We must be thankful that the situation was considerably less severe than it could have been; indeed, it appears that it was, in this instance, completely harmless because the flight attendant became aware of the fire quickly indeed.
While we do not have all the facts and we do not know the extent of this man's mental illness, there is no doubt in my mind, based on only the information at hand, that he did not directly intend to cause harm to the aircraft or any passenger contained therein, but rather to merely distroy his magazines. In my mind, he certainly acted recklessly (I wonder the extent to which he could knowingly be reckless), but he undoubtedly did not intend to cause any harm to anything, bar the magazines. His illness most probably resulted in him not considering the potential consequences of his actions.
I am confident, again based merely on the limited information we have, that but for his illness he would not have committed the act, for any sane and reasonable person would know instantly that they do not burn anything on an aircraft.
I wonder whether this case will be brought to trial. Let's wait and see.
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