  150. “Another thought. The concept of “neurosis” is now considered antiquated and inaccurate as far as psychological problems are concerned. It really started out as a psychoanalytic construct, later working its way into the nomenclature as a diagnosis.”

    OS,

    I actually agree with current wisdom regarding neurosis. It is a construct coming out of Freud/Psychoanalysis. These days, unbound by the constraints of practice, I use neurosis to denote relatively mild disorders that cover a broad range and usually more obstructive than debilitating to an individual than AXIS II disorders. By the same token I’ve come to use
    crazy as a way of denoting AXIS I types. The DSM,(so its DSM-IV-TR now) as you are well aware is a means of allowing MH professionals and others to communicate in shorthand information about a particular individual. Not only does it have its flaws, it is after all a political (within the realm of psychology) document cobbled together by committee. Its application is dependent upon the perceptions of the particular professional.

    I’ve seen too many instances of people admitted in severe distress into Psych Wards, given a provisional diagnosis and then having that diagnosis stick for a lifetime, even if it was incorrect. Not only are many patients burdened with a mis-diagnosis originally based on stressed behavior that has passed, but the patient themselves utilize it as a form of behavioral excuse: i.e. Well I’m Borderline….what did you expect me to do? In their mind it gives them an out from accepting their own responsibility for their mis-behavior.

    “you know as well as I do that feeling the “victim” is a common sign of neurosis, in the absence of actual evidence of same.”

    As I used neurosis in this manner, it was to convey that there was a wide variety of possibilities as to why this kid acted this way and labeling him with a criminal like personality seems extreme absent other substantiating evidence and/or personal contact. Reading the same info as you, I can think of many possible reasons for his behavior. One of them may well have been the nature of how he was talked to all the way through the process leading up to his arrest. You and I have been around for a long time, both of us being smart and experienced, know when faced with authority holding all of the cards hostility is definitely not the way to go.

    Personally, however, nothing in my life has angered me more than when
    I perceived I was being treated officiously and disdainfully. I do question authority. Luckily for me, my father who was quite a “tough guy” taught me by example how to deal with implacable authority, such as a speeding stop.
    Learning that lesson early managed to keep me from making serious mistakes as I grew to manhood. Most people don’t have that benefit and it is indeed infuriating to “choke down” ones anger at perceived victimization
    and behave with outward complacency. In this instance you and I do not disagree on whether the authority to order him existed, but on each of our different perceptions as to the need for authority to act. That’s fine I doubt any regular here agrees on everything with everyone else and if we did why bother coming here.

    Back to therapy for a minute. If I was to return to practice today it I would use a mixture of Gestalt and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I’ve read CBT materials and seen it work wonders with some of the most difficult cases,
    while running housing facilities and case management for dually diagnosed patients taken out of psych wards. Alas, I must admit I love being retired and able to spend most of my time pursuing my pleasures, regular work no longer calls to me.
    .

  151. “…I’ve seen too many instances of people admitted in severe distress into Psych Wards, given a provisional diagnosis and then having that diagnosis stick for a lifetime, even if it was incorrect….”

    *********************************************

    Mike, all I can add to that, is to note Dave Rosenhan is a friend of mine. I have known him for more than thirty years. ’nuff said. We are on the same page.

    And BTW, it is worse now that insurance companies use data mining and share the data on patients between themselves. HIPAA be damned, because it is “financial” data.

  152. “the old man was just as crusty as he was when younger, but he was still gentle and compassionate”

    OS,

    You could see that in his eyes from films of his work, or his lecturing. However, the ability of “disciples” (most especially many who go into psychotherapy-I know I’ve trained some) to distort his message in light of their own unresolved problems, is great..

    “As I grow older, I too find I am less tolerant of those who waste my time or blow smoke.”

    Me too. As Fritz put it they are “poisonous” personalities that drain your energy. By the way in the same vein I’m also a fan of Berne, especially since in reading his book I realized that my compassionate nature often cast me into the victim’s role in the: “Yes….But” game. I always thought that many sought my advice for my wisdom, who knew I was merely a patsy to be proven to be unable to help someone, who took pleasure in my failure and resultant frustration..

  153. “the old man was just as crusty as he was when younger, but he was still gentle and compassionate”

    OS,

    You could see that in his eyes from films of his work, or his lecturing. However, the ability of “disciples” (most especially many who go into psychotherapy-I know I’ve trained some) to distort his message in light of their own unresolved problems, is great..

    “As I grow older, I too find I am less tolerant of those who waste my time or blow smoke.”

    Me too. As Fritz put it they are “poisonous” personalities that drain your energy. By the way in the same vein I’m also a fan of Berne, especially since in reading his book I realized that my compassionate nature often cast me into the victim’s role in the: “Yes….But” game. I always thought that many sought my advice for my wisdom, who knew I was merely a patsy to be proven to be unable to help someone, who took pleasure in my failure and resultant frustration.

    As to Dr. Rosenhan, you know and have known some pretty cool people.
    HIPAA is a joke, but the real harm is to the patients who don’t believe they can improve their lot, because they’ve bought into their diagnosis. BTW, of course you’ve noticed how through the years the “in” diagnosis have changed. When I was in training “everyone” was Borderline. At the point I retired it was “Bi-Polar.” It will take perceptive men to see beyond this straight jacketing of patients and move the field beyond these constraints.

  154. Mike, that was a WordPress fart. You have to be careful to click submit only once. I think that has happened to almost everyone here.

  155. In next weeks news today, video of a captain demanding a PAX re tie his shoes over and over and over again until it meets his “safety standards” has surfaced. Ultimately the PAX gets so tired of it that he refuses to comply further and is promptly arrested.

    The claim that this young man’s slightly oversized pants constitutes a serious safety concern i find troubling
    can anyone honestly imagine a girl in heals, or a larger man, or perhaps someone who has lost some weight and lost there belt being subjected to a similar degree of scrutiny.

    The fact that a man no more than a week ago in somewhat revealing female clothing had no trouble combined with my previous point leads me to conclude this had more to do with a young black male whose fashion has been causing people to react in a way I can only describe as “silly” if not idiotic for about the last 15 years as far as I can remember.

    I would not be surprised to learn of older examples

  156. I seriously doubt the authenticity of such a video. The only thing a captain could do at the gate is order the pax off plane and he sure as hell could not have him arrested for anything.

    The whole reason the kid was arrested was that he did not come off the plane as the captain told him. Had he complied, he probably would have been let back on and nothing further would have been done. I had a similar situation in which another pax had told a flight attendant she thought that a young man was acting suspiciously. I was told of the concerns, and I called TSA for a secondary screening of the young man and his carry on bags. I went to him and asked him to come off the plane with his carry ons, and told him we needed to do a secondary screening of him. He complied, did the screening, found nothing, and he came back on board. In this case he was white. The same thing would have been done if he were black, brown, etc..,If he had refused, or hollered RACISM and refused to come off, I would have done the same as the captain in this instance. The FACT is that I had NO reason that he knew of to demand such a thing. He had NO right to refuse either.

    The fact is that it was not a question of dress, but one of following lawful orders.

  157. “The only thing a captain could do at the gate is order the pax off plane”

    Arthur,

    As someone who is often an airline passenger, I don’t think you get how disturbing being constantly referred to as “pax” can be. I worked professionally with people for 37 years and in my field we never degraded the people we served with nicknames that diminished their individuality and humanity.

  158. I knew the DA in San Mateo would dismiss the charges. THAT is why I said the captain should have gone to the US attorney to file charges against the kid. If I were US Airways, I would settle unless they can file charges with the Feds or get another suit filed against the kid in New Mexico.

    The juries and judges in CA view any company as a gold mine to be mined for money. Hell they even awarded tens of thousands of dollars to a cabbie who stopped a mugger who got his leg broken by the cabbie when he used his cab to stop him as he ran away! I could not believe that. You can be sued by a burglar too if he gets injured as he steals your possessions. THAT is why I am glad that I don’t live in CA any more.

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