Archive for Monday, July 10, 2000

Coping with threats

July 10, 2000

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What would you do if faced with a troublesome or even dangerous airline passenger?

Would you take any action if someone on your commercial airline flight got seriously out of line?

Not long ago, a Kansas City area man went berserk on a flight. Several passengers subdued him before he did any major harm, and the perpetrator later said his behavior was caused by a medical condition. Just recently a Continental Airlines flight was forced to return to Anchorage, Alaska, after a woman passenger hurled a can of beer at a flight attendant and bit one of the crew. She had been seen arguing with her boyfriend and became unruly when a flight attendant asked her to calm down. Fortunately, no serious problems resulted.

But it may be only a matter of time before situations get out of control. Incidents involving violent passengers seem to be increasing, and nobody is quite sure what to do short of having armed guards on every flight.

What would you do if a fellow passenger got unruly and abusive? Would you keep still and hope it would go away or be handled by a crew member? Would you step up and help the way the two passengers did with the Kansas City area man? How far should you go to risk personal harm on behalf of others.

At one time, airlines were virtually assured of no trouble from passengers. But then there was the time one could go into a fast food place, a movie theater, a broker's office and even a church with no misgivings whatever. Think of the death and violence that have occurred in locations such as those.

There are no hiding places anymore, but a little forethought might help the individual cope with danger of a "terrorist" nature. Would you react, would you throw something? Could you help and, if you could, would you?

Forewarned is forearmed, we've always been told. Well, we have plenty of evidence that we may be in peril virtually anywhere and it might be wise to give a little thought to how we might react if we get involved in such a mess.

It could save your life and perhaps others.

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