Social Question

anartist's avatar

Would the incident aboard Wednesday night's United Airline flight from Washington DC to Denver have been handled differently if the young diplomat had been from the German Embassy?

Asked by anartist (14779points) April 9th, 2010

Mohammed al-Madadi, a young diplomat from Qatar, caused an international incident; NORAD scrambled fighters and the president was briefed after Al-Madadi was caught smoking [rumor has it toking] in the airplane toilet and jokingly said when confronted that he was trying to light his shoes. A federal law enforcement official said Madadi may have put out the smoking materials on his shoe and made the joking remark when confronted.
This caused a national security incident. How much of that was due to profiling?

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44 Answers

Lightning's avatar

Your question is so bias and racist against white people its funny.

A German diplomat? They would have laughed. The white man makes a fool of himself again.

Profiling? We all know we should let political correctness come before international security. It is more important to respect everyone equally then save lives from bombs. :D

filmfann's avatar

I don’t understand the outrage over racial profiling here.
Some muslims want to kill us. Shouldn’t we be wary of muslims, in case they are the bad ones?

Mamradpivo's avatar

Yes. And most of it.

rahm_sahriv's avatar

Racial profiling has its limits. Not all Muslims are of Arabic descent. There is also the argument it isn’t fair to punish a whole group for the rotten apples in the bunch. I think there has to be a balance, and as a balance, I don’t see a problem with what had happened.

ragingloli's avatar

There are a lot of christian terrorists too, in the US even. They call themselves “militias” though. One of their terror cells was recently busted. Guess we shoud use racial profiling on white male christians too.

Lightning's avatar

@ragingloli They’re not flying across or entering the country. Your SARCASM needs revision. :P

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Let’s see—there hasn’t been smoking on flights of less than 6 hours since 1989, and there are signs in the lavatory and on the planes, both in English and in signage that clearly indicate no smoking. A member of a diplomatic service lights up in a restroom of an airplane, clearly indicating that he can neither read English, or understand pictures, and the best he can offer is that he was trying to set his shoe on fire? Who hired the bozo, and can’t the Qatar find more suitable members for the position?

People in the diplomatic service are supposed to be sensitive to political situations in other countries, and be skilled at not causing incidents. What an idiot.

JLeslie's avatar

I think there is a good chance the joke still would have been taken seriously and caused a stir. Although, I do agree that he being Arab makes it more likely he will be detained.

anartist's avatar

Yes he made an ass of himself. And embarrassed Qatar. Yes he was poor diplomatic material. And his career is probably now in the crapper. But for god’s sake, he was young and silly. And look at the commotion.

Fred931's avatar

I think the entire scenario was blown into unbelievably overdramatic proportions by the government and the media. If the air marshals onboard the placespecifically said that the comment about “setting off a bomb” was a sarcastic comment, then why was the excessive protection and force involved necessary? And what would those two escort jets do if there even was a bomb?? Would they dart around under the sinking plane catching passengers?

This is one of few police-related incidents I have found less intelligent than this.

plethora's avatar

@ragingloli You are soooo predictable..:)

Mat74UK's avatar

1. He smoked on a flight he was not allowed to!
2. He joked about being a terrorist!
3. An Air Marshall cannot afford a sense of humour!
4. Remember number 3 next time you fly!

Fred931's avatar

@Mat74UK #3 is the cause of this kind of stupidity within the enforcers of the law these days. That just adds on to the paranoia of the American public of the threat of a terrorist attack.

plethora's avatar

@Mat74UK You are sooooo right!!!!

I was in the Tampa FL airport today and saw a duffle bag sitting next to the window near the boarding area unattended. Airline personnel picked it up immediately, issued two calls for someone to claim it, and then turned it over to TSA. Finally the kid who owned it showed up and was all disappointed that his luggage was gone. She told him it was a Federal law and tough shit.

He didnt get any sympathy from the peanut gallery either. Whole row of guys who thought he got what he deserved.

anartist's avatar

@Fred931 I think the fighters are supposed to blow it out of the sky if it is on track to a significant target — this doesn’t really go with the “shoe bomber” scenario. Seems more like a show of force.

filmfann's avatar

@ragingloli I am a male white Christian, and I support abortion, but if they want to watch me closely while I am around abortion clinics, I have no problem with that.

plethora's avatar

@Fred931 Protecting oneself and country against terror attacks is no longer paranoia anywhere on earth, and certainly not in the US. You live on this planet, buddy, or you from somewhere else in the universe?

Mat74UK's avatar

@Fred931 – If it were you job to maintain everybodies safety you too would have no sense of humour. His job is to keep everybody safe.
What do you not understand about: 3. An Air Marshall cannot afford a sense of humour! ???????????

Lightning's avatar

Oh come on @plethora! Making everyone feel good is more important then saving lives!! HOW can you be so unreasonable????? j/k.

plethora's avatar

@Lightning Oh yeah….I forgot.:)

Fred931's avatar

@plethora I just think that the scenario at hand could have been handled a lot more calmly and that a lot of what happened didn’t make any sense at all.

@Mat74UK I didn’t mean that the officers had to laugh at the joke, I meant that they completely understood that he was making the joke as said immediately by mouth, and if they understood that far, then they should’ve just handled it as if he had said nothing. And for sure shit, you guys seem to have the same problem. Don’t start another argument with me now, because I know I’ll lose and go to sleep all depressed and pissy.

Mat74UK's avatar

@Fred931 – aye that’s all good and well and then when someone makes a joke and gets away with it – what happens then.

BUT

yes I do agree with you some COMMON SENSE needs to be dragged into this!

plethora's avatar

@Fred931 As well you should. I don’t think I want Air Marshals or anyone else involved in security displaying senses of humor on the job.

Fred931's avatar

@plethora I don’t want the officers telling jokes about serious things like that whilst on duty, but I just hope that they have some sort of flexibility to understand that it is normal human nature to occasionally take things too far by accident and that they try to act like human beings around other human beings or at least try to understand that they are human beings. We make mistakes all the time, and there have been bigger ones than this. I.E. I wonder how many enforcers of the law have told jokes off-duty…

plethora's avatar

@Fred931 I would be the first to agree with that, but there are some places where any toleration of breaking the rules is unacceptable. On an airline in flight is one of those places. He should have had his ass jerked out of the bathroom and slapped around til he felt like being compliant. How do you think I would be treated if I went into a bathroom on a airline and lit a cigarette? When the attendant announces before EVERY single flight that smoking in a toilet is prohibited by federal law? Hell, I think he should have been jailed for a few days. Wanna join him? You can commiserate with the poor underprivileged fellow. On top of that, he’s a friggin diplomat. Wise up, Fred.

Fred931's avatar

@plethora I suggest not turning this thread into this.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Sorry; my husband flies 12–15 days a month, different city every day, all one way flight segments. He’s searched at least 75% of the time. He’s been on a few flights every year where they turn back, or land at a different airport so the air marshal can bounce some bozo’s sorry ass off the plane.

We know two people who were lost on planes on 9/11, and my friend’s sister-in-law was lost in the second tower collapse. The last thing I expect from an air marshall is a sense of humor while on the job.

Mat74UK's avatar

@plethora – yep after all “he’s a friggin diplomat”

anartist's avatar

@plethora @Mat74UK He probably won’t be for long.

Mat74UK's avatar

@PandoraBoxx – If that’s an argument clincher that it!

Fred931's avatar

But they understood that it was a completely sarcastic joke. That’s what I don’t understand; If they definitely knew that there was no such threat as a bomb, then why still treat it as a threat? I know that enforcers value their processes and regulations (and therefore their jobs) over common sense and will carry out those actions, but the raw excess amount of action taken by the government made no sense to me.

Fred931's avatar

…* facepalm * Why did I do that? Why didn’t I just put this question to rest? Dammit, now I have to think some more.

Mat74UK's avatar

@Fred931 – it’s the American culture of taking people to court because if something did occur and he took it as a joke….....!
He was covering his arse. I know and you know but it is a sad reflection on society as we now know it.

Mat74UK's avatar

@Fred931 – agreed mate

Mat74UK's avatar

SO – Summing up this question: No it would not have been handled different if it were a German as opposed to a Muslim!

Yay and the world is safe for another day!

Fred931's avatar

And, also great news, I’m not unsatisfied with the discussion! I didn’t say anything incredibly stupid for once!!

Mat74UK's avatar

@Fred931 YAY that was FLIGHT we got that RIGHT!

CaptainHarley's avatar

WTF difference does that make? Perhaps YOU would rather die than be politically uncorrect, but not me.

Mat74UK's avatar

@CaptainHarley – you mean die and be politically correct?

CaptainHarley's avatar

Sorry… “politically INcorrect.”

Mat74UK's avatar

@CaptainHarley – then you agree with nearly all of us!

CaptainHarley's avatar

Sorry, but you don’t seem to be making a great deal of sense. Please explain.

Fred931's avatar

I stopped understanding 6 posts ago. I don’t need an explanation.

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