Off Track: Non-stop Cell Phone Talker Escorted off Amtrak Train by Police

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

Lakeysha Beard admitted that she had been blathering away on her cell phone in the “quiet car” of an Amtrak train. Still, “she didn’t understand why she had to be escorted off the train” by police. Beard said she felt “disrespected” by the incident.

Police in Salem, Oregon, said Beard got into a “verbal altercation” with other train passengers who complained that she refused to put her cell phone away. They were annoyed that she had been talking continuously from the time the train had left the station in Oakland, California—sixteen hours earlier.

According to one report, train operators called police and stopped the train near Salem after they received complaints that Beard had been talking loudly and causing problems with other passengers in her car. Police arrested Beard for Disorderly Conduct.

Having traveled a number of times on Amtrak trains myself, I can understand the frustration of the passengers who were incensed by Beard’s non-stop chatter when use of cell phones is prohibited in the “quiet cars.” Author Matt Taibbi says he was delighted when he heard the tale of Beard and her arrest. He wrote the following on his blog at Rolling Stone: “I travel on Amtrak a lot and have long believed that willful violators of quiet car protocol should be subject to the death penalty. In fact I believe each train should be outfitted with a special car full of half-starved wolverines and wild boars, into which quiet-car cell phone talkers should be thrown. I’m hoping the Supreme Court takes up this issue in the future.”

Do you think the death penalty would be a tad too harsh a punishment? Does anyone else have suggestions as to what type of punishment would best fit the crime of loud and incessant cell phone chatter in the “quiet car” of an Amtrak train?

SOURCES

Loud cell-phone talker removed from quiet car by police (Yahoo)
Woman feels ‘disrespected’ after being kicked off train (Komo News)
Cops kick cellphone blabbermouth off train: After 16 hours blathering, woman doesn’t understand why she got the boot (MSNBC)
Woman Arrested For Disorderly Conduct On Amtrak Train (KXL)
Woman’s cell-phone use halts train (SFGate)
Matt Maibbi

33 thoughts on “Off Track: Non-stop Cell Phone Talker Escorted off Amtrak Train by Police”

  1. The cell phone user should have simply been ask to go to an equivalent seat in another car, although perhaps this was tried.

  2. Frank, for some cell phone talkaholics, having to do without their phone would be a fate WORSE than death.

    I have observed, while out in public, those who talk the most seem to be the ones with the least to say.

  3. I think the best punishment would be to force her to take the train ride without her cell phone.

    Then the death penalty 🙂

  4. It is amazing the things people will talk about on a phone and in the open public….ANNOYING is an understatement…Good for them…unless it was a life emergency….

  5. “Still, “she didn’t understand why she had to be escorted off the train” by police. Beard said she felt “disrespected” by the incident.”

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

    Now where is that jackass removal application when you need it. I see Amtrak has one. Someone should tell this moron that “disrespect” is a noun and not a transitive verb. “Disrespected” is just a grating neologism.

  6. I get the feeling that the arrest is not about the 16 hours of noise, but about the refusal to comply to the directive of the authority.

    Bread: Blah blah blah
    Passenger: Please stop talking
    Bread: Blah blah blah
    Train Employee: Please stop talking
    Bread: Blah blah blah
    Train Employee: Please leave the vehicle.
    Bread: Blah blah blah
    Police: Please leave the vehicle.
    Bread: What? This is unfair!

  7. After 8 hrs I would have taken her phone and thrown it off the train… no doubt to much applause. What do people tolerate such bullying?

  8. after jabbering incessantly for 16 hours she should consider herself lucky they stopped the train before throwing her off.

  9. “Disrespected is as disrespected does.”
    (Forest Gump)

    The “right of silence” doesn’t exist. Methinks it should.

    The “right to hold an entire room of polite citizens” hostage to crappy behavior, doesn’t exit. And for good reason.

    The woman was abundantly fortunate that somebody didn’t jerk the phone from her hand and crush it underfoot.

    The continued erosion of common sense and basic courtesy guarantees rules & laws up to our eyeballs. We are becoming so mentally myopic, that we now require every square foot of wall-space to be covered with constant reminders of what even a well-mannered 3rd grader wouldn’t do.

    I have no problem envisioning entire armies of android behavior police in the not-too-distant future.

    The more the socially challenged push the envelope, the more we bring the insanity of “guess which law you just broke,” upon ourselves.

  10. rafflaw,

    I always sit in a quiet car when I travel by train. I take a book with me and enjoy reading in peace and quiet.

  11. raff, this is not about the First Amendment. It is about STFU when in a quiet car. Kind of like being in a theater–talk loud and you will get a visit from management telling you to exercise your freedom of speech out on the sidewalk.

    I am not sure I agree with Mike Taibbi about the death penalty. Perhaps staking them out on a fire ant mound could be entertained instead.

    I want to know what kind of battery she had in that phone that kept it going for sixteen hours.

  12. rafflaw,

    There is a designated quiet car on many/most Amtrak trains. Conversing loudly and talking on cell phones is prohibited in those cars.

    Beard reportedly became belligerent and got involved in a verbal altercaton when another passenger confronted her about violating the quiet car policy. If Beard intended to spend the long train trip chatting on her cell phone, why did she choose to ride in the quiet car?

  13. “Does anyone else have suggestions as to what type of punishment would best fit the crime of loud and incessant cell phone chatter in the “quiet car” of an Amtrak train?”

    —-
    Remember the book (or movie) “Murder on the Orient Express”? Uh Huh, the old ways are the best ways 🙂

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