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John Gilmore: I was ejected from a plane for wearing 'Suspected Terrorist' butto

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  Spam messages 192-186 deleted by QuickTopic between 12-09-2019 05:32 AM and 10-30-2019 07:12 PM
185
Courtney
11-12-2007
03:59 PM ET (US)
Why in the world would somebody wear a button stating this in the first place.It's ridiculous to begin with, you should have expected some type of consequence.
Edited 11-12-2007 04:03 PM
  Spam messages 184-183 deleted by QuickTopic between 04-12-2016 01:04 AM and 07-21-2006 08:58 AM
182
Todrick
03-14-2005
03:54 PM ET (US)
saw a post on here by Piratemonkey, if this is the same Piratemonkey from AmericanForum.net the old gang is back together at PatriotDebate.com

anyone else looking for good american political debate please come on over and take a look, we do our best to keep it level headed and bipartisan
181
DutchPerson was signed in when posted
08-03-2003
05:09 PM ET (US)
You missed the point. People were calling for the forums to be taken down, and I wrote that I'm going to start asking for them to be taken down, which is ridiculous precisely because I'm a flame-baiting troll. It's called irony; you might want to look it up some time. I am glad you got a laugh, though, since that was my intention in writing it.

RE: self-deluded sack of shit like you

I assure you I'll remember that. You know you don't deal with criminals well. Avoid putting yourself in awkward situations by first refraining from personal insults. You're not up for confrontation on that level.

As to your killfile, this is the first I'm aware of that since I've only used the submit page twice, and haven't in several weeks. I did shout abuse at some people on these boards, so I can't blame you; but it does seem pretty pointless. Killfile people who harrass you, but why killfile someone who just disagrees with some of your readers?

Look, I don't give a fuck about you. All questions herein are rhetorical, and if you've thought for even one second that you have your "first stalker," you need to get over yourself. What you do have is someone who thinks you're a self-deluded sack of shit, with good reason.

1) Actions speak louder than words, and you've taken action. You directly insulted me, today.

2) You've also shown yourself to be naive, gullible, and completely oblivious on many occassions. One of my favorite things about this site is that it's a comedy of errors. "Cory Doctorow: The Blunder Years." In air-conditioned liberally-minded tech conferences, you may be God; but you're a chode the minute you step onto the street.

Like I said, though; it's not my concern who/what you are. That would be about as useful as yelling at the TV. I just come here because you collect some good links, and to have fun at some of your readers' expense.

FYI: I may tell jokes, but I never lie.
Edited 08-03-2003 11:41 PM
180
Cory DoctorowPerson was signed in when posted
08-03-2003
01:49 PM ET (US)
You're going to start asking for the forums to be cut off? Ahahahhahahahaaa! Jesus, that's fucking priceless.

Dutch, you've been in my killfile for months now. You can ask all you like. I think you'll find that:

a) I won't ever receive your message, because you're directed to /dev/null because you're a flamebaiting troll and a fool;

b) These forums will never ever be taken down because some self-deluded sack of shit like you thinks they should be.

But oh, do ask! Ask away! Ahahahahaha. God, that made my day, it did. I should have read this topic weeks ago.
Edited 08-03-2003 01:50 PM
179
milovooPerson was signed in when posted
07-23-2003
11:59 AM ET (US)
>I'll withold judgement, though.

Since when did that become an option?

(maybe you have learned something)

-milo
178
Dutch
07-23-2003
11:29 AM ET (US)
Ok, so you're a big riddle, a true enigma, I can barely wrap my feeble little mind around your complex individual-ness.


Wrong. You will not understand me -- or anyone else on the Internet -- no matter how hard you try. There is nothing special about me that makes it futile for you to try in this specific case.

...and yet you get pissed off when other people declare, "I was born different, maaannnn!"


I get pissed off when they declare it. They can think it all they want. In certain forums set aside for that purpose, they can talk about it, so long as they recognize the uniqueness of other individuals and don't insist upon special rights to accomodate their uniqueness.

This is beside the point, but I also feel I should add that my moral code does not preclude me from engaging in hypocrisy. I recognize that stealing and violence are wrong, for example, and I do both anyway. Pointing out my hypocrisy will in no way prove that stealing and violence are morally correct.

And yet, you have also said several times that I should look in the mirror,
could it possibly be that you stand to learn something there as well?


Of course I could learn something. I already have. In fact, the whole purpose of getting into this was to learn something. What was your reason for getting into this?

(for the record, not a "punk" , and not a Buddhist)


If you're not a Buddhist, then how can you pretend to have any idea what you're talking about when you claim that I know nothing about Buddhism? Maybe because you're a punk? Quite a paradox, isn't it?

If you are not a Buddhist, are you a seeker of wisdom? Are you saying that it's my problem, not theirs, because you realize some spiritual truth about the nature of suffering? Or are you making this claim because you are a punk, and you think it's my problem that I judge your brethren harshly?

In /m177 I wrote that you have no idea whether I'm bullshiting you or not. To be more specific, I meant that you have no idea whether I really think you're a punk. I have no idea what motivates people.

I do know that you came into this discussion by accusing ___x of being blind to reality, and then followed up with the same bullshit against me. Not to mention that you got yourself wrapped up in some bullshit debate about Buddhism (as if such a thing is even possible), knowing full well that you have no idea what you're talking about. I'll withold judgement, though.
177
milovooPerson was signed in when posted
07-23-2003
10:53 AM ET (US)
>I promise you that you will have no idea what you're
>talking about any time you talk about me.

Ok, so you're a big riddle, a true enigma, I can barely
wrap my feeble little mind around your complex individual-ness.

...and yet you get pissed off when other people declare,

>"I was born different, maaannnn!"

What you say sounds exactly the same from here.
And yet, you have also said several times that I should look in the mirror,
could it possibly be that you stand to learn something there as well?

You also spend a significant amount of time contemplating these
"punks" that you hate so much, either join up or let it go. Whichever you
decide you should realize than it is you that has the problem
not them.

"Physician heal thyself"

-milo (for the record, not a "punk" , and not a Buddhist)
176
Dutch
07-22-2003
07:11 PM ET (US)
"He who seeks his own happiness by oppressing others, who also desire to have happiness, will not find happiness in his next existence."

That is exactly why I can't stand punks. Quit trying to pigeon-hole me, and look at yourself. No matter how long you keep at it, I promise you that you will have no idea what you're talking about any time you talk about me.

There's no such thing as "fightclubism." Fight Club was a novel that reminded me a lot of my own friends and lifestyle -- end of story. It's a footnote, not a text to live by. You might as well accuse me of following "kitchenconfidentialism." And please don't mention my rabid "pointbreakism."

I realize a lot of people think Nancy-boys have the market cornered on Buddhism, but in reality that is just one more example of punk behavior in action. It takes a real punk to sit there and say, "I know the true path to enlightenment. I read it in a book!"

Seriously now, think about who's utilizing artificial social constructs to opress others. You have no idea if I'm bullshiting you or not, but you should know if you're bullshiting yourself.
175
milovooPerson was signed in when posted
07-22-2003
04:14 PM ET (US)
"He who seeks his own happiness by oppressing others, who also desire to have happiness, will not find happiness in his next existence." Dhammapada Verse 131

Ok, so we're not talking about anything resembling actual Buddhism anymore, since enlightenment would involve being able to more truly feel the pain of others, as well as plenty of other basic concepts, that it sounds like you are familiar with, but have set aside in favor of a new philosophy, "fightclubism", perhaps?

I recall that there were several teachers who strongly warned against trying to gain true wisdom from a single text (or film in this case) but I do not have any useful references here. I am of the opinion that "fightclubism" has a few gaps, with regards to living a decent life in our society, but I could be wrong. Perhaps we should hope for a sequel that will provide a "new testament" for the faithful, allowing an individual to expand on the teachings and go beyond them without the need for a charismatic leader.

-milo
Edited 07-22-2003 04:15 PM
174
Shan FendersonPerson was signed in when posted
07-22-2003
10:28 AM ET (US)

The master held out his staff and said to his disciples, "When, in olden times, a man reached the state of enlightenment, why did he not remain there?" No one could answer, and he replied for them, "Because it is of no use in the course of life." And again he asked, "After all, what will you do with it?" And once again he answered for them,

"Taking no notice of others,
Throwing his staff over his shoulder,
He goes straight ahead and journeys
Deep into the recesses of the hundred thousand mountains."


Engo sez: "If the action of one's ki is not independent of one's degree of enlightenment, one falls into a sea of poison." I guess that could lead to some kind of sociopathic state.

Wow, now that's off-topic.
173
Dutch
07-22-2003
02:19 AM ET (US)
Jesse M:

I see no need for further comment.
172
Jesse M.Person was signed in when posted
07-22-2003
01:23 AM ET (US)
Dutch:
"So, there is some truth in what I wrote. I really didn't intend to say something about Buddhism, though. My point was just that Buddhists achieve clarity of vision due to the removal of mental stumbling blocks, and so do sociopaths. In a way, Buddhism is all about transforming the human experience."

But Buddhists would say that the most fundamental "mental stumbling blocks" are egocentrism and attachment to selfish desires. Are you denying that sociopaths are some of the most egocentric and selfish people in the world?
171
Dutch
07-22-2003
12:53 AM ET (US)
Jesse M., m/170: Can't think of where you can look for this, but maybe it will ring a bell. Basically, there are various stages of reincarnation, and various "realms" that one can be born into. You might be born as an evil person, or as one who is constantly hungry. Although persons fated to some existence may not become true Buddhas, there is a Buddha for each realm. It is even possible to be the Buddha of Greed, though greed is completely contrary to the enlightened way.

This should not be a goal of any Buddhist, and I'm really not sure if it's even taught anymore. I think this concept is where a lot of the great Chinese literature came from, though; the slightly deranged Buddhism which has Rabbit Buddhas and whatnot.

So, there is some truth in what I wrote. I really didn't intend to say something about Buddhism, though. My point was just that Buddhists achieve clarity of vision due to the removal of mental stumbling blocks, and so do sociopaths. In a way, Buddhism is all about transforming the human experience.

This has all been covered in Fight Club anyway, so I've never bothered trying to flesh it out. As frustrating as it is, I think Tom Robbins drew from a lot of the same material for the first part of Villa Incognito.
170
Jesse M.Person was signed in when posted
07-22-2003
12:28 AM ET (US)
Dutch:
"I am the firm opinion that lacking human emotion and having no firm identity of your own makes everything much clearer. Think of it this way: Buddhist monks seek to eliminate the ego in order to gain mindful wisdom. The way I see it, I therefore hold twice as much wisdom as the typical person. Wrap that up and take it for lunch."

Aren't sociopaths supposed to be even more egocentric than ordinary people? And Buddhists certainly don't seek to eliminate "human emotion"...besides, it doesn't sound like you're very free from negative emotions like anger.
169
Dutch
07-21-2003
11:59 PM ET (US)
Piratemonkey, m/161:

I read some here are annoyed by buttons saying things you don't like them to say. One person admitted to assaulting someone who was holding a sign he didn't like (threw a bottle). Wow. Go America.


Just to clarify, I assaulted someone who was banging on my car and screaming at me. I don't like anti-abortion signs either, but the sign was secondary to the banging and screaming.

milovoo, m/156:

For the record, I am a NON-PSYCHOTIC Sociopath. I could flip at any time, but as of yet am perfectly rational and not dangerous unless confronted. Just because someone is a sociopath does not mean they can't deal with complex issues either. It just means they can't deal with any perceived insult or threat, and their "personal space" is surrounded by an electric fence.

I am the firm opinion that lacking human emotion and having no firm identity of your own makes everything much clearer. Think of it this way: Buddhist monks seek to eliminate the ego in order to gain mindful wisdom. The way I see it, I therefore hold twice as much wisdom as the typical person. Wrap that up and take it for lunch.
168
xradiographerPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
11:14 PM ET (US)
Gilmore is an asshole, that is obvious. He inconvienced 300 people because of his principles. All he had to do was remove the dangerous button and put it in his pocket. Then all would have been well. And if the captain then asked him to remove his turban he should have done that. If the captian had asked him to shave off his beard becuase it was making the flight crew nervous, Mr. Gilmore should have swallowed his asshole principles wholesale and shaved the thing off to save anyone some inconvenience. If the captain had asked him to remove his crucifix and star of david Mr. Gilmore should have politely asked which orifice he should cram them up so as not to inconvenience anybody with his goddam self-righteous holier-than-thou principles.


We've got a country to run goddamit, and the least thing we can do is make sure that the trains run on time.
167
rob
07-21-2003
10:49 PM ET (US)
http://tshirtgiant.site.yahoo.net/cts1020.html

Apparently there is also a Suspected Terrorist t-shirt.
166
Scott McNay
07-21-2003
10:21 PM ET (US)
Hi,

As the saying goes, a man's home is his castle. If I ask someone to leave my house, that person had better leave immediately, or else s/he is tresspassing. The same surely applies to any private business or other organization. I'm sure that someone could say "we don't serve niggers here" (for example), as long as the business doesn't receive government funds, but frankly, unless we're talking about the KKK, such an attitude would be counter-productive -- who in his right mind would tell a potential customer to leave, without good reason?

If John Gilmore *really* wanted to make a point with that specific message, he could have worn a PATCH (not a button/badge) with that message, securely sewn to his pants.

  "Please remove that patch."
  "Sure, got a knife??"
  "Um, please remove the pants"
  "My pleasure!"
  "STOP! PUT THEM BACK ON!!"

Another note about airplanes; they typically don't have police
officers riding on airplanes, who have jurisdiction on that plane, so if something happens, SOMEONE must have the authority to deal with it, and that person is the captain. Prevention is always the best
medicine.

Joking about bombs at an airport is a federal crime in the US and has been since before 9/11, I hear. I have no idea if a badge/button/patch on your clothes would count or not, but I think it'd be foolish to push my luck.

I agree on the airline dress-code thing.

I tend to agree that the captain's actions were probably within his discretionary boundaries. If there's a problem with what he did, it's probably entirely between him and his employer.

As for free speech, yes, some things are not allowed, and the large majority of the population will generally agree on such things.
Consider, for example, going to a public park, only to see a picture, tacked to a tree, of a backside view of some guy "making a deposit"; I think it safe to say that few people would see any need for that to be out in public. If you want to tack something like that to your bedroom wall, though, that's your personal business. Free speech also does not extend to requiring someone else to publish it; if it's a publication, you may have to get your own printing equipment and do your own
publishing, advertising, and distribution, on your own dime. I often hear of people whining about censorship just because someone else chooses to decline to publish something, even if it's otherwise within their publishing guidelines.


L> So you think he was wearing the pin all the way through security L> and onto the plane? I must have missed that point, because it L> seemed to me he slapped on the pin after he took his seat.

Yes? After he went through metal detector and luggage went through x-ray, and the airplane people merely ask him to take it off (as
opposed to giving it to them to hold for the duration of the trip)?
I think the whole issue was one of escalation. Someone thought the badge was questionable. If in doubt, do something about it; ask for it to be removed. A refusal to remove is suspicious (nearly everyone posting here seems to agree that they would have removed it if asked) and immediately indicates that you may be there for the specific
purpose of causing trouble. Etc.

Last time I flew, which was a month after 9/11, I was asked to show my cellphone to the person who was looking me over, while I was in Ft. Worth. She didn't ask me to, but I also unlocked it and showed her that it had current time. The look on her face gave me the definite impression that she'd suddenly understood WHY I'd turned it on (see http://abcnews.go.com/sections/world/DailyNews/phone001205.html for a concrete example). Overall, I had the definite impression that the security proceedings had been devised by someone who wasn't really thinking of security and that the inspectors hadn't been trained any better. By the way, they had me move stuff around in my bag; perhaps they were concerned about being charged with theft or damage or being stuck by needles or some such thing, which doesn't sound unreasonable to me, yet would make it much easier to hide something if I had been inclined to.

--Scott.
165
Bob
07-21-2003
09:55 PM ET (US)
he should have taken it off

he delayed 300 people because of his own principles

rather selfish
164
Bob
07-21-2003
09:54 PM ET (US)
you should have taken it off

you delayed 300 people because of your own principles

rather selfish
163
avkillick
07-21-2003
07:46 PM ET (US)
I can't imagine the flight crew were ever concerned that they were possibly dealing with a terrorist.

I can't imagine the button posed a safety threat (like some
passengers who refuse to take their seats and buckle in when the light comes on).

Two possibilities here:
1) If a passenger refuses to comply with a request from the crew he gets kicked off - no if's and's or but's. The crew cannot be seen to back down in these situations. They had
no choice.

2) In this situation, someone probably figured that Mr. Gilmore was going to cause a scene one way or another. If
the crew had ignored his button, who knows what situation Mr. Gilmore would create later (at 39000 feet). So a decision was probably made to bring matters to a resolution sooner rather than later.
162
chico haas
07-21-2003
07:42 PM ET (US)
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." Ironic how the patron saint of Republicans can be spun to justify Gilmore's dumbassical deed. Though to be fair to Barry, I think he was referrin' to the Russkies.
161
Piratemonkey
07-21-2003
07:34 PM ET (US)

avkillick:

What else was he going to refuse to do?
Hopefully he would refuse to take off his underwear or swear an oath to our Grande Leader Bush.

Just because you refuse to do something you have the Constitutional right to do doesn't mean you're a terrorist. You're beginning to sound like Ashcoft.

I read some here are annoyed by buttons saying things you don't like them to say. One person admitted to assaulting someone who was holding a sign he didn't like (threw a bottle). Wow. Go America.
160
CatherineTheGrand
07-21-2003
07:29 PM ET (US)
With Gilmore and the laptop, I don't see anything that says he was stopping them from searching the laptop or checking that it works. I only see that he wasn't going to do their work for them.

I don't understand why security doesn't want to search it themselves. I've had security search my carry-on luggage. I certainly haven't been asked to unpack and repack my luggage myself, and I'd be worried if they did ask me to.
159
moofPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
07:22 PM ET (US)
http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/st...88765%5E662,00.html

" A DISABLED man who was bundled off a Virgin Blue flight because staff thought he was drunk or a terrorist has settled a lawsuit against the airline."

" Mr Kyriacou, 37, broke his neck when he was 17 and has incomplete quadriplegia, limited control of his arms and legs and drooping eyelids and facial features."

" According to his claim, airline staff mistakenly believed he was intoxicated or some sort of religious fanatic or potential hijacker."

Settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

Hey Dutch! You're funny! I wanna cuddly-wuddly you!
158
avkillick
07-21-2003
07:20 PM ET (US)
This gentlemen refused to follow a request made by the cabin services director and then the captain.

What else was he going to refuse to do.

Once you indicate that you are unwilling to comply with requests made by the crew of a plane, you have NO business being there.
157
David MercerPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
07:10 PM ET (US)
While I applaud the points that Gilmore is trying to make (no ID to travel domestically in the case where the laptop was involved, and that we are all suspected of being terrorists, at least in airports, with the current case), I think he has chosen his battles fairly poorly.

In the laptop/ID incident, his point would have been made more clearly if the laptop had not been involved. Although some dual-battery laptops could of course be rigged to both operate AND contain a bomb, I find it at least somewhat reasonably connected to actual security to make folks show that they function. Not conflating this with the ID to fly domestically issue would have helped out in that incident a lot.

In this case, his little stunt would have perhaps been much more effective as a political act had it involved a public space, specifically a Federal govt. building (perhaps while attending trial over the ID issue? :-)
rather than involving a private party with discretion to disallow political statements in their vehicles.

I'm deeply aware of the fact that the defense of liberty requires extreme actions at times; I just find his judgement on which battles to fight, and his choice of battlegrounds, to be poor.
156
milovooPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
06:52 PM ET (US)
Dutch,

I'm glad you clarified your position. I now realize that there will be no resonable discussion with you about this, primarily because you are a sociopath (I don't mean that in a glib way - look it up). Most members of society can manage to avoid physical violence when confronting complex issues, but I guess this is not your way. Good luck with it, maybe we'll see you on the news someday.

-milo
155
erniePerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
06:32 PM ET (US)
Dutch said:"Just about a month ago, I got ambushed by some anti-abortion protestors. They were all gathered in the middle of this small town about a hundred miles from here, and started banging on my car as I tried to drive through them. This crazy bitch was holding a giant photo of a dead baby up to my window. I was drinking a beer at the time, so I threw the bottle at one of them."

Admittedly its slow today, but this post cracked me up! The ol' beer-bottle-as-weapon apparently isn't limited to the inside of bars for Dutch! :) And before people condemn his drinking and driving, please remember it only takes ONE hand to hold the beer, leaving a free hand for the wheel.
154
Dutch
07-21-2003
05:23 PM ET (US)
milovoo, m/112:


It seems to be very important for you to shut down those people that you disagree with.

What are you afraid of? What exactly is going to happen if these "punks", "retards", "stupid people" or college students speak their mind?

Is it just because, as you say, they "force their annoying presence" on you? Does that allow me censor you for being annoying?


On your time, you can do whatever you want. On my time, you have to show some respect. (I don't want to get into the nuances here, but I've found that punks are the most intolerent of all people. Despite their claims, they are the most intolerent of all social groups, except maybe fundamentalist Christians, but even that is pushing it.) If you can't act like an adult, and I have the authority to throw you out, you are going to be thrown out.

If somebody quietly reads a book titled Kill the Straight People, that is perfectly okay by me. It's when they start putting it on placards, stickers, buttons, and fliers that I get mad.

Just about a month ago, I got ambushed by some anti-abortion protestors. They were all gathered in the middle of this small town about a hundred miles from here, and started banging on my car as I tried to drive through them. This crazy bitch was holding a giant photo of a dead baby up to my window. I was drinking a beer at the time, so I threw the bottle at one of them.

I'm not sure how I feel about "metrosexual", but I'm glad that you can demonstrate the correct way to avoid personal attacks.


I am of the "fire with fire" school, better known as the "Bill O'Reilly School of Rhetoric." If somebody gets out of line, just shout them down! ^_^

moof, m/117:


Read carefully folks..
IF he had removed the button, he would have been allowed to fly. This is NOT at all like joking about bombs. When you joke about a bomb, the security people don't say; "we'll let you through.. IF you take it back". Basically, Gilmore was being told what to think.


Why don't you try reading carefully? Thinking and wearing buttons are two completely different things. You can wear all the buttons you want and still be incapable of rational thought (as many a liberal has proven). Conversely, Gilmore could have removed the button and thought about anything he wanted. He could have thought about raping small boys for all I care. Nobody told him how to think.

For Pete's sake people, if you can't be bothere to muster some independent critical thought of your own, at least leave others who DO have a brain and use it (perhaps even to dress oddly! SHOCK HORROR!) at peace.


Just for clarification, I'm calling you a jackass because you insulted people. Think whatever you want, but I do not put up with punk bullshit. If you're going to act like that, don't ever come to my city. If the rednecks don't get you for dressing funny, I'll get you for running your mouth.
153
SixDifferentWaysPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
05:18 PM ET (US)
...and an security intense area like an airplane is the correct place for this dialog?

I just meant in general.
Obviously, it comes down to whether any passengers would have felt somehow threatened by the pin or not. Personally, I wouldn't have had any problem with it, but everyone is different.
The Attorney General of the United States thinks calico cats are agents of the Devil. Me, I love me some calicos.
But it was up to the crew to assess the passengers' overall feeling of safety and comfort. So they may have made the right call if some, or even a few, would have been upset over this. Just didn't seem to me, personally, to be worth getting worked up over.
152
Matt
07-21-2003
05:09 PM ET (US)
"What we need in this country is more open dialog - not a bunch of cowering reactionaries who do nothing but fear and obey."

...and an security intense area like an airplane is the correct place for this dialog?
151
SixDifferentWaysPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
05:01 PM ET (US)
Wear a pin alluding to blowing up planes onto a plane, expect to get detained

Oh come on, the pin in no way alluded to blowing up planes - it was about being treated like a suspected terrorist and the futility of many invasive security measures.

While it's true that flight crews have a right to make decisions "for their safety and the safety and comfort of their passengers" there was *nothing unsafe* going on here. What was it? Some folks were somehow "spooked?" Please. What we need in this country is more open dialog - not a bunch of cowering reactionaries who do nothing but fear and obey.
150
Matt
07-21-2003
04:53 PM ET (US)
"I can't imagine anyone taking an international flight from SFO to London would have been alarmed and would be sophisticated enough to recognise the badge-wearing for what it was: a harmless bit of political protest and civil disobedience. "

Why? The simple phrase "Suspected Terrorists" isn't very explanatory.

Should the crew have sat down with him and had a discussion to determine that he is indeed harmless and the badge is merely a bit of protest? Would anyone else on the flight take adversley to the pin if they saw it? Would there be panic? There are two many variables for the crew to accept his explanation and simply say "fair enough".
149
LoveGravyPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
04:47 PM ET (US)
"Will I soon not be able to board a BA flight wearing a Sex Pistols T shirt showing the Queen being shot?"

Wear that to the coronation and see how far you get. Wear a shirt depicting killing the queen to a coronation and expect to get detained. Wear a pin alluding to blowing up planes onto a plane, expect to get detained. If either shock you, perhaps you need to rethink your career as a full-time protestor.

"Where will it end and who decides?"

Back to the slippery-slope argument. It's a logical fallacy that can be used in EITHER direction. If the pilot couldn't remove him, what next? People boarding planes carrying signs saying "I HAVE A BOMB!" or "I plan on trying to highjack this flight!"?

Flight crews need to be able to make a gut call, for their safety and the safety and comfort of their passengers. Someone dumb (or demented) enough to wear a "Suspected Terrorist" button on an International flight SHOULD be scrutinized. When asked to remove it, he SHOULD remove it. If someone won't remove a simple button when asked, you have to wonder about their mental state. When someone won't turn on their laptop when asked at a security checkpoint (like Gilmore did a few months back), you should treat him as a suspicious figure.

After all, if you walk on a flight declaring yourself to be a "Suspected Terrorist", don't become incredulous when people treat you like one.

Chico, on trains they are called "conductors" but still retain the same final say as captains of other vessels...
Edited 07-21-2003 04:49 PM
148
chico haas
07-21-2003
04:44 PM ET (US)
LG: Train captains?
147
SixDifferentWaysPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
04:36 PM ET (US)
The way I read it, Gilmore had the pin on all along - though it's not clear:

"We started at SFO, showed our passports and got through all the rigamarole, and were seated on the plane while it
taxied out toward takeoff. Suddenly a flight steward, Cabin Service Director Khaleel Miyan, loomed in front of me and demanded that I remove a small 1" button pinned to my left lapel."

One problem is that airport security and Airlines' policies are two different animals. The security is run by the government (contracted out to private companies, I believe?) The Airlines, however, are free to institute additional policies. Ideally, there should be some co-ordination, so a screener at the gate could say: "you're flying BA - they're not going to allow you to wear that pin", or something like that. And the gate crew should spot such things. Gilmore mentions that the pin was only 1" diameter - I doubt anyone even noticed it until the steward got his panties in a wad.

I can't see whose interests were served by turning the plane around and delaying the flight. It didn't seem to help the airline, the other passengers, or Gilmore. As for "safety concerns" - what safety, really, is threatened by a 1" badge? Gilmore seemed very open to explaining his message to any passenger who may have been alarmed or interested in any way. I can't imagine anyone taking an international flight from SFO to London would have been alarmed and would be sophisticated enough to recognise the badge-wearing for what it was: a harmless bit of political protest and civil disobedience. Were I on the flight, I wouldn't be upset with BA just for delaying us - but for insulting my intelligence by assuming I was a moronic reactionary veiled in the culture of fear, as well.

But it was BA's call. They offered to put him on the next flight if he removed it, and he chose not to. It's an economic decision. Gilmore can choose not to fly BA in the future and try his luck at wearing the pin on another airline.

Another important detail is the crew was not enforcing a BA policy per se, but they were making the decision to take action on this "safety issue"(which I assume they are empowered to do under Airline policy.) It shall be interesting to see if this results in a new uniformly-applied official BA policy. Will they start placing warning notices, or having gate crews giving warnings that clothing or accessories bearing "inappropriate language" will be forbidden? Will I soon not be able to board a BA flight wearing a Sex Pistols T shirt showing the Queen being shot? Where will it end and who decides?
146
LoveGravyPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
04:31 PM ET (US)
Here's a question for you all:

If Gilmore was trying to make a point, why didn't he wear a badge or shirt saying "I was treated like a suspected terrorist", but instead just said "Suspected terrorist"?

He KNEW he was going to get in trouble. His "statement" wasn't the badge, as he will claim, it was getting in trouble, and the badge was a means to that end.

If the badge was his statement, he could have made his statement 100X clearer. He was trolling for an event he could SUE over.
145
Matt
07-21-2003
04:29 PM ET (US)
"Why can't we ask crew to be able to differentiate uncomfortable truths from threats?"

Trying to ascertain whether someone is of a sound mind and may create a disturbance is completely different situation than identifying a concrete object like an insect or animal.

The crew and pilot should not be responisible for trying to sort out whether Gilmore is making a valid political point or is a nut.
Edited 07-21-2003 04:31 PM
144
LoveGravyPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
04:27 PM ET (US)
"Does it worry others that flight crew are allowed to act on every nervous feeling? To me this means they aren't being asked to differentiate between real and imaginary dangers, or threats to their pride versus real threats. This makes us less safe. "

The "slippery slope" argument, but I don't buy it. Saying "Hey!! I'm a Suspected Terrorist!!" as you go through security will get you detained, so why should it be OK then to do it once you are on the plane?

Captains have always been given WIDE lattitude on their ships, be they boats, trains or airplanes, and they have always been free to make these judgement calls.

Furthermore, they don't have to feel threatened. If I get on a plane after rolling in manure, they can boot me off the plane as it makes the trip uncomfortable for the other 200 passengers. Passengers may have been (as I would have been) talking about kicking his ASS for wearing the pin, and the captain did it for Gilmore's safety as much as anyones.

Finally, airlines are private companies. As such they have the right to refuse service based on anything that doesn't violate someone's civil rights. You may have the "right" to label yourself a terrorist (no matter how cleverly you try to loophole out of it by saying "suspected") and get on a plane, and the airline has the right to boot you right off of it, even if they don't REALLY think you are one.

"I've seen a few examples here along the lines of what if a button said "Potential rapist" or "Possible murderer." These have entirely different meanings than "Suspected..." Potential is what you might do. Suspected describes how authorities view you. I am never going to be a potential drunk driver, because I don't drink and drive. I am a suspected drunk driver when police stop everyone on a road to search for drunk drivers."

Exactly the type of bonehead defense he's going to use. How about I modify my example to make it better for you:

I'm going to your child's daycare center wearing a badge that says "Alleged Pedophile Rapist".

Is that better? If you saw a guy wearing that, would YOU want him around your child? I sure hope not! So why would you want someone labelled "suspected terrorist" on your flight? My life is too important to me to play Gilmore's silly games.
143
CatherineTheGrand
07-21-2003
04:18 PM ET (US)
Comments and questions:

Does it worry others that flight crew are allowed to act on every nervous feeling? To me this means they aren't being asked to differentiate between real and imaginary dangers, or threats to their pride versus real threats. This makes us less safe.

As an analogy: which makes you safer- a walking tour guide who freaks out at every insect (or snake), or one who can differentiate between the safe and the poisonous ones? A security guard who gets nervous about every poor looking person, or one who knows actually suspicious behavior?

In what way are passengers safer, for example, if the crew can call F16s out to escort a plane because a darker-skinned family is chatting in a foreign language as they point out landmarks below? (as happened to the Indian actress Samyuktha Verma and family) If I found out that my plane was a trigger finger away from being blown out of the sky because the crew couldn't ask "Hey, first time visiting our city? Where are you from?" I'd be angry. Especially because if blondes were chatting in an obscure European language thats exactly what would happen: the crew would ask, the chatters would answer, no F-16s called.

Why can't we ask crew to be able to differentiate uncomfortable truths from threats?

In what way were passengers safer when that person was thrown off for stating a truth like "I hope the pilots are sober" right after that airline had a drunk-pilot situation? If the passenger had given a threat like "I've spiked the pilot's coffee with whiskey" or "I'm a fighting mean drunk and I've just had 4 shots of whiskey" then as a threat she should be removed (and the threat investigated).

I've seen a few examples here along the lines of what if a button said "Potential rapist" or "Possible murderer." These have entirely different meanings than "Suspected..." Potential is what you might do. Suspected describes how authorities view you. I am never going to be a potential drunk driver, because I don't drink and drive. I am a suspected drunk driver when police stop everyone on a road to search for drunk drivers.
142
LoveGravyPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
04:15 PM ET (US)
Dunno, LOTC, but if he had the pin on from the time he entered the airport and noone said anything then that's a poor oversight on the part of the ticketing agents, security, etc.

Gilmore was obviously protesting the fact that he was asked to turn on his laptop at a security checkpoint a few months back (as is requested for ALL of us, from well before 9/11) and refused and was cuffed for it. He figured it would be cute to label himself as a "Suspected Terrorist" because he was so visciously harassed for not turning on his laptop.

I don't like people being "cute" with MY time. I hope the other travellers sue for their lost time and missed connections.
141
tortazilla
07-21-2003
04:10 PM ET (US)
I despise people that take their own pleasure in making other people feel uncomfortable.
140
Lord of The CowsPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
03:55 PM ET (US)
(/m138) Basically, I think it could have been either way. If he hid the pin, than I blame him for the delay, otherwise, I blame the company. Knowing Gilmore's history, and the reputation of the airline companies, I guess we'll never know unless we try ourselves :) (don't worry, I won't).
139
Eli the BeardedPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
03:51 PM ET (US)
Wow, so much here it seems dangerous to wade in. I have my
opinions on this, and I see some here that I agree with and
some that I disagree with. I suspect people who know me will
know where I stand.

It is pretty amazing to see some of the things written here
though, and certainly amazing to see the quantity of it. Who
hauled out the rent-a-mob on this issue?
138
LoveGravyPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
03:49 PM ET (US)
So you think he was wearing the pin all the way through security and onto the plane? I must have missed that point, because it seemed to me he slapped on the pin after he took his seat.

This proves one thing:

If you want to get thrown of a plane badly enough, you can be. He wanted to get thrown off, and he was. Congrats Mr. Dumbass, you proved your...uh...nothing really, but congrats anyway!
137
Lord of The CowsPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
03:45 PM ET (US)
Oh how I wish I'd seen this post earlier :) The only problem I see in this matter is the fact that Gilmore was accepted onto the plane in the first place. At each security checkpoint, they basically said to him "your pin/badge/statement is okay with us, you can board the plane".

For all of you that say that he didn't think about the 300+ other passengers I say that its not his fault. It's the company that let him on the plane in the first place that is to blame. "read the fine print" my ass. Where does it say "don't wear suspected terrorist pins?"

It does say that they can boot him off if they want to but, get this, they did and he complied. It caused a delay? That's certainly not his fault. He should have been informed a hell of a lot earlier than that. For all those who said that it was so obviously stupid to pull such a stunt, I'll gladly point to you the fact that it wasn't so obvious to all the security folks at all the previous checkpoints (unless of course, he was hidding the pin under his jacket untill he got on the plane). Feels like classic bait-and-switch to me.

This is a classic case of "blame the last man in the chain of events". Of course, ff he had complied, no delay would have been brought to the 300+ people on the plane ... but if the captain had not decided to ask him to remove the pin then there would have been no delay ... but if the security people would have ... etc, etc.

<rant>
I feel like if someone points a gun at stranger and tells me to kill my dog (or kid, or wife) or else he'll kill the stranger, that if I ever refuse to comply then the good folks at boingboing will accuse me of killing the stranger (sorry for the engrish) :p
</rant>
136
DuckFatPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
03:34 PM ET (US)
You have to weigh in the common good here. You just can't have 300 people on a plane using that closed environment as a platform for their political views. In a public place you have a right to make a statement and I have the right to walk away and call you an idiot or call the FBI or whatever.

On a plane, I don't have the opportunity to walk away from you if you threaten me in some way. If I consider this guy a threat I should have an opportunity to get away from him. On a plane he is taking away my freedom to stay away from left-wing nutcases.

So there have to be rules of decorum whereby we all agree not to threaten each other (even a little bit) in these captive environments. He broke the social pact of good, non-threatening behavior and suffered the consequences. Too bad his actions affected so many others negatively.
Edited 07-21-2003 03:35 PM
135
LoveGravyPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
03:32 PM ET (US)
"Hey, the America of old. The one with free speech is dead. When you start making exceptions then it's over man."

No, it's not over, it's just changed because the protestors have changed.

How about on Dec. 8, 1941 boarding a flight from Honalulu wearing a button that says "Possible Japanese Kamakazi", how do you think the pilot would react? Would he boot him off the flight? I bet he would, and that's 60 years ago. The only difference is that 60 years ago people didn't have the BAD TASTE to pull a stunt like this, but now, obviously, they do.

Making a statement by making others fear for their safety is IDIOTIC, no matter what the era.

Furthermore, you talk about "Free Speech", which has very little bearing when dealing with private companies. You can still stand in a public square and shout "My boss is a moron!!!" all day long, but do that in your breakroom at work and you CAN and likely WILL be fired. You can speak freely, but free speech doesn't mean you are immune from the reprecussions of your speech, nor does it mean companys lose their right to refuse to serve you.

Again, Free Speech means that you have the LEGAL RIGHT to say something, but it does NOT mean that you are immune to the havoc your speech might cause. You might not be able to be arrested for calling your boss a moron, but you most certainly can be fired for it. They cannot arrest you for wearing a t-shirt to a 5-star restauraunt, but they can refuse to serve you. You may not be arrested for wearing an "I am a terrorist" pin, but the airline can certainly ask you to leave the plane if you insist on wearing it.

Don't go blaming the government for this one, this is a pilot making a decision that I support fully. If I was a passenger, I would have either stayed off the flight, or requested a seat right next to Gilmore so I could harass and annoy him maliciously for the entire flight (since, after all, he's likely making 200 other people nervous with his actions, the least I could do is return the favor).

Then again, Free Speech CAN be illegal if it incites a riot or endangers live, like shouting FIRE in a crowded theater. Therefore, I would have gathered a nice group together to beat the crap out of the guy. Sure, I would have gotten arrested for rioting, but he would have gotten arrested for inciting a riot, happens to flag burners all the time.
Edited 07-21-2003 03:34 PM
134
Matt
07-21-2003
03:18 PM ET (US)
I'm not sure some of the people congratulating Gilmore on his actions are looking at the situation objectively.

If I'm the captain what the hell does a button reading "suspected terrorist" mean and why should I even give a shit about his "political statement"? I don't have time to question the person and ascertain whether or not he actually is a nutjob who may interfere with the crew. Or much more likely some other asshat taking exception to his o-so-subtle attempt at discourse and creating a problem. It's just not practical to spend the time trying to understand some eccentrics ideology when I have a job to do - regardless of whether or not I may agree with him.

I seriously doubt the captain thought he was a real terrorist but simply didn't want any potential hassles. It's not a matter of black / white or free-speech / censorship. It was just a pragmatic solution.
133
truth_teller B
07-21-2003
02:21 PM ET (US)
Hey, the America of old. The one with free speech is dead. When you start making exceptions then it's over man.
The overkill response to 9/11 was an obvious attempt the gut our rights and it worked.
Our intelligence branches just needed to get their sh!t together, not make all these bullsh!t laws.

To you people who are making excuses for the airlines actions. Welcome to your new AmeriKKA and watch what we get in the future.
Edited 07-21-2003 02:22 PM
132
__xPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
01:45 PM ET (US)
Lovegravy's idea about dressing as the shoe bomber is great, maybe someone could create a mail order website for shobobmber costumes that you can wear to the airport? That would be funny, hundreds of shoebomber lookalikes protesting security measures mucking up the already severly screwed airline industry.

About this long thread:
To the guy who claimed I didn't know anything about New Yorks 'wonderful community' when I suggested Mr.Gilmore's pin would also not fly so well at ground zero; okay mr.smartypants prove it. You go get a shirt and print "suspected terrorist" on the front and take photos of yourself walking around the financial district for couple days and post them. I doubledawgdare you.

Then there was the guy who claimed Isreal has tough security that does not violate your rights. Please know your facts before you make a dumb statement like that. (As if Gilmore would not be tackled by more than a few baggage screeners and MPs at Ben Gurion International.) You just made it clear to everyone that you feel so strongly about your opinion that you will make things up.

In all seriousness kudos to boingboing for hosting this thread, and to the thinking posters on both sides. While I think Gilmore's actions were silly, I do think that healthy debate about security being balanced with respect to our individual rights is very important. I hope that we never see a repetition in the "name of security" of what happened to to 110,000 of our fellow Japanese Americans.

While drastic times sometimes call for drastic measures, the lack of debate is what I believe contributed to that tagedy. While we must endure some inconveneince and constraint during these times, fear and ignorance is never an excuse for treating citizens like "suspected terrorists". We must also balance this with a terrorist mindset that would exploit our freedoms to our own demise.

God bless America.
131
SixDifferentWaysPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
01:43 PM ET (US)
moof - interesting points in m/117 - any European lawyers in the hizzouze?

Would Gilmore have any standing under EU law? I doubt it – I don’t think there is any jurisdiction, but you raise some interesting, if purely academic questions.
The plane was flying the UK flag, but it was in US airspace. It’s clear that US law applies in US airspace, but would the fact that it was a vessel registered to a Member State matter at all? Of course, Gilmore has no standing as a citizen of the community. The Treaty does extend some rights to foreign visitors, but they are rather limited.

Is political speech impended by a private party considered a human rights violation that impedes freedom of movement or economic rights under the Treaty? I suppose yes, in some cases, but it would surely depend on the context. Even though I don’t think he could take his case before the EU High Court of Human Rights, I would be interested to hear how the arguments played out.

Imagine this scenario: a UK citizen boards a BA flight from London to Glasgow wearing a badge that says “IRA Terrorist.” What would his reception be among the security people at Heathrow? Pretty chilly, I’d imagine. But could they prevent him from flying?

Horizontal applicability and direct effect don’t really apply the same way under U.S. Constitutional Law. We have Civil Rights statutes that work in a similar way. So even though there is no Constitutional protection against discrimination on the basis of race or gender, the federal laws mean it can’t happen. Well, actually, people can try it if they want – but the statutes mean they will lose by default when they have their pants sued off in a civil trial. Unreasonable search and seizure is covered under the Bill of Rights – so it is part of the Constitution and the states can’t legislate around it. But it certainly has no horizontal applicability to private institutions. Your employer can search your office; kids in schools can have their lockers searched, etc.

States do have some laws protecting rights beyond the Constitution – but it’s really rare. About the only examples I can think of are some cities having laws against discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation in certain instances (do any states? I don’t think so) and the hate crime laws which dole out tougher punishment for certain crimes motivated by prejudice.
130
LoveGravyPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
12:33 PM ET (US)
And don't miss the other "Gilmore Greatest Hits":

"When Gilmore opened his laptop for inspection by airport personnel at San Francisco International last month - as requested - but refused to turn the machine on, the cops were called. When he then refused to show identification to airport police, "they put the handcuffs on me and hauled me off," he told The Netizen. "

Wow, don't follow the rules and you get cuffed, BIG SHOCK.

This moron makes a career out of trying to get in trouble. He's hurting the cause a LOT more than helping it.
129
Squid
07-21-2003
12:28 PM ET (US)
If I was on that plane and he was allowed to board, I would probably have gotten off (and I probably wouldn't have been the only person leaving).

What a jack-ass.
128
LoveGravyPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
12:27 PM ET (US)
Furthermore, I hope the other 300 passengers file civil charges against Gilmore for the inconveniences he caused. By causing 300 people to miss connections, etc. he left himself wide open for it.

And I hope the airline does the same, charging him for the spent fuel, lost passengers, etc.

When someone's "political statement" causes me to miss my connecting flight, I'd be making my counterpoint in court.
Edited 07-21-2003 12:29 PM
127
Technophobe
07-21-2003
12:16 PM ET (US)
If Gilmore, or anyone, walked up to a Fedex or UPS counter with a package labeled "Suspected Explosive," should he reasonably expect the carrier to accept and transport it? I think not.

It's also quite possible the captain of the BA flight, who is ultimately responsible for passenger and crew safety, was concerned about the potential for an altercation in the cabin during flight instigated either by Gilmore or by another passenger (perhaps alcohol induced) because of Gilmore's provocation. Stranger things have happened aboard commercial flights.

Maybe Gilmore should start usng his employer's email system to send some offensive, but perfectly legal, mesaages to his coworkers and see how much free speech means in the workplace.

Having said all this, we must also acknowledge that Gilmore was not arrested or harmed in any way for expressing his views. His right to free speech was respected. But as wtih any protest, there are limits on time and place. He was not standing on a street corner or in a public park. Am I missing something, or did the system work the way it is supposed to?
126
LoveGravyPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
11:58 AM ET (US)
I'm going to a private daycare and put on a pin that says "Potential Pedophile Rapist" and go mingle with the kids.

Should the daycare center allow me in there? After all, if I'm wearing a pin PROFESSING my status as a potentially harmful person, should they let me stay? If no, what's the difference? If yes, let me know if you have kids and where they go to daycare....
125
LoveGravyPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
11:52 AM ET (US)
"IF he had removed the button, he would have been allowed to fly. This is NOT at all like joking about bombs. When you joke about a bomb, the security people don't say; "we'll let you through.. IF you take it back". Basically, Gilmore was being told what to think."

I simply disagree. Can Gilmore NOT think that if he doesn't wear the button? Sure he can. He's not being told what to THINK, he's being told what to WEAR, which is well within the airline's rights to dictate.

What if he dressed up, and was made up, to look EXACTLY like the shoebomber? Would that be OK? Should the airline allow one person's "statement" make the other 200 passengers uncomfortable? He wore the pin to get kicked off, and he succeeded. The statement wasn't the pin, he WANTED to be removed, so why is everyone shocked when he was?

Don't like the airline's policy, pick another airline. The airline has the right to eject him, and they exercised that right. As long as the airline is a private company, they can do that all day long. Heck, they can mandate Tuxedos for their flights if they want, and if you don't have one, they are well within their rights to boot you off the plane.

Gilmore showed up with his cute little button to make a stink, and he got what he wanted. He was told to remove it or get off the plane, so he chose to be removed. My remorse level for him is ZERO.

Show up at a 5 star restauraunt without a tie and see what happens. Private companies can make rules about conduct and dress on their own private property. They couldn't kick him out of the airport, but the airline doesn't have to let him stay on their plane.

Gilmore wanted to get booted and was successful. Congrats, asshat, you are teh winnar!!!
Edited 07-21-2003 11:55 AM
124
chico haas
07-21-2003
11:43 AM ET (US)
Gilmore's done the airlines. Time to pin on his White Power button and walk around Hunter's Point.
123
Randi Rainbow
07-21-2003
11:39 AM ET (US)
So you got to be right, instead of happy...Right Right Right..I would rather be happy jerk off..
  Messages 122-121 deleted by author between 07-21-2003 11:39 AM and 07-21-2003 11:38 AM
120
bryan
07-21-2003
11:37 AM ET (US)
i'm deleting all messages i don't like! yes, i have the key. you want censorship, you got it kiddies!
  Messages 119-118 deleted by author between 07-21-2003 11:36 AM and 07-21-2003 11:33 AM
117
moofPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
11:19 AM ET (US)
Read carefully folks..
IF he had removed the button, he would have been allowed to fly. This is NOT at all like joking about bombs. When you joke about a bomb, the security people don't say; "we'll let you through.. IF you take it back". Basically, Gilmore was being told what to think.

Also captains aren't magically some kind of dictator aboard their ships or airplanes; they only get certain privileges in international waters/skies.

Even then this is not at all clear cut. For example, you must follow any police officers instructions without delay. You can't even ignore instructions if they infringe your rights. But cops that exceed their authority ARE liable for their actions. The same goes for captains and airlines. They may have privileges to throw you off board, but if they do so for the wrong reasons, they will get in trouble afterwards.

Finally, the consitutional matter. First off all; all EU countries are party to the European Convention on Human Rights, and varies treaties such as the European Treaty on Political an Civil Rights. Furthermore, all EU countries (except the UK) have a Constitution which also mentions human and civil rights, as well as laws implementing EU, EC and Council of Europe directives and conventions. All in all there is a boatload of human and civil rights legislation and jurisprudence over here; and indeed more protection to be had, compared to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Now for the US situation; just because the Constitution and the Bill of Rights only mention what Congress may and may not legislate, it does not mean that private parties, even private companies may infringe your human and civil rights. First off, all rights not enumerated in the Constitution remain with the people and the States respectively. Secondly, there is a legal concept which is called horizontal applicability, as opposed to direct effect. This basically means that if the government is enjoined from behavior that infinges basic rights, these rights should also not be infringed upon by third parties (such as other citizens or companies). After all the intent of the Bill of Rights is to protect human and civil rights; it is evident that such rights deserve protection from third parties as well.

I'm sure individual States have implemented laws that implement the protection of civil and human rights from other parties than just the Federal Government. Otherwise, discriminating blacks or women would be just fine, as long as the Federal Government doesn't do it. Unreasonable search and seizure? Well, as long as Congress doesn't legislate in favor of it, anything else goes! Of course that stance is preposterous.

Back to the case at hand; did Gilmore's button pose a danger or impediment to the plane's operation? Would the buttons removal have magically removed such impediment? Of course not! The crew were being a bunch of petty cry babies who wouldn't know social and political comment if it bit them in the ass (or if it was pinned there). They clearly abused their power to oust someone whose *clothing* they could not comprehend. Is this a big deal? Well, Gilmore was being stubborn, but you have to question the sanity of the crew. Would refusing people dressed as hippies in the 60s have gone over well? Or punks in the seventies? (Remember, it's just a private company, so it's not a first amendment issue, no sirry!)

It is a sign of the times that people will gladly overreact to even the slightest disturbance of their conception of the world; after all, we must all support the President and the Government in these challenging times! Frankly, the crew were acting like mindless drones, not unlike many of the posters here. "Bad button! Bad man! Go home! I sleep save now!"

For Pete's sake people, if you can't be bothere to muster some independent critical thought of your own, at least leave others who DO have a brain and use it (perhaps even to dress oddly! SHOCK HORROR!) at peace.
116
LoveGravyPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
10:13 AM ET (US)
To me, this is akin to joking about "The gun I have in my sock" as you go through screening.

I'm sure the other passengers on the plane were not amused. I bet MANY of them thought the passenger was forced to wear the badge by the airline or something, as a way of keeping tabs on suspected terrorists (not everone on most flights are the brightest bulbs...).

"Free Speech" is overridden by the right of a private company to refuse service to ANY passenger they want. Just as a casino can eject a patron that's winning too much, an airline can eject a patron that they feel is undesirable, as long as they do not do it based on something that violates their civil rights. "Being an Asshat" is a perfectly good reason to refuse service, and someone's "free speech" rights dissappear once they agree to a private company's terms.

Act like a dumbass, get booted off the plane. Dude deserved it.
115
SixDifferentWaysPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
10:13 AM ET (US)
Yes, I was looking at it from a legal standpoint(attorney here.)

Not sure about the phone company example - there would be a lot of factors there (it's an essential service, heavily regulated by the government, perhaps a religious discrimination argument if they didn't like cursing, etc.) Another example is the "super-patriotic" diner owner who refuses to serve the long-haired hippies wearing peace buttons. I agree that would be wrong from a humanist/tolerance standpoint, but it would be perfectly legal.

The correct response, of course, would be for the peace activists to use their economic power and boycott the diner, and use the power of the media to publicise a boycott.

The whole situation sounds so bizarre. It sounds as if the captain confronted him with a threat - and then turned the plane around without Gilmore realising that would be the consequence beforehand. The more rational reaction would have been for the captain to say
"I understand you have strong feelings about this, but if you don't take the button off, we're going to turn the plane around and you will delay all the other passengers from reaching London on time."

That would have least given Gilmore a chance to weigh his right of expression against the rights of the other passengers. He seems an intelligent and empathetic person. LIke you say, I doubt he expected the result, and such a discussion would have still allowed him the choice to take it off and write about the incident later without inconveniencing everyone else.

He could have called for a boycott of the airline, and the press would play much more sympathetic toward him.
It's strange that the captain said he would be committing a "federal crime" if he didn't take it off, yet apparently there were no U.S. Marshals waiting to arrest Gilmore upon coming back to SFO. A decision was made somewhere to handle it peacefully (unlike Peter Buck's arrest after being drunk and disorderly on a BA flight last year.)

Heck, BA even offered to put him on the next flight if he didn't wear the button! Even though turning the flight back seems like an overreaction, it does appear BA handled the whole thing with exemplary politeness, tact, and sensitivity.

He mentions suing the government over the Federal regulation that you have to show an ID now to fly - but that is a completely different matter.

I applaud activism, but this situation seems to have spiralled out of control on both sides. It will indeed be interesting to see if Gilmore mow ends up on the "no fly" list, and if he will launch a legal challenge to that.

Note: he writes "(they called it a "badge")" - with some implication that they were challenging his politics more by using that term. However, "badge" is the common name in the UK for what Americans call a "button" or "pin" of this type.
114
Shan FendersonPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
08:54 AM ET (US)
Six - some good points, but...

   "no one acting in capacity of the state or on the authority of the state was trying to censor his speech."

Right, but that hardly matters. Practically, it's still a restriction of speech, even when it's not "the state" doing it. Legally I don't know, but I doubt the phone co. would be allowed to prohibit people from uttering naughty words on their lines, for example. Gilmore also mentions a court precedent that might well apply. So I wouldn't presume that the answer is obvious wrt the law.

Also, I don't think it reasonable to say that Gilmore chose an unreasonable way to make his point. I don't think he would have expected all that to happen - I certainly wouldn't have. More likely he just wanted people on the plane to see the button and be forced to think a little. Once they did confront him, he handled it in the only way possible.
113
SixDifferentWaysPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
03:37 AM ET (US)
I've skimmed the 100+ comments here, but obviously may have missed a few points.
Basically -

1. There is no "free speech" argument that applies. He was a passenger on a common carrier that is a private company (not even a US company), and no one acting in capacity of the state or on the authority of the state was trying to censor his speech. This was a private common courier enforcing a policy.

2. Private institutions are bound by certain Civil Rights laws from discriminating in some instances based on certain characteristics - namely race, religion, ethnicity, gender. Political expression or affiliation within the context of a private company's facilities is not protected under Civil rights Laws.

3. I am about as strong a free speech supporter as you will find. However, his challenge about what type of speech would be acceptable to BA is completely irrelevant. He was not in a government building, or being prevented protest on a public street by a state agent.

4. His stance, or whatever "rights" he felt he should have in this situation are without merit. I would imagine he was in violation of contract law (if one read the fine print of the ticket, he was in violation of international law (it was the captain's call under international transportation agreements), and he was in violation of common sense.

5. It was probably stupid of the captain to turn the plane around. This seems like turning a molehill into a mountain and made things a much bigger deal than they had to be. I'm surprised that BA would inconvenience 300 other paying passengers this way over something so trivial. No one even noticed the button. The flight crew could have at least had the passengers vote - I bet no one on that flight would have voted for turning back.

6. The above doesn't mean Gillmore was right, it just means BA was also kind of stupid.

7. Some mentioned that airlines may receive Federal funding, but this is a weak argument. the funding is not direct (as with private universities) - facilities and such necessary for public transportation are not the same as funding.

8. The real challenge would have been to wear the button into a Federal Building or facility - then challenge an eviction. From what I read, Gilmore is protesting US Government/FAA/Homeland Security policies, not those of individual airlines. I agree with his politics, but his argument here is a straw man. This is unfortunate, because some policies do need to be challenged - but in this case there were 300 innocent victims - and it wasn't even a very good way to make his point.
112
milovooPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2003
02:59 AM ET (US)
I guess I can understand why you are pissed at me.

>...I'M gonna start asking for the forums to be cut off.

>...I would have beat the hell out of the "patrons" if they hadn't complied.

It seems to be very important for you to shut down those people that you disagree with.

What are you afraid of? What exactly is going to happen if these "punks", "retards", "stupid people" or college students speak their mind?

Is it just because, as you say, they "force their annoying presence" on you? Does that allow me censor you for being annoying?

In my opinion this is why uncomprimised free speech is so important, to insure that individuals can have their say, even if someone else finds it bothersome.

>Don't respond with your smug little insulting bullshit.
>You want to see a punk, look in the mirror.

I'm not sure how I feel about "metrosexual", but I'm glad that you can demonstrate the correct way to avoid personal attacks.

-milo
111
Dutch
07-20-2003
08:29 PM ET (US)
Scott Mcnay, /m108:

I'm not pissed off at you, so don't take this comment the wrong way. (I am pissed at "Milo the Metrosexual," though.)


I think that wearing a large Star of David badge and/or an "I don't support Bushitler" badge (kudos to whomever thought of that name) would have gotten a point across just as well.


The whole point of that little story was that I don't put up with "statements" of any kind where I work. At other places (yes, constantly), I do have to put up with it. It's either put up with it or go to jail. At work, though, surrounded by like-minded lunatics, there are no political statements and nobody ever tries to whine about how different they are.

Think Fight Club meets Kitchen Confidential meets Goodfellas. Or, just go outside and try to look for yourself at reality. (College campuses do not count.)

The point in singling out the Support Our Troops incident was to make it clear that I'm not a conservative.
110
mario
07-20-2003
08:21 PM ET (US)
I don't think freedom of speech was ever the main subject in this issue. It was just brought out because he (gillmore) thought he had the right to 'say' (show) that expression in a plane. I'm not discussing the content of the phrase or if it is offensive or not (some might find it offensive, some might not). I think the main issue here is to give the general public the real conscience of what governments (not just in US, but mostly there) are doing in the name of security, specialy on airplanes (like terrorist couldn't get other ways to inflict damage on inocents...) and airports.

Saying this, I wouldn't think a good ideia to use that badge on the groundzero nor in any other places but airports and planes (perhaps some other places, too...) because the problem here is not with terrorism nor with the vitims of it, the problem here is the withdrawal of constitutional and Human rights because a event. As important and negative as the event may be we cannot forget about what was to live freely before it, and we shall commit greater injustice just because we are 'paranoid'! Or you (those defending these extreme measures) would like to see more then half the world population arrest or killed because there are suspects that they might be related to something (terrorism)? Perhaps you, who thought to be the most respectful citizen around, could 'be framed' into arrest due to only suspicions or prejudice...
Edited 07-20-2003 08:22 PM
109
Dutch
07-20-2003
08:17 PM ET (US)
Milo, /m107:


>On the other hand, I constantly see punks whining and carrying on about how "different" they are...

Oh, really? Where is this that you are "constantly" confronted with these malcontent punks and their opinions? If we substitute the word "whippersnappers" for "punks", it seems a bit less cartoonish, but still does not correspond to anyone else's reality.


I could ask you the same question. You do know what a punk is, don't you? Have you ever been to a college campus? Have you ever been to a gutter punk bar? Have you encountered street kids, ever? Don't say you're "calling me out on bullshit" and deny reality in the same breath.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and just assume you're one of the punks I'm talking about. The only other possibility is that you're some kind of retard.

Take a look around outdoors for a change.


>I've done that. In fact, I didn't even give the people an option.
>They just had to leave, and I would have beat the hell out of the "patrons" if they hadn't complied.

Again, I have to ask what color is the sky in your world?


I don't even know what the hell that means. Listen, you fucker, you screw head... If you're going to respond to a comment, respond to the point of the comment. Don't respond with your smug little insulting bullshit.

You want to see a punk, look in the mirror.
108
Scott McNay
07-20-2003
06:44 PM ET (US)
Sunday, July 20, 2003, 1:08:26 PM, Will Raleigh wrote:

WR> For those who feel that the captain of an airplane should have WR> special powers due to safety concerns, I would ask why are
WR> planes so special? I would wager that more people have died in WR> restaurants. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if more
WR> people have been killed in terrorist attacks in restaurants than WR> have been killed in planes.

Like this one?

http://www.chron.com/content/chronicle/met...96/10/15/lubys.html
This happened about a mile from my house, and I had been there to eat several times prior to the event, and, I think, once after.

I guess you've never been on a ship, airplane, or spacecraft, since you cannot simply up and leave whenever you want to. You can try to, but your death is virtually guaranteed if so; they cannot simply stop at the nearest telephone to let you out. In a restaurant or other such place, such is not the case; even if you haven't paid your bill, they cannot stop you from leaving, unless they want to take a chance on attempting a citizen's arrest.


D> BTW: Last time this happened, it was because somebody had on a D> Support Our Troops pin. Any "statement" whatsoever is likely to D> result in poor treatment. "Decrying of foolish policies" will D> DEFINITELY result in poor treatment.

There's a big difference between "Support Our Troops" and either
"Support Saddam's downfall" or "Support GW Bush". The troops have no choice in what they do; once war is declared, they cannot suddenly decide to leave the service, nor can they simply up walk away (at least if they're in a war zone). If you don't like having the troops in Iraq, then you need to deal with the government and the Commander In Chief that told them to go there, not the troops themselves.

I think that wearing a large Star of David badge and/or an "I don't support Bushitler" badge (kudos to whomever thought of that name) would have gotten a point across just as well.


QTE> What an idiot, it's not the statement that was creating the
QTE> security risk. It was the HUGE pin that those use to attach to QTE> your clothing. Sometimes, for whatever reason people can go
QTE> berzerk on an airplane. Especially on an international flight, QTE> and it is the flight crews duty to be extra cautious about
QTE> safety lest they be sued for neglence.

Sorry, such a pin like that *should* have ended up in the confiscation pile on the way through the security checkpoint. The captain merely asked for it to be removed; how does merely removing it and stuffing it in a pocket suddenly make the plane safe? It probably had some other attachment mechanism.

If I wanted such a pin, I'd hide it in a pen or mechanical pencil, which are, for no known reason, allowed through security checkpoints.
--Scott.
107
milovooPerson was signed in when posted
07-20-2003
06:20 PM ET (US)
Sorry Dutch, but I have to call you out on two counts of bullshit:

>On the other hand, I constantly see punks whining and carrying on about how "different" they are...

Oh, really? Where is this that you are "constantly" confronted with these malcontent punks and their opinions? If we substitute the word "whippersnappers" for "punks", it seems a bit less cartoonish, but still does not correspond to anyone else's reality.

>I've done that. In fact, I didn't even give the people an option.
>They just had to leave, and I would have beat the hell out of the "patrons" if they hadn't complied.

Again, I have to ask what color is the sky in your world? I'm thinking maybe you have just seen "taxi driver" a few too many times. Your revenge fantasies are certainly interesting, but I just don't think they are relevant.

-milo
106
Tracy Eckels
07-20-2003
06:17 PM ET (US)
What an idiot, it's not the statement that was creating the security risk. It was the HUGE pin that those things use to attach to your clothing. Sometimes, for whatever reason people can go berzerk on an airplane. Especially on an international flight, and it is the flight crews duty to be extra cautious about safety lest they be sued for neglegence.
Edited 07-20-2003 06:18 PM
105
DutchPerson was signed in when posted
07-20-2003
04:25 PM ET (US)
Will Raleigh /m101 wrote:

Gilmore can't just change the way he feels. ...

If some rights are higher up on your radar, you might lend emphasis to one over the other, but it's basically the same thing from where I'm sitting.


The above statement goes to the heart of why punks are "opressed" in this country: No black man I ever met just decided to be black because he "should have the right to."

On the other hand, I constantly see punks whining and carrying on about how "different" they are, and how they should have a right to be different. They're always crying, "I was born different, maaannnn!" They need to realize that while they may have a right to be different, they don't have a right to force their annoying presence on other people.

The old conservative "property rights" argument really gets stale, but it's hard to refute because it's true. If you annoy someone, not because you really were born different, but just because you chose to be annoying, they can throw you out.

If a waiter asked a customer to remove a political pin, and if the cook refused to prepare any of the patrons' meals until the customer complied, would you be applauding the restaurants aggressive stance on safety, or would you be decrying the restaurants foolish policies?


I've done that. In fact, I didn't even give the people an option. They just had to leave, and I would have beat the hell out of the "patrons" if they hadn't complied.

BTW: Last time this happened, it was because somebody had on a Support Our Troops pin. Any "statement" whatsoever is likely to result in poor treatment. "Decrying of foolish policies" will DEFINITELY result in poor treatment.
104
pmPerson was signed in when posted
07-20-2003
04:22 PM ET (US)
What colossal immaturity. 300 people fucked over so this asshole can post on the web. What about the rights of everyone else on the plane? Jesus, he's not making any point. He's just jacking off in front of everyone. What a loser.
103
Rich GibsonPerson was signed in when posted
07-20-2003
03:54 PM ET (US)
The fundamentalist terrorists have won, and now speech, pure blissful political speech, is not just a crime, but worse, the best among us have decided that free speech is wrong.

The best have decided that we must abandon all of our most basic principles in the interests of expediency. Or the myth of security.

People on this thread say that standing alone with a 2" message on your lapel that makes 'other people feel uncomfortable' is now intolerable.

Wow!
102
Happy EngineerPerson was signed in when posted
07-20-2003
02:11 PM ET (US)
Hey ___x -- I stand by my statement. If the pilot was seriously threatened because a passenger refused to remove a lapel pin reading "SUSPECTED TERRORIST", then that pilot is not showing the kind of rational judgement I expect from a person with 300 or so lives in his hands.
101
Will Raleigh
07-20-2003
02:08 PM ET (US)
Jim Katta - what would you say about somebody who could pass as white. Would they be wrong to embrace their cultural heritage? Should they just go along to get along?

Gilmore can't just change the way he feels. He can allow himself to be silenced for expediencies sake, but when you're talking about speech issues wouldn't that effectively be the same as somebody agreeing to move to the back so as not to make waves? Your speech makes us uncomfortable -- silence it. Your appearance makes us uncomfortable -- get into your place. Either of them could have gone along and not made waves, but should they have? I don't see a difference between the two issues. If some rights are higher up on your radar, you might lend emphasis to one over the other, but it's basically the same thing from where I'm sitting.

For those who feel that the captain of an airplane should have special powers due to safety concerns, I would ask why are planes so special? I would wager that more people have died in restaurants. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if more people have been killed in terrorist attacks in restaurants than have been killed in planes.

If a waiter asked a customer to remove a political pin, and if the cook refused to prepare any of the patrons' meals until the customer complied, would you be applauding the restaurants aggressive stance on safety, or would you be decrying the restaurants foolish policies?
100
KeevPerson was signed in when posted
07-20-2003
01:26 PM ET (US)
I think Gilmore would have made a better point (at least for me) with this caper if he'd chosen something just as thought-provoking, but not quite as easy to pounce on as "suspected terrorist". Even a minor change like "NOT a suspected terrorist" would have been more interesting.

Keev
99
milovooPerson was signed in when posted
07-20-2003
01:23 PM ET (US)
to: __x

>I dare Mr.Gilmore to wear his dumb little pin and galavant
>around ground zero, he would get more than just a few boots
>up his rear, do ya' think?

Um, no that's not really how it works, come visit New York City sometime, and perhaps it will dissuade you of your little fantasy world. He could galavant or prance or even do a little jig, even with a giant light up sign. It may be one of the last bastions of free speech, but it's still somewhat free here, not a whole lot of beating people up for their political beliefs.

nice try though,

-milo
98
P. Burattino
07-20-2003
12:12 PM ET (US)
Foolish, selfish or fearless the stunt may have been.... still I applaud Mr. Gilmore for pointing out the weak thread upon which the freedom of speech hangs these days in the U.S. Had he yelled fire in a crowed theater or burned a cross on his neighbors front lawn, such acts may have also landed him in big trouble, but folks he only had a button on! The message didn't cause panic or provoke hate, it only communicated an idea. Sadly the idea seems to be that the terrorist have won. No one likes to feel unsafe or vulnerable--- but if we take away his right to express his opinion we are doubly letting the terrorist win. Live free and ask why.
97
Dan KaminskyPerson was signed in when posted
07-20-2003
09:43 AM ET (US)
Other nations have dealt with airline security for much longer than North America. Take Isreal for instance, how do they secure their air travel? Reinforced cockpit doors. Cockpit lockdown on taxi (until post landing). Airport security is tight, but not at all intrusive.

El Al? Not intrusive?! Somewhere in Israel, an entire office is laughing quite hysterically.

cluepacket = http://www.usatoday.com/news/sept11/2001/10/01/elal-usat.htm#more

--Dan
96
kowalski
07-20-2003
12:59 AM ET (US)
Sorry if this has been mentioned before, but people, c'mon, it's not about whether anybody drew false conclusions from what was on the button or even believed what it said may be true. It's simply about not fucking around with issues that are obviously in everybody's mind when they board an airplane. And whether or not "we are all suspected terrorists" (where DID that come from by the way), being confronted with the whole topic is simply not necessary and may very well unsettling for some people. No I wouldn't be one of them, yes I'd probably even have good chuckle if the guy next to me had a button like this, but I'd sure as hell kick his stubborn ass out of the plane myself if he refused to remove the button when asked by the people I have entrusted my life with.
He made his point by wearing it when entering the airport, checking in, going through security, boarding the plane. Everything beyond that is just purely imbecilic, smug and arrogant.
95
Jesse M.Person was signed in when posted
07-20-2003
12:46 AM ET (US)
Some people are talking as though this is a post-911, Homeland-Security-gone-too-far type thing, but that's nonsense. My dad told me a story about going onto a plane with a violin case back in the 60s or something, and when asked what was inside he sarcastically said "a machine gun", and got the security people really mad at him for it. And didn't anyone see that pre-911 movie "Meet the Parents" where Ben Stiller got thrown off the plane for yelling out "bomb ba-bomb bomb bomb!" when told he couldn't say "bomb" on a plane? Gilmore's big rebellion was on about the same level. Seriously, I dare anyone here with a time machine to go back to 1995 or something and see if airport security is totally OK with you making jokes about being a terrorist or blowing up the plane.
94
ahaPerson was signed in when posted
07-20-2003
12:20 AM ET (US)
If you really want to pick a fight, visit planet Earth and yell, “God Bless America!” over and over again, just to see how the other 95 percent react.
Edited 07-20-2003 12:22 PM
93
wavingpalms
07-19-2003
11:03 PM ET (US)
Hmm. Everyone seems to have missed the point that Gilmore is obviously thrilled.

Imagine how pissed he would have been if the badge had gone without notice or comment.

Any parent will agree that the proper response in this situation would be to IGNORE the silly little attention-seeking stunt...

I've long been a supporter of the EFF, but this, zheesh. I hope they don't start sliding into Greenpeace-style photo-op stunts (long on outrageousness, short on solving actual problems), therefore, making themselves irrelevant.
92
rrsafetyPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
10:12 PM ET (US)
...And then we have the Einstein that wrote this:

"Real safety measures would not violate our basic freedoms. Real safety measures would not treat us like animals, or cause more fear."

Treat us like animals? Cause more fear? They asked him to take off a f***ing button, you idiot, that is all they asked him to do. A gentleman would have said, "Captain, I'm just wearing this pin because I think the US is too aggressive against possible terrorists, but now that you have asked me to remove it, out of respect for your position as Captain of this plane, I'll remove it."
That is what REAL people would do. I guess leftist A-holes do things differenly, eh?
91
Bill B
07-19-2003
09:36 PM ET (US)
While I can't say that I'm fond of how the government is handling "security" post-9/11, what Gilmore did was extremely childish.

Let's go to the applicable regulations:
CFR 14 FAR 121.533 (Operating Rules, Air Carriers)
...
(d)Each pilot in command [Captain] of an aircraft is, during flight time, in command of the aircraft and crew and is responsible for the safety of the passengers, crewmembers, cargo and the airplane.

Basically, the pilot signs for the airplane and gets to assume TOTAL responsibility for what happens on board. (NOTE: When operating from US Soil, foreign carriers/pilots are subject to US laws and regulations.)

So, while John Gilmore's button may have been a valid political statement, and quite possibly protected speech under the first amendment-- his self-acknowledged verbal refusal to remove the button made the flight crew perceive him as a potential headache. Not necessarily a threat, but a headache nonetheless.... and refusing to follow verbal instructions from the pilot-in-command is behavior that would have gotten you pulled off an airplane in the 80s, let alone today.

Mr Gilmore accomplished nothing here other than alienating 300 passengers, and causing a whole new generation of Internet denizens to question his sanity. ( Toad Hall computer security and open relays being the LAST time a group of netizens collectively smirked at Mr Gilmore...)
90
RodMcGuirePerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
08:31 PM ET (US)
There seems to be another thing going on here. There are currently semantic usage problems with the word "suspect" and related forms. There is a "weak suspect" sense found in say when the police ask a number of people to give alibis (If the police didn’t suspect them then why alibi them?). Then there is the "strong suspect" which is used in cases where some strong action has been taken against the suspect, say the police issue an arrest warrant. I have the feeling that the meaning of plain "suspect" has been shifting toward the strong sense. In part due to political correctness. Because of "presumed innocence" it may be considered wrong to say "the killer was arrested" instead of using the less presumptive "the suspected killer". This has had the effect of shifting the connotation of "suspect" strongly toward "largely considered guilty".

I figure that people who get upset by the "suspected terrorist" button only understand the strong sense of suspect.
89
CanisPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
08:31 PM ET (US)
"Homeland Security has effectively protected you from being harmed since 911."

And this Elephant Powder works great, too!
88
DutchPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
08:18 PM ET (US)
I just want to point out that in /m78 a self-identified black man echoed my "most important of all" third point from /m76.

To be more specific for the reading disabled: Jim Katta was offended by comparisons between John Gilmore and a black man, despite the fact that said comparison was made with "good intentions." I stated that it is offensive for John Gilmore to compare himself with an Arab man, despite his "good intentions."

If, in the words of Roger Wilco, that "doesn't make any sense" to you -- then I apologize. There's nothing I can do about that.
87
mx
07-19-2003
08:11 PM ET (US)
Of course, *something* had to be done. Security had to be changed, as it was obviously lacking. But, what they've put into place (namely surface airport 'security) is demeaning. Real security does not need to violate the rights of individuals. We have to demand this!

Other nations have dealt with airline security for much longer than North America. Take Isreal for instance, how do they secure their air travel? Reinforced cockpit doors. Cockpit lockdown on taxi (until post landing). Airport security is tight, but not at all intrusive.

Have you traveled our airports recently? Have you read the stories of trampled rights? These are the actions of an authoritarian government. Yes we need safety, but I don't want it at the cost of rights like privacy, decent treatment, etc.

Do we really think that our inconvinient, intrusive approach to security is actually secure? It's more noise than anything! Look at us, we're securing our airports! Or maybe it's chaos? However it is, it's mostly show.

Now behind the scenes, other arms of the government have improved security. The security agencies have improved their procedures, and many other security policies have been improved. These things are good.

But, we can't, in fear, accept *every* action that is intended to improve our safety. I think we can do better. I think we can treat the people of the States better. I think Airports could be secured better. And, I don't want to be treated like a terrorist.

What if I was of Arab decent? Many of my collegues are, and air-travel is a nightmare for them. They all have missed flights due to 'security'. Some have been detained, for more than 24 hours. And, they are all US or Canadian citizens (born and raised). Our security is treating these peoples as lesser, stripping them of many basic rights. Should be accept this? No, it's crazy.
86
DutchPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
08:02 PM ET (US)
Roger Wilco: There are two reasons people will not understand the three very important points I made.

1) Some people are assholes. They choose to willfully deny the obvious because said obvious is either a) contrary to their dogmatic worldview or b) perceived as a personal insult. I would put you in both categories "a" and "b" of subsection "1" as clearly defined above.

I also take some blame in the perception of others that my comment was a personal insult. The wording was not at all cautious or sensitive. It was blunt. It was not a personal insult to anyone, though. At least, anyone other than John Gilmore.

I also recognize your nick and realize that you are a long-time reader of this site's messageboard, and that you have therefore been witness to at least one rant on my part which involved violent ideations. I do have a problem with my temper, and I apologize for that. For you to use that as an excuse to delude yourself as to the meaning of simple words in black-and-white would be irrational, though. To do that would be much more irrational than anything I've ever written.

2) Some people are just stupid.

I also realize that there is a third possibility I haven't mentioned yet: Some people are full of shit. IMHO, it's most likely that you just saw an opportunity to make a funny comment and sling some petty bullshit at someone you perceived as an easy target. Since you are a human being, I'll forgive you for that.

Let's just keep the personal attacks to a minimum and discuss the article, or I'M gonna start asking for the forums to be cut off.

On topic: In substance, I agree with John Gilmore's position. In fact, I'm probably even more of a nutjob than he is when it comes to privacy and personal freedom. I'm a criminal, for crying out loud.

I just learned a long time ago that wearing a suit at all times will ensure minimal hassle from the authorities. While it would be pretty lame to insist that everyone wear a suit, I do insist that all badges, insignias, and "tribal decoration" be removed before a person asks me to take them seriously.
Edited 07-19-2003 09:03 PM
85
__xPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
07:58 PM ET (US)
Actually MX you are mistaken. Homeland Security has effectively protected you from being harmed since 911. Granted they were a little extreme at first, but have since corrected that. (Would you want it the other way?) The real mistake here is good people not understanding we are at war. Granted we are a nation who has experienced a period of unprecedented peace, but we have to learn, it was Usama Bin Laden and his supporters who are responsible for inconveniencing us and restricting our freedoms. If anything it is incredible the lack of terrorism we have enjoyed in this country. A testament to the many good things about America. We have to grow up now, idealism has to be balanced with pragmatism.

However, I give you credit as a fairly (obscenity excluded) articulate and sensible supporter of the Gilmore button. So are you going to get one and wear it?
84
__xPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
07:36 PM ET (US)
Hey WiseandUncanny (sean):
Thank you for pointing out that I used the wrong name. Dan should have been John. I stand corrected. (Had not yet fully digested my morning coffee.) Do you realize Wise and Uncanny is all jumbled together and you did not capitalize your name? You might want to fix that. (Continuation of pointless criticism.)
As far as voicing your lack of agreement:

"And thanks for the passionate support of jackboots! Always amusing to hear from the "SHUT UP OR WE'LL MAKE YOU SHUT UP" crowd! On another topic: hey, how 'bout that Constitution? Ain't it awesome?"

Not exactly a lengthy nor astute refutation of my points. If I think Gilmore was wrong I am a Nazi who hates the Constitution. Deragotory and personal and assumptive comparison seems to be quid pro qou for the liberal side on this thread. (With exception to Jim Katta
and a few others.)

Statements from those who agree with John Gilmore's choices:

"Anyone who agrees(with the captain) is a brain donor"
"The captain is a f***ing idiot"
"You idiots"
"Idiots"
"I should have you thrown off the plane"
"total f***ing moron"
"your a f***ing moron"
"(To someone who does not agree with the Gilmore button)You must have been very popular in Germany in the early '40s"
"(accusing of) passionate support of jackboots"
"quit being an asshat. kill yourself and make everyone else happy."

See? Not really thoughtful or articulate discourse, eh? I agree that free speech should be protected and that people should not be pushed around, excluded, or denied for their political opinions, even the ones I disagree with, generally one should be able to make a political statement by what they wear when traveling, unless the opinion could be misconstrued as a threat. It is easy to see why the button could be misunderstood. In saying that I do not think I am a Nazi or a hater of the Constitution.
(I especially liked the post that suggested that BoingBoing turn this thread off because they did not like all the people who disagreed with Gilmore voicing their opinions! Funny stuff.)
Edited 07-19-2003 07:42 PM
83
mx
07-19-2003
07:31 PM ET (US)
"Suspected Terrorist" is not a statement of intent, it would be absurd to think that was the case. It is an outcry at the insane treatment of Free individuals in the U.S. of A.

'Homeland security' treats us all like suspected terrorists, and that's wrong. Very, very wrong. We are Free, we are innocent, until proven guilty. The 'security' measures applied to our airports are a paranoid, inneffective attempt at preventing a very small number of people from harming us.

But, WE ARE NOT TERRORISTS. They just treat us like terrorists every time we fly. We pretend that it's Okay. We pretend that it makes us feel safe. But, it conflicts with our freedom as innocent members of this country.

Real safety measures would not violate our basic freedoms. Real safety measures would not treat us like animals, or cause more fear.

Gilmore took a stand, and said that he didn't agree with the system. Sometimes fighting for our rights causes discomfort, that is life. If you want freedom, you don't stand around and let anyone take it from you. Sometimes that means annoying a planeful of people. For a pin? A fucking statement? The truth hurts man.
Edited 07-19-2003 07:35 PM
82
Hank, the Angry Drunken DwarfPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
07:31 PM ET (US)
He's got to realize that just because people aren't as intelligent and profound as himself doesn't mean they can be toyed with and abused as if they were all paid minions of Ashcroft, Bush, and his other foes.

Exactly. What Gilmore did wasn't precisely like yelling "Fire!" in a theatre -- it was more like pissing on the floor at your local Supercenter(tm) because you disagree with Wal-Mart's corporate ethics. This isn't a particularly good way to strike back at The Man, but it was a great way to alienate 300 passengers and mid-level airline employees who have about as much pull with The Man as you or I do.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm happy he did it. He has a very valid point, and sometimes you need to inconvenience a few people to make your point. But I'm even happier he didn't do it on my flight.
81
wasca
07-19-2003
06:58 PM ET (US)
He should have gone with the "Suspected Dumbass" - I don't think anyone would have challenged him there...
80
B. MindfulPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
06:57 PM ET (US)
As much as I profoundly agree with Gilmore's point (and his lawsuits), he sacrificed 300 innocent passengers and manipulated excessively tense employees into falling for his trap. Worst of all it was over a tiny cryptic message on a badge (english for button). He's got to remember he lives in the MeetSpace not Blogistan. He's got to realize that just because people aren't as intelligent and profound as himself doesn't mean they can be toyed with and abused as if they were all paid minions of Ashcroft, Bush, and his other foes.

To really make our points about the excesses of the new new world order they need to be crystal clear and engage the sympathies of the populace not their fears. They need to educate not infuriate. They need to be of purely selfless motivation, not self-promoting. They need to embrace the everyperson, not consider them fools. At least that's what worked for Ghandi, King and Chavez and we certainly wish one of them was here to show the way.

"Be truthful, simple and fearless." M.K. Ghandi
Edited 07-19-2003 07:02 PM
79
Technophobe
07-19-2003
06:28 PM ET (US)
I don't know who is stupider, Gilmore for his prank or his "sweetheart" for staying with him.
78
Jim Katta
07-19-2003
06:27 PM ET (US)
hey there, self-identified black guy here again. regarding your statement: "sorry, grandma, you're going to miss your connecting flight to see your grandson on his birthday, cuz i must be an uppity negro and sit at the front of the bus.'

I find your statement neither ironic, or in any way comparable to what Rosa Parks did and for you to compare what Gilmore did to what Parks did is a really slick and inaccurate way to try and make your point. I'm a black man, I CAN'T CHANGE THAT. I can't remove my face plate at the pilot's request and replace it with a white guy face plate. Gilmore on the other hand could have taken off his button and subsequently filed a free speech lawsuit if he felt so strongly about it. We can disagree politely and intelligently, but I don't think you serve your argument by muddying the waters by comparing race with a button someone DECIDES to wear. As a black person, let me confirm for you that IT'S JUST NOT THE SAME.

If you really want to ride down that slippery slope, then let's start comparing: the african/af-american slavery holocaust with the american-indian colonization holocaust with the jewish holocaust and who had it worse. OR, suicide bombings conducted by the palestinians in the middle east versus the american president Truman's order to atomic bomb japan twice (killing piles and piles of civilian woman and children) and try to explain which act WAS or WASN'T an act of war OR an act of terrorism. See how tangled the arguments can get? How about leaving black people out of your argument/metaphors and just making a strong free speech argument...

p.s. Again, personally, I think Gilmore was wrong.
77
Roger Wilco
07-19-2003
05:56 PM ET (US)
Hey Dutch, perhaps the reason why nobody will understand your "important points" is because they don't make any sense.
76
DutchPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
05:19 PM ET (US)
Three important points, which I do not believe anyone will understand:

1) There is no such thing as a "protest button." There are only buttons. Yes, there is a concept of a thing that protestors call "protest buttons," but the actual objects are only buttons.

To believe that the imaginary social construct of "protest button" trumps the reality-based concrete "button" is extremely disturbing.

2) Maybe the linked site has changed since time of posting, but these buttons are not even good protest buttons. In fact, they are some of the worst inflammatory nonsense.

Among the other "political statements" are:

Intersex
Sex Worker
Trans/Genderqueer
Cuntlovin'
Perverse
and miscellaneous
Leaving just 1/7th of the total buttons for "racism."

So the site linked would more accurately be described as an "intersexed trans/genderqueer cuntlovin' perverse transexual website" than as an "anti-racism website." Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it gives no impression whatsoever of being in the mainstream of any culture (unless you count the lunatic liberal fringe).

3) Most important of all points:

John Gilmore is not Arab. He's just some nutjob who wore a "suspected terrorist" button on an airplane. As offensive as "anti-racist" racist activity is to me personally, I would think that everyone could appreciate how offensive it is to misappropriate one culture's legitimate political statement and use it is a bad practical joke.

John Gilmore is no different from a misguided Caucasian anime dork wearing one of those "yellow peril" buttons.
75
E. Naeher
07-19-2003
05:13 PM ET (US)
"This was BRITISH Airways, the US constitution doesn't apply."
"First, when on a plane or boat, the captain's rule is law, no matter how silly."

Wrong and wrong. Unlike, say, the British Embassy, a BA jet doesn't carry its sovereignty around with it; when on US soil (which it was) US law applies. And while a pilot or captain does have some (not absolute) extended authority, this is the case only in international waters/airspace. Or are you trying to tell me that when I lived on my boat on the Cape Fear River here in North Carolina I could have had any of the people who visited me thrown in the brig?
74
Rick Dismas
07-19-2003
05:01 PM ET (US)
I'm with Gilmore on this: it was political speech, it shoudl be protected, it did not harm, offend, endanger or inconvenience anyone until the crew decided to get snitty with him. The truth won't change, no matter how many "trouble makers" get thrown off of airplanes. These people aren't afraid of terrorists - they're afraid of the truth.

That said, now you can join in the fun: http://www.cafeshops.com/terrsuspect - proceeds go to the ACLU or somesuch.
73
plughPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
04:56 PM ET (US)
Somehow my earlier posting on this topic didn't make it - conspiracy? :-)

Two points I'd like to bring up:

First, when on a plane or boat, the captain's rule is law, no matter how silly. If he says that all people wearing green shirts must wear them inside out, so be it. This is well recognized in international law.

Second: Didn't Gilmore claim he wasn't going to fly until he resolved his OTHER lawsuit, over the photo ID?
72
rrsafetyPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
04:56 PM ET (US)
For all the liberal dumb f***s out there. This was BRITISH Airways, the US constitution doesn't apply. Further more, for the other liberal dumb f***s out there, the Constitution protects individuals from government action NOT individual actions.
That fact that anybody on this board would consider Gilmore a martyr to the free speech movement just shows you how far the Left in America has fallen.
I'm glad I got all that Left Chomsky BS out of me when I was in college and replaced it with something few of you know about...it is called "Common Sense"...you should try it some time.
71
Glenn FleishmanPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
04:50 PM ET (US)
I've just read all the messages, and I'm stunned that no one mentioned the split in authority and responsibility.

One person mentioned that businesses don't have to support public speech (generally but not entirely the case: mall owners can kick you out for wearing T-shirts with messages they don't like for no reason as they're private businesss). Several noted that Gilmore passed security clearance.

What we have in this odd situation is a case where the government authority did not impinge on his free speech and the private business did. The government didn't ask Gilmore to be taken off the plane; the company made private determination to remove him.

That might be the crux here. If John had been refused security clearance, that would be an entirely different matter. It's a civil tort now rather than a civil rights case.

John is also the guy who believes that despite the problem with spam and the fact that individual businesses should be allowed to make their own determinations about with whom they exchange email, that he should be allowed to run an open relay without his ISP cancelling his service.
70
some_guy
07-19-2003
04:45 PM ET (US)
The pilot and steward should be fired.

Why? Because he allowed the cabin door to be unlocked and opened so teh captain could go and yell at some annoying punk.

Thanks a lot idiot-- while you were coming out the door to yell at him, his co-conspirators burst into the cockpit and took control of the plane.

Have you *never* seen a spy/war/prison movie?

It's called a diversion-- and you fell for it.

Of course, at SFO the plane probably wouldn't have got onto the runway without crashing into another plane-- but still.

After 9/11 they're still allowing the cockpit door to open *ever* once a passenger is on board? I had assumed that there was some actual security on planes now (I haven't flown in years)-- but apparently not-- just lots of hassle.

The pilot and co-pilot should get on the plane, then they should lock the cockpit door. They don't need to come out and no one needs to come in once a passenger is on board. Portable chemical toilets, a two liter of Dr Pepper and a couple of bags of Doritoes should sustain them during the course of even the longest flight. Give them bottled water and fruit or maybe a porta fridge and a microwave if you're nice, but *never* open the cockpit door.

In 1986(7?) I saw a speech by a terroist expert and NSA advisor (Neil C. Livingston) who told us (a group of high school students and teachers) that a plane could theoretically be hijacked by holding a pencil to the carotid artery of a stewardess and threatening to kill her. The government knew that 15 years before 9/11 and two years after, they're still letting the cockpit to open after there are passengers on board?

With the current incompetant airport/airplane security, things like 9/11 will probably happen repeatedly. Demand *real* security from your government, not this illusion crap. This is totally unacceptable.

You will notice that my plan of keeping the cockpit door closed and locked does not increase the hassle level to the passengers *at all*-- but it does make them totally safe from a group a passengers stealing the plane. The worst that can happen is a plane-wide brawl where only toughest survive-- and I'd bet quite a lot that you couldn't get enough terrorists on a plane to ensure that it would be them.
69
wiseanduncanny
07-19-2003
04:33 PM ET (US)
"You are a suspected terrorist" would probably have worked better, but that's a lot to fit on a little button. I like Gilmore's button, it's terse, it's a little shocking to people who need to be shocked, and it clearly got a rise out of "Captain" Hughes! (Why are airline pilots called "Captains" anyway? They aren't ships, and these pilots are not in a military organization, so wtf?)

It's amazing to me that there are people who think him wearing the button was dangerous, as "Captain" Hughes stated. Will someone please explain how him wearing this button would have harmed anyone? Regardless of if Gilmore's an asshole or not, WHY has no one addressed this at all?

--sean
68
Guest
07-19-2003
04:15 PM ET (US)
What do people thing of the message: "You are a suspected terrorist" instead of just "Suspected Terrorist". Do you think that would have made people "uncomfortable"? Perhaps his button was too subtle?
67
afeinmanPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
04:06 PM ET (US)
We're already brainwashed. That's why we're having this argument. It's kind of scary.

A previous poster writes: "Everyone knows if you joke about bombs when waiting to board the plane, you get the works."

WHY? Why should I get hassled for that? If I was a terrorist, would I be more or less likely to make jokes about a bomb in an airport? What the heck? I never understood this. If the general public can't tell the difference between two guys talking about "hey, I hope there isn't a bomb on this aircraft" and a well-coordinated effort by twenty terrorists to simultaneously hijack three (four) aircraft and slam them into buildings, we're in trouble, but the worst thing we can do is REINFORCE that behavior by arresting everyone.

America needs to remember that it has to be personally responsible. And sometimes this means that the Disneyland ride isn't the safest in the world, and planes do fall out of the sky. And people die. And it sucks. But thinking that acquiesing to censorship and totalitarianist leanings are a way to prevent this is pure fantasy.
66
wiseanduncanny
07-19-2003
03:50 PM ET (US)
i think this is about the rudest thing i read today. i hate people like this. sorry, grandma, you're going to miss your connecting flight to see your grandson on his birthday, cuz i must be an uppity negro and sit at the front of the bus, which isn't really funny, more creepy and a little disconcerting to somebody, like me, who lives in fear of black people.

but there will always be selfish people, now won't there?
65
Wim LPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
03:49 PM ET (US)
And note that none of the passengers seated near him were uncomfortable with his button. Nor were the security screeners who let him on the plane.

I don't have a problem with the idea that BA has the right to kick him off the plane if they don't like his clothes/hairstyle/choice of reading material. I do have a problem with the fact that a supposedly respectable organization like BA would choose to exercise this right in a case like this.
64
bungatronPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
03:23 PM ET (US)
Several comments here are making me uncomfortable. Mark or Cory, could you turn BB back and eject the messages?

This is that bloody Gilmore's fault. They're going to have to reinstall their webserver because of him.
63
John Durham
07-19-2003
03:19 PM ET (US)
Yeah, I would be ok with it. Because I'm reasonable enough to recognize satire and separate it from actions that ACTUALLY threaten lives.
I would MUCH rather be free than "safe".
62
bryan
07-19-2003
03:17 PM ET (US)
i think this is about the rudest thing i read today. i hate people like this. sorry, grandma, you're going to miss your connecting flight to see your grandson on his birthday, cuz i must wear this pin, which isn't really funny, more creepy and a little disconcerting to somebody, like me, who lives in new york.

but there will always be selfish people, now won't there?
61
Jesse M.Person was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
03:15 PM ET (US)
John Durham wrote:
"The folks who keep comparing this to yelling 'fire' in a theater or making jokes about bombs are NOT getting the point. He did no such thing. He wore a button that expressed an opinion. He passed the security screeners"

But it wouldn't be obvious to anyone who isn't a reader of Reason Magazine that this was an expression of a political opinion rather than a button claiming that he, himself, was a terrorist. If the button said "Terrorist" rather than "Suspected Terrorist" would you be OK with it? What if he wore a satirical T-shirt that just said, "Suicide Bomber"? How are either of these cases different from the button that he actually wore?
60
Dan Z.Person was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
03:12 PM ET (US)
Gilmore wasn't denied passage because he had the button; he was denied passage because he refused to take it off. Important difference.
59
John Durham
07-19-2003
03:07 PM ET (US)
The folks who keep comparing this to yelling "fire" in a theater or making jokes about bombs are NOT getting the point. He did no such thing. He wore a button that expressed an opinion. He passed the security screeners, He was NOT stating he was going to hijack the plane, or do anything of the sort. It's a pretty clear cut free speech case.
I don't have a problem with being patted down, screened and my luggage being searched when getting on an airplane. I don't like it, but it is an unfortunate neccessity due to a tiny amount of nutjobs who want to kill people to further their agendas.
I DO have a problem with censorship because someone is offended or miffed or just doesn't agree with someone's viewpoint.
Mr. Gilmore was NOT advocating terrorism or violence. He was expressing how he felt. For that he should not have been singled out.
58
CatherineTheGrand
07-19-2003
02:48 PM ET (US)
I think he was thrown off for pointing out an uncomfortable reality. He (or any of us) would also have been kicked out if he'd worn other buttons or had a paper or book with the title of

"Multiple searches don't add to security" or
"If you are uncomfortable with me you can kick me off"
"Reinforced cockpit doors could have stopped 9/11"
"The illusion of security isn't security"
"10 million people on a watch list = no good watch list" or
"Pilots should be sober while flying"(*)
"Hi, my name is David Nelson"(**)
"I read the Koran" (***)
"The Monkeywrench Gang" (****)
 
And I doubt that even if he'd taken off the button they'd let him stay on the plane. The flight attendants would have seethed for a few more minutes on "how dare he make us uncomfortable with the truth" and would have asked the captain to turn around anyways.

We travelers put up with ever increasing searches and other security measures without even demanding a cost-benefit analysis, let alone proof that any measure actually improves security. We no longer need that cliched and provably false proverb of 'the frog in hot water'... it can be replaced with the provably true 'the traveler in the airport'.

(*)Remember the woman thrown off of an airplane for asking if the pilots were sober? This immediately after news reports of two pilots *in the same airline* who had almost flown drunk.

(**)You know about David Nelson? Because One David Nelson is on the watch list, all 5,500 David Nelsons get searched multiple times and have to be cleared by an FBI representative each and every time they fly. Ozzie and Harriet's son, the Washington state senator, young and old, black and white. Each and every time they go through security. Makes you feel safer, no?

(***) Not a button, but someone was escorted from a flight because he was reading a book about Islam.

(****) Someone was prevented from flying because security noticed he was reading this book.
57
John Galt
07-19-2003
02:38 PM ET (US)
1) BA was within their rights

2) So was Gilmore

3) BA's rights trump Gilmores

4) The fact that this situation is serious as opposed to farcical is _very_ dangerous. One would expect a more advanced body politic to assume
    A) Wearing a button like that might get you heavily screened, but if you're on the plane, WTF
    B) Your ability to look like a fool in the eyes of your fellow man is an inalienable right.
    C) Phrases on buttons don't harm people directly, only the pins on the back of them.

If I'd been on that plane, I'd of been annoyed with Gilmore, but I'd also have followed him right off the plane and rebooked with another carrier. If BA will do this, they're certainly not a carrier I'll ever use again. They seem to have gone out of their way to make a mountain out of a crater. It's not that I support Gilmore as much as I support myself as a customer. It was stupid, it should have been called stupid, and about the strongest possible comment to Gilmore could have been "grow the f* up"

That said, I agree with the man on one point. John Ashcroft, the man who put him there, and all those that think like him are the worst thing that has happened to America. I've been a republican for 30 voting years, I had serious problems with W's daddy, but the son is driving me to consider voting for Dean.
56
wiseanduncanny
07-19-2003
02:34 PM ET (US)
Hey, "__x," at least try to get the guy's name correct. It's "John Gilmore," Dan is someone else.

And thanks for the passionate support of jackboots! Always amusing to hear from the "SHUT UP OR WE'LL MAKE YOU SHUT UP" crowd!

On another topic: hey, how 'bout that Constitution? Ain't it awesome?

--sean
55
mblind
07-19-2003
02:25 PM ET (US)
what a dumbass.. what did he expect..
54
magenta
07-19-2003
01:58 PM ET (US)
Freedom of speech only applies to the government censoring individuals. Businesses have every right to censor people who are making use of their facilities. "Management reserves the right to refuse service to anyone," etc.
53
MoelBrain
07-19-2003
01:58 PM ET (US)
Maybe they just didn't want him to poke somebody with it?
52
ropPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
01:52 PM ET (US)
Please. Re-read Matthew Sturges's message here. Only the hysterical would believe an actual terrorist in this circumstance would wear a button announcing his intentions. And the bottom line is: it's free speech, it *is* a constitutional right. It's not speech that poses an actual danger to others' welfare, as in the yelling fire in a theater example. Free speech isn't something we can afford to split hairs about. Unless it's all free, none of it is.
51
__xPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
01:46 PM ET (US)
Brian Carnell "No, it's like wearing a button saying "Suspected Arsonist" into a movie theater."

No it's like wearing "Suspected child molester" into a crowded daycare.
50
__xPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
01:40 PM ET (US)
My Take:
Because there has been much abuse to the freedoms of US citizens, Mr.Gilmore chose to wear a button that he felt made a political statement. It was a bad choice.

The crew of airship saw the button as a threat and disregard for safetey. I don't think they cared about Mr.Gilmore's politic.

Because Mr.Gilmore was more concerned about his own freedom to do which he pleases he chose not to simply remove the button while in flight. (Like it would have killed him.) It too was a bad choice.

A pilot of an aircraft carrying 300 people doesn't care about rights to free speech. Infact I would wager he goes through zero training concerning respecting "passenger speech rights". Nor SHOULD HE.

Rosa Parks refuses to go to the back of the bus. Good choice. She disobeyed a sign that infringed on her constitutional right as an American citizen.

Dan Gilmore refuses to remove stupid pin. Bad choice. He chose without regard to the consequencees to express his opinion. Proving what?

Those of you who feel angry about being "suspected terrorists" get over it. I can't wear a ski mask into a bank or I would be a "suspected robber", do I cry in my beer over lost freedom of speech? No, because I need to bank.

Turning an act of war through terrorist activity like the merciless killing of 3000 innocents into a big civil rights issue is nonesense. I dare Mr.Gilmore to wear his dumb little pin and galavant around ground zero, he would get more than just a few boots up his rear, do ya' think? Because really wearing a shirt or a pin that says "suspected terrorist" isn't much of a statement over free speech. If anything it suggests you indirectly support terrorism by insubordinating those who are trying to protect us from it.

I think it would be funny if liberals started wearing "suspected terrorist" T's, hats, and pins. Why not take it another step and replace "suspected terrorist" with "Usama Bin Ladin"? I could see many doing that thinking they are being really radical activists, when they would be really what Mr.Gilmore's actions were...lame.
49
Dan Z.Person was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
01:34 PM ET (US)
Does anyone think for a moment that an actual terrorist would wear a button that said, "Suspected Terrorist?" In other words, how on earth does the wearing of a button constitute a threat of any kind?

Sigh. It's not just A button. It's a button specifically meant to provoke and threaten the flight crew. At the very least, it indicates someone spoiling for a fight. One wonders what might have happened had Gilmore gone unnoticed until the flight was in the air. What sort of resistance would he have given then? I can only imagine the melee as the air marshals arrested him for disobeying the orders of the captain, while he shouted, "See the VIOLENCE inherent in the SYSTEM!"

I consider myself a pretty rabid free speech advocate, but this was a poorly chosen tactic in a poorly chosen battle. Contrary to Gilmore's assertions ("I declined, saying that it was a political statement and that he had no right to censor passengers' political speech,"), you don't have free speech rights on an airplane. Period. This was a pointless exercise in stupidity.

Meanwhile, those who find themselves on the DO NOT FLY list have no way of finding out why they are on it, or who put them there. They have no way of voting out of power someone who abuses their ability to put people on the list. This is a chilling situation, and worth fighting to change. I wish he'd tried a stunt that brought attention to this situation. But fighting for the right to wear your "Suspected Terrorist" pin on an airplane? I've known high-schoolers smarter than that.
48
Brian CarnellPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
01:04 PM ET (US)
"It's like yelling "There is the posibility that a fire might start" in a crowded theater."

No, it's like wearing a button saying "Suspected Arsonist" into a movie theater.
47
wiseanduncanny
07-19-2003
12:44 PM ET (US)
Um, wait, it's bad if the pervasive "blessing" of our country by a fictional deity makes me uncomfortable?

For fuck's sake, it's an ugly, horrible song, too. I hope I never have to see that NY Firefighter guy sing it at a sporting event ever again. It's an affront to anyone with a semblance of taste.

--sean
46
nixomatosPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
12:42 PM ET (US)
It's like yelling "There is the posibility that a fire might start" in a crowded theater.
45
DM-Terra
07-19-2003
12:37 PM ET (US)
My 2 cents? This makes lots of sense without making any. The "Reason" story seems fallacitical(no idea if thats a real word) to say the least. I can understand the captain worrying. I can understand Mr. Gilmore's reasons. I can understand the first decision. Do I like it? you've got to be kidding. The captains case is that there may be some paranoid people or staff members (or maybe the captain himself) who would believe the button. Gilmore's case is that he has a right to express disgust about the world we live in. I frankly can't understand the reason he can't wear an oppose terrorism button though. The full story doesn't seem to add up to me.
44
dalkePerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
12:30 PM ET (US)
This isn't like yelling fire in a crowded theater. It's more like wearing a button that says "I like fire" in a crowded theater. Actually, that's too strong, since there are some people who don't like fire. It's more like wearing a button that says "I can yell" in a crowded theater. Just about everyone can yell, and just about everyone is a suspected terrorist on a plane.

It isn't like wearing a shirt that says "kill the negroes, word to ya mother!". It's much closer to wearing a shirt that says "I may be racist."

The thing to remember is that Gilmore's button is exactly correct. He, every passenger on the plane, and even the crew, are suspected terrorists just by being on the plane. Was the button telling a falsehood? No.

However, I can say that, but then suppose he was wearing a button which said "I might be carrying a bomb." My argument above equally allows that, because it's true - he might be carrying a bomb and managed to sneak it through the security. (Not too hard, if what I've heard about the poor quality of airline security is correct.)

Perhaps the difference is between 'something you are' and 'something you have'? Hmm... Is there any button/ t-shirt/ etc. which should not allowed? If so, can it be made legal by adding a "may be" to it?
"The theater may be on fire!"

Well, the bomb one in theory may not be allowed because of specific regulations against that type of speech. And it may not be allowed because in theory, after the inspection, it's no longer a 'may be'. While the terrorist one is always true on the plane. That's why I can't queue up at the front bathroom, after all. Err, not quite. I could be a highjacker who is not a terrorist.

Guess I've got something to think about for the next while.
43
Happy Engineer
07-19-2003
12:30 PM ET (US)
Legal or not, protected speech or not, the airline's actions here are ridiculous. You have to be a brain donor to be frightened by such a button. The security screeners didn't have a problem with it, so for me, that negates the "joking about bombing" argument.

For those slamming Gilmore, I guess you want to live in the kind of world where reason counts for nothing. Have a ball, but in my opinion, the airline is responsible for delaying those passengers, not Gilmore. Go watch Fox news or something.
42
Matthew SturgesPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
12:27 PM ET (US)
Excuse me, but are you people out of your fucking minds?

Does anyone think for a moment that an actual terrorist would wear a button that said, "Suspected Terrorist?" In other words, how on earth does the wearing of a button constitute a threat of any kind? This is absolutely nothing like shouting "fire" in a movie theater. That analogy is used to demonstrate that we may abridge one's freedom only to the extent that it causes harm to others. The button is not a threat, or even a joke; it is a dire political sentiment that is borne out by all of you yahoos who seem to think that free speech is a privilege that can be abrogated whenever convenient, and then easily restored when inocuous. America was founded on the the principle that freedom of speech is a natural human right, and therefore only to be shackled in the most dire of circumstances. You relinquish it at your own peril.
41
rrsafetyPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
12:24 PM ET (US)
Naeher, I have no doubt that you are the kind of person who is made uncomfortable by the phrase "God Bless American", no doubt at all.
40
Jeff SuttorPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
12:20 PM ET (US)
as we are all now "suspected terrorists", John's actions are appropriate. also remember that suspected terrorists do not have any rights and many bad things are happening to many good people.

I am currently traveling. on the outbound flight, my checked luggage was massively TSA'd. and what was of the most interest to them? three t-shirts that had words on them encouraging people to value free thought and that it's OK to buy bandwidth and give it away to your local community. also my Swiss army knife was stolen and my Calvins were abused.

so, I am going to have my own button made and will be wearing it on the return flight. after all, it's only the truth. I am a suspected terrorist.
39
johanPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
12:18 PM ET (US)
And I get nervous around blondes. Especially with big boobies. (this was turning into Fark, no?).

So I can have them thrown off the plane? Cool!
38
emmillie
07-19-2003
12:09 PM ET (US)
Is the button link broken, or did they remove it from their website??
37
erniePerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
12:00 PM ET (US)
Everyone knows if you joke about bombs when waiting to board the plane, you get the works. If John wore a T-shirt that said "suspected terrorist" on it in large letters, I think it would be easy to see that is equivalent to a bomb joke in the airport context. So then the pin is ok because the letters are tiny? I don't think so.
36
E. Naeher
07-19-2003
11:57 AM ET (US)
The 'private company' spiel won't wash here. Airlines which get federal law enforcement on their planes (when am I going to get a federal marshal to guard my apartment?) and use airports constructed with government money and receive billions in federal subsidies are about as private as Halliburton.

That aside, the funniest part of this post was the following:

"Annie later told me that the stewardess who had gone to fetch her said that she thought the button was something that the security people had made me wear to warn the flight crew that I was a suspected terrorist(!)."

A lot of things make people uncomfortable. "God Bless America" stickers make me uncomfortable; I deal with it. It's not that hard.
35
Rusty BrooksPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
11:48 AM ET (US)
/m32 Jim Katta: I have good news for you. Under BA's rules you can have him thrown off the plane. Or, he can have you thrown off the plane. Maybe, because of the anguish the tension between the two of you causes, you should both be thrown off for my well being.

And everyone here will agree that this is all well and good, because after all it abides by British Airlines Rule #2.
34
max cohen
07-19-2003
11:45 AM ET (US)
All John Gilmore managed to do was delay and anger 300 passengers who probably had schedules to meet, and who will now look upon his causes or any related causes with less than open minds. Thanks a lot John. This ranks right up there with throwing red paint on people wearing fur coats.
33
Rusty BrooksPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
11:45 AM ET (US)
OK. I went back and re-read the email.

Nowhere does it say that the Captain or flight crew were nade nervous by the button. This is of course written in Gilmore's words, but you guys have no more to go on in this respect than I.

What was said is that some theoretical person might become nervous or be made nervous by the button. In other words, they were censoring him for the *potential* harm that his button might cause.

I understand the desire to censor speech and actions that you find offensive. I understand the desire to censor speech and actions that someone you know, have seen or heard of might object to.

But censoring speech or actions that you think might cause someone (who is not you, someone you know, or someone present) discomfort is... weird. I don't get it.

Almost everything is potentially offensive to someone.
32
Jim Katta
07-19-2003
11:44 AM ET (US)
And to answer Rusty Brooks comment re: blacks and jews. I'm a black man, and if a white guy was on the plane with a shirt saying "kill the negroes, word to ya mother!" or something like that, yes I would be very offended. but I would probably just have to eat it and endure the flight shooting him mean looks or just trying to ignore him all together. but being offended by someone's "point of view" on an airplane is not the same as being concerned by someone self-identifying (albeit dubiously) as a suspected terrorist. Wrong joke in the wrong place; if you don't see that, then you won't ever get why most of the people on this board disagree with Gilmore's actions.
31
Spaceship Operator
07-19-2003
11:37 AM ET (US)
You have the right to make statements that negatively affect others, provided you aren't committing slander or libel. But you don't get to negatively affect the flight crew on an airplane. You don't get to make the stewards or the captain wonder whether you're going to do anything more obnoxious than wear a button. You don't get to preoccupy them with thoughts of hijackings or bombings or even confrontations, when they need to be comfortable and alert enough to keep the passengers safe. And when they tell you that you ARE making them nervous, you don't get to keep doing so. So I fully support the captain's decision to remove Gilmore from the plane.

Gilmore does have a very good point, and I agree with him on the whole. But he needs to understand the context of each of his protests, and in my opinion he failed to do that this time.
30
Jim Katta
07-19-2003
11:34 AM ET (US)
I'm as liberal, left leaning as the next new yorker, but dude come on. (dude in this case being Gilmore) One does not make statements like this on a freaking airplane, it just doesn't fly (pun intended, I rock). Seriously though, Gilmore has lost some overall credibility with me over this action. The button, in the context of being on an airplane, was CLEARLY provocative. If he thinks he has the free speech right to be provocative on an airplane, well then screw him, he doesn't. When I ride an airplane I'm putting my life in their hands, so anything they ask me to do (buckle seat belt, shut the F up, be nice to others, etc.) while on the plane is EXACTLY what I'm going to do. Lord help me if I become so goddamned cantankerous and self-righteous some day that I actually think I have a right to ride a plane with such a provocative button in such a highly sensitive time. Gilmore has lost his sense of perspective as well as much of his free speech cred.
29
plughPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
11:31 AM ET (US)
Two things:

- Regardless of whether or not you believe it was political speech, or a first amendment case, or whatever -- the captain of a plane, like the captain of a ship, has full authority to make you do whatever you want. If he decides mid-flight that all people wearing green shirts must put them on inside out, so be it. Whether or not the action is reasonable can be debated on the ground, but once it's left the gate, his word is law, literally. I do agree that this was the height of silliness, but there's no question the captain was within HIS rights.

- I thought Gilmore wasn't going to fly any more until the whole photo-ID thing was settled?
28
gorgar
07-19-2003
11:30 AM ET (US)
This is like complaining that the cops were mean to me because I was wearing a "Cop Killer" button. Feel free to exercise your right to free speech, but I prefer to temper my rights with a little old-fashioned manners and consideration for others.
27
Rusty BrooksPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
11:29 AM ET (US)
Oh, jesus.

> 2) If carrying you or your baggage may affect the comfort of > any person in the aircraft

For example, if I was black or jewish and another passenger was in a hate group? Or perhaps if I was a woman and you were a wacko fundamentalist christian who didn't think women should fly? Or maybe if I was a woman wearing a head scarf and you were a terrorist-phobia-addled passenger?

>7) If you have not obeyed the instructions of our ground >staff or a member of the crew of the aircraft relating to >safety or security.

In which way is wearing a button -- which was cleared through the airport security, no doubt -- a matter of security?

>10) If you have deliberately interfered with a member of >the crew of the aircraft carrying out their duties.

They have a legitimate beef here only to the extent that they badgered him so incessently. He did not stand up and declare that he was NOT TAKING OFF ANY BADGES. They asked, he said no. They asked again and aagain and he said no.
They picked a fight with him and, apparently, standing up for yourself is "deliberately interfering" with the person who's picking the fight.

I would not have done this. Like (almost) everyone else, I'm willing to sacrifice freedoms to go about my daily business. I appreciate what he's doing, and I'm glad there's someone to do it. This is kind of cheesy, but in the same way that every american can not directly participate in the governence of our country, we have senators and congressmen. In the same way that not all of us can afford to protest adequately, we have Gilmore.
26
rrsafetyPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
11:13 AM ET (US)
It is clear that some of you have no idea what the term "freedom of speech" means.
An individual/corporation has no requirement to "respect" your assinine ideas or pathetic attempts at protest.
If you like joking around on airlines, expect to be kicked off.
What is most annoying is how whiney these protestors get ever time they are slightly inconvenienced during one of their stupid games...
25
UnseeliePerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
11:03 AM ET (US)
The pilot and flight crew are ultimately responsible for the lives of everyone onboard during the flight. I would rather that they have the leeway to make decisions that they think make people safer.
24
UnseeliePerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
10:59 AM ET (US)
It would appear that #2, #7, and #10 are the most likely to appply.
23
UnseeliePerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
10:56 AM ET (US)
Fine Print - From BA's Website

Our right to refuse to carry you or to ban you from travel
 a) Our right to refuse to carry you
 
 We may decide to refuse to carry you or your baggage if one or more of the following has happened or we reasonably believe may happen.
 
 1) If carrying you or your baggage may put the safety of the aircraft or the safety or health of any person in the aircraft in danger.
 
 2) If carrying you or your baggage may affect the comfort of any person in the aircraft.
 
 3) If you are drunk or under the influence of drink or drugs.
 
 4) If you are, or we reasonably believe you are, in unlawful possession of drugs.
 
 5) If your mental or physical state is a danger or risk to you, the aircraft or any person in it.
 
 6) If you have refused to allow a security check to be carried out on you or your baggage.
 
 7) If you have not obeyed the instructions of our ground staff or a member of the crew of the aircraft relating to safety or security.
 
 8) If you have used threatening, abusive or insulting words towards our ground staff or a member of the crew of the aircraft.
 
 9) If you have behaved in a threatening, abusive, insulting or disorderly way towards a member of our ground staff or a member of the crew of the aircraft.
 
 10) If you have deliberately interfered with a member of the crew of the aircraft carrying out their duties.
 
 11) If you have put the safety of either the aircraft or any person in it in danger.
 
 12) If you have made a hoax bomb threat.
 
 13) If you have committed a criminal offence during the check-in or boarding processes or on board the aircraft.
 
 14) If you have not, or do not appear to have, valid travel documents.
 
 15) If you try to enter a country for which your travel documents are not valid.
 
 16) If the immigration authority for the country you are travelling to, or for a country in which you have a stopover, has told us (either orally or in writing) that it has decided not to allow you to enter that country, even if you have, or appear to have, valid travel documents.
 
 17) If you destroy your travel documents during the flight.
 
 18) If you have refused to allow us to photocopy your travel documents.
 
 19) If you have refused to give your travel documents to a member of the crew of the aircraft, when we have asked you to do so.
 
 20) If you ask the relevant government authorities for permission to enter a country in which you have landed as a transit passenger.
 
 21) If carrying you would break government laws, regulations, or orders.
 
 22) If you have refused to give us information which a government authority has asked us to provide about you.
 
 23) If you have not presented a valid ticket.
 
 24) If you have not paid the fare (including any taxes, fees or charges) for your journey.
 
 25) If you have presented a ticket acquired illegally.
 
 26) bIf you have presented a ticket which you did not buy from us or our authorised agents.
 
 27) If you have presented a ticket which was not issued by us or our authorised agents.
 
 28) If you have presented a ticket which has been reported as being lost or stolen.
 
 29) If you have presented a counterfeit ticket.
 
 30) If you have presented a ticket with an alteration made neither by us nor our authorised agents.
 
 31) If you have presented a spoiled, torn or damaged ticket or a ticket which has been tampered with.
 
 32) If you cannot prove you are the person named in the ticket.
 
 33) If you have changed your transportation without our agreement as set out in clause 3c.
 
 34) If you have failed to present your ticket or your boarding pass or your travel documents to us when reasonably asked to do so.
 
 35) If you have failed to complete the check-in process by the check-in deadline.
 
 36) If you have failed to arrive at the boarding gate on time.
 
 37) If you have behaved in a way mentioned above on or in connection with a previous flight and we believe you may repeat this behaviour.
Edited 07-19-2003 10:56 AM
22
wiseanduncanny
07-19-2003
10:55 AM ET (US)
By the way, "Boomer," this statement is hilarious:

"I think your right to free speech ends when it affects others in a negative way. Even though this is a rather extreme example, I think the pilot and airline have every right to exclude anyone they wish. They are a private business."

So, if I own a bar, I have a right to bar all blacks? This "it's a private business" argument doesn't wash -- you can't protect business owners from curtailing all rights.

Sheesh, is this turning into Fark or something?

--sean
21
Harvey ArdmanPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
10:53 AM ET (US)
It's amazing how few supporters Gilmore has here. Maybe that's because his button was a calculated act of defiance and it was bound to get the response it did. One question: would it have played out the same way on, say, a domestic Delta flight?
20
wiseanduncanny
07-19-2003
10:52 AM ET (US)
You idiots, your freedom of speech is there to ALLOW you to "affect people in a negative way." The Klan are protected to spout racial hatred, the left are protected to call Bush an idiot, etc.

Now, if Gilmore had yelled "I'M GOING TO HIJACK THIS PLANE," that would be legitimately like yelling fire in a crowded theater. His button didn't say "I AM A TERRORIST," it said "SUSPECTED TERRORIST." Which, frankly, is what every single person on that flight was.

It's sad when the normally smart boingboing readers start getting accustomed to this curtailing of fundamental rights. Gilmore wasn't harming anyone and wasn't even threatening to -- he was making a statement about how ludicrous the situation was.

Idiots.

--sean
19
You Suck
07-19-2003
10:44 AM ET (US)
Anyone who agress that an American deserves to be ejected from a flight for wearing a political buton is a total fucking moron. That is all.
18
Chris
07-19-2003
10:31 AM ET (US)
I think that he has every right to his own opinion, however, his actions were the equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theatre. The gentlement should be brought up on charges for disrupting the flight. It's amazing what some people will go through to make a "statement"
17
Boomer
07-19-2003
09:47 AM ET (US)
I think your right to free speech ends when it affects others in a negative way. Even though this is a rather extreme example, I think the pilot and airline have every right to exclude anyone they wish. They are a private business.

Also, I bet we aren't getting the whole story here. I'll bet Mr. Gilmore was a bit more belligerent and hostile than he lets on. I'll bet that played heavily into the captain's decision. Just like protestors that are amazed at "police brutality" after they've thrown rocks and molotov cocktails.
16
wiseanduncanny
07-19-2003
09:46 AM ET (US)
So, where's the line? Wearing a suspected terrorist button in an airplane is yelling fire in a crowded theater?

Have any of you idiots ever flown before? Do you inspect the buttons/garments of everyone else in a plane?

The fact is that a "suspected terrorist" button should be a flag to the screeners to screen Gilmore EVEN MORE THOROUGHLY and, if the button itself was not seen as being a weapon, let him through. There's absolutely nothing that wearing a "suspected terrorist" button will let Gilmore do to the other passengers other than make them feel uncomfortable. There's no justifiable reason to kick the guy off the plane if there is no reasonable cause and, if you've seen Gilmore, he ain't the type of guy that's going to be able to pull off a hijacking.

The thing is, every single one of us is a "suspected terrorist" when we enter a plane these days. That's what Gilmore's suing about, that's what his little button was about. If you don't have a problem with that, then you're a fucking moron.

--sean
15
Brian CarnellPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
09:41 AM ET (US)
"I have to say I understand this. Some people get very nervous flying. Have you ever tried to make a joke about a bomb at the check-in desk? Why not just take off the button dude."

An Israeli scholar interviewing for a position at my university became annoyed about the inspection routine (this was pre-9/11) and made a joke about a bomb. He found himself in a world of legal trouble.

Look, this incident is straightforward liability. What happens if I wear a "suspected terrorist" button, everybody laughs, and then I try to hijack the airplane. Can't you see the media reports already, "He even wore a button labelling himself as a suspected terrorist, but officials took no action."

We see this in a variety of contexts. If they don't take action and something happens, we excoriate officials for not taking action. If they take action, well then they're overreacting. It's a no-win position, so the pilot might as well overreact.
14
Dan Z.Person was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
09:30 AM ET (US)
This little experiment would have been a lot more interesting had the button been one of his suggested alternates ("Terrorism is Evil", "Oppose Terrorism"). If the mere mention of the word terrorism is enough to get you thrown off a plane, that, it seems to me, is overreacting. But when you self-label as a "Suspected Terrorist", you give the flight crew little choice but to throw you off the plane.
13
mario
07-19-2003
09:30 AM ET (US)
I would agree that, as the ultimate responsible for the safety of the crew and passengers, the captain have the right to accept or reject a person onboard if he thinks he/she represents a possible threat or unstable factor on board. But, honestly, I don't know if in this case the captain was being reasonable or if he has ever been trainned for this kind of situations. Who would believe in that button?! And the lack of arguments that BA authorities (including captain) showed to gilmore just showed that they were aware that it was a ridiculous situation (I can use a badge praising Tony but I cannot mension the word terrorist?) And what about annie? she was not wearing any badge and as far as I can tell no one knew she was with him on the plane! Well... I'm forced to believe that the crew was only following absurd superiors' orders.
12
Erik
07-19-2003
08:37 AM ET (US)
what a moron. The greatest threat to free speech is immature idiots who insist on their Constitutional right to yell "fire' in a crowded theater. All that proves is that your a self centered spoiled little kid. really people, let's all grow up a bit. There are REAL problems in this world. How about trying to solve some of those...or is that just too hard to do?
11
Tom Jordan
07-19-2003
08:34 AM ET (US)
I agree with the pilot's actions. You certainly have a right to free speech on the street so long as you don't incite unlawful action. The same is not true on a ship or on an airplane. Once the ship leaves port or the airliner taxies from the gate you are legally under the protection and control of the captain and crew. For good reason having to do with the safety of all souls aboard which is the ultimate responsibility of the captains in either case. They are well trained to do their jobs which do not include on the spot psychiatric evaluations. A passenger acting in a manner which is troublesome and makes him/her seem unpredictable may be rejected.
10
mario
07-19-2003
08:19 AM ET (US)
why antagonize people (understandably nervous people) trying to do their jobs?

That's the most ridiculous argument I've read about this subject!

airline of a foreign power, so why would they care. He was left alone until he was onboard

Well, everyone and every company has a country so if you can't sue it on the US (which I doubt that they can't since BA operates on the US) you can sue it in UK. There, they don't call it first Amendment but I'm sure they have something written about free speech.

I can understand many of the security measures applied since the 9/11 but I can't understand the mental pressure that people are forced to have. People are almost prepared to sacrifice everything on life for security. They forget that those who died attemping to save others on the 9/11 wished that we continue to live our normal lives and not this absurd. They were thinking of their beloved, friends and innocents and not of terrorist so why can't we just quit thinking that much about terrorrism?! That's exactly what terrorist want us to be.
Edited 07-19-2003 08:25 AM
9
Free Speech Defender
07-19-2003
08:16 AM ET (US)
I have to agree with the majority here so far. Yes, we live in too black and white a world. Yes, people overreact. Yes, we are often walking like mice to the tune of the pied pipper. But let's be real(istic) and let's look closely at the pros and cons of our protests with some needed realism. I don't think this got John anywhere. And it surely didn't get him closer to martyrdom or solving the bigger issues.

BTW, when I click on the link to see the button he was wearing, it's not shown. Am I missing something?
Edited 07-19-2003 08:17 AM
8
UnseeliePerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
07:55 AM ET (US)
First off, airline of a foreign power, so why would they care. He was left alone until he was onboard, so his first amendment rights were honored.

Second, British Airways is neither the government, nor are they a media outlet. They have no obligation to honor Mr. Gilmore's right to free speech.

Third, most businesses reserve the right to refuse service for any reason. Did Mr. Gilmore bother to read the fine print before boarding the plane?

You know, I really would like to support the EFF, but then one of the founders pulls a stunt like this? Why should I give them money when they clearly can't even pick the right fights?

Putz...
7
we don need yo steenkin
07-19-2003
07:26 AM ET (US)
I have to say I understand this. Some people get very nervous flying. Have you ever tried to make a joke about a bomb at the check-in desk? Why not just take off the button dude.
6
Respected Terrorist
07-19-2003
07:06 AM ET (US)
Mr. Gilmore may have a right to free speech, but he should have better sense; why antagonize people (understandably nervous people) trying to do their jobs?

You must have been very popular in Germany in the early '40s...
5
bungatronPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
06:04 AM ET (US)
Mr. Denton: It's pretty clear that you're not a 'suspect terrorist' if you're wearing a badge that says you are. As Gilmore himself points out, it's really quite a lax and ineffectual security measure if this is how they are dealing with the threat of terrorism - placing easily removable badges on people.

These nervous people need a little perspective; it shouldn't be that their recieved ignorance of terrorism is used to define the norm, or this whole ridiculous process will just accelerate.
4
Ashley YakeleyPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
05:45 AM ET (US)
Don't tell me he's going to make some kind of first amendment case against the British government?

"Erm, first amendment of what, Mr. Gilmore?"
3
Paul DentonPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2003
05:15 AM ET (US)
Kudos to the airline. Mr. Gilmore may have a right to free speech, but he should have better sense; why antagonize people (understandably nervous people) trying to do their jobs? Sue John Ashcroft, sue Homeland Security, whatever; that's a political statement that doesn't do mental or economic harm to innocent bystanders.

If he's being an obnoxious asshole - and it seems quite obvious he was - the airline should have the right to eject him just as they would a rowdy drunk or violent air-rager.

Oh, and I'm sure his fellow passengers just loved his oh-so-clever little act of protest. He's just being modest; I'm sure they applauded his bravery, and booed the airline personnel marching him off the plane, because they desperately wanted the flight crew spooked and their schedule delayed. Now they'll be able to tell their children and grandchildren, in the AshcroftDeathGulags of the future, how that brave man stood up to the evil forces of the Bushitler, and was...er...told to remove the damn button.

Some people...
2
mr anonymous
07-19-2003
05:11 AM ET (US)
quit being an asshat. kill yourself and make everyone else happy. no one cares for your idiot statement
1
anonymous swede
07-19-2003
04:31 AM ET (US)
yar!!
Retards everywhere, this is just the whole 2600 sham again, geek reading 2600 walk unto plane, stewardess sees the word "hacker" on the cover, the flight ended up being held up for 1.5 hours.

Can people PLEASE start getting a clue...

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