The Dao of United

The “Dr.” David Dao-United Airlines story shows that the infantilization of America continues.

Ignoring the monumental stupidity of United Airlines chucking paying passengers in favor of employee “deadheads,” I have to be a contrarian and say that the bad guy here is David Dao.

A few things need to be understood in this case.

The cabin crew has significant legal powers backed by federal laws. They act with the power of the pilot, who is captain of the ship, just like a ship at sea. While you are on his/their craft, you are subject to that authority. Passengers are to obey their commands or risk being removed or restrained. The cabin crew must retain control of the cabin.

There was no other option once Dao had escalated the situation. He had to go.

Because you paid for a seat does not mean you own that seat or you can disregard the crew if you don’t like one of their commands.

Do you want the lowest common denominator in control of the cabin? How long before he goes off again?

What happens when this guy decides he needs to go to the bathroom and he doesn’t want to wait?

What happens if he doesn’t like the food options or doesn’t want to pay for them?

What if he wants a drink? Was he drunk? On medication? (I suspect he is on medication and probably under psychiatric care.)

What if he decides the cute chick next to him should be his wife?

What do you do with unreasonable people in close quarters?

The success of transportation systems is that everyone obeys the rules and they are simple rules, usually not too outrageous (though this is the airline industry). Everyone must be in compromise-mode and turn the self-centered mechanism off (even when Jabba the Hutt next to you insist upon hogging both arm rests). Personal space is very small and everyone, other than David Dao, understands that.

But what we had here was an alleged mature, grown man, a “Doctor!”, act like a spoiled brat.

How often have you been in a grocery store and witnessed a small child scream and throw themselves on the floor because mom won’t get them the candy or toy they want? And how often have you thought, that lady needs to get that kid under control?

Well, you just saw the same thing. Why is this different?

Actually it’s worse because Dao, theoretically an adult, is supposed to know how to behave; how to deal with bad and difficult situations.

Dao should have grumbled, shuffled his feet, maybe threatened legal action as he left the plane and then complain loudly to United customer service. Complain to the local newspaper, bad mouth United to everyone.

But what we now have is a reward for being an unreasonable, self-centered child.

Ever since the Baby Boomers ascended the cultural heights, there’s been an increasing desire to extend childhood into adulthood — to make life one big, long childhood romp. I guess this incident is a logical result.

Some random thoughts.

Does anyone think that Dao could have been reasoned with? I’m sure every parent reading this knows deep down, that answer is no.

Is your discomfort based on how ugly the incident was? We occasionally hear of planes setting down to remove unruly passengers.

Would you have wanted to sit next to this guy? Especially if United had let him have his way?

Hey, terrorists are paying attention. They just noted that making a scene will allow one to get one’s way — aided by shrieking women and fools recording things with their cellphones and hopping onto “social media.”

It’s frickin’ O’Hare Airport not Nome International — there’s a bazillion flights leaving all the time. Dao could have easily taken another one, probably all of 20 minutes later. United likely could have booked him a first class trip on one though I have the suspicion that like the small child he is, he was never going to voluntarily leave the plane.

A lot of conservatives and libertarians have convinced themselves that had United offered enough money (say, $23 million?), this whole ugly mess could have been avoided. Sorry, guys, that’s you projecting your rational thinking onto someone who is clearly irrational. That maniac isn’t responding to monetary offers. He’d just as likely have responded to a trail of Skittles leading off the plane.

Does anyone want “Dr.” David Dao treating them? Does this guy have the temperament to be making possibly life and death decisions?

Maybe he’s not really a “Dr.” but more like a “Napoleon” at the loony bin?

Well, no matter what, this has just lowered air travel a notch lower. And I have a business trip in two weeks (though I’m not on United).

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