Monday, October 29, 2007


Yesterday morning I read a sad article on boingboing about a Polish immigrant flying into Vancouver to be with his elderly mother who was randomly pulled from the security line, questioned in english (he only spoke polish) for ten hours, and then tasered to death after being questioned by other officials for only 23 SECONDS (apparnetly he grew extremely agitated after being detained for 10 hours and threw chairs and computer equiptment around and it took 3 officials to hold him down)! Meanwhile, his mother waited in baggage claim trying to find her son, she was told he wasn't there, she was confused, she went home, they called her to say they found him and then he was dead.

There are two things with this story that I've grown increasingly disturbed by (which leads to a third item... which I'll mention incase I ever become that kind of person and will need someone to send me this link so I don't become a douche):
1. Airport security is alarmingly hazardous to everyday people.
2. Tasers are being abused by security personnel at an alarming rate.
3. Wanna-be martyr celebrities that fly private jets several times a week are assholes.

On friday I took a flight from Newark Airport. While waiting in the security line, one of the security guards just kept on fucking yelling like a manic person to everyone around her. She was yelling about one of the security guards telling her that she shouldn't yell at passengers.
This is while the other security guard is 15 ft away in a busy airport, politely trying to help customers and doing his best to ignore his irate co-worker.

Two months ago, while at the check-in desk of an airline, an airport employee paid to assist passengers with luggage, tickets, seating, etc, was beyond rude to her customer because the man helping me wanted her to stay an extra half hour. She was yelling at the man saying he wasn't on the flight he was looking to check his luggage into. He repeated his name to her 3 times - all with her yelling at him - before I spoke up and said she wasn't listening and needed to relax and that his last name was andrews and not landers. She got mad at me, and told me to mind my own business. Meanwhile the man helping me found me a seat on the overbooked plane and a window seat! He was happy to help me just to spite the bitch.

Then, a couple weeks ago, a woman died in a security holding cell. Apparently she choked herself with her handcuffs. I'm not sure I belive that. I think that airport security took their aggression out on this woman who was probably confused and exhausted after a long flight. I will shut up from now on and just go about my business everytime I fly. This is why, when the irate security guard was yelling and screaming, I kept my mouth shut and didn't tell her that she's acting like a fucking asshole.

But this story about the Polish man is just completely terrible. I have the good fortune of having english as my primary language, and I'm fortunate to live in a world where english is spoken throughout the world. But what if I weren't so lucky? What if I was just like this poor man who had no way of defending himself verbally, and was confused after a long flight? What if my poor mom was waiting for me at baggage claim and couldn't understand why I was missing, only to be recovered dead. I put myself in their shoes and get depressed. There needs to be something done to help non-english speaking immigrants and tourists when they come to our continent. There HAS to be something done to regulate the airport security. Someone needs to police these assholes who give hard working individuals a bad name.

You know shit's outta hand when a British Muslim Minister who was in Washington DC as a keynote speaker at an event organised by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), alongside the FBI and Muslim organisations, to talk about tackling extremism and defeating terrorism was detained FOR THE SECOND TIME at an United States Airport during the course of a year.

FOR SHAME! I hate to be rude and inconsiderate, but the people who work at airports are fucking morons sometimes.

Any security officer using a taser should be tasered themselves FIRST before being allowed to have custody of the weapon. Some of these jerks use them like its a video game, tasering these poor college students. Pull out the water hose while you're at it. What the fuck is wrong with how security guards are being hired? Are they just hiring the ones with the worst case of ADD that can't appreciate protesting students, studying students, and confused individuals. FUCK JOHN KERRY for letting those security guards taser that student and for not telling them to stop. Sure he was making a mockery of the former presidential canidate, but what a fucking douchebag! I'm glad he lost the election. I'm just sad that Bush won.

Fuck all those wanna-be-martyr celebrities who try to get people to pay attention to global issues, yet fly weekly/daily with a gas-guzzling private jet. I love Brangelina for adopting their kids and feeding starving kids, but fuck them for being hypocrites. Your stupid plane eats up so much gas and adds to the pollution problem that we're plagued with. More pollution means higher temps, means we're running out of places to grow food, means food is more expensive, means your starving vanity projects get less food in their mouths.
Wanna make a REAL difference Brangelina? Fly commercial like the rest of us assholes. Protect the enviornment. While you're at it, why don't you sublet apartments in the cities you're in instead of spending tens-of-thousands of dollars on hotel rooms. I get not taking a vow of poverty, but give me a fucking break! That one night at the plaza could've fed Maddox's entire orphanage for a month!

Would it kill them to fly in a private jet only once a month?

If i ever turn into a private-jet-flying-everyweek-while-preaching-about-world-hunger-celebrity/rich-douchebag, tell me. I know i'm a douche bag already... but i'm talking about that specific type of douchebaggery.


Anonymous said...

when the terrorist scare happened in London last July, after delaying all the flights, decided to make an announcement about where to go to get a yoga-mat-esque thing to sleep on in ENGLISH only. there were plenty of people there who didn't speak English well and obviously they had real problems getting around or even finding out what was going on.

major assholes.

MertMengelmier said...

I agree with most everything you said. Airports need to seriously re-evaluate their staff. The woman in Phoenix had been in and out of substance abuse clinics and was on her last straw. I think she did choke herself with the cuffs, sadly, but who knows what happened leading up to that to promote the ridiculousness.

Anonymous said...

agree there are several issues with how airport security is conducted that should be monitored and addressed. and i understand your passionate concern.
in many cases, if not most, personnel who are authorized to use tasers must be tased as part of the training. same for police officers, etc., with mase or pepper spray. just an fyi...

Sam Gavin said...

This is the most sensible, even-keeled thing I've read on the subject in quite a while, and I'm glad you're the one to write it, as it would come off irritatingly preachy from anyone else.

The Phoenix situation is gross as hell - local media is dropping the ball covering the story and deferring to law enforcement whenever possible. This at the same airport that was letting through TSA employees without screening them because they couldn't bother to provide screening for 4-6 hours a night.

Anonymous said...

Alot of what you say is right, but you missed the mark with the John Kerry thing. Reports say he was trying to get the security officers to back off and just let the kid ask his question. If you listen to the youtube you can hear him saying, "It's OK. Let him ask the question," over and over. Short of actually running down and ripping off the security officers, I don't know what you wanted him to do. And I'm not a John Kerry fan either.

But the taser thing is absolutely right. I have watched someone get tasered in the airport and its a really fucking disturbing experience.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Bono and Al Gore, they both fly private jets.

Also with all of Bono's good will I have never heard of him giving his own money. Supposedly his (RED) organization is in the red.

Candy the Pomeranian said...

Want to make a difference? Look into Plumpynut. It's used by Doctors without Borders to combat famine. 60 Minutes did a piece on it. Do a fund raiser like you did for the animal shelters.

P.S.: You are not a douche bag.

nick said...

"Then, a couple weeks ago, a woman died in a security holding cell. Apparently she choked herself with her handcuffs. I'm not sure I belive that. I think that airport security took their aggression out on this woman who was probably confused and exhausted after a long flight."

her mother was one of the more prominent public advocates in new york.

you are misunderstanding a couple things in relation to that incident.

first off. she was not "confused and exhausted" after a long flight. she was on her way to rehab for alcohol (alone), missed her connecting flight because she was busy getting shitfaced in an airport bar, and started freaking out on the gate agents, who were attempting to place her on a flight that was departing in 45 minutes.

when approached by airport security, she threw her blackberry and repeatedly yelled "i'm not a terrorist!"

airport security then contacted the Phoenix police department, who detained her, handcuffed her and put her in the holding cell.. where she died.

so here's my hypothesis of the events which led to hear death:

she got drunk, probably popping a few pills while doing it (my guess is a mixture of anti anxiety and muscle relaxers)...she was mentally unstable to begin with (she had attempted suicide before), so when she didn't get what she wanted, she did what any rich, entitled person would do and lost her shit.

so they detain her and place her in the holding cell, and im guessing by that time she's completely lost her shit. her hands were cuffed behind her back and attached to a bench. when she was left alone, i think she started REALLY freaking out, tried to get herself lose somehow, and in the process (because alcohol and pills were numbing the pain) she popped one of her shoulders out of its socket and managed to get it over her head. i then think that she got stuck in that position and ended up choking to death by way of her own arm.

the big question is.. why was she flying across the country alone when her husband knew that she was unstable and headed to rehab. he has tried to point the finger at anybody but himself, but it comes down to the fact that that woman shouldn't have been traveling alone. she killed herself..plain and simple. the phoenix airport and polie department did the right thing by detaining an unaccompanied, unstable person losing her shit in an airport terminal. if her husband had taken A DAY off of work his wife would still be alive right now.yes

Raizza said...

my grandmother recently passed away and I had to fly a 25-hour flight to the Philippines (one way)...only being there for 4 days, most of my time spent was being stuck in airplanes for 11 hours or so, in and out of 3 different airports. When I did finally come back, my mom and I were technically suppose to depart at 1:37 pm from Detroit and arrive at Newark one or two hours later. That flight got cancelled. But what happened was, during this time the weather wasn't going our way. When we passed different gates trying to find an available flight, there was actually a flight to JFK leaving at about the same time we were suppose to leave to go to Newark. When I saw that, I told my mom, it's imperative that we go straight to customer service since I don't believe their reason for cancelling the flight is the weather. And of course, after we waited and on the midst of frustration, we finally spoke to this woman who said, we can not accomodate you for this flight because the reason being the weather. She couldn't help us, of course. We didn't want our baggage to get lost in the shuffle so we decided to search for flight to Newark. we went back 'n forth passing from one gate to another and asking different flight attendants/crew if there is an available flight to Newark. We got a flight that wasn't departing til 5:30 pm. When we finally made it to Newark, our baggage got delayed for hours. We waited at Newark til 11:45 pm. That was the exact time our luggage came in.


the end isn't near said...

think about important things, good start. parties are for children. there is work to be done

Dani said...

That's why I didn't go to Live Earth. It was all about the environment, or so it claimed, but they flew everyone in for the show on jets. I can't understand the appeal of having your own jet. You think celebrities would just fly First Class.

Anonymous said...

True dat! In the past 2 weeks I have flown from LGA to ATL to DFW to PHX to SFO and back for work.

Those TSA folks are about 2 steps up from the bagger at my neighborhood Key Food.

alex said...

While I agree that these taser incidents definitely represent an abuse of power on the part of the air port security/police officers who have committed them - I don't think it's entirely right, or accurate, to just blame them.

To just blame the individual employees for these excesses/brutalities doesn't take into account the context in which these incidents are more and more frequently taking place.

The context is a society governed by an administration which is legalizing and legitimizing acts of torture, international/domestic spying, and other straight up abuses of power in the name of "protecting" us from "terrorists." Civil liberties are being taken away, all in the name of "homeland" security. So, while I agree that these individuals were fucked up for what they did - they didn't do these things randomly, and in a vacuum. These are things which completely fall in line with the culture corresponding to the so-called "war on terror" and are not the isolated acts of "bad apples," (like the military folks in Abu Grahib were accused of.)

IMHO, of course.

nailz said...


Sucks for the Polish kid and his family...what happened there was horrible.

Anonymous said...

I do agree with the horrible way airport security often plays out. My best friend is Indian and she always gets stopped at airports because of her last name. Meanwhile, I have an arrest on my record (busted in a bar when I was underage) and dual citizenship but I am never stopped bc I am a white chick from CT with a boring Irish last name.

However, the jet comment bugged me a little bit. Why did you call out Brangelina but not call out your friends? Like your pals Fallout Boy? Pete is always on jets - he jetted into the Hamptons to spin a freaking party that STEREO hosted. And your boss, JAY Z is always on jets - in fact, the record industry hires more jets than any other industry.

Actually locally is the best way to change things globally....

Sarah said...

i agree with you. they def should be called out. i just think that there's so much brangelina can effect by flying commercially, and that seems to be their main focus.

Anonymous said...

ummm... i really think your private jet comment is off base. first of all the brangelina posse with just brad, angelina and kids is 6 people right there... with their staff, i'm sure it's double that. traveling just business class - not first - commercial cross country is at minimum about $1500 - $2500 per person (x 6 on the high end is $15K - and they don't discount for children at that fare level, plus airfare for their staff). they are probably saving a considerable amount on out of pocket expenses in flying private. PLUS can you imagine how flights would be (further) delayed by the magnitude of celebrity gawking and paparazzi mayhem if they turned up on a flight YOU were on. it's respectful to other passengers not to put them through the nonsense.

nick said...

sooo the medical examiner released the autopsy results for gotbaum...