Descending to barbarism
April 15, 2017 | We have become a jackboot society. Those in authority, or who think they have authority, are quick to use physical force to subdue any who do not immediately submit and comply.
Three recent events illustrate clearly how far we have gone off the rails with the excessive use of force. A passenger on United Airlines was dragged from his seat and down the aisle to make way for a United employee on the flight. In Georgia, two police officers making a routine traffic stop savagely beat a man, including stomping on his head while lying handcuffed on the ground. And in Sacramento, a jaywalker was beaten severely as police responded en masse.
After passengers had boarded a United flight to Kentucky, the airline decided it needed four seats for some of its employees. When no one volunteered to give up their seat for $800 (the maximum they could have offered is over $1300), the airline decided to pick four people at random; one of them, a 69-year-old doctor, resisted and was subsequently hauled bodily out of his seat by a thuggish "officer" and dragged down the aisle.
The doctor suffered a concussion, broken nose, damaged sinuses, and lost two front teeth in the melee.
When the inevitable outrage occured, the tone-deaf CEO of United apologized for "re-accommodating" the passengers, saying nothing about the violence wreaked on one of his paying customers.
Re-accommodate? Really? These passengers were not re-accommodated. They were taken off the plane after buying their tickets, checking in, and taking their seats for the flight.
This is not what "re-accommodate" looks like!
And remember, this was a 69-year-old man, who just wanted to get back home.
There is simply no excuse for his treatment. Alas, even if United Airlines is sued — and they will be sued — the airlines will continue to abuse their passengers as they have been doing for years in a multitude of ways, from ever-shrinking seats, to fees for everything. Mega mergers have eliminated all competition on many routes, and travellers are now at their mercy.
And this incident shows clearly that airlines no longer have any mercy.
In Sacramento, a man was walking home from work and had the misfortune to be noticed by a policeman while he was crossing a street not in a crosswalk.
There was a bit of an altercation. The man was righteously indignant about being stopped for such a petty thing, and took off his jacket and made a challenging remark to the policeman, whereupon the policeman charged the man, threw him to the ground, and began beating on him.
Soon reinforcements arrived, and a minor incident turned into a cause célèbre.
A policeman's job is not an easy one, but they seem determined to make it harder by a belief that anyone and everyone (especially if their skin is not white) must immediately submit to whatever demands they make and by a hair-trigger willingness to resort to overwhelming physical force to enforce those demands.
In Georgia, a man was driving down the street when he was pulled over for minor infractions, said to be not having a license plate and continuing to move while being stopped.
At the beginning of the incident, the first officer slugged the man as he was getting out of the car with his hands in the air.
After the man had been subdued on the ground, a second officer coming to assist, rushed over and simply stomped on the head of the man lying on the street.
Both officers were fired shortly after the videos surfaced on social media. It was damning that at least one of the officers blatently lied about things that were clearly revealed in the videos.
While the trend to escalating levels of violence began some time ago, it has only been exacerbated by the combative attitude displayed by our current president, particularly on the campaign trail where he constantly egged on his supporters to "beat the crap" out of protesters, said he would "bomb the shit" out of ISIS, and so forth. And his attorney general with his retrograde attitudes about race, immigration, drugs, and so on is not helping.
It is not necessary to have this level of force and violence in order to have a peaceful society. It's just not.
Cartoonists have had a field day at United's expense. As they should.
Last updated on Apr 15, 2017