There’s no denying that we live in terrifying times, when you look at what’s going on in the world right now. At the same time, the speed at which people get news and the impact of social media amplify what’s happening in the world even more. Which isn’t at all to downplay anything which is going on, but I’m not actually convinced we’re any worse off now than in the past, when you look at the atrocities which have occurred over the past hundred years, thousand years, etc.
All of which is to say we have to keep living our lives, as easy as it is to get paranoid…
…like many people clearly were on a Spirit Airlines flight this Tuesday morning between Baltimore and Chicago, which returned to the gate.
What happened? Well, here’s the reaction of the event from one of the passengers who was onboard, via WBALTV11:
“I started praying to God, like, I literally thought that plane was going to blow up. It was the scariest moment of my life,” passenger Jenna Farelli said.
So, what happened on Spirit Airlines flight 969?
Four people were removed from the plane for questioning. The remaining passengers were cleared from the plane as police searched the aircraft and the luggage, which were examined by police dogs.
MdTA police said the four people questioned have been released. Authorities said a man was watching a video, which prompted someone else to alert a flight attendant.
“Good for her if she did. That’s the right thing to do, and I think since 9/11 and now, since a few days ago, people have changed in terms of the social psychology of things that they’re not so hesitant anymore to say, ‘Wait a minute. Something’s wrong here,'” BWI traveler Eileen Biernat said.
The flight attendant alerted the pilot, who made the decision to turn the plane around.
MdTA police said those detained include a couple and their relative as well as an unrelated man sitting near them. Passengers are applauding the crew for keeping things from getting out of hand.
It’s certainly true that social psychology has changed. If there were a hijacking on a US airline in the future I’m convinced it would end differently than on 9/11, as people would fight back. Which is understandable, since previously hijackings were often used as negotiation tactics, so the smart thing to do was to not fight back. That has changed, no doubt.
But there’s also a dark side to that, I think, whereby anything which is different is perceived to be dangerous, which sure doesn’t do a lot to foster inclusivity. I’ve read over a dozen articles about this Spirit flight, to try and see if there are any more details about what was so “suspicious” about the video the passenger was watching.
And there doesn’t seem to be any info about it. Heck, the Baltimore police spokesman even says he doesn’t know what the nature of the video was, and presumably he was involved in the investigation. What we do know based on the pictures from the flight is that the passengers being removed had darker skin than most other passengers.
Some of the events going on in the world right now are terrible. But there’s also a fine line between being vigilant and being paranoid. Just because someone has a different skin color than you and is watching something different than you might watch, doesn’t mean your life is in danger. But clearly that doesn’t stop passengers like the one quoted above from praying to God because they think the plane is about to blow up… over someone watching a video.