Tax the Rich to Feed the Indebted?
Define That Term #245

Flying the Friendly Skies

050902_usair_katrina_hmedhmedium In the last 5 years, has at least one of your flights been delayed for hours on end with no explanation whatsoever?  Have you sprinted through a terminal past multiple fast food restaurants in an effort to catch your connecting flight, your stomach rumbling, knowing full well that you can't stop--and that you'll be fed no more than 10 peanuts during your flight, even though it occurs during a mealtime? Have you felt as if you were performing some sort of bizarre strip tease at the security check points?  Have you ever stood in an airport cursing the unhelpful and downright surly personnel under your breath, or even out loud?

I know I have.

So, I can totally relate to the irate reaction that Carol Ann Gotbaum, a New Yorker, apparently exhibited after gate crews refused to allow her to board her flight, even though the plane was still in the gate. 

Granted, she was late, but who knows why she was late?  Perhaps her prior flight had been delayed?  Maybe she'd been detained by security because it was the third Tuesday of the month, thus mandating the detention of every fifth woman with brown hair who walked with a limp and wore a size 7 shoe. I mean honestly--who the hell knows what sort of ridiculous system TSA has in place on any given day.

And who knows what was waiting for her at the end of her flight?  Perhaps an ailing child or relative?  An important and time sensitive business meeting?  Cutting edge cancer treatment?

Airport and security personnel at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix likely had no more knowledge than I as to what peculiar set of circumstances led her to become so irate.  And, I doubt they really cared.  Their solution was to handcuff her and place her in an airport holding cell--where she died, as explained in this AP article:

A traveler who may have accidentally choked herself to death while handcuffed in an airport holding cell was a "wonderful" woman and mother, according to New York City's public advocate, who is her relative...

The events that led to Gotbaum's death began when she became irate over not being allowed on a US Airways flight, though she was rebooked on a later flight, officials said. Officers handcuffed her and took her to the holding room, where she kept screaming, authorities said. They checked on her when she became quiet and found her unresponsive, said Phoenix police Sgt. Andy Hill.

It appears Gotbaum may have tried to get out of her handcuffs, which ended up around her neck, Hill said. A medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

I don't know about you, but the next time I travel, I'm taking the train.


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