The Friendly Skies Are Friendly No More

A plane, an argument, another in-flight confrontation. The friendly skies are friendly no more.

Regardless of the fact that it is against federal regulations to assault, threaten intimidate or interfere with crewmembers aboard an aircraft, 2021 ended with a record number of unruly passenger incidents. Of the 5,779 incidents reported, more than 4,000 were mask related. The FAA launched over a thousand investigations which is almost a 600% increase from the annual average of the previous 25 years.

Despite a multitude of studies showing the ineffectiveness of masks and the potential negative health effects, some airlines are now increasing their restrictions and forcing passengers to wear masks while eating and drinking. This is almost identical to the requirements placed on restaurant patrons in California.

Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines, when testifying at a Senate hearing on mask mandates, said that the air inside a plane is safe and “the case is very strong that masks don’t add much, if anything, in the air cabin environment. It’s very safe, very high quality compared to any other indoor setting.”

Yet, despite Kelly’s words of wisdom, several airlines have dictated that prolonged periods of mask removal are not permitted for eating or drinking, masks must be worn between sips and bites. These demands are turning some passengers into the mask police.

The number of incidents in the air is a reflection of what is happening on the ground. Anger is an emotion that is generally frowned upon, yet instances of road rage abound, and live updates on social media of long wait times at restaurants or in line at the grocery store fill your feed. It seems like everywhere you turn; someone is angry at something or someone. Why is everyone so angry?

There is this growing sense that our country is steamrolling toward disaster. The very fabric of our society is coming apart at the seams and the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is beginning to disappear. 

We’ve had to live through almost two years of the pandemic. Illness, death, isolation, restrictions, job loss, fear, mandates, and uncertainty. It has taken a toll on all of us, one way or the other. And anger is one way that these burdens express themselves.

What makes it worse is when we perceive that we have also been treated unfairly. People who can work from home have done better than people on the frontlines. Homeowners have done better than people who rent who have done better than people in shelters. Rich people have gotten richer in the stock market. People who refuse to or are unable to wear masks or take the Jab are being treated as second class citizens. There’s nothing that provokes anger more than the feeling that “I’m not being treated fairly.”

America was founded on the concept of freedom, but that is foreign to the purveyors of virus panic who masquerade as government health officials and so-called “experts.”

At some point, if enough Americans resist, sanity will prevail in our country once again. Let us pray that happens soon, for the road our country is traveling down is frightening and reminiscent of some very dark periods in human history.

source: The Friendly Skies Are Long Gone by Jeff Crouere, NAP

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