Sisyphus Shrugged - racist hysteric apologizes for targeting DOD-approved swarthy people
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racist hysteric apologizes for targeting DOD-approved swarthy people
the woman who got a plane full of people trapped overnight at the airport when she got the vapors over flying with scary arab people would like to apologize to the military contractors she got pulled off the plane now that they've lawyered up
She was simply “protecting my tiny little family,” she insisted, adding that “all I could think of was 9/11.”

But yesterday, Leigh Robbins offered an apology to seven Iraqi men who were passengers on a plane scheduled to fly from San Diego to Chicago on Tuesday night. Robbins was also on the plane but was so terrified the men might be terrorists that she demanded to get off, causing a delay that prompted the airline to postpone the flight until the next morning.

The Iraqis, as it turned out, were consultants working with Marines at Camp Pendleton. They say they were humiliated when airport security, reacting to Robbins' concerns, took them aside and questioned them. They have hired a lawyer.

“I know they're upset, and they have every right to be,” said Robbins, 35, a Richmond, Va., homemaker. She said she was traveling with her two young sons that night and decided to err on the side of caution.

“How can you overreact when it's your children?” she said.
Woah. Poser.

Well, you could go flying off into a bizarre xenophobic wingnut panic and disrupt the lives of hundreds of people and blame it on your maternal instincts, as if somehow nature has bestowed aggressive ignorance unto us mothers to keep our children safe.

Just a suggestion.

Ms. Robbins' probable cause? On of the men "looked mean" when he came out of the bathroom.
American Airlines Flight 590, with 126 passengers on board, had been scheduled to depart Lindbergh Field at 11 p.m. Tuesday. In an interview yesterday, Robbins said she was sitting in the back of the plane with her children, awaiting the departure from the gate, when one of the Iraqis walked by to use the restroom.

She heard him “clunking around” inside the bathroom. When he came out, he had a suspicious look on his face, she said.

“He looked so mean, the way he was looking at everyone,” Robbins said. “It was very frightening, like something out of a movie.”
I can't really add to the perfection of that quote. I just needed to stop for a moment and contemplate its beauty. I'm sure it was, Ms. Robbins. Just like a movie.

AAR, Ms. Robbins' little break with reality caused a great deal of trouble for an awful lot of people (and this doesn't account for the people waiting on the second and third generation delays in flights that were dependent on this one arriving on time)
Robbins gathered up her sons, ages 9 and 4, and demanded to be let off the plane. The crew complied with her request, but the resulting delay meant the plane couldn't take off by Lindbergh Field's 11:30 p.m. curfew. The airline was forced to postpone the departure until 10:15 a.m. the next day.

Meanwhile, airport security officers questioned the seven Iraqis and determined that they posed no threat.

One of the men, David Al Watan, 30, of Dearborn, Mich., said the experience was mortifying because they were singled out for questioning based on their appearance.

He and the other Iraqis are employed by an Alaska-based defense contractor that works with the U.S. military. Watan, who fled Iraq in 1991 and said his mother was killed by Saddam Hussein's regime, wants an apology from American Airlines.

“While they sit in their air conditioning, I was out in the desert helping to save Marines' lives,” Watan said. “I am an American. I love this country. I would die for it.”...

Robbins hasn't been able to reach the seven Iraqis to apologize personally. She feels terrible about the whole thing, she said.

“I'm very sorry, but I'd do anything to protect my kids,” she said.
Um, no. Sorry, lady. David Al Watan would do anything to protect your kids. He volunteered to go into a war zone and get his ass shot at. What you would do to protect your kids is turn him over to the authorities for flying while you don't like his face.

Stay off public transportation, wouldja?
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 1st, 2007 03:30 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
Stupidity definitely knows no bounds because it keeps expanding past the point of reality. Those must be some fearful kids she's raising, they will grow up trusting no one and lacking common sense. Just like their mom.
jmhm From: jmhm Date: September 1st, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
Yeah, no kidding. I have this fantasy that the engineers settle for a donation to an iraqi education charity and 100 hours of family sensitivity training.
shelleybear From: shelleybear Date: September 1st, 2007 03:43 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)

Soccer Mom's Are a Fearful Lot

Easily manipulated by their government institutions.
jmhm From: jmhm Date: September 1st, 2007 04:32 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)

Re: Soccer Moms Are a Fearful Lot

What I'm wondering: she's apparently from the DC suburbs.

What does her husband do?
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 2nd, 2007 01:14 am (UTC) (linkie thing)

Re: Soccer Moms Are a Fearful Lot

FYI, Richmond is not a suburb of DC. Richmond is about 100 miles south.
jmhm From: jmhm Date: September 2nd, 2007 02:13 am (UTC) (linkie thing)

Re: Soccer Moms Are a Fearful Lot

Is it that far? It looked nearer on the map.

Write it off to New York parochialism. A hundred miles is not an unheard of commute here.
mjlayman From: mjlayman Date: September 2nd, 2007 03:39 am (UTC) (linkie thing)

Re: Soccer Moms Are a Fearful Lot

A hundred miles is not unheard of in the DC area, either, but it's usually in from West Virginia. Richmond has a lot of the kind of jobs DC has and there's a natural break in commutes about halfway between. It'd be pretty unusual to commute to DC from Richmond.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 3rd, 2007 04:53 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)

Re: Soccer Mom's Are a Fearful Lot

Why is it not okay to stereotype groups of men with Middle Eastern features, but okay to stereotype soccer moms as a group?

Carol
jmhm From: jmhm Date: September 3rd, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)

Re: Soccer Mom's Are a Fearful Lot

I'm a tap dance mom myself.

I'd thought that the invented term used to define middle- to upper-middle-class moms for political purposes had shifted to security moms myself.

Basically, the Bush folks have a theory (which they stole a great deal of from the Clinton folks) where people are so desperate to self-identify as part of a larger community that if you invent a community that ostensibly subsumes them they'll start behaving (and voting, and believing, and shopping) as they've been told that members of that community behave (vote, believe and shop).

This has been a remarkably successful strategy insofar as the punderati really like it, it saving them as it does the trouble of finding out what those tedious plebes the voters are actually interested in (alpha preppie scold Jonathan Alter in his newsweek column this week praised a book on the subject by Matthew Dowd for showing us the way past division and partisanship, which journey he now feels will be of use to the Republican party by helping them dump the social conservatives who (now that they aren't needed to support his pet arbitrary war of choice) are harshing the trust fund libertarians' buzz. This is something like praising a book by Mario Batali for showing us the way past eating pork).

It's also useful in the sub- and ex- urban world Nixon started to remove americans from their sense of community and the public good. In the absence of an actual community, people will rush to join some very strange things, and an allegiance to smartly package lifestyle crap is much safer for the people in charge than an allegiance to your neighbor's kid not being malnourished or going without medical care.

So, no, I don't think it's OK. I think it's sorta counterproductive.
shelleybear From: shelleybear Date: September 3rd, 2007 07:23 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)

Re: Soccer Mom's Are a Fearful Lot

Why did Bush appeal and play to soccer moms to begin with.
And further,why were they so STUPID they bought into it an helped reelect him?
Also good questions.
From: tlatoani Date: September 1st, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
That isn't an apology. She's just playing the Mommy Card. I'm unimpressed.
jmhm From: jmhm Date: September 1st, 2007 04:02 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
No, there's a sort of an apology in there. I tend to think that there wouldn't be if she weren't a national joke and the contractors weren't on the fast track to owning her house, but there's one in there.

I'm sure Michelle Malkin will be calling for donations to a defense fund any day now.
From: tlatoani Date: September 1st, 2007 04:12 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
“I'm very sorry, but I'd do anything to protect my kids,”

Nah. She negates the apology by then basically saying that she'd do the exact same thing again, because She Is Mommy and Mommies Know Best. Here's what it would look like if it were a real apology:

"I'm very sorry. I overreacted because I was traveling with my kids. Next time I'll know better."

I do hope the contractors wind up owning her house.
jmhm From: jmhm Date: September 1st, 2007 04:25 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
I just feel really sorry for the kids. It must be rough to feel as if mom is too busy swatting at phantoms to mediate with the world for you.
thesideshow From: thesideshow Date: September 1st, 2007 04:01 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)

I always look mean when I fly.

Especially these days, when I'm royally pissed off by the time I finally get on the plane.
jmhm From: jmhm Date: September 1st, 2007 04:05 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)

Re: I always look mean when I fly.

I generally have my all-purpose people-pleasing high-octane Pleasant Demeanor going on, but then all give way before me because I'm packing a loaded eleven-year-old.
ckd From: ckd Date: September 1st, 2007 05:10 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)

Re: I always look mean when I fly.

Going by this incident, bringing along a kid (or two) is suspicious; you might be planning to disrupt the flight by making fearful attempts to get off the plane when someone who Looks Bad comes by.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 1st, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)

can we add her to the no-fly list?

Seriously: the airlines would go along with it, as she cost them a ton of money, and she inconvenienced 100+ people.
jmhm From: jmhm Date: September 1st, 2007 04:26 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)

Re: can we add her to the no-fly list?

Well, I don't guess this particular airline is going to sell her tickets again in a hurry.
dr_strych9 From: dr_strych9 Date: September 1st, 2007 04:38 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
Wow. I'm overcome.
cdk From: cdk Date: September 1st, 2007 04:56 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
The sad thing is, if a character in a movie were to say things as stupid as this woman, I'd be upset that the movie was insulting my intelligence with such a blatant, unrealistic charicature. Ugh.

(And I take this especially personally because my face looks angry all the time, unless I'm smiling. Even my own mom occasionally asks me what I'm so mad about.)

(She's never gotten me thrown off a plane for it, though.)
temima From: temima Date: September 1st, 2007 05:07 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
"I'm sorry, but I have to get off this plane. There is a soccer mom looking at some brown guys funny, and I'm worried that there is going to be an incident. I'm a woman, and live with the risk of violence from birth onward, and I rather save my panic for situations where it is useful."

*sigh* The thing is, people aren't given much instruction on how to distinguish survival instincts ('I'm in an empty parking garage and a guy I don't know is approaching me' scenarios) and unfounded fear. It's not an exact science, but it is based on things other than race.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 1st, 2007 05:10 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
Prediction: She's going to become another hero of the right for keeping her eyes peeled for mean-looking jihadist infiltrators.

Soon the jabbering heads will insist that contractors like Al Watan should travel in sealed trains "for their own safety."

Stefan
jmhm From: jmhm Date: September 1st, 2007 05:17 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
Yeah, I still occasionally see articles by the woman who abreacted over the McDonalds bags.
danaseilhan From: danaseilhan Date: September 1st, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
Completely unrelatedly, my little girl's dad and I were talking the other day about race and how we are perceived.

Among several white ethnicities (French, English, etc.), he has Mohawk, Seneca, and Russian Jewish ancestry. The Russian Jew has come out very strongly in his looks, most especially in his kinky curly hair and the structures of his face. However, if his skin gets darker from being out of doors and he doesn't shave on a regular basis, he gets really strange looks from people.

I said, "Dude, at this point, you wouldn't be able to fly."

There isn't a drop of Arab blood in him.

I have mainly French, Cherokee (great-grandmother), unnamed Native American (another great-grandmother), and a little bit of German (yet another great-grandmother) in my ancestry. I dyed my hair black when I was nineteen. One person asked me if I was Native American; another said I looked Hispanic.

My father has classic Frenchman features in his face and jet-black hair that gets wavy if he lets it grow. He also usually has a full mustache. Back during the first Gulf War he was active duty Navy and his co-workers in his office joked that he looked like Saddam Hussein. (He did, too.)

If either of us were dressed in just the wrong way there's the potential we could catch crap on a plane too. My dad wears his hair close-cropped anymore and it's more silver than black these days, but five years ago he'd have had problems if he'd tried to fly. Doesn't speak a word of Arabic, has no Arab ancestry, wouldn't touch Islam with a ten-foot pole (he's Catholic), was born in Louisiana, and that wouldn't matter to some people.

I hate to think how my daughter will be treated when she gets older and her hair gets darker. I've already had one person ask me if she's part Mexican because her eyes are an unusual shape. At least her hair is light enough that she passes. But this woman pulling the "What about my kids" line doesn't amuse me. What about my kid, having the right to live her life without stupid soccer-mom racists hounding her every move? Gods forbid she should, I dunno, revert to Islam later on or something, seeing as how it's the fastest-growing religion in the U.S. and American women are the fastest-converting subgroup here. Can't have religious freedom practiced in this country or anything.

And 100% pure white American people (haha) say there is no real racism in this country anymore. Whatever.
jmhm From: jmhm Date: September 1st, 2007 05:50 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
Well, as far back as I can trace it, I am "100% pure white American" (beleaguered husband and HM are part inuit) and I don't think that.

selinakyle47 From: selinakyle47 Date: September 1st, 2007 06:16 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
I admit that I haven't been following this story as closely as I should, so forgive me if the questions seems dumb. Is the airline at fault for questioning the men? It seems like a reasonable response to me, and they did let the men go. As for the hysterical passenger, well...I hope that the contractors can sue her ass off for harassment.
jmhm From: jmhm Date: September 1st, 2007 06:26 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
If she didn't present them with a better explanation than her lawyer undoubtedly came up with after a few days of brainstorming (mean expression? cheez) I think they were at fault for letting her go and questioning the contractors on her sayso.
aldabra From: aldabra Date: September 1st, 2007 06:49 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
I think if you have someone hysterically demanding to get off your plane while it's still in the airport it's probably standard practice to let them go, because you don't want to be flying with someone hysterical.
jmhm From: jmhm Date: September 1st, 2007 06:51 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
Not if you're taking their accusations seriously enough to pull other passengers of the plane. If she was credible enough for her accusations to get them questioned, her evidence was important enough to hold on to her.
rakafkaven From: rakafkaven Date: September 5th, 2007 06:52 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)

Oooh! And the electoral college.

I don't know what world you're living on, but it sounds lovely. If at all possible, please incite your peoples to invade the region of Earth know as "America" and forcibly reform the TSA.
selinakyle47 From: selinakyle47 Date: September 1st, 2007 07:35 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
If the airline was so ready to ground the plane on her suspicions and nothing else, is it possible that the crew was also concerned about the presence of the Iraqi contractors but couldn't boot them off until a passenger complained? That way, they could lay blame on the passenger and not the airline.
jmhm From: jmhm Date: September 1st, 2007 07:51 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
well, when that bonebrain got all freaked out by the McDonalds bags, the marshall wanted her off because she was panicking the other passengers.

If they felt they had reason, that's between them and their lawyers. To hold the contractors while letting the woman go clearly puts the onus on the rational actors to defend themselves while the person behaving erratically is given a by. I can't see that.

Law enforcement people don't let witnesses walk away if they think they have a case against someone. There's no reason to it, just airline employees who apparently think flying while brown requires an explanation.
From: tongodeon Date: September 1st, 2007 08:53 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
“How can you overreact when it's your children?” she said.

That's a rhetorical question, right? Because the obvious answer is "by doing what you just did, you stupid cow".
unhappytriad From: unhappytriad Date: September 1st, 2007 10:46 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)

"soccer mom" here

I'd fit most people's definition of a "soccer mom", and one thing I have taught my kids is that any group of words containing the word "but" is not an apology. (As in, "I'm sorry, but...")

The "but" makes what you are saying a justification, not an apology.

Honestly, now that anyone who is scared, or pretends to be scared, of anything for any reason can ground a flight--who needs bombs?

See also: shutting down a major Boston thoroughfare with a Lite-Brite.
jmhm From: jmhm Date: September 1st, 2007 10:52 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)

Re: "soccer mom" here

I suspect her response was written by her lawyers. I don't guess they're going to let her apologize even if she's inclined to while there's a lawsuit in the air.

Not that she isn't digging herself in deeper the way she's going here.
antigone_ks From: antigone_ks Date: September 2nd, 2007 02:12 am (UTC) (linkie thing)
If she was so damned scared, she'd have done better to take herself and her family off that flight.

True story: I flew to a cousin's wedding last year, and flew back on Sept 11. On the flight there, I was petrified from the moment I got through security. I have no idea why, but I considered getting off the plane before it took off. I spent the entire (mercifully short) flight eyeballing everyone who went past me and gripping the arm rests so tightly that the flight attendant kept bringing me more Sprite and reassuring me that a lot of people are scared to fly, and there's nothing wrong with it. The thing is, I've never been afraid of flying. I love it. I think it may have been caused by the proximity to the 5-year anniversary (I kept telling myself that a plane flying an hour and 15 minutes wouldn't carry enough fuel to be a decent weapon). So I understand panic; I really, really do, and I can sympathize with how she must have felt.

But she absolutely handled that the wrong way.
jmhm From: jmhm Date: September 2nd, 2007 02:46 am (UTC) (linkie thing)
I understand freaking out. Believe me, I understand. What I don't understand is (in an environment where people can disappear for years without any evidence presented against them) she felt the need to tell the airline that she was freaked out because she believed they were a danger to her.

That she's blaming the whole thing on small children doesn't help.
antigone_ks From: antigone_ks Date: September 2nd, 2007 03:30 am (UTC) (linkie thing)
Exactly. Although I doubt that if she were so freaked because a possibly Middle-Eastern looking guy "looked mean," she was in quite the right head-state to think about the political and criminal repercussions. If you're too scared to make the flight, get off the plane.

You know, even in Final Destination, the freak-outer was the one who got the police interrogation. Why didn't she?
lexica510 From: lexica510 Date: September 2nd, 2007 07:31 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
You know, even in Final Destination, the freak-outer was the one who got the police interrogation. Why didn't she?

So much for her claim that it was just like a movie...
jmhm From: jmhm Date: September 2nd, 2007 07:57 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
seriously. If it were a movie, President Bush would be tough and full of resolve and taking personal charge of the situation. Wouldn't that comfort you?

OK, you know, I do understand about panic reactions, but the fact that your limbic alarms go off does not necessarily mean anything about the people who happen to be standing nearby. You certainly don't get them questioned as terrorists over it.
ahhhs. -- hmmm?
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