Geez, from gungho flyboys to a bunch of pussies.
I'm referring to the few captains and their knee-jerk overreactions...not to the majority who did their jobs.
Check this story out...the man wasn't even an Arab.
September 27, 2001
BY MICHAEL SNEED SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST
Last week, I wrote a column detailing the plight of a Chicago area woman flying home from Texas three days after terrorists attacked America.
During a layover in Kansas City, she called her husband about a "suspicious passenger," and he urged her to contact authorities. She did. The passenger was pulled off the flight for questioning.
It was a tough decision. But she felt what she observed was reportable. It is what Americans are being asked to do by their government while, at the same time, being asked to respect each other's heritage.
Now, I'd like to talk about the plight of the passenger who was detained.
I think the brave letter the 39-year-old man sent me is representative of what is happening in this country. It's a sad commentary, but true.
Here, in part, is what he said:
"I am the 'suspicious traveler' [you wrote about in your] column Sept. 19th ... I am a native of Chicago. My parents are natives of Chicago. I have dark hair, dark eyes, and brown skin, because I am of Spanish, Mexican, French and American Indian descent. I am not an Arab. I was raised Catholic. I wouldn't know the Koran if it hit me in the face.
"I know we all feel vulnerable now, especially when flying. But terrorists would like nothing more than to see fear erode our sense of safety and community.
"If the fearful woman had but spoken with me, I would have been happy to show her what was really on my laptop computer ... I am a systems engineer for Parsons Transportation Group, a respected consulting engineering company.
"What she thought were exploding bombs was Windows Media Player, which has colorful graphics that move to the beat of the music I was listening to on headphones. . . . What she thought were airport plans on my laptop were really drawings of fiber-optic cable routings for the City of Austin's traffic-management system.
"In Kansas City, I was questioned by local police and let go. The crew of the plane became uncomfortable with flying with me and refused to fly with me, even though I have been flying with them for several months.
"The actions my fellow passengers found suspicious can all be explained ... I am 6'3", so I always request the first emergency exit row because of the extra legroom. Before the plane took off, the flight attendant asked me if I was willing and able to open the door in case of emergency, which of course I was.
"Because I'm tall, I prefer to use the washroom in the rear, where there is more headroom than in the front washroom in the nose of the plane [where he was sitting.]
"I went to the back of the plane twice, once to get change for a $10 bill from a colleague to purchase a drink, and another time to use the washroom.
"I did put my laptop aside twice, not to hide anything, but to do other work on my Palm Pilot."
He concluded: "The United States is characterized by diversity, but it takes trust to build a community of individuals. Trust requires setting fear aside. Since the attacks, we should all be in a permanent state of alert. We all need to be looking out for one another, and each individual has a part to play in maintaining our national security. But our suspicions are useful only if they lead us to ask questions, to see what's really there, to find out why others may be acting in unexpected ways.
"Dialogue is the antidote to fear. If we allow fear to disconnect us from one another, then we have lost our unity, and given the terrorists exactly what they want.''
Sincerely, David P. Araiza